Bob Dylan performing his Rough And Rowdy Ways Tour at The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Friday 28th October 2022

Review by Kevin Cooper

It was a packed Motorpoint Arena that welcomed the living legend that is Bob Dylan on Friday night who is touring behind the release of his first album of new material since 2017’s Triplicate.

After a two year touring break due to Covid, the self described ‘song and dance man’ and his backing band expertly weaved their way through an eighteen song set that included nine new tracks from Rough And Rowdy Ways.

With the stage itself dimmer than the auditorium Dylan took his usual position behind his barely illuminated piano for the opener Watching The River Flow, where he remained hidden for much of the show.

Following up with Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine, the crowd were quickly mesmerised with his gravelly but sometimes whining voice. On stage with him were guitarists Bob Britt and Doug Lancio who got the most lighting, drummer Charley Drayton, bassist Tony Garnier and pedal steel player Donnie Herron who were on point from the off.

New songs I Contain Multitudes and False Prophet were very well received, before the haunting Black Rider was made more so with the use of a Spanish guitar. There was a slow and sultry I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight which was a real highlight.

Crossing The Rubicon showcased his prowess on the keys, before a rollicking re-energised rendition of Gotta Serve Somebody from 1979’s Slow Train Coming was a treat. To Be Alone With You had a nicely syncopated arrangement more delicate than the original, before the run in to the end included new songs Mother Of Muses and Goodbye Jimmy Reed.

Set closer Every Grain Of Sand was tremendous with Dylan on the harmonica while simultaneously managing the piano, and when he shuffled off the stage the crowd were thinking of joining the queue to get their mobile phones unlocked, but he came back on for a very rare encore to deliver a tender homage to Jerry Lee Lewis, and I Can’t Seem To Say Goodbye was a perfect way to bring it to an end.

Taking centre stage to acknowledge the applause for a moment, it is only then that you remember that he is 81 years of age. If this tour happens to be the last time that he is seen in the flesh, this packed Arena will remember that they spent a night with a man whose history amounts to artistic greatness.