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Bob Dylan 2001.07.15 in Kilkenny

From: "not dark yet"
To: "Karl Erik Andersen"
Subject: Kilkenny Review
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 14:53:07 +0100

Well, where do I start? After seeing Uncle Bob ten times
last September (from Vicar Street to Portsmouth), this was
the only Bob date for us this year. It was the first time
that Dylan performed in two consecutive years on this
Emerald Isle, where my wife and I chose to move to from
Germany almost two years ago. It was my 32nd Bob Dylan
concert since 1981.

As everybody has read the setlist, I will not give song by
song descriptions, but will share some personal and general
thoughts about this big event, for this is what it was. It
started as "Bob Dylan plus special guests" and became a full
blown one day festival, with local and Irish bands starting
to "entertain" the audience more than six hours before Bob
hit the stage at 9:05 pm, five minutes behind schedule.
Everything else was exactly on time. Elvis Costello
performed for one hour from 7:30 -8:30, but it didn't do
much for me, as I was standing for some hours already five
or six meters away from the stage (center center), and as
more and more drunk people tried to get up front (that is
what you get for going to a festival sponsored by a

Much more enjoyable was the supporting act preceding
Costello. They had only half an hour, as the four acts
before them, but these "Blind Boys of Alabama" should have
had Costello's time as well. They were GREAT!!! Supported by
a band, they were some old (two actually blind) men
perfoming the most remarkable black gospel I have heard in a
long time. Well worth mentioning. They "delivered" four
songs, first an Irish one, "Danny Boy", then "If I Had A
Hammer". Then one of the blind boys asked the audience to
"listen" to the following song, and the band started into a
long bluesy intro, which was immediately recognized as the
tune of "House Of The Rising Sun", but when they started to
sing, it was not "There is a house ...", but "Amazing Grace,
how sweet the sound ...". Truly amazing!!! To top even this
they did a blistering rendition of "Soldier In The Army Of
The Lord", which had everybody dancing.

Well, on to the main event. As this clearly was a festival,
I did expect a greatest hits show as one way to go for Bob.
But the setlists from previous shows (especially Stirling)
had me hoping for some rare gems or some extraordinary
choices. It was not to be. In fact, this was the first show
in 2001 which did not feature one of the 25 songs performed
occasionally, my website "NOT DARK YET" is focusing on. But
this I noticed an hour after the show, back in the car,
tired and exhausted, with 120 miles to go home. However I
had witnessed my first "un-tangled" Bob gig in more than
five years, my first "Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie" (the one of
the current openers I wanted to hear), my second "Visions"
and my fourth "Desolation Row".

Bob performed the second "Thin Man" of this year, and also
the second show this year without "Blowing In The Wind",
Nashville being the first. Unlike that festival, Kilkenny
was a strictly greatest hits show, but a good one it was.
Bob was on, and he looked great (including mustache). The
acoustic songs were all delivered brilliantly, soft and
tender versions of "Ramona" and "Visions", great harp on
"Babe" and "Twice", and the new fine version of "Knocking"
featuring the newest (!) Dylan lyrics of the concert. (Then
again, the only Dylan song since 1974 performed acoustically
these days is "Ring Them Bells"). Besides "Knocking" and the
opener, which was a cover song, every song was from 62-67,
and five of them featured Bob on harp.

The younger songs are performed generally within the
electric sets of the show. But not one of the numerous songs
Bob has written in the last 33 years, appeared in Kilkenny.
I am not saying, that Bob did not sing his sixties hits
well. Especially "Memphis Blues" was the best version I have
seen so far. But Uncle Bob had to face two "obstacles", both
inflicted upon the show by himself. The minor one was the
festival crowd, which, presented with greatest hits, tried
(!) to sing along, in a way they know the songs, which is,
as we know, not the way Bob sings them. This had an
interesting (not necessarily nice) affect on the audience
member, who came to hear Bob performing his songs. This
"obstacle" affected both acoustic and electric songs.

The other (major) "obstacle" affected only the electric
songs, except the last one, "H61". It was Bob's decision to
allow Ron Wood to join his band on stage for eight (!) of
the electric songs. which were all strictly sixties hits. I
have read recently, that sometimes guest appearances in Bob
shows have resulted in Bob rising artistically above
himself, prompted by the artistic input of the certain
guest. Well, last night, the lack thereof luckily prevented
the opposite. There was nothing added artistically by this
special guest, who was constantly "prancing on the stage",
making funny faces, trying desperately to draw the attention
of band members and audience onto himself. This would have
been almost enjoyable, had I not come to listen to Bob
Dylan. So I sometimes fixed my binoculars on Bob, who on his
part succeeded to stay focused on many verses of those songs
while facing the audience. On the other hand he was jamming
inbetween verses with Ron Wood face to face, with increasing
fun, like two buddies from a garage band. The audience loved
it, like they loved the greatest hits SHOW. It was Bob's
choice to please the crowd last night. (Maybe he wants to
spend another vacation in Ron Wood's house after this tour,
but to let him turn a Bob Dylan concert into a Muppet Show
is a dear price for that ;-)

I could compare this setlist with Stirling (where he
performed 4 songs mentioned on my website) or with other
2001 shows, or I could compare this show with any of the ten
shows I have seen last year. But what's the use, but undue
criticism? There are far too many writers (big ones like
..., and small ones like me) who constantly compare Bob's
artistic output with their great expectations or what they
see as Bob's greatest period/album/tour/songs/whatever. The
only thing I may compare this Kilkenny concert with would be
no concert in Ireland this year. And I would rather have a
good greatest hits show with Ron Wood joining this otherwise
great band, than no Bob Dylan concert at all.

