Warsaw, Poland


June 7, 2008

[Grzegorz Gras], [Steinar Daler], [Jack Palache]

Review by Grzegorz Gras

The Dylan Day couldn't have looked any better. A beautiful sun woke me up
around 10 o'clock, got the whole weekend off of work, so to thoroughly
enjoy the show. Actually, I even got the tickets by accident, because I
somehow missed them at the first round - they all were sold out on
presale. Then I kept checking the organizer's website every day for some
returns, no luck, and at the end when I've already given up and went
online for the very last time, here they were... just a few of them
actually. But I managed to get them and the very next morning they were
again gone forever.

No wonder actually, as the capacity of the Stodola club is around
1500. There were 1700 tickets that went on sale and another 100 VIP
tickets, that got sold within an hour as far as I heard...

Anyway, I arrived at the place shortly past 4 pm, there were already
people sitting all around and enjoying "small talk at the wall". Got
to talk with a couple of them, a very cool guy from Germany, Thomas
and a great guy from Northern California, didn't get his name, but he
looked totally far out, just as if the Sixites were still on his neck. Oh
well, he's been around when it all started 40-something years ago... We
had a very nice discussion about Dylan's music and biography and started
wondering what would have happened if Bob and Joan would have stayed
together... might have been a greatest couple of the history of
rock'n'roll... what a pity we'll never find it out.

The gates opened around 6:30 and the crowd rushed to the stage. We
managed to get as close as it gets, as we were in the very second
"row", right in the middle of the stage, facing Bob's keybord and
looking Tony and Denny in the eye... Still hang around with the people I
met before the show, I accidentaly found out that I was standing right
behind the taper of the show!!! Wow, that was something - talked to him
for a short while, he seemed to know everything about Bob... hope to get
there someday :)

The show was contracted for 9 o'clock, but for the unknown reasons at last
minute it was changed into 8 o'clock. And as far as the most hardcore fans
gets, they were there obviously so much earlier than that, some "casual"
concert goers might have just as well come too late. Which I think a few
people did. There was this girl standing next to me, crying on
Workingman's blues, I think she got to the concert only a short amount of
time earlier..

So, shortly past 8 o'clock the lights went down (ok, they never went
up, to start with...), the fanfare started and the poet laureate of
rock'n'roll got up on stage together with his band. First to show up
was George, throwing his cigarette away backstage (at least that's
what I think I saw). Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum was a good opener,
the band got rocking from the very beginning and the crowd went crazy.
What came as a second song, was at first unrecognizable, then at the
moment Bob started singing, we all opened are eyes wide, as it happened to
be Love minus zero. Never heard this arrangement before, it a mix of
reggae and rock'n'roll, played quickly, strongly and with a different
timing... Then came Rollin' and tumblin' which is always strong and rough.
Hattie Carroll was a very beautiful treat, Bob sang softly and so played
the Band. Lonesome day blues struck like a lightning only to prepare
grounds for always the most beautiful Workingman's blues. I still can't
stop shiver when Bob sings the altered line: "...should I tell you my
whole story, you'd weep". And this time, also the way he almost shouted in
a falsetto: "Them I will forget" and quieter "you I remember always" made
me, and probably many more, weep... Ballad of Hollis Brown is the song I
don't enjoy that much, but Donnie's banjo was as good as can be. Honest
with me is a great rock'n'roll treat and I can't help but smile when he
sings: "I don't understand my feeling for you, you'd be honest with me, if
only you knew"... The next song was the one I would never expect to be
played here.... I'm not sure when was the las time Make you feel my love
was played live, but I guess it might as well have been a couple years.
Beautiful love song, you can't think of a more beautiful lyrics written
for a woman. I wish I knew what was going on in his heart when he wrote it
back in the late 90s.. Couples held hands and people danced gently
throughout the song. What a treat, what a great gift for the Polish
audience... THANK YOU BOBBY!!!

Levee's gonna break was fun, this hippie guy from California standing in
front of me was dancing like crazy and laughing all over... Afterwards
came another surprise: "Beyond the horizon"... Not only Bob doesn't tend
to play that song live too much, moreover I haven't heard any altered
arrangment by now... until yesterday when the timing and accents were
totally changed and confusing. Great idea!!! Although not the best song to
be heard live, I like the jazzy version from Modern times better. Highway
61 was as always powerful and strong, you can hardly imagine a Dylan show
without this song... Next came Ain't talkin', lights dimmed and Bob
sounded softly and rough at the same time... Summer days is one of my
favourites and I can think of a better song to be played live... so happy
that he does it so often!!! Holy rockin' peace, makes you danced no matter
if you're 15 or 75 years old..

