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Bob Dylan 2000.09.14 in Dublin, Ireland

The Point Depot, East Link Bridge
Capacity: 8500

To: "Karl Erik Andersen" ,
        "Bill Pagel" 
Subject: Review - The Point
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 14:09:26 +0100

As my wife is driving us toward Belfast and beyond, I am trying
to put some thoughts to paper, hoping to find Internet access
before crossing over to Scotland (I did, as I type this in Larne

Yesterday I wrote that "Vicar Street" was the finest concert (to
date) on Irish soil. Well, that was yesterday. "The Point" was
way better. Our position in the venue unfortunately wasn't, as we
stood at the back of the standing area, close to the board, where
one man handled the finest light show I was ever able to behold
(Bob should include him in the intros).

Bob was much more animated last night and repeated merely three
songs from the "Vicar Street" main set and four more from the
encores. He performed three songs for the first time in Europe:
"The Wicked Messenger" (same incandescent light and ending with
harp as "Drifter's Escape" the night before), "Searching for a
Soldier's Grave" and the opener, which I expected least, as he
had not performed it for half a year, "I AM THE MAN THOMAS". This
song heads the list of 12 songs on my website (Not Dark Yet),
where the lyrics are to be found. Look at these nail scars. The
ever-surprising-Bob pulled out some more nuggets. Four songs
(including "Song to Woody") I had never seen, five more only once
in 22 shows. The last song, "Forever Young", I had not seen since
Cincinnati 1981, "Tombstone Blues" and "It's alright Ma" not
since Hamburg 1984. The Tombstone was rock and rolled away last
night and "Forever Young" is a much nicer closer than "RDW". Bob
sang it like a loving uncle giving good advice to his favorite
nephews. The raising of his eyebrows while singing "may you have
a strong foundation" sure was a memorable sight through my
binoculars. "Simple Twist Of Fate" was simply beautiful. It is my
favorite 70s-song before 79. "My Back Pages" had both nice violin
and harmonica, and "H61" had Mr. Sexton play a great guitar solo.
The audience clearly enjoyed the band rocking this old 1878 Depot

But all this (not even the opener I was hoping to see Bob perform
but once on this tour) ain't no match to the second electric
song, which I had the pleasure and honor to witness for the
second time in 501 days. It was the absolute show stopper, as
nobody seemed to recognize the "new" slow arrangement of this
gem, which Bob had not performed since Horsens in May. Not only
the speed, but also the melody and phrasing was reinvented. The
last verse was dropped, and the end of the other four went like:
...tryin', tryin' to get to heaven, before they close, close the
door." Real slow, and with a new tune. Absolutely amazing! If
there was but one song for me to take to this imaginary island
(we all play that game, don't we?), it would be this performance
of "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN", which I heard and saw last night in
Dublin. It was like Bob opening his heart (which is in the
Highlands as we should know) for a few minutes, telling us
exactly where he stands. Last night he really was getting to the

Markus Prieur / / 

Subject: Dublin (The Point 14.09.2000) From: John Dunne Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 18:04:43 +0100 Above all else, this was (a) a triumph of dignity and (b) proof positive that, on-form, Bob Dylan is the finest vocalist in the world today. (And yes, Virginia, I am taking into account every middle-of-the-road technician, every blessed-with-a-beautiful-voice, sing-by-numbers cipher that has ever passed my way.) Dignity? Yes, because not once did Dylan resort to the sort of pathetic posturing employed by some of his contemporaries: he simply let his voice and not his cock do the talking. The actual staging was low-key to the point if being non-existent (much of the lighting would have suited your average parish pantomime) though I must admit that sometimes, between my tears, my fifty-year-old eyes begged for a video screen. And the inexplicable absence of a tour programme means that I'll have one heirloom less for my grandchildren. Tears? Yes indeed, because I spent most of the evening so moved by the sheer power of the music I was hearing. Sure, the band was versatile (everything from sedate old-tyme waltz to furious ZZ Top riffing), but, as an expressive instrument, it was Dylan's voice that reigned supreme. Whether spitting bitterness, crooning affection or drawling resignation, this was the voice of a man who has lived the emotions of his songs; a single human voice whose naked honesty resonated in the hearts and heads of thousands. It is no exaggeration to state