St. John's, Newfoundland

Mile One Centre

May 24 2008

[Denis Manning]

Review by Denis Manning

We return to St John's. In 1996 I had left this city , having been a Dylan
fan since 1973, and moved out West. In 1997 Bob plays his first show in 
St, John's to rave reviews. There is no way I can get back for the show - I
have to settle for Bob's picture on the front cover of the Telegram from
the show that night and my letter to the editor "Missing Dylan" on the
inside of the paper. Forward 11 years - I have now seen Dylan in Toronto,
the infamous Vancouver show the night Sinatra died, Edmonton (x2) and
Calgary. Its his birthday, myself and Christina have to be there. Time is
an ocean but it ends at the shore.....There were many highlights that make
this a special weekend. My daughter Dawn, who lives here, surprises us
with two Dylan tunes on the piano and perfect vocal - I feel the torch
passing. Then she brings out a birthday cake that she has made for Bob-we
are to deliver it to his hotel! The concerts were great. I agree with
earlier comments - it really doesn't matter what songs are in the set list
- they all sound great and there is something in each one that brings a
smile to your face or someone sitting next to you. But we especially
enjoyed Lay lady lay, Desolation row, Ballad of Hollis Brown, Masters of
War, Ain't Talking, Love Sick and It's Alright Ma. On the first night we
were sat on the left side and had a good view of Bob - he did his little
dance (ya it could have been a little bit of a newfie jig) and seemed to
be enjoying the crowd. For the birthday show - a full house - we were sat
on the right side, opposite that end of the stage and very close - but
Bob's back was to us all night. I could see his hat, the glisten of the
ring on his finger, the nodding of the head and the dance from behind - and
straining to catch a glimpse of his face as he turned at the end of each
song to the table behind him were his Oscar stood and the box of harps.
But alas -at the end of each song the lights dimmed and you were left
watching a darkend shadow. For this fan, it was magical, a kind of phatom
of the opera experience. It also allowed me to focus more on the voice
(very strong) and the band - excellent. There were a few birthday signs
that showed up in the audience -but no acknowledgement from Bob. We tried
for a second encore - but it didnot happen - not for lack of trying. We made
a cell phone call to Matt/ Mel and to Mitch in Edmonton.  After the
concert we had drinks with friends Doug and Deb and Paul and Bev and Dawn
and Stephen, comparing notes. I had it comfirmed from two people that
Leonard Cohen was in attendence wearing a wig and glasses, but he never
made it to the stage - no surprise there - two of the shyest men in
showbusiness. And a persistent rumor - those two and Springsteen having
lunch on Water Street. As for us - we were driving past a hotel at 12:30
am and spotted several people outside having a smoke. We stopped and sure
enough shook hands with Tony G who was smoking a big cigar - I asked him
if Bob was in side... AND my friends unfortunately that was as good as it
got for me that night - take care of your memories for you cannot relive
them. And as for the cake - we had some that night and I swear it was the
best dam birthday cake we ever ate - if only it had made it to the one room
that counted!  (a lot of people I hear didn't like the show and were awed
by Cohen's show the nite after - they should have stayed home!)       


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