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Bob Dylan 950405 Manchester, England,

Date:    Fri, 7 Apr 1995 14:06:58 BST
From:    david lindsey (dfl1@UNIX.YORK.AC.UK)
Subject: the continuing tour of england.
  wednesday.  april 5th.  manchester.
  set list.
  down in the flood
  if not for you
  queen jane
  watching the river flow
   heaven's door
   tambourine man
   boots of spanish leather
  hard rain
   tombstone blues
   she belongs to me
   rainy day women
   thin man
   my back pages
   maggies farm
   I suppose most of your correspondents are still out
on the road, chasing Bob around england.
   I have been disappointed by the lack of reports about
 recent concerts, but maybe most people, like me, write from
terminals at work rather than home.
  Anyway I went to two shows this week in manchester.
  Standing downstairs does give you the opportunity to get a
really good view if you are prepared to queue for long enough.
  On both nights I was within 3 feet of the stage, dead centre.
  There was no support band, Dylan came straight on at 8.10 p.m.
 and the shows finished round about 10 p.m.
 I've never had a better view of a show and let me say straight away
that both nights were really terrific. Dylan is in complete command of the
band and his material, singing with real conviction, not wrecking songs
by taking them at breakneck pace but letting the lyrics work, using his full
voice. It does appear that he's thinking about what he's singing unlike
4 years ago. But the shows were better than hammersmith 93 certainly the
shows I saw. Over the last year Dylan seems to have re-discovered his
singing voice and re-thought  his material.
 He is looking fine, older certainly, but not alcohol flabby and his eyes are
bright. You need to be close to see this because he is rarely fully lit from
the front, still performing in relative gloom and standing back under the
various colours. On wednesday we also got Bob the axeman. Suddenly
he wanted to be a guitar hero, playing lead equally with Jackson, long
solos completely self absorbed, eyes down searching for a riff, playing
over 5 or 6 notes again and again.
    So what's the problem ?? Well nothing really, like I said they were great
shows. Maybe I'd always felt that those people lucky enough to get right
to the front saw something extra something special that the rest of us were
denied. Now I know that isn't so. For the whole two hours he was completely
impassive, a couple of 'thank you everybody's, introduce the band at the end
and that was it. Perhaps I shouldn't trade tapes and read this digest.
 Then each tour every two years or so would be a fresh experience. I wouldn't
have been expecting the hand held mike, the slowed down mr. tambourine man,
 the dobro and mandolin, the arrangement of watchtower, down in the flood
would be staggering. But that's not what happens. I read and listen and trade
 so for two hours I'm briefly in the same hall with this individual whose
music means so much to me, and what do I want ??   Maybe some
acknowledgement that would separate this show
from the 2 hundred before it and the hundreds to come.
 I wonder what Bob thinks about his audiences,
 does he think about them, is he enjoying himself ??
 So many unanswered questions.
 And being right on the front row twice last week brought me no nearer to
answering them.
                               david lindsey
Dates 1995