Bob Dylan dropped his so-called “Endless Tour” — decades-long at this point — into Ohio State University’s Mershon Auditorium (capacity: 2500) at the Wexner Center on Monday night for his most intimate show since he appeared in the Ohio Theatre (just over 2700) in 2015. That show seemed to warrant the intimacy, as the aging songwriter rummaged through his career songbook and then ended with the chestnuts “Autumn Leaves” and “Stay With Me,” selections from his then-current album of standards.

It was as if he was looking at the dimming of his day.

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Though he has released two more such collections since, he performed nothing from them on Monday night. In fact, he avoided any suggestion of a dramatic arc with his set list, one that re-tooled a few hits, teased political and witnessed the once reluctant “voice of his generation” getting back to the business of making thoughtful rock-and-roll.

He opened by amplifying the nervousness of “Things Have Changed,” adding a bit of extra dread. In a rare move these days, he played guitar as he sang; also, frequently during the night he stood center stage, planted his stance and stooped slightly as he delivered pointed jabs of song lyrics.

As quickly, though, he switched to a more sentimental mode, delivering “It Ain’t Me Babe” on piano. The instrument, though, was a tiny spinet that clinked like a saloon piano in an old Western and cast a new mood over the early ballad. “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” a brilliant song released first by the Band and only later as a Dylan-performed rarity on a hits collection, was the first tune of the evening to suggest Dylan’s sense of place in his career. Its memory-laden performance allowed the singer to take possession of one of his best songs.

“Trying To Get To Heaven” was one of a few tunes Dylan delivered which suggested the 78 year-old, nonetheless, wasn’t dodging his own mortality. In that respect, “Not Dark Yet” was the evening’s most deeply shaking moment. Over a claustrophobic dirge, Dylan’s voice repeatedly faltered and broke over the line, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”

If the old Bob Dylan would have received the current political climate as a call to action, this one reacted more philosophically. “Lenny Bruce,” which began like an elegy to the controversial comic, ended with something more like anger. The first encore, “Ballad Of A Thin Man” — which originally commented on a 1960s culture-clash — served Monday night to illustrate the country’s current climate of division and disassociation.

As he has for decades, Dylan managed once again to surprise and impress with his personal commitment and the longevity of his art.