that even on the albums he has never sounded better. The first tears took me by surprise: a brilliant soft-rock version of 'Tangled Up in Blue' suddenly explodes into a hurricane that galvanises the venue and leaves me gulping for superlatives. But better was still to come: namely 'Like a Rolling Stone', catalyst for an overwhelming, head-over-heels swirl of personal catharsis, Dylan's historic importance, how lucky we are to be alive at the same time as this great man. At one stage, I looked around me and saw complete strangers grinning at each other, their eyes glassy with tears of incredulity. This is not a review. Just an impressionistic, hopefully coherent, account of one of the very best nights of my life. Still reeling, John
Subject: Dublin (The Point, 14.09.2000) - A review From: R B Churchill Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 09:39:10 GMT Dublin, Ireland The Point Depot, Thursday 14th September Wednesday night finds us outside Vicar Street in the rain, cursing Cheatin' Aiken, and watching the lucky ones going in. Down the side alley, we see DK's white hat go into the stage door, and then a black one - might be Bob, but then it might be Bono. To dry off, we go into the pub next door. Football on the telly. A group of Man United fans (from London) are enjoying the lads' thrashing Anderlecht. We settle in, cut off their line of view, apologise, and find out that they too are frustrated Vicar St. entrants. I say "We haven't even got tickets for tomorrow". They have. And spares. At cost price. We gratefully buy. Thank God they're not Leeds fans (we're from Spain, and Barcelona is thrashing Leeds on the other telly). And then they disappear before I can even buy them a drink. Next night, at the Point, we see them again just before the show starts, and they disappear again, before I can buy them that drink. If you're reading this, my friends, thanks beyond expression, and please get in touch - I may have something special for you (hint: Vicar St.) On to the show. Lights down: 20.20 Bob in dark suit with white diamond piping and "white spat" boots. TG in black hat, and DK in the white hat spotted at Vicar St. I Am The Man, Thomas (acoustic) The version as per usual. A good start, but nothing out of the ordinary. Song To Woody (acoustic) Magic. Bob's voice covering a whole range of rasping, drawling, and hiccupping, bringing it all together with tenderness. He really means it. It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic) His legs begin to get into the act - left knee jerking back and forth, with a double heel swivel. Towards the end, Tony caresses the upright bass with a bow, cello-style. My Back Pages (acoustic) (Bob on harp, Larry on violin) One of my favourite songs, but not my favourite arrangement: "Lies that/ life is/ black and/ white/ spoke from/ my skull/ I dreamed/ romantic/ facts of/ musketeers/" A bit too staccato for me, but the harp and violin are great. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) The flood of blue light at the end of the first verse is perhaps a little obvious, but effective. And Bob's in great voice: "don't know what they're DOOOOING with their lives". Searching For A Soldier's Grave (acoustic) (Larry on mandolin) My first hearing. Impressed. Lovely melody. Country Pie Bob and the band rock, but again, there's so much tenderness. Tryin' To Get To Heaven My highlight. Slow and thoughtful. I think he's accumulating points. Tombstone Blues The four axes grinding away together, scything the air in space and sound. Bob picks lead. Simple Twist Of Fate Bob again on lead. Larry on pedal steel. The Wicked Messenger And some wicked blues harp from Bob after which he introduces the band. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat Good, rocking blues, with Bob obviously enjoying himself. Then all five stand in line, motionless, looking out at the audience, the four guitars held like at-ease rifles, as the house erupts in applause. They troop off, then back on for the encores. Love Sick My inability to get into this song means it's a case of if ye can't bring good news, don't bring any; so I'll just leave it to others. Like A Rolling Stone That's a very different story. Not a particularly outstanding version, but it doesn't need to be. Everyone in the packed house, and on the stage, enjoying an experience in togetherness. Larry grinning hugely. Bob struggling not to turn into Chaplin. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic) Almost recited - as if Jimmy Rodgers were Luke the Drifter. Highway 61 Revisited Rock, rock, rock'n'roll. Blowin' In The Wind (Acoustic) Larry and Charlie join in on the chorus. The lads form up in line again to bathe in applause. The house lights come on. Applause continues. Lights go down. And they're back. Rainy Day Women #12 & #35 Great blues. Bob rocks back and forth on his heels, and lets the audience roar out the chorus. Forever Young (Acoustic) Bob's in great voice, playing lead, and seems to be grinning. Larry and Charlie again join in on the chorus. It's over. The last line-up starts out motionless, but as the applause goes on and on, Bob hops from foot to foot, like a tearaway schoolboy who's been caught out doing a good deed. Finish time: 22.15
