April 25, 2007
Review by Jim Scrivener
*Eight and a half thoughts about Geneva*
1. Historical: Last time I saw Bob was 27/10/2003 Vienna and I decided not
to bother anymore. I hardly caught a glimpse of the man, hidden away down
the left of the stage. Voice was poor. Little attention to quality.
Audience came out murmuring disappointed negatives. Hearing that he was
back on form, I saw him last night in Geneva. And yes – what a difference!
Centre stage for guitar. Just off centre for keyboards, but still clearly
visible. Strong voice high up in the mix (so important!) Songs (nearly)
all done with care and attention. Every line sung as if it was important.
Hardly a trace of upsinging. The audience came out excited and saying "He
2. Three Real high points: I've seen Cat's in the Well a few times before
and never thought it was too hot. In Geneva it was an absolute stonker of
an opening – fabulous rhythm and conviction in words and music. Brilliant
start. And my goodness – he even sings the opening words of the first song
– instead of coming in halfway through line two. John Brown (with banjo)
was tremendous – it has never sounded more relevant or angry. A superb
performance full of conviction. Nettie Moore – no longer sounding the
generic folk-song it does on Modern Times – this was an intense personal
lament. I was astonished it could be done so well live.
3. Low point: an absolutely atrocious Like a Rolling Stone. Worst I've ever
heard. Bob lost the words for at a verse. Band was confused and all
appeared to be playing different parts. Quiet amusing to watch but a
complete mess. Odd – because others have said it has been good in recent
4. The Band isn't the disaster some people have been saying. They generally
make good noises and add flourishes that work well around the singing. At
points they do lose or slur the rhythm and seem to be playing apart rather
than as a team – but in some ways it helps to add to the live feel.
5. Crowd watching: some quite bizarre security behaviour. Half the crowd
(right of the hall was made to sit down. The left half was allowed to
stand. Some quite angry and violent exchanges between people trying to
get to the front in the right half and security guards. I wonder why halls
(whose job is to put on performances like this) seem so surprised and
unprepared for crowd behaviour. If you don't want people to stand and
dance, make this clear when selling tickets, organize the room and the
security so that it is clear and enforceable (cf Budapest arena with
clearly separated, ticket-checked zones). Spontaneous half-hearted
responses are just going to piss off both those who want a seated concert
and those who want to dance.
6. Free gifts: Everyone got a bag of Thai chips (to encourage more
drinking?) and a pair of earplugs. Nice touch!
7. Souvenir stand: Why are the Bob Dylan T shirts etc so dull and
inappropriate? Why do they show a man 30 + years ago rather than
celebrating who he is now?
8. Hall ¾ full: why did so few people in Geneva know that this show was on?
Everyone I have mentioned it to confirms that it wasn't (or seemed not to
have been) advertised.
8½. Zurich here I come.
Review by Cumhur Timucin
Just came back to Istanbul from last nights concert in Geneva. It was my
first concert in 2 years and i must admit i found Bob in good shape. It
was a strong performance...
However, i didn't like the guitar players in the band. New songs like
"when the deal goes down" and "spirit on water" are lacking the quality
of the album versions. "Simple twist of fate" even though a favorite of
mine, was delivered poorly. I read here from time to time that most fans
like Bob's changing the songs radically but new version of "simple twist
of fate" was way below average. I think, John Brown was exceptionally good
Coming back to the guitar players: Its really hard to bear Denny Freeman.
He had two good jazzy solos last nite but, he surely is not in the same
class as Larry or Charley or maybe even Koella. Stu Kimball is an average
rhytm guitar player. No more no less....Bob should do something about
this. Even a rocking version of HW 61 does not give the same feel as it
was with talented guitar players. Austin Texas is the hometown of many
talented guitar players like Stevie ray & Jimmie Vaughan and Charley
Sexton, but Denny Freeman is surely not one of them.
Comment by Erik Holstenson
Just a comment to Jim Scrivener's write-up on the April 25 concert in
Geneva. The show was great with a lesser good input form the lead guitar,
but the hall was absolutley full; not one seat left to sell. People were
surprised that it got going so promptly at 20h00 (nice weather outside),
which is why there were many seeking their seats through the first
handfull of songs.
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