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Bob Dylan 980903 in Sidney

Date: Fri, 04 Sep 1998 17:43:49 +1000
From: Tony Hunter (
Subject: dylan sept 3

 Here are my comments about the show	
 Songs in approximate order .Carsten or Peter Gilmer will probably be more
 Maggies Farm
 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
 Cold Irons Bound
 Shelter From The Storm
 Tangled Up In Blue
 Don'tThink Twice
 Stone Walls and Steel Bars ( I think)
 Desolation Row
 Blind Willie McTell
 Till I Fell In Love With You
 Rainy Day Women
 Highway 61
 Forever Young
 Blowin' In The Wind.
 Thoughts .
 My perspective is as a local rather than an international obsessive
 following the Tour.
 First off the Venue, the Entertainment Centre is a barn with ratshit
 acoustics.Last tour , 1992 from memory was in smaller venues and though
 most people hated the shows I loved  them.
 Patti Smith came on to a totally disinterested audience.."is the singer a
 man or a woman" I heard.Lotsa people there who you half expected to boo if
 Dylan played electric.Pretty sad.
 Anyway I went up the front to try and get involved because no-one much
 cared for the first few songs , including Patti.
 Contrary to Carsten's adoration most reviews have regarded her as a relic
 with dinosaur rock riffs from the band.Patti complained about hayfever
 ...hey it's the start of spring.
 A few songs in saw  her playRedondo ( ???it's a while since I've played
 the track but you know which one I mean ) Anyway it was a real perfunctory
 effort.The guy next to me said "C'mon Patti you can do better than that"
 to which she responded "oh o.k!" and seemed to lift her game a bit.
 The poem lead in to Not Fade Away was great and had the crowd motivated
 but the next few  I think were mainly older stuff which lost them
 again.Rockin In the Free World was ok but for me a bit passť .
 Bob came  on, 9.20 again I think with Maggies Farm .The crowd were all out
 of their seats and it looked like it might be a night where everything
 would be going off.
 Alas security spend the rest of the night hounding people to sit down even
 when no views were obstructed.I hate sitting at concerts .Give me a bar
 and a cramped environment anyday.
 Maggie was just a thumper , Baby Tonight was good and the one I was
 waiting for Cold Irons Bound was ruined due to the mix.Bob's vocals were
 really hard to hear from the rear of the ground level seating where I was
 ...even when you know all the words.
 Vocals were (oh) mercifully better for the acoustic set.Bob buggered up
 tangled , switching the rhythm round he seemed to end up with having too
 many words and tagled himself up ironically.
 Shelter was tops , haven't heard a bad version of this, O.K. well maybe
 Budokan was ordinary but the song lends itself to so many
 interpretations.The mandolin took me back to Steve Earle's show earlier
 this year and that's no bad thing.The highlight was Desolation Row which
 had a real Pat Garrett soundtrack feel .Everyone liked the extended very
 country Don't Think Twice but I got bored.Stone Walls was OK and Willie
 McTell was pretty good.
 By now I was hankering for some harp but no joy.
 Sadly we were not to be spared Silvio.As ponderous as everyone else seems
 to think too.It's only saving grace is the band like the riff and stretch
 out on it.Till I Fell in Love was where band and Bob got into a groove
 that showcased their cohesion after so many shows together.Gimme more of
 that swamp music Bob.
 I may have the sequence wrong  but after then and 70 minutes of the show
 we got the first exit.The crowd leapt to their feet to cheer , it was a
 bit hard to get more involved unless you were in the front section due to
 the security people.I told one , "you realise you are killing this concert
 " but it did not change any thing.
 Lovesick was first song back , I'd have preferred it slower.Then ,erk
 Rainy Day Women mercy yet again .Like Carsten I fucking hate that is just so OBVIOUS and it as insult to his song catalogue that
 he plays it.More galling , on go the lights .After being told to sit down
 all's O.K. kids time to get up dance , have fun , go wild...but
 not too much coz when the lights go off at the end of the song you gotta
 sit down again...everybody understand.Thirty years ago this sort of social
 programming would be fertile material for a few stanzas in Subterranean
 Homesick Blues.Very cynical.