Subject: Re: Review of Vicar St & The Point (LONG) From: Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 15:01:02 GMT Organization: - Before you buy. Right. I'm hoping I've this formatting thing sorted out now. Outside The Point are two huge billboards, and for the past couple of weeks drivers crossing the toll bridge, or heading for the docks (the waterfront docks, I suppose) have been treated to the sight of a billboard-filling Bob Dylan, in best guitar hero mode. In all the years I‚ve been a Bob fan these are the first Bob billboards I‚ve seen. Saw lots of posters in London in 1981, and lots of posters for Slane; even had the full-page ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune advertising the Orpheum shows back in 1992. But never a billboard. It‚s a hell of a photo too. For once it‚s a recent shot, not one of the recycled ones that Sony fall back on (usually from the Street Legal era) when doing posters and press ads. A hell of a photo, and, on Wednesday and Thursday night, a hell of a show. Sure, the set lists are nothing extraordinary, and sure, he didn‚t have any guests, or do any of the songs I‚d love him to cover when in Ireland (Lizzy‚s „Dancing in the Moonlightš, the Stars of Heaven‚s „Sacred Heart Hotelš, Microdisney‚s „Town to Townš, or The Undertones‚ „Teenage Kicksš, though to be honest he delivered two hopped-up numbers from John Wesley Harding that would have pleased any Undertone fan). But the shows, the shows were something else. If you‚ve ever seen him live, you know that irrespective of the overall quality of the show, you were guaranteed that there would always be a Bob moment: when, in a phrase, or a gesture, or a look, it would all fall into place. Angel wing time. Heart flutters, goose bumps. I can remember most of those Bob moments stretching back over the past 20-plus years. Sure, I‚ve lots and lots of shows on tape and cd, and while that is great, it still pales compared to seeing him live, even if expectations may not be (and probably can‚t be) met. Belfast a couple of years ago was really no more than an okay show, brightened by a couple of gem-like moments. Liverpool in 96 was satisfying, but not an awful lot more than that. The Point in 1995 was a joy. But nothing, nothing could have prepared me for the two shows last week. Start to finish they were everything you could have wished and hoped for. In the zone, on target, top of his game, pick your sports cliché. He was outrageously good both nights. And here‚s what I thought: Vicar Street. Pouring rain, though not a sound of skeleton keys to be heard. In the bar milled about Dublin‚s rockerati: the Irish Times‚ Tony Clayton-Lea, Brian Boyd and Joe Jackson; The Herald‚s Eamonn Carr, himself something of an Irish musical maven having played with Horslips; Hot Press‚s Liam Mackey. BP Fallon Ų self-proclaimed Bob expert - was bopping in and out, as were the Eamonns Ų Dunphy and McCann. Roddy Doyle drifted in. Donal Lunny and Philip King. Marianne Faithfull, in from Wicklow, breezed by. A tough crowd to please, and yet there was an unmistakably giddy mood in the bar. This was something special, and journalistic objectivity be damned: Bob Dylan was in Vicar Street. We supped our pints and went into the venue just before showtime. As has been mentioned before, Vicar Street is very very small. Everywhere is close to the stage. The balcony was packed with celebs: U2, REM, Elvis Costello, Paul Brady, Christy Moore, hell, even Louis Walsh (manager of Boyzone) was there. And just about 8:40 the house lights dimmed, the band shuffled onstage, and there he was in the middle, pulling on his suit coat. „Ladies and gentlemen∑ „ and we were off. Straight into a lean, tight and mean „Duncan & Bradyš. Right from the get go we were on a magical ride. Bob, up close, looked all his 59 years, looked twice that age, looked half that age. We saw all the Dylans tonight: spunky kid, punk rocker, country crooner, gypsy busker, band leader, band member, age old, ageless. Taken at a clip the song was a perfect opener: let the boys stretch into the show, let Bob test the tonsils, and let the audience, and those in the balcony, know just who was calling the shots. „Been on the job too long?