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Bob Dylan 2002.05.10 in Birmingham

From: "Phil Smith"
Subject: Birmingham 10 May 2002 review
Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 01:51:59 +0100

 Hi, Greetings from England!

Birmingham 10 May 2002

 Venue: The NEC Arena. An unremarkable warehouse-type arena in south east
 Birmingham, holding circa 10,000 max.  This was officially an "all seated"
show but everybody on the floor stood up for the whole gig, myself included.

 1. Maggie's Farm (acoustic)
 A repeat of the opener from the night before. PA was a little quiet at this
 point. Personally, I'd have preferred one of the uptempo gospel-type
 numbers, but that's just me.

 2. You're A Big Girl Now (acoustic)
 Nice version. I also noticed the line about hanging a coat upon a hook.
 Some of those near the front greeted this with enthusiasm: are they 'rare
 alternate' lyrics that are previously known about? No doubt someone will
 tell us.

 3. It's All Right, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic)
 Respectable version of one of my personal faves. Didn't completely ignite

 4. Tomorrow Is A Long Time (acoustic) (BD on harp)
 I think this is the one where Bob played a nice long harmonica intro. Larry
 and Charlie joined in on backing vocals, but were a bit out of step with

 5. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
 The band started to rock now. Great guitar playing, although I can't help
 feeling that Bob's vocals on some of these 60s songs are just not as
 committed as when he does recent material.

 6. Cry A While
 Excellent. The Grammys revisited.

 7. Moonlight
 Lovely and wistful, more drawn out than the album version.

 8. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
 Top notch. Larry and Charlie playing all the licks nicely. Bob nailed it,
 although his phrasing was a little samey all the way through - not as much
 interesting intonation as on other versions I've heard on bootlegs.

 9. Masters Of War (acoustic)
 The lighting changed effectively to set the mood for this. I notice that
 Bob does not finish with the "...sure that you're dead" line, but instead
 repeats the first verse, ending with "..I can see through your masks" as
 last line.

 10. Fourth Time Around (acoustic)
 Nice version. I think he may have played the harp here but I'm not sure.

 11. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
 Long guitar intro by Larry here - much longer than in UK 2000 shows.
 Slightly different arrangement to others I've heard but somehow not quite
 rhythmically satisfying.

 12. Summer Days
 Fantastic. Much, much longer than the album version with a real old-time
 feel. Charlie played some killer solos.

 13. Sugar Baby
 Beautiful. Possibly Bob's best phrasing of the night. This song seems to
 have evolved a fair bit since it's genesis, but the riff is still
 recognisable. Another of those numbers where he can make it different, but
 still excellent, every time.

 14. The Wicked Messenger (BD on harp)
 For me, perhaps the highlight of the night. Fantastic full-out performance
 of the rock arrangement, enhanced further by spooky tall shadows of the
 being cast on the backdrop. It seemed it couldn't get any better, and then
 Bob whipped out the harmonica to finish the song with a really spirited bit
 of playing. I want to hear it again!

 15. Rainy Day Women Nos 12 & 35 (BD on harp)
 Started off slow and kind of ordinary, but then developed into a good old
 jam with Bob putting in some great harmonica. Good fun. Band introduced at
 this point - the only time Bob spoke to us all night.

 16. Love Sick
 Out of the darkness came the familiar riff. Dark, brooding - everything
 you'd want it to be. Bob was great on this and the solo was top notch.
 (Note for lyric anoraks: it was "ploughed under").

 17. Like A Rolling Stone
 When he did this at the same venue in 2000 it was regarded as the best LARS
 of the UK tour and I remember it as particularly excellent. This wasn't
 quite up to that standard. It wasn't helped by the sound tech not turning
 Bob's mic up until after he'd sung the first line (something that happened
 twice tonight). However the bright white lights were turned on the audience
 during the song to good effect.

 18. Forever Young (acoustic)
 Charlie and Larry joined Bob for the choruses here, but bob seemed to be
 singing it whatever damn way he wanted and didn't seem to be with them at
 all. A bit of a mess to be honest. Talking of honest...

