page by Bill Pagel
Review by Mike Reid
I caught the last two shows. Wellington on Monday, Christchurch on
Wednesday. In Wellington I ran across Tony on the street carrying his
dry-cleaning (don't they have people to do that?) then sat with friends on
the front row of the "balcony", Bob's side of the stage which (with the
aid of binoculars) gave excellent views of the interaction between Bob,
Tony, and Billy, since they were all in line of sight. Nice way to see In
Christchurch I was with different friends, 4th-row centre, and ready to
Ani's set particularly benefitted from the more intimate position and I
felt very connected. Excellent sound, every word clear. I guess Bob hires
people like Ani (and Patti in 98) to make up for his lack of
talkativeness, though this time I don't think she sang the line about
being from the "city that never shuts up". Perhaps she went on a little
long about the name of our city (Christ ... Church -- do you have a Christ
Church Synagogue? I don't think many people got it :-). Early in her set
some young female fans staged a commando raid, crawling (!) up the aisle
to slip into a free space a couple rows in front of us.
A brief pause, some Copeland, and the Extended
Introduction. Unfortunately, I've heard it on so many boots that it
doesn't have the same impact it should, but it does give the crowd
more time to work up enthusiasm. Most people in our section were on
their feet for the next two hours, though the people in front of me
kept sitting down, which I found strangely uncomfortable. Why sit less
than 10m from the stage?
1.Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
Well played, as in Wellington. Where we were it could have used some
more volume, since we were too close to get a lot of sound from the
main PA speakers.
Unfortunately, a lot of people in the Wellington and Christchurch
audiences didn't seem to have listened to Love and Theft, so probably
weren't as impressed as they should be by the new songs.
2. I'll be your baby tonight.
When the discussions about what was number 2 started I really couldn't
remember wether it was this or Tonight I'll be staying here with you. Very
enjoyable none the less.
3.Highway 61 Revisited
Finally the volume was getting sorted and this got people going.
4.Just Like A Woman
My personal pick for what I wanted to hear in this slot
(Lay lady lay in Wellington was also wonderful).
Perhaps making up for not playing harmonica here in 98 we
got an extended harmonica solo and even a two-handed harmonica-piano
5.Things Have Changed
This review is getting a little repetitive, since it all seemed great..
Bob strapped on a guitar for
6.Cold Irons Bound
which was really good, but last time I heard this (in Germany in 2000)
Tony was playing tambourine during the verses and the dynamics were more
7.Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)
One of the songs I really wanted to hear in the acoustic set. My 14
year old came home from school yesterday saying that his teacher said that
this was a "drug song", so I'd been thinking about the fact that Bob
"doesn't write drug songs".
8.Desolation Row (acoustic)
Didn't expect to hear this two shows in a row, but if he's going to
include the Einstein verse both times, I'm certainly not going to
complain (well, you could wish for ALL the verses...).
9.Girl Of The North Country (acoustic)
This was so beautiful I thought I was going to cry. Don't think twice was
a highlight in this slot in Wellington and I was pleased to get another
10.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic)
I always love this. The President was still standing naked (I'm sure
the line was the same in Wellington, despite a couple of reviews to
the contrary). Strangely, Bob smiled a couple of times at the start,
which seemed odd for this particular song.
This acoustic/electric division doesn't make much sense, since It's
Alight really rocks along, with a pounding beat, whereas:
11.Tell Me That It Isn't True
is a very gentle and tender.
The "Love and Theft set" was reasonably predictable, but very tight.
12.Honest With Me Love Receli's right-handed bongo playing in the chorus
(with stick in his mouth, pirate style).
13.Bye And Bye
I liked Floater in Wellington more simply because I like the song
better, and there is more scope for Larry's guitar playing, but
variety is good...
Band intros then
Rocked along very well, with pounding piano and Tony lifting his
double bass. Seemed to go on forever...
