Review

Tokyo, Japan

Zepp DiverCity

April 3, 2014


[Laurette Maillet]

Review by Laurette Maillet


On the morning of April 3rd, I paid a visit to the Manga quarter Akihabara and found 
by chance a place surrounded by Buddhist temples which provided a calm and relaxing 
atmosphere.   In the afternoon, I returned to the house that I was sharing with CJ 
and Patrick.  I started to get ready for the concert.  I was to meet with Masato at 
5:30 PM and found him at the metro exit.   A very nice young man from Switzerland 
gave me a ticket and I didn't have to deal with the scalpers.  I had no idea where I 
would be positioned.  I am with my friendly fan. The general admission section is 
divided into 3 three groups. Group A is in front of the stage, group B is behind and 
group C at the very far end. Each ticket includes a number.  The security service 
yelled in a loudspeaker the section and the numbers by 10. Example B10 B140 
B760.  Each person in order and without rush takes a position. This seems to be 
effective. The Japanese are very disciplined and polite.  No rush or conflict.  I am at 
the far end of the section B.  I see the stage between the heads.  Fortunately 
many of the Japanese people are short.  

At 7.25PM Stu enters the stage with his set of acoustic guitar.  And then the first 
measures of "Things Have Changed"..followed by "She Belongs To Me."  Bob is center 
stage and I have a view of his costume and hat both light cream color.  This provided 
a very nice effect because the light on stage was always subdued.  Then comes the 
song that I look forward to with pleasure, "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'."  But Bob is at 
the piano and it is less dynamic.  Then comes "What Good Am I."  It seems to me
that Bob's voice is even more profound, more serious.  I expect  "Blind Willy McTell" 
but the band starts a waltz so this will be "Waiting For You."  It is strange.  I cannot
perceive that song as a typical Bob song.  A nice waltz on which I try a few 
movements but my neighbors will not appreciate it if I touch them.  Next is "Duquesne 
Whistle."  Bob is a little confused by the lyrics. It seems to me that he reversed the 
second and third verses but he got all the lyrics. Tony lacks a little bit of power on his 
bass.  Right on Tony Garnier, we love you! More than 20 years with Bob!  This is followed 
by "Pay in Blood."  My conscious is clear what about you? I feel like saying that to some 
people!!  "Tangled Up in Blue" is next and truly I could do without that one.  This is 
followed by "Love Sick."  I do not see the stage so I am focusing on the music only 
and I discover some incredible guitar from Charlie Sexton.  This was the highlight of the 
evening for me.  "I'm sick of love, I wish I'd never met you. I'm sick of love, I'm tryin' 
to forget you. Just don't know what to do. I'd give anything to be with you."  Like he 
wrote those lyrics for me ... thinking about someone I should forget.  I know that it is 
time for the intermission and normally most and especially those at the far end, go to 
get a beer. The Japanese do not move.  Almost all of them remain at their spot for 20 
minutes and mostly in silence.  Woa!  

The second half starts with "High Water." That should wake up the crowd but after a 
hard day of work the Japanese have no more energy.  Maybe the first rows?  One of 
my favorites ... well done.  "Simple Twist of Fate" is next.  At this point I would like a 
change.  "Under the Red Sky?" " Shooting Star?" "Every Grain of Sand?"  "Make You 
Feel My Love?" I long for the nostalgia of "Blood On the Tracks." Instead we get next 
"Early Roman Kings."  Good but not my cup of tea, except for George Receli who 
excels on his drums. The 15 minutes of Georgie! Donnie takes his violin and starts a 
sweet and sad song, "Forgetful Heart." It is the 15 minutes of Donnie Heron. He is 
poignant on this particular song.  As Rimbaud said, "the most beautiful poems are 
coming from deepest pain."  Not a noise from the crowd ... the tears are flowing but 
one does not even take his handkerchief out.  Next is "Spirit on the Water," which 
has become my favorite over the time.  l feel at ease, as in a piano bar ... nice delivery 
at the piano.  It is the 15 minutes of Bobby.  This is followed by "Scarlet Town,"  
which l still have to decipher.  " In Scarlet Town, where I was born" is without doubt 
a metaphor.  Next is "Soon After Midnight." with stars that appear on the black 
curtain. One feels tranquil in his chair outside with the full moon and a strand of 
romance in the heart. "It's soon after midnight and I don't want nobody but you."  
I love it.  This is followed by "Spirit on the Water"can hear this one forever.  "Long 
and Wasted Years" is next.  The delivery reminds me of "Ballad of a Thin Man", very 
theatrical with a rise in power at the end.  The crowd does not react and it is a 
shame.  Very nice demonstration of force Bobby!  Short break.  Finally, finally the crowd
raises it's voice on "All Along the Watchtower." Very nice solo at the piano. We could 
hear a fly flying, with a wild power finale . Well done.  For the REALLY nostalgic and to 
say, yes, Bob Dylan has done a song from the 60s, "Blowing in the Wind."  I do not 
like the new arrangement.  In fact the crowd will react only when Bob sings "The 
answer my friend is blowing in the wind."  

I am happy to have seen my first Bob Dylan concert in Asia, especially Japan. The sound 
is perfect.  His voice is very clear and powerful.  Bob made the effort to be more and 
more center stage or standing at the piano. Very nice for those in the last few rows 
who do not see too much of the stage.  No guitar and little harmonica except for a 
very special performance on "Simple Twist of Fate."  He does not seem too know what 
to do with his left hand which he delicately places on his hip. Light colored suits.  I 
prefer him with a hat.  So thank you Bobby and see you tomorrow, same time, 
same place.

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