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Bob Dylan 2002.04.20 in Milano

From: "Duncan Hume"
Subject: FW: Milan 
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 11:23:45 +0100

I like Michael Gray and am therefore very happy he missed
the show in Milan last night. Given his less than impressed
view of the first Stockholm show, had he witnessed the first
25 minutes last night he'd have thrown a rope over the
nearest lamppost and ended it all.

The Fila Forum, a monstrous hollow lump of concrete located
in the middle of nowhere was packed. Lights down and on they
came. Given the number of camera flashes, beeps, red
blinking lights and luminous digital screens on display in
the front section of the crowd one could be forgiven for
thinking you had arrived at an electronics' gizmo convention
not a Bob show. Bob, being, shall we agree, camera shy, was
less than pleased. To borrow Andy Muir's phrase 'old grumpy
chops was back'. In an attempt to show his disgust he yanked
his microphone back as far away from the front of the stage
as possible and pointedly refused to join in the vocal so
all we got of 'Hummingbird' were the tail feathers and
perhaps a beak.

Things didn't improve in 'Times' when Tommy made the school
boy error of returning said microphone to it's original
prominent position. Bob, still very pissed off with the
unwanted attention of multiple flashes and no doubt numerous
video camera's, returned it back to the back of the stage. I
had the feeling that given the option Bob would have happily
moved the backstage and performed from there. This wouldn't
however have given him the opportunity to scowl at his
fellow band members and crew which he did on a regular
basis. 'Love Minus Zero' was delivered, well the first two
lines, before a further tantrum ensued, related no doubt to
spotting more unwanted audience recording of some
description. After an enthusiastic response and thumbs up
signs from the front section of the crowd, Bob, like Nero,
gave us the thumbs down. It reflected his mood perfectly and
confused the crowd no end.

I assume in an attempt to make it easier for 'security' to
spot further offenders the house lights were left up.
Unfortunately for those seated on both sides this meant a
blinding set of lights being directed at them making if
difficult to see an already darkened stage. After a dreadful
'Stuck inside of Mobile' 'Visions' offered some hope.
Halfway through however, the good citizens of Milan seated
on either side of the hall began an organised protest
against the blinding lights, which got nowhere although at
this point Bob was aware of the problem. At the end of
'Visions' he clearly told the crew to turn down the lights.
He meant the house lights but they assumed he meant the
stage 'lighting' resulting in 'To Make You Feel My Love'
being performed in almost total darkness.

Things finally improved by the encore with Bob's mood
visibly lifting by the minute. 'Not Fade Away' and
'Watchtower' being particularly fine. He blew us a kiss and
left. The joy and musical excellence of Leipzig seemed a
million miles away last night.