š I don‚t think so. A delicate „To Ramonaš followed, still as fragile a lyric and melody as all those years ago. Experience and age hasn‚t mellowed its youthful charm. „Desolation Rowš brought gasps and sighs. Sure, he‚s played it to death many a night, but tonight it sounded like a breaking news bulletin. And just as he‚d gotten us stirring he switched back a gear, setting hearts racing with a beautiful „Tomorrow Is A Long Timeš. I‚ve yet to tire of this song. While others come and go this remains one of my favourites of his, and the version we got tonight was worth the price of admission alone. Looking around us faces were lit up with grins. Four songs in and already we knew we were in for a treat. „Tangledš with Bob leading the way on the guitar set the place alight. It‚s changed little in the past few years, but the power of the song to rouse a crowd hasn‚t diminished in the slightest. By now Bob was in full on tic, grimace, knee-bend and shoulder shrug mode. He was most definitely leading the band (and us) a merry dance. The applause died down and Bob pulled the rug from under us again. „Ring Them Bellsš: sung straight and true. The calm at the centre of the storm. Wonderful. And then it was time to party again. „Country Pieš allowed Charlie his first outing up the fret board of the night, and Bob, mugging like a sideshow barker, told us the harrowing tale of „raspberry, strawberry, lemon and limeš. Short sharp shock. Try shouting „Judasš at that. A complete throwaway song has become a yelp of glee, a chance to kick out the jams, and a complete twister of expectation. „Can‚t Waitš, a broody slow blues, built in tension and drama. Bob leaning in an out of the microphone, hissing the words. Then it was let it rip time again, with a rollicking „Maggie‚s Farmš. „Just Like A Womanš followed, Bob reminding everyone present just what a melodically idiosyncratic player he is. Over and over again over the course of the two shows Bob amazed me with his timing, his delivery and his understanding of time and space. Here was Bob, the enigma, the silent, standing in plain sight, and yet invisible to us. „Invisibilityš, wrote Ralph Ellison, „gives on a slightly different sense of time; you‚re never quite on the beat∑ you are aware of (time‚s) nodes, those points whose time stands still or from which it leaps ahead. And you slip into the breaks and look around.š Ciaran Carson, the Ulster writer, described working with a traditional Irish musician, Cathal McConnell, thus: „I have often been amazed by his propensity for tunes, his memory for the words of songs, and his ability to link them in a vast cartography of time and place, a map of may layers through which Cathal slips and visits, time and time again, and brings back strange new tunes and news, as if he were invisible.š Sound familiar? And Bob does this. He renegotiates lost time. „Just Like A Womanš: played-out, hackneyed, jingoistic? On tonight‚s reading, no. Far far from it. This was new; there in his knee bends, his Strat strapped high on his chest, Bob was ghosting his own past. Our knowledge of the past was changed, as Carson puts it, on rehearing the song. And while he was busily fucking with my head, Bob uncorked a grizzly, manic and sizzling guitar solo. Just a song & dance man after all, it seems. Then it was his nod, I reckon, to the Undertones. The next 60 seconds can feel like eternity, someone once remarked. The next three minutes was time compressed, condensed and exploding. „Drifter‚s Escapeš, all stops and starts, „boo-I-scared-youš guitars, and the best harp playing I‚ve heard in an age. The first set ended with a squally, swirling deep blues „Leopard Skin Pill Box Hatš, Bob wielding the guitar like a club, twirling it like a baton and pulling a gnarly gutbucket solo from it. Off they went leaving us in a tizzy. The place was in uproar. Costello, Christy, REM and U2 all on their feet. Poor Edge, his head must have been boiled under the Ali G hat. Still, his brains were not addled enough to keep him seated. He‚d barely spoken to us, barely made eye contact with anything other than his pointy-toed boots, and yet he‚d told us a magnificent tale of love, loss, daring, adventure. You want the great American novel: go see it on stage at a town near you soon. „Things Have Changedš was more guitar than drum oriented, but Bob‚s delivery was instinctive and perfect. A reminder, if any were needed, that his is still a voice that needs to be heard. Neil Young‚s oft misused dictum „it‚s better to burn out than to fade awayš doesn‚t apply here: Bob is kinfolk of those blues men of old, singing of their age from their age. What came next just plain near melted Vicar Street. In his Guardian review, Sean O‚Hagan nailed this: „Rolling Stoneš took flight on the energy of the band, Bob and the audience. People were howling the chorus at each other, at the sky, at Bob, and Bob, taking it all in, led the song to a magnificent, riotous conclusion. And then a