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Bob Dylan 2001.03.06 in Osaka

Subject: Osaka
From: "Nishimura, Itsuko" 
Date: 6 Mar 2001 10:13:35 -0800

Akita was great and Tokyo second night was special too. But
Tonight, Osaka first night was the best so far.
Oh Babe, Mama, Rainy Day Women, River Flow, Tomb Thumb, My Back Pages,
North Country...Such a nice songs he played in my city! I 'm proud that Osaka
was best audience in this tour. The ticket went sold out. Even the third floor
seats are packed.

Tears of Rage was beautiful. Larry and Charlie singing the brilliant chorus
on the song like they're doing on Blowin' in the Wind. The all band members are
in maroon suits, sort of uniform. Bob was in shining white suit tonight.

Bob was in great form. The feet moves were best in ever! His right foot was
like a conductor's wand. every step he takes, that was the rhythm of the band.
Tonight was so good and even Tangled Up was great. When he played harmonica
on Wicked Messenger, he got down on his knee, throw around his right arm, then
stand up again turn around to look David and nod his head. That was beautiful.

6 more shows in Japan. We all talked about what's gonna be next!


From: "Matthew Oldridge" To: Subject: Osaka Review. March 6th. Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2001 16:35:38 -0500 X-OriginalArrivalTime: 07 Mar 2001 21:35:38.0793 (UTC) Great show last night in Osaka. When I came to Japan, I never expected to get to see Dylan. Typical bands that come to Osaka are Bon Jovi, Cheap Trick, KISS, etc. Also the ever-popular Mr. Big. Remember them? Well they're HUGE in Japan. Japan only greatest hits albums. Live in Tokyo albums. Kids busking on the street to "Next to be with you". (Don't even lie to me and tell me you don't remember that wretched piece of crap from 10 years ago!) Also popular are: Cinderella, RATT, Poison and every single one of what we lovingly call "heavy metal cock rock". If you're a Canadian, chances are you've heard 'em all in a hockey rink somewhere... Yeah, but right, the Dylan show. The lights went down promptly at 7 p.m., and when they went up I saw Larry, Charlie, and Tony in maroon suits. David in white cowboy hat. Bob in some silverish suit that looks like it belongs on an astronaut from a distance. The song was "Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie". This is the Dylan I came to see. The one who listens to those old songs, we know he does. The Dylan who listens to Elizabeth Cotten and others. Probably plays them on his acoustic in private. On the tour bus. At home. The Dylan who discovered Harry Smith's records. It's too bad he can only give us one of these songs a night...but at least we get one. Tonight's "Oh Babe" is wonderful. The lyric now goes: "I wish to my soul that old lady would lay down and die". Just a minor alteration, but a superb one. Great wordplay with lady/lay in the same lyric. Next is "To Ramona", with Larry on his Spanish sounding mandolin. That crucial moment in every Dylan show comes...Bob looks down at his guitar. He's going to solo...he hesitates, then nails it. We know he knows he's nailing it, because his left leg is twitching. Neat solos tonight...more notes, less repetition and maybe a little more on the bass strings. The song ends with Dylan in the now famous shy gunslinger pose. A few more solos and he's not so shy anymore. "It's Alright Ma" is quite good. The audience generally doesn't speak much English, but they still know to applaud the "president of the United States" line. More soloing from Bob. He crooks his guitar high under his arm, the gunslinger no longer shy. Next is "Tom Thumb". There's a lot of confusion on stage tonight, probably because of the new set format. More changing of guitars. Also, the cue sheet is on the riser in front of Kemper, so they all walk over in between songs. Sexton plays most of the leads tonight. He gives me the impression of wanting to let loose. But always looking for Bob's approval. When he does solo, he looks up at Bob, I swear, every 3 seconds. Larry, the veteran, hardly ever looks Bob's way. "Tears of Rage" is great, but with a little to much Larry and Charlie on the choruses. Also, it goes on about 2 solos and one chorus too long. I don't like how the chorus is sung. More outrage, than sorrow. Getting away from the tender heart of the song. "Watching the River Flow" sees Sexton cut loose a bit. It's about time. Trading solos with Bob. Charlie is a great guitarist. I hear his albums are big in Japan too. The guy beside me is a big fan. The vocals are a bit ragged, but it's still a good blues. The crowd loves it. "My Back Pages" is awesome. The fiddle suits it well, and Bob's harp solo is note perfect... every note crystal clear. He doesn't blow too long,either, for once, and cuts the song at the perfect time. "Mama You've Been On My Mind" is solid, if not great. I get the impression that it's a surprise to the band. As the song starts without focus, and sounds a lot like "Me, Babe". The confusion continues on "Tangled Up in Blue". I think the band is surprised to play this in the 9 spot. The first five minutes are brutal. The band can't find the groove, the timing is off, and Bob's vocals are horrendous. He is completely running 2 lines together. It ruins the poetry of the song. Somebody tell Bob to stay away from Shakespeare, I don't think he could do iambic pentameter...But they save it at the end, and the crowd loves it. All is forgiven, because the next song is "Standing in the Doorway". For some reason the best songs on TOOM remind me of Mark Twain. I think it's the old South and slavery thing in "Trying to Get to Heaven". I have Bob in the binoculars for the whole song. He cannot figure out what to play on his guitar! Maybe he forgets it. He just can't find a chord shape he likes. No matter, it's a great performance. "The Wicked Messenger" is great, as always. Charlie shines on this song. His repeating lick is, well, wicked. Bob does his usual stroll to the back of the stage and pick out a harmonica routine. Like a kid in a candy store. He finds one he likes and blows a soft solo, testing. He likes it, looks over at David for approval and goes into a crouch. I expect him to blow his lungs out, like on "Drifter's" last year in Toronto. But he blows a few riffs then raises his hand, conductor style, to Larry and David to stop the song. The last song starts out as "Pillbox Hat" but quickly turns into "RDW". It's a nice blues. I like the "stone you like you got hit by a truck" and the "stone you and be right back/ stone you when you're on the right track" lines. Near the end Bob seems to go back for another verse, but instead starts to introduce the band! Has he ever done this mid-song before? "There's someone i'd like to introduce right now. On the guitar, steel guitar, Larry Campbell". And so on. While the band played on. Pretty cool. Very Springsteen-esque. I think I like the "they're some of the finest players on the planet" line from Toronto better, though. Before the formation Bob fluffs up his hair, making a big show of it, back turned to the audience. Does he do that often? "Love Sick" is brilliant. The yellow and red stage lights throw really cool shadows on the plain backdrop. It's like puppet theatre. The bopping Tony, the twitching Bob, the crouching Charlie, and the unflappably cool Larry. Larger than life. Charlie plays the eerie heartbeat part. It's a nice version of a great song. "Like A Rolling Stone" often seems boring, but then I just think of the young Bruce Springsteen dropping down a dollar for the 45 and that changes. It gets me every time. "If Dogs Run Free" is strange. Tony on jazz bass. Larry and Charlie on electric. It looks like some lounge act up there. The type of show you'd expect to see in some smokey club in downtown Montreal. "Watchtower" is back. It really benefits from Larry on steel. He really makes that steel guitar howl, thus complimenting the lyrics. It sounds good to me. "North Country" has some nice fingerpicking by Larry. Still a lovely song after all the years. "Highway 61" is nice and short. They tear the roof off, then let it back down quickly. Garnier bops on the riser in front of Kemper for a bit. "Blowin'" ends it. It was a good show. Next up: Mr. Big. Yeah, right.
2001: February - March -