A line-up, off, a bit of stage clearing and into the
15.Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)
Presumably what they meant to play in Wellington. There's something
about hearing a song I sung at school as a kid back in the 60s...
16.Like A Rolling Stone
Again, a surprise to hear it again so soon. Not complaining.
17.All Along The Watchtower
Closes the show well. Bob didn't do such an extended guitar solo as in
Wellington (where he seemed to be trying very hard to conjure up a Hendrix
flashback), but wandered back to tinker with the piano before the repeat
of the first verse. Unfortunately, the guy on the desk obviously didn't
expect that mic to be used anymore and took quite a while to figure out
which fader to push, so we only got the last few lines. A minor blemish on
a great night.
Another lineup. Thumbs up.
Bob was on stage for around 2 hours. We got 17 songs, an increase on
the 16 in the rest of New Zealand. But some of the extra time was some
uncharacteristic pauses for discussion about what to do next. On the intro
of one of the songs (perhaps Tell me...) Bob disappeared off stage for a
time (not quite enough for a quick smoke...). He looked quite relaxed,
seemed to be concentrating on playing some quite effective (though still
limited) guitar and piano parts. Larry's playing supports this really
well. Where we were I could hear the Larry's stage amps reasonably
clearly. Perhaps he's out there on the other side by himself so he can
play loudly... The giant "eye" on the curtain was cool. More than one
person I spoke to imagined a Lord of the Rings connection.
It was 4 and a half years since Bob played in New Zealand. Will we see him
again in 2007? Maybe this really is the last time. I hope not, but perhaps
that's what made Girl of the North Country seem so poignant for me.
Review by Arie Dekker
Off to Christchurch for my second show in three days. The show got off to
a much better start than in Wellington and I think Tweedle Dee and I'll Be
Your Baby worth both fantastic this time round. Just Like a Woman at 4.
was fantastic - really fantastic and the crowd enjoyed singing along "Just
Like a Woman" - ahead of Bob - for the first few times at least. Maybe
felt a bit awkward about the difficulty of getting the timing in line with
Bob. He seemed to enjoy it to - I think? Anyway the mouth organ playing
at the end - I think a full two minutes - was tremendous. Cold Irons
Bound really really rocked and was much better than Drifter in the same
place in Wellington. The rest of the songs were as good as they were in
Wellington but I would make the following comments on the variations. 1.
My Back Pages was more enjoyable than Mr. Tambourine man despite how good
that song is. Can't differentiate the enjoyment level between Don't Think
Twice and Girl from North Country - both equally poignant I thought. Bye
and Bye was as good as Floater but Floater is longer so wins by a whisker.
Love the way the band fades into background for these and Bob sings them
so beautifully. Blowin' in the Wind was Blowin' in the wind and great to
have a 3-song encore. I think Rolling Stone and Watchtower rocked more in
Wellington but it could just be that after two 90 minute plus helpings of
Bob in three days I just couldn't tell any more.
Review by John Stringer
Dylan was AMAZING. A packed WestpacTrust Centre made for an intimate
concert with his Worship (about 5-6000 of us all seated quite closely).
Middle section stood almost the entire time (there's something middel-aged
and obscene about sitting thru a dylan concert. We had to stand or
He played mainly "Love & Theft" with some old fav.s but everything was
radicaly reworked. Tamborine man was almost unrecognisable and much
better, (if that's possible). Spat out "Highway 61" "High-weeeeeyyyyy
Sixteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..." with a loud and sharp
Opener Ani diFranco is a pretty spunky chic frm Buffalo, Tx, described as
an urban folker. I'd describe her as a white dreadlocked version of Tracy
Chapman (said she'd seen so many 'white folks' in dreadlocks in Chch it
made her feel like a conformist. Must be something in our water. Also
the joke about our "Christ-church Synagogue"? Yup, we have one; imagine
being the rabbi at an international convention!). Some quite good lyrics
and an energetic guitar style which I loved.