shimmer, a moment of daring. He gently led us through „Girl from the North Countryš, wistful and regretful, the song is now that of a 59-year old man not seeking to rekindle anything other than a flame is his own heart, and a benediction offered to a never-forgotten love. Beautiful. A souped-up, raring, foot on the floor „Highway 61š followed, Bob coasting now. Not complacent though, just coasting, like you do when you‚re on an Autobahn, humming along at 100mph. „Blowin‚ In The Windš, renewed, and shed of all its youthful innocence, followed. This, of all the songs tonight, came across most as something Bob had found deep in an Appalachian valley. It wasn‚t hopeful (or hope- less), but his delivery imbued it with a flavour of the deep time of the folk tradition. You could write anything you wanted into the verses Ų they belong to everyone Ų but the chorus was straight from the Famine, from the slavery ships, from the Revolutions, the Civil Wars (and not just the American one). „Till I Fell In Loveš, never one of my favourite songs on Time Out Of Mind, was a revelation, a blues standard surely, sounding 100 years old. We were sent off with the traditional „Rainy Day Womenš which was, well, just perfect. A rousing, blazing finale. And then they took off the guitars and stood taking the waves of applause. A jumping, leaping, hollering standing ovation. After all that all we could do was retire to the bar, grin manically at each other, and down the pints. The Point. A very different crowd, much more mixed in sexes and ages than the previous night. Same sort of buzz though. We had seats straight back, right above the light desk, front row centre of the balcony, looking out over the standing masses. 8pm showtime said the ticket, and about 8:20 on they came. And tonight we had a light show. Last night there was no need for one. Tonight it was integral and added another layer to proceedings. So, „Duncan & Bradyš? Nope. They rollicked right into it, but with „I Am The Man, Thomasš, rapturously received even if only a handful knew the song. Then, one from the distant past. Bob led the band into a beautiful and moving „Song to Woodyš. I‚d had my fill at Vicar Street, so anything he did tonight was fine with me. Kazoo jams, mumbles, whatever. What I hadn‚t dared to hope for was a show as fine as the previous one, but that‚s just what we got. Acoustic it may have been, but it rocked as much as the 1978 version as Bob tore into „It‚s Alright Maš, the „presidentš line still getting the big cheer (possibly seen as a veiled reference to the Tribunals investigating the financial finaglings of Charlie Haughey). „My Back Pagesš had Larry on fiddle, and a lovely thing it was too. Especially as Bob, with the handheld mike, added some wonderful harp flourishes at the end. „Tangledš did it again, setting 8000 people alight and letting loose a great joyous mood in the Point. „Searching For A Soldier‚s Graveš was a delicate and gauzy beauty, setting up the outrageously funky „Country Pieš. What came next was possibly the moment of moments (is there a Mafia phrase for that?) for me, a truly breathtaking „Tryin‚ To Get To Heavenš; impossibly wistful with jazzy minor and diminished chords falling from the fretboards. Sweet Jesus, it was astounding. Bob turned up the heat with „Tombstone Bluesš and then repeated his „Just Like A Womanš timing of the previous night with a country- inflected and fresh as a daisy „Simple Twistš. The Undertone moment followed, with a recklessly speeding „Wicked Messengerš, jerking to a halt and then trying for the land speed record, punctuated with Bob‚s extraordinarily tight, evocative harp playing. „Leopard Skinš ended the first set. „Love Sickš opened proceedings for part two, not as funky as at the Grammy‚s but more worn and weary. Then it was on with the house lights and the 8000-part harmony on the chorus of „Rolling Stoneš. Sure, it‚s a cheap trick to turn on the house lights as the chorus swings around, and sure we can wonder deep into the night just who is alone, Bob or us, but as a communal celebration of a song it was just right. It‚s a sight and sound to behold alright. „Don‚t Think Twiceš or „Don‚t Try and Sing Alongš followed, and we all swayed and swooned. Then it was revving up time again, as the band tore into and along „Highway 61š, the devil, the highway patrol and an armed gang on their tails. „Blowin‚š followed beautifully, and „Rainy Day Womenš got everyone on their feet. The house lights came on, and cheering became boos. Bob wasn‚t getting away just yet, and sure enough, he eased us into the night with that most beautiful and gentle of prayers, „Forever Youngš. Two nights. Two shows. Thirty-eight songs, with only seven repeats. It was all too much and not half enough.
2000: March - April - May - June - July - September