Newsgroups: Subject: Another Milano view From: Matt Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 23:19:03 -0700 Just returned to the U.S. from Italy where I saw Bob in Ravenna and Milano. I've been reading the various post on the Milano show, and I have a somewhat different view: Although I did see the cigarette tossed up on/towards the stage, it definitely was not thrown directly at Bob. In fact, to the best of my recollection, Bob was not even out on stage yet (or at least not up front). The house lights had just gone down and the introduction was being given. Larry and Charlie hadn't even begun singing the beginning of Humming Bird yet. The cigarette certainly didn't help matters, though I really feel strongly that there was definitely more to it than that. And I don't think that it had anything to do with flash bulbs (To be honest, I don't even remember any flashes at that point, at least not an inordinate amount). Bob really looked worried. I was a little nervous just watching him. I think he was really scared of something. It was very clear that something definitely was not right. He moved his mike back near the Fender amps and clearly was playing behind Charlie (it looked as though he was using him as a shield). When he did return to center stage, he kept nervously looking over to the stands on his right side. The house lights were turned on and remained on for the entire show, and he kept checking out something over on that side of the forum. Interestingly, the cigarette had been tossed by someone in front of the stage closer to the lefthand side (stage-left, closer to where Larry plays). That's why I think there was defintely something more to it than the cigarette. He clearly felt threatened by something, and from what I could gather, it was to his right, up in the stands. It was a damn shame though, because it really rattled him and it took several songs for him to recover (around Solid Rock/Postively 4th St.) It was also hard to see Bob and the band well with the house lights turned on and shining in your face. He played a really great setlist though and looked a bit more comfortable and confident as the show progressed. At one point he jokingly gestured to the crowd thumbs up or thumbs down, as in the days of the ancient Roman circuses. He seeemed to get a burst of energy when many people in the crowd (somewhat surprisingly) gave him the thumbs up. He responded by shaking his fists somewhat triumphantly. I think that up until that point, he felt as though the crowd might pick up, and walk out. To me that seemed to be a turning point in the show. By the time the boys returned to the stage for the encore, they were really rocking! Not Fade Away was excellent! During one of the later songs in the setlist, Bob played an extended guitar solo from his knees (which drove the crowd wild) and at the end of the show got down to his knees again and blew kisses to the crowd (he did so in Ravenna as well). My intent in posting this is to help shed a little light on the situation. We'll never know for sure what the reason for Bob's behavior was.....this is simply my account.
From: "abadiali" To: Subject: milan 20 apr 2002 Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002 21:24:44 +0200 My impressions about the night in Milan. It has been a beautiful concert, only in part ruined at the beginning by the stupid action of the lighted cigarette thrown on the stage by a silly person (out of his mind for sure). Bob danced all the show, played a very interesting and long set-list and seemed enjoying himself too. At the end he left the stage greeting the audience down on his knee. Fortunately, from my position (I was seated right looking at the stage), I wasn't damaged by lights on . Highlights for me : "Memphis Blues again" (jumped on my seat) ; "Visions" (almost moved me to tears) ; "Boots" (sweet as ever); and all the encores section. For me a great night ; really I can't be happy someone missed this show (as any other Bob's show) . alex from milan
Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 02:15:32 +0200 Subject: Milano review (in some way) From: "michele l'ulisse" To: Dear fellows of RMD, Dear Karl-Erik, Dear Bill, Finally I come to write down this review, well I couldn't defy really a review because I'll write just a few lines about the Milano concert but I'm interested to clear a point about the matter at that show. Right now I have gathered precise news and some people's opinions. The cigarette, this a FAKE-AFFAIR to me, and it's been since the beginning to be sincere, immediately after the show. I was if the first raw, when the light went off someone threw a cigarette on the stage, but nobody was on stage yet. The cigarette arrived on the side where Larry stands and it was not so close to his position. Than the the band arrived on stage and Bob was the last. I think they didn't even saw the cigarette. We had that mess with Bob not singin' on Humming Bird, and Bob talkin' to Tom. In a little while Jim, come back after many years, appeared in that empty space between gate and stage, and he started goin' around to stop people who were flashing with the cameras. And they were many. I told to Jim that there was a smokin' cigarette on the stage, maybe just because I don't smoke, maybe because I thought that it could be disturbing to someone, well Jim told me no problem about that and went on to stop pepole flashing. This was his problem. In Milano we had this other fact, the lights up to the crowd, something strange, first time I see this. In last 2/3 years Bob seemed to be more comfortable with this photos situation – I'd have a tale about this, in Brescia last year with a strangely nice Baron – but my idea was that the flashes were really too many and to avoid people used'em they turned up the lights, Bob could have come back to the hate for this behaviour and the security had order to identify anyone who took photos, so they needed light. I had another kind of idea too. A little paranoic one maybe. Some days before the Italian show a strange accident happened, a little plane in the Pirelli skyscraper. And the first circulating news was of a crime act. By the way it reminds for sure of the Twin Towers. Right now there's a war, there are many to be sincere but the most famous is the one Israel is leadin' on. Well, Bob is American, more, Bob is one of the symbols of America. And he is a Jew. The day before Milano, Ravenna, - such a bad concert – I knew from the local organization that Bob's manager took back all the passes to the people workin' there. They weren't even allowed to go inside the venue to park their cars. Bob was in paranoia, the guy told me, "he had Lennon in his eyes". Maybe, in my a little bit paranoic key,  they wanted light on just to control people, not simply for the flashes. And Bob was nervous for sure in Ravenna, he gave us a bad concert. In Innsbruck I spoke with Jim, and he told me clearly that Milano could has been a better concert yet if people – who don't respect rules he underlined – didn't use those fuckin' flashes. Now we know that the mangers are askin' to stop using the cameras because they're distracting to Bob. I don't know about the real paranoia of Bob, to be a possible target, people selling his photos and gaining money on his image, or what, but for sure the problem in Milano wasn't that fucking cigarette. The few lines of review are the followin': Milano has been the best Italian concert since Pistoia '96, powerful and a fire stream, this tour is the best one since '96, and probably we owe something to mr. Receli, Bob has come back to acts he hadn't since many years, changin' positions in the setlists to songs that were stuck in a cage, like moving a song from 12 position to 4 or stuff like that, again I see Bob is playin' in the acoustic set songs that he played in the electric one – I threw it all away – I think Bob is in a great mood. I'd like to say to my friend Paolo Vites that is possible what he said about that Exodus chords (I wanna verify) but Bob has always many positions together, in fact Bob has come back to play many of the christian songs, it's a strange way to be on the side of Isreal in this war, while there's a sense in linking those first chords of Watchtower to the jewish culture because the song is absolutely linked to that culture and this doesn't mean to be on the side that's winning. And about Larry, dear Paolo, jeeze he is fundamental, how can you think that he gotta to do just the rhytmic work, HE DOES THE STRUCTURE, and he's clearly happy to be where he is, in my opinion, try to ask this to Joy Munsey. But I allow myself to express this on my own, I take the risk. Thanks for the patience Michele Ulisse
2002: Jan - Feb - April -