Markus Prieur

IN 2001, IN 2000 AND IN 1999


Newsgroups: Subject: Kilkenny Thoughts From: Tiernan Henry Date: 17 Jul 2001 09:10:37 -0700 I pity poor Daniel Day Lewis. While he wandered about with Marianne Faithfull in tow (wearing a lot more than in the Observer profile) he was greeted with nods and the odd hello. Then a clatter of young fellahs wandered by. "Jesus, there's Daniel Day Lewis." One broke from the line, approached the greatest living actor (TM) and announced, "Daniel, you were fucking shite in My Left Foot", before he was hauled off by his mates. Well, it was one of those kind of days. Swallow your pride, it's not poison, as the mariachi-suited one on stage would, and indeed, did, sing. Paul Brady was milling about too, though his thoughts on My Left Foot remained strictly unaired. On stage all was running smoothly. The Blind Boys were entertaining, if not engaging. Of course, the large venue and the bright sun didn't help things, but they were diverting. Better to try and catch them in a small venue (last year's shows at the Augustine church in Galway made believers of many, I reckon; at Kilkenny they entertained the beer line). Elvis and his Almost Attractions delivered a short, sharp spiky set. The sound mix wasn't great (no fear of the headliner being upstaged by the support act!), but the song selection was pure crowdpleaser stuff: Alison, Watching the Detectives, Honey Are You Straight, Chelsea, Man Out Of Time and a Pump It Up featuring Subterranean Homesick Blues lyrics shoehorned in. My 40-minute wait in the beer line zipped along accompanied by EC. The Two-Thirds Attractions were Steve Nieve, Bruce Thomas and A.N. Other on bass. Bob and his crew did a two-hour show. Onstage just after nine pm the he made his final exit, looking so dandy and so fine, at 11 on the dot. Me, I thought it was hugely enjoyable, for a festival set. Though the set list was conservative in many ways the overall show was much much better than, say, Belfast a couple of years ago. There was indeed something for everyone: all those folks who have made "The Essential Bob Dylan" a fixture in the Irish Top 20 Album chart for the past couple of months were rewarded with a can't-go-wrong set; the eejits like me and Derek Keogh (and the four blokes behind us) thrilled to O Babe and Visions; and the odd drunken young fellah got a chance to bring the greatest actor of his generation back to earth. Bob himself was having a whale of a time on stage, laughing and smiling with his best mate Ronnie. Admittedly Ronnie's presence on stage didn't add much musically (for most of the set it was a toss up as to whether his Strat was actually going through the mix, or was simply being discharged out of the back of Nowlan Park), but it did give Bob a kick. After the band intros Bob asked us to "Give it up for Ronnie Wood". Ronnie did his trademark gurn, then grabbed Bob in a headlock, leaned into Bob's microphone and told us not to forget "this fellah, Bob Dylan". Possibly the first time in years that Bob has been introduced mid-show. More Abbott and Costello (or Mills and Boone) than Lennon and McCartney, Bob and Ronnie have a friendship that is known and understood only by them alone. Ronnie's presence didn't impinge on the sound or on the mix, and he was happy to chat and laugh with Bob and renew his acquaintance with Charlie Sexton (remember when Bono recorded Silver & Gold with Keef and Ronnie in New York, back in 1988(?); Keef and Ron had been recording with the young Charlie at the same sessions, when Charlie described Bob, who was present for some of them, as being like an owl). Bob wandered around backstage all afternoon, and a couple of photos appeared in Monday's Irish Independent of him staring off into the middle distance (towards the large parallelogram, GAA fans). This being an Aiken show, you could have walked in hauling the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio behind you and no one would have said a thing. As result there were lots of press photos of Bob on stage (and off) in Monday's papers, the best being the quarter pager than appeared in the Irish Times. (Contact the Irish Times Photo Sales Shop for copies; send a cheque for Ir£17.00, and they'll send by return an A4 colour print. Details below.) I had a great time, and really enjoyed the show. Bob seemed to be enjoying it too, and his singing and playing (guitar and harp) were excellent. The band laughed and smiled the whole evening, and Ronnie even wore his Strat at mid-thigh level, probably as a nod to Bob. Daniel Day Lewis was not available for comment. Tiernan Irish Times Photo Sales Shop The Irish Times D'Olier Street Dublin 2 IRELAND Send a cheque/draft for 17 irish punts (about US$18, UK£13) to the above address, requesting a copy of Bob's photo taken by Irish Times photographer Matt Kavanagh. The photo appears on page 7 of the Monday, July 16 edition of the paper (include that info with your request).
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