Bob Dylan 2001.03.30 in Brisbane
From: "elza james" firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Brisbane review Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 17:17:29 -0000 The Boondall Entertainment Centre lacks atmosphere. A purpose built cement box, it fails to exude the nostalgia worthy of an icon who has spanned three generations. Fortunately, on this particular night, Bob Dylan and his band were able to transcend the aesthetic limitations of the venue with a tight, professional performance. The two thousand strong audience was composed of an eclectic group of fans, from beat generation hippies wearing rainbow head scarves to teenagers. They stood to welcome Dylan onto the stage. When the lights faded to black between songs while guitar changes were made, audience members would yell, "We love you Bob" and "We want more," just in case he needed reassurance in order to continue. This was an easy audience. Did Dylan excel? Possibly not, but he didn't need to. Dylan was already playing to the converted and he did so with enough energy and flair to ensure that the entire stadium provided him with a standing ovation at the end. The set list contained an excellent range of blues, folk and rock and roll songs, the highlights undoubtedly occurring during the encore with Like a Rolling Stone, All Along the Watchtower and Forever Young mesmerising the audience. Strains of Waltzing Matilda which appeared during the rendition of Don't Think Twice, it's Alright also elicited tremendous crowd response. The finale with a fresh interpretation of Blowin' In The Wind was a fitting culmination to a fabulous concert. Dylan's vocal chords may be a little worn but the voice is still unique and raw with emotion. The band was highly polished whilst still managing to allow Dylan to shine, clearly a difficult feat. Dylan and the band are a much tighter outfit compared to his last two Australian tours. As we drove from the venue, Dylan's stretch limousine faded into the night. This is his second last concert in Australia and one of which he can be rightly proud. One wonders if he rates himself whilst contemplating the night's performance on his way to the hotel. If he does, tonight would receive an A-. He made the audience work hard to gain their money's worth, playing some obscure songs and as usual, changing the melodies of old standards. No one seemed to mind and perhaps that is the essence of the Dylan phenomenon. One gets the impression that Dylan plays to please himself, whether it's a decision to make unusual choices or changes to the melodies of old favourites. He does these things because he's an icon and he can. Is Dylan worth seeing? My definitive answer is - absolutely!! However, if you prefer your music crisp and manufactured, save your money and buy his CDs. A Dylan concert makes no attempt to hide his shortcomings from the world. Tonight, his brilliance shone through. Ian McLaughlin and Elza James
From: Glenn Henry firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 08:39:32 +1000 (EST) Subject: Bob Dylan Brisbane - review To: email@example.com A wonderful Bob Dylan performance in Brisbane last night. This was my third Dylan concert. The first was at Brisbane's Lang Park in 1986 when he was with Tom Petty. The highlight was a riveting 'Masters Of War' and the solo acoustic set in general. The second was in 1998 when Patti Smith played a terrific supporting role. However this night at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre was not one of Bob's best. Poor sound system, turned up way too loud, and Bob yelling into the microphone, ruined the show. There were some glimpses of beauty - 'Born in Time', 'Blind Willie McTell' and especially 'It's All Over Now Baby Blue', plus a rare chance to hear 'The Man in Me'. But the sound was so bad most people didn't recognise the less well known songs. Now to last night. Recent newspaper reports had me apprehensive, but they were just bad journalism. The reviews on the websites gave some hope. I bought a tee- shirt, but was disapointed there were no programs, none last time either! The support act, Mick Hart, was very good. He sings and plays in a similar vein to the late Jeff Buckley, but the songs are not as well developed. A lot of potential though. I was not expecting Bob onstage till 9pm, but he came out at 8.45 and launched into 'Duncan and Brady'. The sound was crystal clear, (must be that new French sound system?) and Bob's singing was sweet and powerful. I had a smile on my face all night, as did just about everyone else. Great to hear 'My Back Pages' and 'It's alright Ma' then a real treat with 'I Don't Believe You', Bob really emphasising the words just like 'Royal Albert Hall '66!!! My brother yelled out 'Standing in the doorway! and Bob obliged with a heartache version. We had the best seats, second row left of centre, in front of Larry Campbell. The crowd of about 8000 had many aged in their 40s and 50s plus. The terrific versions of all songs continued, everyone was rocking. I yelled out 'Visions of Johanna' and was rewarded with a lovely version, but why has Bob cut it back to 4 verses? Much better than the version found on the Net. 'Dignity' was flawless, and great harp to close out 'Drifter's Escape'. Everyone sang along with 'Pillbox Hat', I thought we might get twenty songs tonight after hearing this one, (look at recent set lists). The band came to the front of the stage and Bob surveyed us, he was really animated tonight and looked well. They left the stage. The encore was the usual fare. 'Love Sick' just as good as 1998. Instead of singing the line "I want to take to the road and plunder", Bob sang "I'm getting ploughed under!" Oh No! Then 'Like a Rolling Stone' sounded like 1966 Albert Hall and 'If Dogs Run Free' was simply brilliant. Larry on steel for 'Watchtower' - reminiscent of Hendrix. I'm not fond of the backing vocals on 'Forever Young,' - I'd rather Bob sang it by himself, however I think it sounds great on 'Blowin' in the Wind' which closed the night. During the encore, I noticed Bob's "OSCAR" was sitting on his amp! The BEC is not a great venue - too big and cavernous. Even with an enthusiastic crowd, which this obviously was, the clapping doesn't generate as much noise as most venues. Bob thought we weren't making enough noise, so didn't return for 'Rainy Day Women' But we all loved the show.. I did do one stupid thing, I yelled out 'Quinn the Eskimo' and Bob thought I was an idiot ... sorry Bob, you're right, leave that one in 1967. I only have one criticism. Bob often plays his lead breaks in the wrong key, which sounds pretty awful sometimes. It's a shame when the guys are giving such great backing in the key af "A" while Bob's playing in "B Flat"! (go to the blues scale at the fifth fret, Bob, not the sixth fret!). Not a bad harmonica player though ... Thanks Bob for a great night. I hope you stay healthy and return to Australia some day.