 Highway 61 cooked along but after the reviews of Mercury Lounge I was
 expecting more.(Goddamn I used to live in Melbourne and I would have been
 there).Funny how he always seems to do this one the same way more or less
 copying Johhny Winter's version more than his own.
 Second obligatory encore .The lights were left off so you all know he will
 be back.
 Forever Young was OK but I'd have preferred an electric end to the show
 with more from time out of mind.
 Then the conclusion Blowin In The Wind which I could have done without but
 it was better than I'd braced myself for.At least we had no singalongs and
 thankfully Australians have by and large eschewed the habit of waving
 cigarette lighters in the air.
 Guy next to me said "Gee did Bob Dylan write that ? " All I could do was
 nod  in stunned amazement.
 So all in all a hot band some good songs not done justice by a crap venue
 and a shitty sound mix.They had a day off before the show so the sound
 should have been better.
 The set list was rather pedestrian and seemed to lack spontaneity.No Man
 In Me, Lot To Laugh ,Senor etc . Not much guitar from Dylan ,no harp...Bob
 by numbers.
 But tonight's another night, maybe the mix will be better ..Then there is
 Wollongong on Saturday to close the Oz leg .Bob will be opening a new
 venue in a city a couple of hours out of Sydney , big steel processing
 town with top beaches and countryside surrounding the town.Should be a
 reason to try something different assuming the venue didn't get washed
 away in the heavy flooding they had recently.

Subject: September 3, 1998 - Sydney, Australia - a review Reply-To: ( Date: 6 Sep 1998 15:10:33 GMT Bob Dylan & Patti Smith Sydney, Australia, September 3, 1998 Sydney Entertainment Centre A review by Carsten Wohlfeld First of all, thanks to all the people who commented on my reviews before and after the Sydney shows. It's really nice to have some feedback and I really appreciate that. Thanks also to Sean, Darren and Brett for helping me getting a ticket (and one in the front row it was, too :-)) Most of us missed Matt Walker & Ashley Davies' set cause we were still at the Crystal Palace Hotel trying hard to get drunk, but we were all there at the rail when Patti came out at 8.10pm. She played a weird set tonight and I was pretty sad that I missed her instore appearnace in Sydney the day before. I even was in town, but I just didn't know about it :-(. Anyways usually she does three old classics that everybody will recognize, three new songs and couple of covers. Tonight she pretty much played songs from her last two albums, opening with the excellent "Waiting Underground" and pulling out "Whirl Away" for the first time since the tour's premiere in Melbourne. "Summer Cannibals" was as impressive as ever and a big singalong, but it was interesting to hear, that the sole two songs from the 70s hardly classify as "monster hits". "Ghostdance" was dedicated to the victims of the plane crash in the US and "Redondo Beach" was a great song to dance to as usual. The was a little sick and as a consequence wasn't as talkative as before, but it was still great to see her go berserk during the latter part of "Memento Mori"/"Not Fade Away" which wasn't as good as the previous renditions though. The lights went down again at 9.20pm and as soon as we were informed that it was time to welcome Columbia recording artist Bob Dylan, Bob and the guys started yet another version of: Maggie's Farm Which was pretty average, even though Bob started smiling and making eye-contact with the audience immediately. Bucky played the pedal steel instead on the acoustic guitar, even though it was right there on stage. Maybe he knows that he just can play the pedal steel better than the guitar?! Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You Sounded pretty impressive from where I was standing. Bob seemed to have a lot of fun singing it and again he played a lot of lead guitar and he actually did a pretty good job on this one. He obviously will never be a Jimi Hendrix (or a Lenny Kaye, for that matter), but if you remember the solos he's tortured us with in the past, this was pretty good. Cold Irons Bound Bob wasn't singing this one, he was yelling. Not quite sure if that was a good idea or not, it sounded somewhat different and "different" is always good when you see a lot of shows, I guess. Shelter From The Storm Well, it became apparent during this song that he was gonna do a "safety first" set tonight just to make sure he'd please the Sydney audience and the assembled press. Even though the greatest hits went down very well with the crowd, this version of "Shelter" never reached the heights of previous renditions. It was much better