Review by Elisabeth Falcon
Just some impressions of the concert yesterday at the Zenith lost
in the fields beside an industrial park. Sober scene, little lighting
and musicians gathered towards the bottom (For those
located on the left, Dylan was always hidden by the guitarist…)
It is the second time that I've seen Dylan and I found it well worth it.
I liked his search for interpretations, and the resulting variations,
sometimes in the same song. I also liked his version of
“To Ramona” and “Boots of Spanish Leather " which we had difficulty
in identifying, as did our neighbors who wondered if it was
“Like A Rolling Stone”. I did not have the impression that the musicians
were there only for work. Moreover, Dylan seemed to take pleasure
in playing his keyboard. I even saw him laughing at one time with the
drummer… It is true that he does not look at nor does he ever address
the audience, but it is like that all the time, it is his character. What is
important to him is the music. Obviously, one would wish that the show
would be a little longer, but this is the way it is on these big world tours.
Review by John Shaw, Ebreuil
Bobby was amazingly amazing. The spell was almost instant and unremitting
and got more powerful. It looked like Bob, it sounded like Bob but it
really felt like Bob. This amazingly magical man about whom we know so
little but who has been so important for all the stuff he's provided to
feed on mentally.
All the songs sounded completely new even though some are 40 years old.
The band sounded very creamy and crisp with a slide guitar and two
muscians from Austin with the famous Austin sound. Bob stood in three
quarters view, semi crouched leaning into the mike on keyboards and looked
steadily ahead gasping and barking and rasping and panting and groaning
into the microphone. Quite often he just rasped out one syllable to each
bar but sometimes he was singing very fluidly and he sang all the time or
played harmonica. He had on what looked like a US cavalry uniform in
black with a red stripe on his trousers, glitter round the collar and a
cowboy hat . He only twice looked into the hall. The band wore black
suits and homburgs and looked like homepride flour graders. During the
encore he introduced the band. To end all along the watchtower he
repeated the first verse and ended with tremendous emphasis on the words
'none of them along the line know what any of this is worth' as if this
was of special importance. He then lined up with the band did a little
jig with his hands held out palms upward and looked into the audience at
the edge of the stage where we were by then and looked incredibly
uncomfortable and tired and battered. From a distance though he had shown
no signs of being over 25.
The audience were perfectly appreciative. It was obviously a good night
for the band. It was an amazingly emotional experience. I feel
incredibly lucky to have been able to go. This man is undoubtedly one of
the diamonds in the dross of the human spirit. It looks as though it has
been a hard load to carry. I still feel as though the world isn't really
Real. (which i'm sure it isn't)
The choice of songs could not just have been to please a conservative
audience. They must be songs he feels a lot about. Mr T man is not a
favourite of mine but every single word sounded fresh and visually
powerful, each phrase laying on a new picture to the vision. His songs
contain this amazing mixture of narrative and imagery which he presents
with fervour. 'Howard just pointed with his gun' - what economy for
dramatic effect revealing all the ugliness of Bushes administration. It
implies indifference, violence, stupidity, power and unwarranted authority
in six words and we don't even know who Howard is. He also has this
capacity for singing songs in which he is the protagonist but are about
someone else, probably the listener. This dissociation of the writer from
the 'I' is something Blake manages too.
Masters of War was the only song which was recognisable before he began
singing. 'While the young people's blood flows out of their veins and is
buried in the mud' is incredibly painful just now. The songs are
clearly immutable for Bob because there was not a single deviation from
the words he sang them on the original recordings. After performing them
for so long amongst so much stuff he could have changed and added lines
but obviously they are the best he could make them at the time and there
is no need to change a thing. I can't see much work getting done today.
If I egt on my tractor I'll probably just drive into a tree from
forgetting it's there. One can almost understand the people who follow
stars round and watch them night after night. It's incredibly generous
of him to keep on giving out this stuff and give it so well.
I think I shall have to lie down now or run around screaming, I'm not sure
John Shaw, Ebreuil
Review by Richard Lager
Frustrating show ... Bob looked good and his voice was strong and full of
promises but in the end the concert was mostly dull and repetitive (apart
from Boob Of Spanish Leather, To Ramona and, maybe, Mr Tambourine Man).
Maybe Bob should give the rock songs a break and/or re-connect with his
artistic genius, something which calls for dramatic, effective and
intimate "nakedness" on stage...
By the way, as Chaplin seems to be on his mind (the new album and the
weird sound of his organ-playing, which I call "Bob à la fête foraine"!) he
could also, as Michael Gray wrote, with a Chaplinesque panache fry an egg
on stage, THAT would be something... the FRESHNESS of it...
Now that he has "a brand new suit & a brand new wife", a brand new band
would be interesting too!
Review by Yann Darson
The show was a big disappointment. I didn't expect Dylan to sing
well of course, but it was worse than I ever thought it would be.
I felt angry hearing what he did to masterpieces he composed so
many years ago. There's nothing wrong with trying to change an
arrangement, but here it's pure massacre, beacuse of his "singing".
This was the first time I saw Bob Dylan in concert, I knew he had
not the reputation to be a "steady" performer but, hmm... at many
moments it became boring, Hearing him mumbling and growling.
And this keyboard he played on is awful, and he made LOTS of
obvious mistakes while playing. I'm trying to find something nice to
say... The arrangement on "Masters of war" was original and nice,
as long as Dylan didn't sing... And "Summer Days" was enjoyable
too. And that's about it...
Comments by Claudie Durand
I suppose that If it had not been Bob Dylan on stage I would have probably
forgiven that man who was sitting next to me eating chips, drinking
beer, belching and who finally fell asleep. I am a very recent fan of
Bob Dylan and even though it is hard to admit I must say that I was
disappointed with the show. Was it because it took place in such a cold
concert hall in the middle of nowhere? Actually I did enjoy some of the
songs and was glad to see him live, at least I could see his legs well
(nice shoes!) but I fail to understand why (somebody might be able to tell
me) he keeps torturing people with old songs that do not seem to mean
much to him or that he obviously does not like singing any more. Who does
he want to punish? I hope I will be able to see another concert some day
but in a smaller place with plenty of new melodies.
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