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Bob Dylan 2001.03.31 in Ballina

From: "david peterson"
Subject: dylan & the rest in ballina
Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2001 10:10:34 +1000

Well, last saturday we travelled to the mountain top and we
saw the light, the glory, dare I say it, yes even the
promised land. God Bob was on his throne casting his
blessing upon the worthless heads of all us humble, feeble
worshippers. We, the converted, rocked as one entity; a
rolling symphony under the controlled baton of the MAESTRO.
We even witnessed Thomas give up his doubting days forever,
never to return.

When the first song, My Back Pages began I knew this was
going to be an event special (spoken in french accent). Then
Desolation Row, probably my favourite Dylan song lifted me
off the ground. I could feel my heart beating in my
shoulders and collar bones and through the top of my head. I
leaned upon the strong arm of Lynne lest I should fall over.
She looked brighted eyed and glowing like a twenty year old.
We swayed to the rhythm and let the force transport us to a
new world where we could "dance beneath the diamond sky with
one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea" and then to
"forget about today until tomorrow".

It was a new world because the songs were new and fresh. The
words and feel were familiar. It was the music of our youth.
The music that was there when we fought and loved and
worried and wondered about what would become of us. I can
associate an event with a particular song; a memory with a
certain line of lyric; a tune reminds me of someone I knew
long ago. But, on this night I was being reborn because the
songs I knew were also being reborn.

I was worried I might be dissapointed to hearĘthese great
songs done differently to the original recording. But it was
the opposite reaction. It was like hearing them for the
first time and falling in love again with something you knew
you already loved.

Dylan, the man, is so tiny. Dylan, the musician, is a
dynamic guitarist who uses his voice just like another
instrument. (We all knew the words anyway.) His timing is
synchronously effortless; just a glance to the drummer, a
nod to the bassist and the other guitarists and the song
ends or segues perfectly into the next. He doesn't say much
between songs, but in my mind he doesn't have to. He has
already said it all in his songs. A sudden image of Forrest
Gump came to me and I realised that Bob and Forrest share
something. They just do what they do. I was reminded of
Forrest's run across America when a crowd developed into a
following and people's lives changed after meeting him.
Bob's like that. And then he decided to stop running and
someone said "Quiet! He's going to say something." And
Forrest said tiredly, "I feel a bit tired. Think I'll go
home now." The crowd didn't like it. They said well what
about us? What are we going to do now? I felt there was
something similar happening at the Dylan concert. He spent
over two hours lifting up the spirits of 5000 people then
just turned and walked off the stage. I pictured him going
backstage to sit down with a mug of warm cocoa watching the
late news on TV, wondering where all the loud cheering was
coming from. Not the usual image of a messiah. It's like all
that power is being chanelled through his small body and the
word spreads across the land and through time without him
being aware that its happening. Anyway, the rest of us know
that it happened and are glad it did.

Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2001 00:51:37 +1000 From: Sue Robinson To: Subject: Ballina concert So we come to the final concert at Ballina Footy Ground with expectations of something a bit special based on past experience of final shows at Wollongong '98 & Melbourne '92. As the 4-hour bus trip from Brisbane stretches to 41/2 hours & the showers turn to heavy rain, I start getting anxious about missing the start or even the whole show - what if the box office is closed & I can't pick up my ticket? (It wasn't) What if they start early because of a curfew on the noise outdoors? (They do) But all goes ok, my cabbie from the bus stop tells me he's been taking people from all over Australia to the show, even Melbourne:-) He also says they've had heavy rain for the past 3 nights but predicts fine weather tonight.(He's right) I jump the huge queue & find a spot on the rail slightly to stage left. At last, a show where I'll be able to stand & dance all night without having to fight security & all the corporate types who always seem to get all the front seats & then refuse to have any involvement in the event other than complaining about those who are standing up & enjoying themselves. Tex Perkins & Charlie Owens play a decent opening set, people are impressed at how laid-back Tex seems about the whole thing but that's Tex, one cool dude. As the band take the stage, people crowd forward but none are too pushy. Bob is looking good in the dark suit with silver arrows up the side seam of jacket & pants, with a very dashing yellow cravat. The Duncan & Brady opening (does he really think he's been on the job too long?) is followed by My Back Pages with Larry adding fine violin & Bob giving us some great harp. Then a lovely Desolation Row, Bob is in fine voice tonight & the 'expecting rain' line gets a big cheer as usual. I notice Larry's look of displeasure when Bob came in half a bar too early at the start of the song. Interestingly, later in the night Bob starts to do the same thing then stops himself - it's great to see that Bob seems aware of these things now, & has enough respect for the music & musicians to not just plough ahead regardless. Then the Magician starts pulling rabbits out of thin air. We are treated to some amazing songs - Down in the Flood, Seeing the real You at Last, Gates of Eden are all wonderful. But the highlight is an exquisitely tender Tomorrow is a Long Time, I notice I'm not the only teary-eyed person there. This is immediately followed by the denial of It Ain't Me Babe, but no-one believes him! A rollicking River is great fun, Tony's grin is even wider than usual, & a searing Wicked Messenger with more great harp. They know how good they are & look to be having a lot of fun tonight, & Bob seems to be in a genuinely benevolent mood. He even allows some extra time for us to applaud each band member as he introduces them later. Tumultuous applause brings the band back for an encore, it's my first Country Pie & is delightful. The usual well-balanced encore set follows - it's so good to be able to dance to the rockers - hope the promoter Michael Chugg reads this! We're desperately hoping for a second encore & can hardly believe it when that Bo-Diddley beat starts up for Not Fade Away, what a treat & what a fine performance. RDW brings it all to an end & those of us who have followed the tour are left feeling stunned by tonight's amazing show. We share a cab with some locals after the gig & they express the usual view of casual fans who would have liked to hear more songs they know - the perennial problem of how to please the hard-core fans (and the performers!) who get bored with the more popular songs & yet still keep the interest of those not so well-versed in Dylan's music. This tour seems to have attempted to address this, with mixed success . So that's it, the end of a fantastic couple of weeks. The Man & his band are playing with great energy & focus, the addition of Charlie has added immeasurably to the range of expression & the vitality of the music. Larry is now free to be the multi-instrumentalist he always should have been. David Kemper copes seemingly effortlessly with the unenviable task of keeping it all together. Tony continues to be the linchpin of the whole thing & is still smiling. You'd be a fool to miss them if they come to a town near you.
2001: February - March -