at the Mercury Lounge. Can't Wait I have this theory that you can tell from the "oh honey" line alone if it's a good or bad rendition of his song. If that's really the way to judge it, this rendition was pretty good, but not superb. Which in fact sums up the whole performance quite perfect :-) Silvio Went by in a flash. I don't know where I was during this song, but I hardly can remember that it was played at all. Must have been a pretty average version then, I guess/hope. Stone Walls And Steel Bars (acoustic) Well, nice one to hear, but you can't really comment on it cause I guess it's not only short, but looks like it's pretty easy to play as well, so no big chance of messing it up there. Desolation Row (acoustic) A highlight for all the people that heard it for the first time in the new fast, full-band arrangement, but I was kinda disappointed with it, cause it never came close to the renditions in New York earlier this year and it was way better in Rome in July as well. Then again, you shouldn't complain when Bob pulls out such a terrific song like this one - Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) Was pretty good as it always is these days. Many people were kinda disappointed that he chose not to play harp. The guitar solo that graced the end instead was kinda repetetive, but still at least nice to see. Especially when Bob throws in best Chuck Berry impersonation as well. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic) Was done differently tonight, cause he kinda changed the perspective. For the first couple of verses he didn't sound cynical at all, it was more like "okay, what I say it 'leave me alone', but I don't really mean it". Interesting. Unfortunately the last verse was back to normal and kinda shattered my theory. Blind Willie McTell I know this looks pretty cool on paper or on a website, but it was a pretty rotten version. From the first on chord on, Dylan didn't get *anything* right on the guitar and it just sounded bad. As a consequence, he whole show went downhill from here. "Til I Fell In Love With You Followed the usual band introduction. Bob was still connecting to the audience pretty well, but musically he just seemed to lose it all. It wasn't a bad version, but it was no more than average either. (encore) Love Sick The last highlight of the show, pretty powerful version, as slow as in Brisbane, which really improves the whole performance. Nice guitar solo as well. Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35 *Yawn* Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic) *Yawn* Highway 61 Revisted *Yawn* Forever Young (acoustic) Sorry, can't comment on this cause I fell asleep. Honestly, the five song neverchanging encore doesn't do the show any good. Bob played the same seven songs at the end of the show he did the two nights before in Brisbane and they just went on auto-pilot after, well, actually after "Desolation" and what followed was one of the least inspired hours of Bob I've seen in a very long time. Don't get me wrong, it was a solid show and I can understand why the people who saw him for the first time tonight were pretty impressed, but all in all it was just Bob-by-numbers. Having said that I'm convinced that the second show willl be better, usually the second night of a residency is the better night, and not only Ray is of that opinion. Thanks for reading. See ya! Carsten Wohlfeld please reply to: -- "what once was your home is now a minefield" (damon & naomi)
Date: Mon, 07 Sep 1998 09:28:53 +1000 From: "Nick Miller" ( Dylan in Australia - 1998 September 3, Sydney Entertainment Centre It's been a week and a half since I saw Dylan in Adelaide (refer previous review). Time spent tracking Dylan's clockwise trip around the major towns of Australia. Back to the Sydney Entertainment Centre where he'd spent around a week in 1986 with Tom Petty and immortalised in the film Hard to Handle. What a night this was! The sound and performances were just so much better than Adelaide. The audience seemed 10 years younger than Adelaide and really got into the whole concert. Patti Smith played a great opener and Dylan was on around 9.15 pm with Maggie's Farm. The first electric set really sizzled with Shelter from the Storm a personal favourite. Then the acoustic set and the crowd greeted Don't think twice with rapture - a fabulous heart-felt version. Got to hear Desolation Row again! and then a Highway 61 to always treasure and remember for its strength and clarity. The new songs all seemed to come to life live. Enough can't be said about this concert - my favourite of the tour - it all came together for Dylan, band and crowd. Nick Miller Sydney

May - June - July - August - September 1998 setlists