Way back in the before times Bob Dylan released a new album of material called Rough and Rowdy Ways. In support of that album he put together a tour in late summer 2020. Everyone thought covid would have passed so the tour was announced and tickets went on sale. Without much hesitation I bought tickets to the show at the amphitheater in Ridgefield, WA. The man is an American music legend and I was excited to see him before he passed. I still kick myself for not seeing B.B. King at The Birchmere before he passed. Never again. Unfortunately covid was still running wild throughout the country and a vaccine was not yet available. As the tour approached it was cancelled and my money was refunded to me. I wasn’t sure if I would ever have a chance to see Dylan live.
Covid eventually settled down and Dylan announced the Rough and Rowdy Ways tour was on again. This was going to be a world wide tour spanning three years after it was all said and done. He was making a stop in Portland but it would be a change of venue. This time it would be at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in downtown and in my opinion a much better place to see him. I had not been there before and was excited to see him play there. I got a ticket not long after they went on sale because I knew it would sell out. It didn’t matter so much where my ticket was, I just wanted one. I was able to score a “cheap” ticket near the top but the view didn’t disappoint.
It was Memorial Day weekend and he was playing Tuesday after the holiday. It was an absolutely beautiful late spring night and even thought I was a little under the weather I was excited to see him. I kept checking and it wasn’t covid so nothing was going to stop me from seeing him this time. I parked near by and got in line to enter the venue. They where asking everyone to leave their phones at home or lock them up so I was only able to snap a shot from outside the venue. This was fine. I was here to enjoy the music, see Dylan and just be in the moment.
I got there with plenty of time before the show. I was amazed at the venue as I walked through the lobby to the upper balcony where my seat was. The hall is pretty damn amazing with no bad seats anywhere in my opinion. My seat was next to the wall in a mini four seat isle which was cool. The three people next to me wore their mask like I did and where pretty cool.
As showtime approached the place started to fill up. I was expecting an on time performance that night with a single set that I was hoping would last 2 hours. Not nearly enough time to get through his extensive catalog, which he recently sold the rights to, but I was hopeful. I quickly noticed that I was definitely on the younger side of the audience. Honestly that was a surprising to me just because of how important Dylan has been to music in general. I’m sure the $100 ticket price for cheap seats had something to do with it.
At the appointed hour he and the band walk on stage. The stage was raised with lights projecting up from the floor. There were barely any other stage lights and nothing from the venue. This was actually very annoying. It was just so hard to see the band as they performed. You don’t want to light them up fine, but you really should. The light coming from the stage projecting up was weird and made everything look aweful. Definitely not a fan of how the stage was setup.
Dylan came out and started playing a little guitar before stepping up to the mic and singing. His voice has gotten raspier in his old age and it would appear he has slowed down as well. There wasn’t much energy being projected from him or the band who I just thought was just following his lead. Everyone was dressed in black which was also a downer. It looked very depressing. There was no color anywhere in the band, the lights or even the performance. He bounced between the guitar and piano all night as he went through the setlist. In terms of the music it was mostly from his new album and I suspect was a pretty standard setlist for this tour. You can find them posted online for this tour. I was hoping to have a mix of old and new but that was not the case. While disappointing it was still a good show.
The venue is absolutely amazing and I look forward to seeing other performances at the Arlene Schnitzer in the future. Phish has played here before and while a long shot….there is always a chance they could come back. I was very happy to finally see Dylan but to be honest, the performance wasn’t that great. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing from that night. Walking out of the place and got my phone out of jail with a smile on my face. The cool night air was amazing. I reveled in my thoughts as I walked back to my car to head home. He’s an old man and I was out of there and back home by 10pm which was nice. Not sure if I would catch him again but I’m glad I have seen him perform at least once live.
Bob Dylan Tuesday, May 31st 2022
No cell phones allowed in the venue.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
1037 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205
Bob Dylan: Vocals, piano, guitar, harmonica
Bob Britt: Guitar
Charley Drayton: Drums
Tony Garnier: Bass guitar
Donnie Herron: Accordion, violin, electric mandolin, pedal steel guitar and lap steel guitar
Doug Lancio: Guitar
Set 1 starts at 7:58pm
- Watching the River Flow (Bob on guitar)
- Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine
- I Contain Multitudes
- False Prophet (Bob on guitar)
- When I Paint My Masterpiece
- Black Rider
- I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
- My Own Version of You
- Crossing the Rubicon
- To Be Alone With You
- Key West (Philosopher Pirate)
- Gotta Serve Somebody
- I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You
- Melancholy Mood (Frank Sinatra cover)
- Mother of Muses
- Goodbye Jimmy Reed (followed by band introductions)
- Every Grain of Sand
House lights at 9:37pm