review: bob dylan @ patriot center

Bob Dylan continues to reinvent himself, as was evident at his show last Friday at George Mason University’s Patriot Center. Not content to play the same song the same way twice, Dylan and his talented band threw in twists and turns the entire time.

Dylan, camped out behind a keyboard that was set on “Wurlitzer,” kept his band going from song to song, interweaving ballads with more uptempo numbers. The performances were quite spirited, with Dylan’s re-worked versions of “Boots Of Spanish Leather” and “Masters Of War” going over really well with the crowd. The numbers off his latest, Modern Times, were delivered with gusto as well, showcasing the instrumental abilities of his talented backing band.

In typical fashion, Dylan’s interaction with the audience was minimal. He’d occasionally give a bit of a nod or wink to the folks up front (of which I was one – second-row, stage right), but mostly he just worked from song to song. Only during the encore did he introduce the band, marking the only time he did any speech outside of the framework of a song. It’s not the typical “folkie method,” but it’s expected of Dylan, who has tried to stay ahead of the curve (or just deliberately away from it) throughout his career.

The encore was a power-punch of hits: two from his more recent albums (“Love Sick” from Time Out Of Mind and “Thunder On The Mountain” from Modern Times), and two from the 1960s. And, as with any of the more “vintage” songs in the show, Dylan reworked them into tunes that, while lyrically the same, had little resemblance to their original form.

No matter, though: Dylan was in fine form, and certainly put on a great show for his fans.

The opening act, The Raconteurs, were just okay. Led by Jack White (of The White Stripes), they pounded their way through an hour-long set that was fairly good, if far, far too loud.

Setlist: Cat’s In The Well, Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power), Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Boots Of Spanish Leather, Cold Irons Bound, When The Deal Goes Down, High Water (For Charley Patton), Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine), Masters Of War, Spirit On The Water, Tangled Up In Blue, Nettie Moore, Highway 61 Revisited
Encore: Love Sick, Thunder On The Mountain, Like A Rolling Stone, All Along The Watchtower