April 9, 2019
Review by Harm Peter Smilde
Not being from Prague, I was pleasantly surprised by the very nice venue
for the concert. Lucerna Palace is best characterised as 'Art Nouveau
meets Eastern Bloc'. In the venue lingers the atmosphere of glorious
times of the past, with some cracks in it. All in all a great place for Dylan
to 'conjure up long-dead souls from their crumbling tombs'. For six years
now, Dylan starts the concert with 'Things Have Changed', very tongue
in cheek. This evening the song sounds vibrant en fresh, and that is the
case for many songs during this performance. He doesn't wear a hat, his
curly hair is like an aura in the orange-yellow backlight, and the sound is
edgy and warm, probably the best sound I even heard at a Dylan concert.
'It Ain't Me Babe' is great, 'Highway 61' sounds sultry and blues-rocking,
'Simple Twist Of Fate' is intimate, with some alternative lines I never
heard before, like 'put your hand in mine, no need to hesitate'. 'Cry A
While' has a kind of Link Wray's 'Rumble' sound in it. Obviously Dylan has
been busy during his weeks off, making new arrangements. 'Pay In Blood'
has completely changed, is much rounder now, less grim, but still edgy.
A surprise for me was 'Like A Rolling Stone'. In this song the band almost
falls silent from the fifth line of each verse, leaving Dylan contemplating
the lines 'You used to laugh about etc.' and then the band joins again in
a howling 'How does it feeeel?'. A very intense and very fresh version.
Though he has performed this song over two thousand times, he roared
and sneered and sang it like he was singing it for the first time ever. I
loved every rendition of the songs, they seem to be very balanced,
different but engaging and sharp. 'Blowin' In The Wind' sounded like an
Irish waltz, with Donnie's violin. Dylan seemed to be having a good time,
shuffling and swinging to centre stage after 'Gotta Serve Somebody'
(maybe the only slightly underwhelming performance) and again after a
very slurred and compelling version of 'It Takes A Lot To Laugh'. For a
short while he stood centre stage, disappearing, while the band played
an instrumental version of 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues', going off-stage
one by one. This is probably the best Bob Dylan concert I attended or
ever will attend (but then again, I said this before).
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