April 29, 2007
Review by Johannes Grausgruber
It was a very special night. My daughter Victoria had asked me a couple of
months ago if she could see a Dylan concert after her eighth birthday. By
that time she did not know that I had already bought three tickets, one
for her as a birthday present, one for Maribel, my wife, and one for
So, I was really excited, not that much about what the maestro would
deliver, but a lot more about how Victoria would like it. The start was
kind of mixed: After a solid interpretation of a mediocre song (Tweedle
Dum) we listened to a lousy rendition of "The Times They Are
a'Changing'. Our faces brightened up, however, and Maribel and Victoria
were clapping hands, when Bob and the band grooved into "Watching the
River Flow". This was followed by the first highlight of the show, an
outstanding version of "It's All Right, Ma". Bob's voice was in great
shape and the new arrangement gives a completely different flavor to
this song. Victoria gladly approved and called this her favorite song.
Although Maribel's and my hopes for "Just Like a Woman" were
disappointed, the beautiful "Girl of the North Country" gave us full
compensation. Very funny to hear the old womanizer singing about his
first girl friend. We were even treated with one tune from Bob's harp.
But, after a solid "Rollin' and Tumblin", we got a lot more harp tunes
at the beginning of song number 7. First, i did not recognize it, but I
expected Dylan to pull something magic out of his sleeve: "Ain't it just
like the night...." I could not believe it. Once again, I had the
incredible luck to enjoy "Visions of Johanna"!!! Once again, in Zurich.
I mean, I had to wait for 14 Dylan concerts and 18 years until I finally
had the privilege. What a beauty!
Later on, Maribel also got two of her favorite songs: Blowing in the
Wind (which was a good replacement for All Along the Watchtower) and
Like a Rolling Stone. Too bad, my mother-in-law could not join, she
would have loved "Spirit on the Water". Quite interesting taste,
normally she is more into Jimi Hendrix.
A word on the band: The boys do a solid job with the mellow songs.
However, as far as the rockier stuff is concerned, I do miss Charlie
Sexton and Larry Campbell. Bob really got into it when he let out the
rock and roll animal in "Summer Days", but the band and especially Denny
Freeman were left behind.
None of this happened at all. I was extremely happy to share this great
evening with Maribel and Victoria and someday, maybe, who knows, baby
... we might bring along our second daughter Sara.
Review by Shmuel Berger
I've seen Bob live some eighteen times over the past 33 years, and the
concert in Zurich, April 29, 2007 counts up there with the finest,
comparable to Toronto, January 1974 (Bob Dylan/The Band) and The Mann
Auditorium in Tel Aviv, Israel, June, 1993. The Master was as masterful
as ever. I could fill pages with superlatives, but I can sum it all up
More than forty years after its release, I finally heard Visions of
Johanna live. It was the painting of the masterpiece. Stunning,
haunting, searing, gorgeous. Nothing more need be said about Zurich:
this Visions of Johanna conquered my mind, and of itself made the
journey overseas for the concert worth the considerable effort to be
there. May the Never Ending Tour never ever end.
Review by Buldeo
The evening was disappointing. The first song was "Tweedle Dee", quite
good a start after "Cat's in the Well" as opener in Geneva. But for most
part of the evening Bob turned to his old warhorses and relied on the
standard stuff. "Times Are A-Changin", "Alright Ma", "Highway 61" and
"Blowin in the Wind" ....do we really need to listen to them over and over
again? After sitting through the second boring performance of "Watching
the River Flow" within 4 days, "Girl of the North Country" in a sweetened
version was a bit more interesting. "Visions of Johanna" was a nice
surprise. "Rollin' and Tumblin'", "Things Have Changed", "When the Deal
Goes Down" were ok of course. "Nettie Moore" drew a lot of applause, but
somehow the Geneva rendition of the same song four days earlier seemed
better to me. I have to confess this evening bored me. Where are the
magical moments of earlier Dylan shows? Bob, oh Bob, where art thou?
Review by Andrew Shields
Dylan continues to blow the roof off with his live performances. This is a
working band of the finest quality. I was especially struck by Denny
Freeman, whose guitar work had never really caught my attention before (he
joined the band in March, 2005, and I heard him with BD in Zurich in
November of the same year, plus I've heard him on quite a few bootlegs).