 19. Honest With Me
 Much more like it. Top notch rocking version. Jim Keltner played a
 blinder - he was excellent all night.

 20. Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)
 Nice finish, with Charlie and Larry's vocal harmonies on the chorus really
 enhancing things well this time.

 There was no second encore song as on previous evenings. The audience were
 appreciative and enthusiastic, but maybe not as much as at the other shows.
 Hard for me to say as this is the only one I've been to this year. My mate
 and I both thoroughly enjoyed it and went home elated.

 Phil Smith
 Rugby, UK
From: To: "Karl Erik Andersen" Subject: BIRMINGHAM REVIEW MAY 10TH Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 16:13:58 +0100 Last night in Birmingham my concert experience was much different than last time I visited the NEC in 2000, when my wife and I ended up center center at the rail. This time we were up in the tiers more than half an arena away from the stage. So it was not loud at all for us, and we had to use binoculars to observe any details, which made it all the harder to enjoy the songs played often, or to cherish the few nuggets presented way down yonder. Having seen my sixth show in a week, I could choose to critizise the song selection (spoiled as I am by now ;-), as I would have prefered different choices in spots number 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20. This is not to say that those songs were not good or worth listening to, it is just that going to several shows you long for the obscurer choices. But Bob Dylan does not conduct his concerts for those going to several shows. Last night he conducted his show for another British audience in another sold out huge arena. And, looking at the setlist, I just have to ask myself: How would I have experienced this show, and how would I view this setlist now, if this would have been my only Bob date this year? (like last year's Kilkenny show for me, with its newest song from 1973) I would have enjoyed all the 20 songs I have heard last night, without even considering to worry about hearing the same songs for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th time in a week. Pretty pathetic trap, actually. ;-) I would have been greatly pleased to hear six songs from "Love & Theft", some nine crowd pleasing greatest hits, and a handful of obscurer choices thrown in. For that is exactly what we got to hear last night. My personal favorites were the acoustic version of "Big Girl" (with some new lines I did not get), an incredible tender and soft "Tomorrow Is A Long Time", including a nice harp intro by Bob and extremely beautiful harminies by Larry (This version was even more sublime than the one I saw in Vicar Street.), my first "Tom Thumb" ever (first timers are always enjoyable for me), and of course "Summer Days" with its magnificent guitars. My 2nd "4th Time Around" (I had seen it before in Portsmouth) was also quite enjoyable, as were my 3rd "Moonlight" (with lyrics more correct than the previous night) and my 2nd "Sugar Baby" ("Look up, look up, seek your Maker"). "Cry A While" was also very good last night, and I love to see Bob get into the lyrics of his newer material. Speaking of lyrics, "12&35" is one of those songs where I wouldn't care if Bob would sing out of the yellow pages, so I simply try to enjoy the jam sessions. Last night, right after the band introduction, Bob surprised us with a nice harp solo to finish off this my 19th version of this song in twice as much shows I have seen. Wouldn't it be great if Bob would replace the lyrics of this song with harp playing throughout, permanently? (Rethorical question, you do not have to reply. ;-) Last night Bob repeated even the otherwise alternating acoustic encore song, "FOREVER YOUNG" (, and there were (only) 10 song changes to Manchester, not 15, 17, 14, or 16 (see how spoiled you can get?), but still we got four new songs for Britain, making it 62 songs now in six shows. With two London shows left, he might reach 70 songs yet. The top of my imaginary wish list would be: "Every Grain Of Sand", "In The Garden", "I Believe In You", "Mississippi", "Po' Boy", and "Cat's In The Well", to name just half a dozen. But whatever we will get, I think I will not regret having seen my first London shows, when we will head back to Ireland next week, as I don't regret having come here to see any of the previous six shows. Bob Dylan concerts simply are extremely worth seeing these days. So I am looking forward to another two shows, less than four hours before the first one will kick off with ... [???], followed by ... [???]. Markus Prieur NOT DARK YET A WEBSITE FOCUSING ON SOME OF THE SONGS PERFORMED OCCASIONALLY BY BOB DYLAN IN 2002, IN 2001, IN 2000 AND IN 1999
2002: Jan - Feb - April - May -