From: "Ian Gray" firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Brisbane review Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 09:08:31 +1000 Bob Dylan 30 March 2001 Brisbane First Set (One hour fifteen minutes) 1. Duncan & Brady (Acoustic) 2. My Back Pages (Acoustic)(Violin, Harp) 3. It's Alright Ma (Acoustic) 4. I Don't Believe You (Electric) 5. Standing in the Doorway (Electric) 6. Stuck Inside of Mobile (Electric) 7. Masters of War (Acoustic) 8. Visions of Johanna(Acoustic) 9. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (Acoustic) 10. Dignity (Electric) 11. Drifter's Escape (Electric)(Harp) 12. Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat (Electric) Encore (Forty-five minutes) 13. Love Sick (Electric) 14. Like a Rolling Stone (Electric) 15. If Dogs Run Free (Acoustic) 16. All Along the Watchtower (Electric) (Pedal Steel) 17. Forever Young (Acoustic)(Harp) 18. Highway 61 Revisited (Electric) 19. Blowin'in the Wind (Acoustic) Review I go to this concert apprehensive, but the only thing that can be faulted is Dylan’s vocals – and then only very occasionally. His voice has never been the strong point of his albums or concerts. We’re there to hear the lyrics…and, if we’re lucky, a strong musical performance. Tonight, we get both. Dylan obviously enjoys himself. His singing is exuberant, every now and again a little rushed, so that on a couple of verses he comes across as a bit slurred or unfocussed. But who really cares? Most of us know the lyrics off by heart and have done since we first sat down with the albums and a lyric sheet. Anyway, show me one other rock concert where you could comprehend every word on the night. Dylan’s vocals have become unashamedly, perhaps even proudly, impressionistic. He doesn’t obviously fluff any lines, but he is working with familiar material, he doesn’t feel compelled to enunciate perfectly. He knows we’re there with him. He is a verbal painter who works with broad brush strokes on a well-known canvas. The slurs are almost deliberate smudges. He knows we’ll get the idea, we’ll see the point, we’ll feel the emotion, because we know the words as well as him. That’s the vocals. He is the Poet Laureate of his generation, perhaps of all of the rock music generations so far. But the reality is he is trying to escape this mantle and just play vibrant rock music. And this is where the night is truly significant. So often, we have seen Dylan tamper with the arrangements of his songs with mediocre results. In most cases, he has forced us to wonder whether the song would have had the same impact originally, if he had recorded this arrangement. Now, it seems as if these intermediate arrangements were a necessary step in the process of breaking away from the chains of the official versions. It would have been nice to skip part of the journey, but the point is that we got here in the end. This performance, at its heart, is a relaxed, even light-hearted, guitar extravaganza. Three highly competent exponents interacting, playing, flirting, caressing, driving, soaring. They strip away the stultifying respect and awe in which the songs have been held. They de-mythologise them. Then they set about creating a new myth for today. The memory of tonight. These new arrangements are not an insult to the old. They are a breath of fresh air, a blood transfusion. Every one of them stacks up as a version to be treasured. Dylan and his band have revived and revitalised his back catalogue. In many cases, if these had been the original versions, they would have achieved even greater success. They would have achieved musical, not just lyrical, success. This process of breaking down and rebuilding is most evident in the first set of 12 songs. Dylan and the band find and explore his rock and roll heart. The electricity starts with “I Don’t Believe You”. The familiar gets an overhaul. Most revealing is a newer song from “Time Out of Mind”, “Standing in the Doorway”. We have fewer preconceptions about this song, therefore we have fewer chains to abandon. It was conceived this way. It is a new classic. What we’ve all been asking of Dylan for decades. “Stuck Inside of Mobile” follows and receives the same treatment. The three-way guitars are a delight to experience. It climaxes in the almost Bo Diddley work out of “Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat”. The pacing of the set is interesting, much more considered than previously. There is more attention paid to the build up and release of tension. There is musical drama on show here. Reviewing the black and white of the set list, he seems to start with three acoustic songs, follow with three rousing electric workouts, then repeat the pattern. There are seven songs in the encore, the first two electric, then alternating acoustic and electric. Two songs in, the breaking down of old