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Bob Dylan 2002.05.11 in London

To: "Karl Erik Andersen"
Date: Sun, 12 May 2002 16:03:35 +0100

Featuring only 19 songs, being the shortest show on this
tour so far, the first of the two concerts by Bob Dylan in
London was excellent, a faultless performance! It had been 
the first appearance of the world's best and most important
artist in Europe's largest city since September 11th, so I
for my part was very pleased that he chose to sing two of
the first five songs about Jesus Christ.

As in Brighton a week before, the show kicked off with a
strong and energetic "I AM THE MAN THOMAS"
( , being the seventh
time during this tour this song had been performed. "Times"
ended with a harp solo, and the fifth "Ma" in a row featured
great drums. "Baby Blue" started with harmonica, and as one
week before in Brighton, it was followed by Bob Dylan's
confession that he still is "hanging on to a SOLID ROCK"
( ; and solid
rock it was indeed, this brilliant song, rocking the 15th
European venue on this tour. A true high point.

My personal concert experience however went downhill from
that hight point, not because of the performance on stage,
which remained strong throughout, but because of "Gestapo
like" security behaviour, for they were starting to clear
the aisles, which had been filling up during an early stage
run followed by a continuous stage walk. Gradually we were
moved back to our original seats, which were on a corner of
a block on the right side on the floor (the first 5 songs I
saw from the center behind the first block of rows), so
security remained our major obstacle to enjoy this great
show, as they constantly kept clearing the aisles, asking
everybody walking towards the front for their tickets, in a
futile attempt to have everybody stand in front of their own
seat only. Most disturbing indeed.

All the 19 songs I had seen before during this vacation in
Britain, but some of them only once or twice, so it was a
pleasure to hear another "Floater"; and the second
appearance of "BLIND WILLIE MCTELL"
( within 49 hours,
including another great guitar solo by Charlie, did not
bother me at all. "Summer Days" was a pure invitation to
dance, and the first London version (including those great
guitars which I believe I had mentioned before ;-), was as
good as it gets.

The most redeeming part of "Pillbox" for me is always the
band intro, especially when every member gets to play a
short solo (I'm still not giving up hope to hear "Cat's In
The Well" tonight ;-). After a short break Bob cut short the
encores by two songs (not only by one song like the day
before in B'ham), but he did it in a very interesting way,
by cutting them at the front and in the middle, thus leaving
out the first acoustic encore, and moving up the ever
present "Rolling Stone" to start this shorter part two of
the show.

This was a most effective surprise to my ears at least, as
it was unexpected; and a powerful version it was, very
fitting in this spot, making this 26th version I have seen
in 39 shows the most enjoyable version I can recall.
Following this "Rolling Stone" directly with "Honest With
Me" kept the energy flowing; and another "Blowing" (starting
with a harp intro once more) preceded the final song of the
night, a smoking version of "Watchtower", which was one for
the history books. Rock at it should be, with great drumming
by Jim Keltner. What more can you ask for?

One more show with this fine band in London tonight, four
hours ahead of us, hopefully with less disturbances by
security. I checked our seats already last night, they will
be in the fourth row, but all the way to the left side, 70
and 71. I suspect it will be another top performance, and it
might even include some more surprises. "Mississippi" would
be nice, wouldn't it?

Markus Prieur

IN 2002, IN 2001, IN 2000 AND IN 1999

2002: Jan - Feb - April - May -