The last one before the encore was I shall be released... my favourite
live version of that song is the one he sang together with Norah Jones at
the Amazon tribute back in 2005, but I'm always happy to hear it the way
he plays it since September last year. A beautiful song, makes you feel a
bit nostalgic, when he sings lines like: "So I remember every face of
every man who put me here"... and also makes you wonder, when comes the
day when he really shall be released... I hope there's many years to it...

The encore didn't last too long this time, Bob and the Band didn't
want to keep us waiting, so they came back for the usual Thunder on
the mountain and Like a rolling stone. I heard Rolling Stone probably a
thousand times and the recent live versions don't tend to vary that
much... but if you realize, that you're just looking at the face of a man
singing the song that changed music forever... and that's really HIM
himself, not another cover, gives you goose bumps. Same with Blowin' in
the wind, the song is 45+ years old and it's just so amazing when he plays
it nowadays..

Bob refrained to the audience as Friends, which I like very much... he
stood an icon for a few seconds before leaving... the applause was huge...
I think it was a great audience, a lot of scanding "Bobby", a lot of
clasps in the middle of the song, a very friendly atmosphere. The show was
great, I wish he came back to Poland sometime again. He seemed to be in a
good mood, as he smiled in his akward way quite a lot, even glanced at the
audience every now and then... there was this strange thing somewhere in
the middle of the show, he turned back looking at the balcony and nodded,
it happen a few times, and after each time there was a flash. Was that
some "acclaimed" photographer or just a coincidence? Oh well, we'll
probably never know...

I left the place together with Thomas from Germany, he gave me a few
great postcards, we chatted a few more minutes and he headed down
south for the tomorrow's show in Czech Republic. I came back to the
club, had a drink with my folks and headed back home...

An unforgettable evening... Thank you Mr. Dylan for having this
wonderful Eastern European leg of the tour... please, do come back to us

Poland, Warsaw.


Review by Steinar Daler

Stodola in Warsaw is a small student club, filled to every inch this night
with about 2000 exited persons. A really nice place, very good sound, a
great audience and a great concert by Bob and his band, all dressed in
black, too. Bob's singing is still very good and I love this band. Tony is
as allways good, but Denny, George and Donny is getting better and better.
Maybe Stu is OK too but he is low in the mix on the couple of conserts I
have heard. Tweedle Dee was first out and sounded better than usual. 100%
good sound from the very beginning. Next up was Love minus zero in a
comletely new arrangement, more electric, allmost like a heavy ballad to
my ears. Very nice and defenitely the highlight of the evening. After
Rollin' and Thumblin", another surprise; Hattie Carroll. Beautiful (up to
a "whole other level"). Great guitarplaying from Denny and a perfect voice
from Bob on Lonesome day blues. Workingman's blues followed and was
another highlight. And then Hollis Brown, great as well. But then maybe
two more songs to much like Rollin' and Lonesome day: Honest with me and
Levee's gonna break, split by a rarely played but nothing exceptional Make
you feel my love. Beyond the horizon was also different from other
versions I have heard. A really slow shuffle-swing. Nice! Highway 61 was
good as usual and Ain't talkin' too, but the last one is allways very nice
to hear. A normal Summerdays followed and then the audience that I felt
had longed for some "greatest hits" got a very well sung and performed I
shall be released. The final with Thunder on the mountain, and especially
Like a rollin' stone went by to the big pleasure of an enthusistic
audience. Another great consert on this very interesting and nice tour was
finished. I will not see them again til July 2. in Alicante, Spain, and
hope the time in between passes fast. 

Steinar Daler


Review by Jack Palache

Impressions of Dylan in Warsaw

Not bein' a musican of any nature or stature
I'm not the one to talk about that aspect
of Dylan's show.
I came to hear him in Warsaw
to figure out who he is 
and who am I in relation to the man
Is he an icon, an idol, or a prophet 
(which he himself denies)
or am I just a simple Dylan fan?
Because a' the 'coustics and the loud sound, 
I din't hear nuthin'
but the beatin' a' the music 
and the piercin' of his vocals
ringin' in my ears
and poundin' in my brain
and drivin' my beatin' heart insane
An' it was much more than I cudda'  ever 'xpected
Somethin' magical and unexpected
that woke me up from my false dream about Dylan 
the man.
He's not a man
he's a magician
who's quicker and much thicker,
as he himself has said.
The master of each gesture, 
the creator of a world 
in his head.
To know him is accept him
his music and magic,
get the world outa' your head 
the world's wax outa' your ears
and hear what's bein'
sung and said.


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