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Bob Dylan 2002.05.12 in London

To: "Karl Erik Andersen"
Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 18:29:50 +0100

Checking our 4th row seats (70 + 71) again before the show,
my wife and I had to find out, they were almost beside the
stage, with a view obstructed by speakers, so we would have
seen only the front part of Bob's mike stand. Fortunately we
were offered row 10, (55 + 56) spots by two nice Ladies from
the other side of the Atlantic, as they intended to really
go up front. But when the same appalling security showed
them back to their seats during "Stuck", we had to move into
the aisle. (Thanks anyway again to Miss Lucy and to Mary J.)

Trying to avoid confrontation with security, we could move
enough up front to stand almost underneath the left
speakers. Since security focused on keeping the aisles clear
everywhere else but very close to the stage (where they
certainly would have greatly distracted Bob and the band, as
it was a noisy business, conducted in a very disturbing
manner for everyone nearby), we ended up with rather
excellent sights and sounds to enjoy the last of the eight
shows we came to Britain for.

And what a show it was, with only 19 songs again, but only
seven repetitions from the night before, most of which were
well worth repeating, most of all the brilliant opener, "I
AM THE MAN THOMAS", which Bob chose to sing for the third
time in Britain this month, thus having started eight shows
each of both his tours this year so far with this wonderful
song about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
( This is something he
probably would not have done, if he would not indeed be
hanging on to this Solid Rock, he sang about to 15 audiences
in Europe during this fine tour. He won't let go no more the
nail scarred hand of his wonderful Savior and risen Lord
that will lead him beyond the burning sand.

The nicest surprise of the night was the inclusion of the
second acoustic "If You See Her, Say Hello" of this European
tour. It started with violin and harp, featuring some lyric
changes, and more violin by Larry throughout the song. The
second acoustic set (always three songs) deserves special
mentioning. Another soft "Mama", starting with harp intro,
preceded a good "HARD RAIN"
( , which always
is a lyrical high point for me and welcome to my ears,
especially if it is followed by a surprising and beautiful
which actually even benefits from a position further up
front in the set. (Very nice choice indeed, as this also
meant, that London remained "un-tangled" this year ;-)

The only acoustic song during the encores was an intense and
surprising "Knocking", which knocked "Blowing" off its
post-"Honest With Me" position. Which brings me to another
observation I made last night. Bob performed five songs from
"Love & Theft" during his set, and each and every one of
those performances he nailed (I mean NAILED), as if his life
depended on it (or to put it this way, as if 5000 copies of
"L&T" would have to be sold right after the show, and every
one of them HAS to go). He really put a lot into his newer
lyrics (all his other songs last night were at least 28
years old).

The way his voice delivered softly the lyrics of "Moonlight"
and "Sugar Baby", or the way he almost yelled the words of
"Cry A While" and "Honest With Me", was simply amazing. (It
was the last show of the tour, so his voice can rest for a
while now.) "Summer Days" was brilliant as ever, and remains
my favorite "L&T" song I saw during these shows (did I ever
mentioned those guitars ? ;-), as "Mississippi" did not
appear at all in Europe ;-(

It is also great to watch how Bob can rely on these
outstanding musicians around him, who play all those various
styles with ease, together in perfect harmony; and always on
their toes (as they had to be last night, when they started
"Drifter's Escape" and then Bob all of the sudden sang
"There was a Wicked Messenger"). They all seem to really
enjoy playing with Bob as well, even during the songs played
often, visible last night during songs like "Rolling Stone"
(which was again more enjoyable for me as the first encore
song than it was as the second), and during the perfect
curtain closer, another rocking "Watchtower", which might
have been the last song in which we could have seen Jim
Keltner in Bob's band, a great drummer, who had been
introduced by Bob Dylan in London in 1981 as "a legend in
his own time". Who knows who will beat the drums during the
next Bob Dylan concert?

Anyway, Bob Dylan in May 2002 sang 163 songs in Britain (100
of them he performed in the last five days alone). 63
different songs we got to hear during these eight shows, 23
of them but once, and a further 15 of them only twice. There
sure have been some nuggets worth crossing the Irish Sea
for, and worth driving all those miles across Britain in our
little red Micra, which took me to 29 of my 40 Bob dates by

As I type in this last review, having found internet access
in Swansea/Wales again on our way back to Ireland (as I did
before in September 2000, when I typed in the last of ten
reviews from Vicar Street to Portsmouth), I have to say it
was again a great way to spend our vacation, as we also met
many wonderful people along this trip (some of which I
already knew via email), like Geoff and Jeff in Brighton, J.
J. in Bournemouth and beyond (I told him already that I
actually saw him yawning twice last night during "12&35"),
and the nice couple from Tel Aviv (who flew in just for the
two London shows, after waiting in vain for nine years on
Bob to revisit Israel); just to name a few. And of course we
would do it again, anytime.

Markus Prieur

IN 2002, IN 2001, IN 2000 AND IN 1999

From: Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 04:49:40 EDT Subject: Review of Bob in London, 12 May 2002 To: Dear Karl Erik Here's my review of Bob at London Arena, 12 May 2002 Ramona was a promising start, sounding both tough and tender. It's Alright Ma sounded a bit perfunctory. On Meet Me In The Moonlight, his voice had never sounded more dubious & unconvincing to my ears. A senile drone dancing around a 1930s jazz melody. Was that effect deliberate? Mama You've Been On My Mind was definitely a first for me, a song he doesn't do very often live. But it sounded like he had problems remembering the lyrics and it didn't achieve lift-off. It took me several seconds to work out which song this was. For me the breakthrough was A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall which was simple and beautiful, liken the voice of experience singing to the voice of innocence. "Guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children" made me think of all the massacres in American high schools, and sounded infinitely sad and majestic. The interplay of the acoustic guitars was lovely. This song was effortlessly followed by Forever Young which sounded like another affectionate way of saying goodbye to youth. Sugar Babe sounded tender and heartfelt, and he sang the words, "Some of these bootleggers, they make pretty good stuff" with great affection, producing whoops of joy from the audience, many of them carrying digital cameras and 32 track recording studios beneath their jackets. From here on the show had a really incisive rhythm. Wicked Messenger had an intoxicating guitar break, and Bob seemed to be so high on the sound, that he grabbed his harp and started to lay down a Little Walter like sound on top of the frenzied interplay of Campbell and Sexton. Rainy Day Women featured Jim Keltner's polite version of the famously frenzied Salvation Army band strut of the original. And Bob sang "They'll stone you when you're trying to make a buck" with great thoughtfulness, a dry intelligence interrogating the madness of the song. He even introduced the members of his band in a respectful way, as the familiar beat continued to pound politely in the background. Similarly, the first encore, Like A Rolling Stone, had a wonderfully understated chorus. How does it feel? was sung as a melodious and sympathetic question, not snarled or shouted, but an enquiry of quiet concern. A kind of middle-aged ecstasy seized the audience around me, and grown women stood on chairs and waved their arms ecstatically in the air. Honest With Me had a fabulously frenzied R&B guitar interplay. Knockin' On Heaven's Door again sounded like a thoughtful farewell to life. A series of lilting rhythm seemed to animate Bob's voice. Cigarette lighters and flames were held aloft across the hall. All Along the Watchtower was a lovely send-off, Larry Campbell's violin and the guitars playing in a frenzied yet melodious fashion. After the instrumental break Bob returned to the first verse and sang it again. "None of them along the line know what any of it is worth" were the last words of the show and he sang them with great clarity and conviction. best wishes Mick Gold 6 Oakford Road London NW5 1AH Phone: home 020 7482 6098 work 020 7428 3143 E-mail:
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