Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Citibank Hall

April 15, 2012

[Fernando Viotti]

Review by Fernando Viotti

Citibank Hall, Rio de Janeiro, 8:45 pm. Fifteen minutes left to the beginning of 
the 2012 version of Bob Dylanīs "Never Ending tour". Taking a quick overview 
at the venue one thinks  that tonight, Bob will play to a half-empty theatre. 
Hard to think something like this could happen knowing two of his six concerts
in Brazil are sold out, although the high prices of tickets in Rio may have driven
away audiences.  A better explanation is the well-known habit  of "cariocas" 
(native of Rio) always being late for events, which actually did happen; when
Bob kicks off with Leopard Skin-pill box hat, almost every chair on the front
rows are taken.

This traditionally opener shows Bob and the band with good energy, but at
the end the act was plain. However the second tune, It ainīt me, babe,
repeats itself as the second song in Rioīs last  presentation in 2008: Bob on 
guitar, this time with Charlie Sexton on his side,  start a conversation that 
would turn out brilliantly some songs later.
Next, a beatiful version of  Tangled up in blue. Bob singing loud and clear, 
always starting the chorus out of time, and pleasing the audience with 
harmonica solos. After a flat version of Things Have Changed, the band did 
itīs best in The leveeīs gonna break.  Tony e Charlie facing Bob all the time,
while he beat his Korg keyboard, giving a quicker rhythm than the original
version, and stretching the instrumental part. A great performance, but not
so pleasing to the local audience, apparently not so familiar with Together 
Through Life tunes. Beyond Here lies nothinī showed his great power when 
played live, and following, one of the highlights of the night; with a great 
voice, clean as ever, Bob chanted from beginning to end, Desolation Row, 
uttered every silable in a stressed way at the last chorus ("de-so-la-tion-row"!),
and conducting the song in a very similar (but better!!)  way to the famous 
Mtv Unplugged register of 1994. 

On Summer Days, Bob gave the control to the band for a few minutes, like 
he has done before, and just observed enigmatically from the corner, 
sometimes seeming to want to blow up the band at any moment, while
impatiently tapping his fingers  (Was he roll playing?). Then he went back to 
the guitar, this time to make solos with Charlie on an amazing version of 
Simple twist of fate, another highlight, as moving as the original, but maybe
not as dramatic, and undoubtedly less mellow. Perhaps as a result of the 
almost forty years of  distance of the pain that gave birth to the song.

The moment to please the audience, as usual, with Highway 61, a little pause 
with Forgetful Heart, and Thunder on The Mountain was a warm up for the
last highlight of the night. A provocative, enthusiastic, bizarre performance of
Ballad of a Thin Man, with Bob swinging between the two microphones, in the
center and on the left side of the stage, facing the band while his apocalyptical 
voice echoed with sound effects. After that, he suddenly starts and hastily 
finishes Like a Rolling Stone and a too noise All Along the Watchtower, with 
no encore, both performances donīt live up to the grandeur of those 
monumental songs.

At the end, a great, but not fantastic concert that left us with great 
expectations, curiosity and yearning for the next shows. Tomorrow is a long
time, but letīs will see what happens a mile away from the beaches of Rio, 
at "Teatro Nilson Nelson" in the Brazillian backlands on Tuesday night

Fernando Viotti


Click Here
to return to the
Main Page

page by Bill Pagel

Tour Guide
Tour Guides
Bob Links
Set Lists
by Date
Set Lists
by Location