The Band were INCREDIBLE (the best band since 'The Band'). Included lots
of mandola by Larry Campbell. The Boss was dressed in a silver white suit
with those long whispy side burns and the wee gringo moustache and high
hair - very iconographic in a Dylanesque way. He looked thin, as you'd
expect of someone 60+, but was fully there.
Dylan seemed to really enjoy himself, lots of hot sharp guitar breaks and
keyboard wanderings. Fantastic mouth harp which brought the house down
several times. Crowd stomped him back on for an amazing encore (excuse my
superlatives, it was just such an awesome performance) after a solid two
hours playing which concluded with wonderful reworks of Rollin Stone,
Blowin in the Weeend, and Watchtower.
Chch Press called it "an absolute stormer" next morning.
This was a great rocking concert. We clapped and stomped away and none of
us wanted it to stop. Dyln looked and sounded great - maybe a new lease
of life after his sickness which was so much a theme of his last album.
At the very end the old crooner gave us two thumbs up in his gangly sort
of way, which kind of said it all- that the elemnts all clicked together
last tonight, a fitting end to a long tour.
If ya missed this one, ya missed a good'n.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Review by Les Memory
I've managed to previously catch Mr D. on his 1978, 1992, 1998 tours of
New Zealand. 1978 was stunning because of all reworking of songs and the
Alpha Band was no slouch, neither Street Legal nor Budokan does them
justice. 1992 was not a concert to remember. 1998 in Auckland was
extremely good. Back to Christchurch travelling 120 km to the concert
along with two friends, one a Dylan veteran the other her first Bob
concert and having heard some MP3's from Australia our expectations were
Anni DiFranco's set was okay but lacked variety I guess when she is more
comfortable with herself that that her music will flourish. I
particularly liked these words in one of her songs "my heart is just a
muscle, it gets sore sometimes."
We were seated ten rows from the front, the Copeland introduction for me
had more impact than it does on the boots and Bob came on at 9:05 p.m.
straight into Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum it was stunning! Bob and his band
ran hot from the first note it's not often a highlight is the first song.
Here are some thoughts on what I saw as the highlights of an Awesome
Concert. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight had an incredible harmonica solo and I
dared to hope that this concert might be something special. Highway 61
Revisited ripped through the stadium like a hurricane, words articulated,
words spat out. Bob was clearly focused and enjoying himself. Just like a
Woman with its extended harmonica solo ruled. Larry Campbell's
instinctive guitar work was amazing. Cold Irons Bound was again superb the
band play so well together that the risks they take made the song
breathtaking (what you mean you can't look back, of course you can). Mr
Tambourine Man was quite a different arrangement from 1998 and it worked
but trying to sing with Bob through it was not easy. Great song great
singing, excellent guitar from Bob and Larry. Girl From the North Country
had that beautiful wistful quality an aching voice and guitar which
remembered something from long ago. It's All Right Ma, I'm Only Bleeding a
fantastic arrangement Bob's rumbling piano to the fore made it positively
The Love and Theft bracket were all great, Bye & Bye sounded so good live
and Summer Days showed just how good the band is with pulsating piano and
Tony lifting his string bass. However I'm not sure that George rates with
the best Dylan drummers (Mickey Jones & Levon Helm).
It seemed an age before Bob came out for the encore and what a treat it
was. Blowin' in the Wind even more poignant than when sung in previous
decades. The chorus was unfortunately wrecked by an over loud Billy. Like
a Rolling Stone was great it seems to have regained some of the majesty
that was lacking mid-nineties.
I'm not sure if a live concert can get any better than this one. The
sound quality was excellent, the guitar work of Tony and Larry just
amazing and Bob's piano work really does add new colour. I feel George is
far too busy as a drummer and there were times when both Bob and Tony
seemed to be trying to communicate to him how the songs should go. Billy
does not have the finesse of Charlie but hopefully he will listen to what
is happening and develop. Anni DiFranco referred to Mr Dylan and his
killer band, how good would this band be with Garth Hudson on organ?
page by Bill Pagel
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