Sometimes it takes me a while to post a review after I have seen the show. Sometimes it is because I am overwhelmed by other things to post but in this case because of the awful taste I had to wash from my mouth before sitting down to do it. The show was on May 24 and I am just posting today so that gives you some idea.
To be fair there were talented people on stage, including Steve Buscemi, Bill Murray and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (I am a huge Robert Smigel fan). The musicians were all talented and some of the soloists soared to the rafters, especially the wonderful Lisa Fischer who was inspiring. How do I put this? I have nearly every commercially available recording of Bob Dylan and many compilations of tribute recordings. A great number of the tribute artists try to imitate or replicate Bob’s inimitable presence but many others take the source material and produce startling and compelling versions in their own style.
Sorry to say that the style of Steven Bernstein and his 13 piece ensemble was neither compelling nor relevant. Instead of mining new depths they charted the music to a straight up cruise ship stage band atmosphere that was neither appropriate nor insightful. I’m not asking for faithful recreation every time we hail dear Bob, but it didn’t feel respectful, more like they had to cover the song list with as few rehearsals as possible so throw it together and get it on stage. Maybe they’ll get it right in another 55 years when they try it again.
TOMORROW: Great food review to cleanse the palette