A Legend Takes the Stage at Terminal 5

November 23rd, 2010

Bob Dylan – Terminal 5 – November 22, 2010

(Photo: Tony Frank/Corbis)

(Photo: Tony Frank/Corbis)

There was a different air about Terminal 5 last night before the show, and not just because the televisions in the venue were off and there was no house music playing. A kinetic buzz of anticipation ran through the crowd, similar to the feel before a big Broadway play. At the stroke of 8 o’clock the audience focused, and even far up in the back of the third level, hundreds of fans craned their necks over the railings as Bob Dylan took the stage.

The man and his flat-brimmed hat skipped the guitar and headed straight for the organ as the show began, and his voice, now raspier than ever, quickly replaced the buzz in the air as he fittingly started the night with “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking.” As everyone caught their collective breath, Dylan let loose some powerful harmonica on “Shooting Star,” and then for “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” he picked up his electric guitar, the instrument that a lifetime ago seemed sacrilegious for him to play. His movement was a bit slower on guitar, and he arched up on his toes to help reach the notes in “Tangled Up in Blue,” but none sounded missed. By the first half hour his voice cleared up, and an hour into the set he made things look almost effortless.

On “Highway 61 Revisited,” Dylan swiftly knocked out his loudest organ solo of the night, throwing his hands off the keys at the end, almost acknowledging that he knew he’d nailed it. Dylan matched the highlight of that song by the time he got to the coda of “Thunder on the Mountain,” where the frenzied crowd’s energy peaked. He finished the set with “Ballad of a Thin Man,” and after a quick breather (longtime Dylan fans in the house were even wowed by the set) returned for an encore of “Jolene” and, of course, “Like a Rolling Stone.” By then the rasp had returned, but the crowd helped fill in on the chorus, and as he walked off in darkness they stayed behind, if not in hopes of another encore then perhaps to reclaim the buzz from the start of the night. —Sean O’Kane