Santa Barbara, CA, October 12, 2019

Changing of the Band

The 2019 shows start with some of the most radical changes in more than a decade- new drummer, back to a 6 piece band, Donnie playing violin on the majority of songs, Bob standing most of the time, no baby grand, Bob on electric guitar for a new opener, Tony taking more of the bandleader responsibilities, and either Donnie or Charlie being lead on the instrumental parts except when Bob pares it down as he did tonight on Masterpiece and Girl from the North Country. I was surprised when the Robert Hunter tribute song led off the show once again but enjoyed it a lot. It looked like he liked moving around that guitar. The vocals seemed to me to be crystal clear whether the music was fast or slow. Can't Wait changed once again. It seemed like a whole army was marching behind Bob to take back the object of his obsession...not a lone crazy guy howling in the wind. I loved it in Hyde Park when it was fun and still love it now when it is back to serious business. Simple Twist has some new lyrics again and Bob is all over the stage and there is one of several great harmonica solos. Honest with Me is good but Thunder is kind of similar to my ears and better. The next 2 songs are the weakest in my opinion (Trying to get to Heaven and Make you feel my love)... I would not be sorry to see them replaced with, say, Changing of the Guards and Series of Dreams, for example. Loved all the rest of the set. Pay in Blood so new and unique, Lenny being a gospel song about a (real) Jew, Early Roman Kings stupendous almost like John Barrymore doing a Shakespearean soliloquy, Girl from the North Country so sweet and tender, Not Dark Yet being treated like the songbook on Shadows, Thunder being so fast, wild, and exciting, and Soon after Midnight and the rest showcasing the talented Mr. Sexton. I would say that the next 2 (Gotta Serve Somebody and Ballad of a Thin Man) are sending a message to some current leaders and Train leaves a fun upbeat message to kick off the rest of this year. A great show!

Review Location: 
Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara CA
Review Date: 
Saturday, October 12, 2019
Review Author: 
Nancy Cobb