His playing was eye-opening, especially on the ballads, above all on a
gorgeous rendition of "Visions of Johanna," where he played the sparsest,
slowest of melodies, with a couple of slightly bent double-stops as
1. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
2. The Times They Are A-Changin'
3. Watching The River Flow
4. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
I missed Larry Campbell's bouzuki here, but it was still a powerful
5. Girl Of The North Country
The current arrangement of this one is so poignant that it continues to
bring tears to my eyes.
6. Rollin' And Tumblin'
7. Visions Of Johanna
I mentioned Freeman's soloing here; Dylan began the tune with a painfully
beautiful harmonica solo, too.
8. Things Have Changed
9. When The Deal Goes Down
10. Highway 61 Revisited
11. Spirit On The Water
This was the one I was looking forward to from Modern Times. Great to hear
12. Tangled Up In Blue
Absolutely blew the house down. Freeman was brilliant here, too; again,
nothing with virtuosic speed, just beautiful melodies, especially in the
guitar's low range. "Some are mathematicians ..."
13. Nettie Moore
Even more haunting live than on the album.
14. Summer Days
Serious Dylan fans are sick of this one, but I hope they listened to it
last night, because the band just took off with it. As powerful as Neil
Young with Crazy Horse‹and like CH, also threatening to lose control, but
never quite doing so.
15. Blowin' In The Wind
An unusual, surprising almost rock-n-roll version. This one was for all
those who complain about how Dylan rearranges his tunes, because this
rearrangement was absolutely first-rate.
16. Thunder On The Mountain
Faster than on Modern Times, much more rock-n-roll drive.
17. Like A Rolling Stone
The first Dylan show I have ever attended where he did not play "All Along
Review by Jim Scrivener
Geneva was very good, if a little production line. Zurich was superb. In a
For the first three quarters of the show Bob and the band were on fire.
The opener – (Tweedlies Dum and Dee) was excellent. I’m finally starting
to see the point of this song. Already the band seemed to be playing on a
different level, in remarkable contrast to just a few days earlier when
they were fine but a little ordinary.
Amazingly, The Times They are a ‘Changing was wonderful. I can hardly
recall a good recent version – but this was alive. Watching the River Flow
was best I’ve heard. The rhythm was foot stomping and fed around the
vocals perfectly. It’s Alright Ma was good (though I’ve never found it a
great concert song).
Some beautiful instrumental solos, deservedly getting the hall applauding.
Then a stunning, gorgeous doom-laden, heart-breaking, nursery rhyme
version of Girl of the North Country. This was genuinely astonishing.
Loved it. The sort of thing that makes it worth travelling hundreds of
miles to a Dylan concert.
Rolling and Tumbling. Basic rock and roll – but well done.
Wait a minute – what is that intro? I couldn’t work it out. Then such a
wave of sheer pleasure to realising he’s singing Visions of J – and not
any old upsung, token version – but a stunning, beautiful affair. Had me
Things Have Changed – good. Always enjoy that. Deal Goes Down – not a
favourite – but this performance almost persuaded me. Highway 61 – OK –
things starting to flag just a bit – but still very good. Spirit on the
water – beautiful. Tangled Up – fine, though I’m not sure I really like
this loud jagged version. Nettie Moore – ravishing – maybe not quite as
powerful as the Geneva version – but still completely lovely. And then a
super Summer Days. It’s lost its swing a bit – but has gained something
else – maybe it’s the focus on words over rhythm that makes it sound
My goodness – fourteen songs in and not a dud – or anything near.
Concert closers often seem to be a problem. The singer and band must all
be worn out – and there’s this sort of inevitable choice of anthem over
song. For my money Blowing ITW and LARS sounded very tired and unexciting.
They didn’t have any of the joy and gusto of the early concert. Thunder
did the trick very well though and was a jumping version.
Goodbye Bob. Love that swaggering, piratical, 18th century pose at the
curtain call. Much more fun than a bow.
The crowd were thrilled. It’s a surprisingly good venue for a show.
Despite being a stadium, it’s also quite intimate (though admittedly I had
a great view). I came out thinking “That was really worth the flight, the
long train ride, the hotel etc”. It’s so good that Bob can get that
feeling going again!
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