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Rita's Review: Bob Dylan at the Capitol Theatre

by Rita Houston
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I'll get this out right up front, so you understand where I’m coming from: I am a big Bob Dylan fan. I love seeing him in concert, and even (almost!) always recognize the song he’s doing. I believe he’s a great singer and that his recent albums are among his best.

A night with Dylan, and foodBob Dylan and his band performed to a packed house on opening night at the newly remodeled Capitol Theatre. Lights were swirling in the sky and downtown Port Chester was electric with the energy of the nearly 2,000 fans.

I stopped first for a yummy dinner at nearby Tarry Lodge (more on that later) then went off to the show. The Capitol Theatre looks fabulous, a classic old beauty now all cleaned up and ready for action. The 1920s architectural touches remain, outfitted with a completely new sound and light system. The acoustics are impressive — last night's sound was clear, clean and organic. (I’ve heard a lot about the new lighting system but it seems Dylan did not choose to fully utilize it.)

Dylan dashed out on to the stage sporting a navy jacket with red trim and white pants (this cracked me up — nobody tells him not to wear white after Labor Day!). At 71, he looked weathered, but fit and energetic. The 90-minute set was a typical mix of classics, ballads and recent songs. He really shines playing recent ones like "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum," beaming a goofy smile as if playing to a pretty girl in the front row.

The band, with Charlie Sexton on guitar, was as usual tight and right on time. At the piano Dylan provided solid rhythm and a few stellar boogie-woogie/roadhouse solos. He had plenty of room to be spontaneous, moving from guitar to piano to harmonica with playful grace. One of the highlights was a seldom-seen "Shooting Star," with Dylan center stage, mic in hand, crooning his way through — a rare moment of Dylan up front, simply being the singer. Another highlight: An eerie echo effect added to his voice for "Ballad of A Thin Man," giving it a new darkness.

We unfortunately didn't get any brand new songs on the brink of the release of Tempest, Dylan’s 35th album, to be released on the 50th anniversary of his debut. (Let’s hope the Shakespeare reference doesn't mean it's his last.)

I’ve seen many Dylan shows over the years. This was one of the most fun, free, and expressive I’ve ever seen. It was a great night to be a New Yorker in Port Chester.

And the meal! A friend and I took the opportunity to dine at nearby Tarry Lodge. We opted for two seats at the bar and enjoyed antipasti of sweet roasted beets, caponata, baccala, and smoked trout with peaches and parsley. An excellent caprese salad and grilled, charred octopus followed. We chose to eat light and passed on their famous pizzas this time... I only wish Bob had joined us.

Set list:
 Watching the River Flow
 Love Minus Zero/No Limit
 Things Have Changed
 Tangled Up in Blue
 Rollin' and Tumblin'
 This Dream of You
 Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
 Shooting Star
 High Water (For Charley Patton)
 Visions of Johanna
 Highway 61 Revisited
 Can't Wait
 Thunder on the Mountain
 Ballad of a Thin Man
 Like a Rolling Stone
 All Along the Watchtower
 Encore: Blowin' in the Wind

 

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