Paestum, Italy

Teatro dei Templi
July 17, 2006

[Marina Montesano]

Review by Marina Montesano

On July 17, 2006 in Paestum Bob did not perform just a concert. He performed 
magic, a miracle of beauty. The first two nights of the Italian leg of the tour had 
already shown many signs he was in very good form and nice mood. In Pistoia, 
in front of a huge crowd, he and the band played a standard setlist for these 
days, with many highlights, including a great Ballad of a Thin Man. Maybe just 
the acoustic of Piazza del Duomo did not help, and the sound sometimes came 
out a bit muddy, at least for the front rows, and quite distant in the back, as 
usual for this blues festival. Anyway, what struck me was Bob's cheerful mood: 
during Just Like a Woman he not only let the crowd sing at his place during the 
chorus, he also directed it with little signs of his hands as he does with his band. 
Also, he was clearly having fun at the crowd singing. During the encores, 
especially LARS, he turned many times towards the front rows, a gesture that 
fans saluted with incredible screaming, another thing that seemed to work like 
a huge turn on, pushing him to do it more and more, grinning and almost 
laughing. The night after in Rome it was a different matter, with an all seated 
crowd in a small and beautiful arena. Bob worked out a fantastic setlist, including
a great rendition of New Morning, Tom Thumb's Blues, Forever Young and 
Visions of Johanna, all heartfelt and sung with great care. All in all a wonderful 
concert, just lacking the interaction with the public that happened the night 
before. Third night in Paestum combined the best of both shows, sorting out
a real gem, something to remember and treasure for times to come. Maybe it 
was the beautiful setting: a small amphitheatre for no more than 3000 people, 
with the ancient temples beyond the stage, and the trees changing with the 
stagelights, going from green to violet, to red, to blue and then green again. 
Maybe it was the crowd, with the casual fans seated in the back, and the 
hardcore ones in the front rows, surrounded by many youngsters coming from 
the surroundings, less snotty and preconceived  than the people from big cities 
(and thankfully careless of what stupid music "journalists" write about Bob on 
many Italian newspapers), and ready to go wild and rock along with Bob and 
his band. Maybe it was the summer breeze, fresh and dry after a sunny day. 
Or maybe it was all these reasons plus something only Bob knows: anyway, he 
started with  solid versions of Maggie's Farm, The Times and Tweedles, all very 
well sung, Bob smiling, shaking and moving way more than usual. Then a 
wonderful Mr Tambourine Man, the first incredible highlight in a night where 
each and every song sounded great, his sense of timing on this one incredible. 
I won't comment about all the songs. Just Like a Woman saw the same scene 
as seen in Pistoia; Desolation Row, which many of us were expecting, as we 
had heard the band performing it during the soundcheck, started slowly and 
then grew with an intensity almost chilling. Same for Every Grain of Sand, 
tender and moving. All along the show, Bob maintained the same cheerful 
mood, guiding the band with gestures and looks, playing in his own unique 
way with an ecstatic crowd. On Summer Days you could tell why he keeps 
performing it almost every night: he clearly has a ball singing this number, and 
as long as it works this way for him, I'm happy he's doing it. The encores 
concluded the gig as usual, but with a shared opinion we had really witnessed 
Bob at his best. Which, of course, means the art of music at its best.



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