myths is ready to be reversed. The first set establishes his rock and roll credentials. Now, “Like a Rolling Stone” receives the treatment. OK, so it’s a classic to start with. It’s such a good song, you wonder how anyone could make a hash of it. (OK, let’s be honest. Dylan could and has!) But this version is a new kinda classic. These intertwining guitars construct a certain (indisputable) grandeur. They jangle, they soar, they remind us of everything that is great about rock and roll. You could rave on about its redemptive power. This is a secular hymn set in a cathedral of ringing, rousing sound. In this song, and this version of this song, we see jangle rock at its best, from the man who gave us the word in the first pace. “Lovesick”, “All Along the Watchtower” and “Highway 61 Revisited” get the electric treatment. The new and the old. The last is a climactic guitar workout, the penultimate song, before he closes with an acoustic version of “Blowin’ in the Wind”. It presents as a gift to the faithful. It’s gratefully accepted as such, even by those who haven’t had much faith in anything Bob has done since. It’s over. In the contemplative time since, I wonder at the source of the songs. Three songs from “Freewheelin’”. Two from Highway 61 Revisited. Three from “Blonde on Blonde”. Two from “John Wesley Harding”. Two from “Time Out of Mind”. Nothing from “Blood on the Tracks”. Just about everywhere else seems to have got a version of “Tangled Up in Blue”. (It would have been nice to hear it, but what else would you drop out?) It’s not fair to call this a greatest hits package. This is a new, revitalised man re-working material from his past. (After all, every one of these songs was written in the past.) The lynchpin of Dylan’s revival is his guitar and his band. They shine a light on the instrumental strength of Dylan’s songs. They improvise and duel and laugh within this framework. This is like a jazz man, a blues legend, a folk great breathing new life into his work. New band, new man, new music. Ian Gray
From: "Harvey" firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Sydney Review Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 12:31:00 +1000 March 25th @ Sydney was my 2nd Dylan concert my first being Wollongong in 1998, perhaps i was too young to fully appreciate it then (as of 2001 i am only 17) because Sydney was alot better for me Paul Kelly opened for Bob, and well....sucked... I have never heard his music before and it really failed to impress, imagine Bob, but take away his wit and bite, add pansy love songs and average music...there you have it let me start by saying the venue at Centennial Park was crap. It was a giant fenced off area divided in half. The front half was the more expensive tickets, seated. the back half (which was about 200 metres from the stage!!) and laughably called the picnic area (call it the crap area, more accurate) anyway I cannot remember the exact setlist but it started with excellent re-workings of Desolation Row and Tangled Up in Blue the crowd was typical Sydney, (re: idiots, i have a low opinion of the people of Sydney) and they seemed more interested in talking to each other than listening to Bob. they looked like they were having mroe fun down the front there was a fence dividing the picnic area and the seated area but there was barely any security on it and people could easily jump over it. as one song finished and the lights dimmed i had a powerful urge to get close to Bob, so i jumped the fence and briskly walked down to the front where there were many standing, obviously they didnt have seats and had jumped the fence too. there were many kill joys yelling at people to "sit down" (honestly why did they bother to go...) anyway when i was down the front was when Love Sick started and what an excellent version it was....very immersive...Like a Rolling Stone was great everyone was singing along, or trying to...Bob would change the placement of the chorus to screw everyone up and then he would say "How does it feel" very fast so noone could sing along. One wonders why i spent $60 on a ticket when i could of sat on the hill and seen Bob for free as thousands of people did it would of been just as good....still down the front was very fun (during Like a Rolling Stone, a semi-fight broke out next to me and at one stage I could of swore one man drew a knife, only it was the light reflecting off his hand) Overall, the place was overcrowded and full of moronic people, the venue set-up was crap but Bob transcended that with ease ....a truly amazing set... btw Bob i owe you $20 for skipping down the front, but i figure i made up for it by buying on of your overpriced t-shirts +++++++++++++++ Harvey O'Sullivan +++++++++++++++ all outward motion connects to nothing for each is concerned with their immediate need +++++++++++++++