page by Bill Pagel
Review by Antonio Terni
The D'Annunzio theater is a small venue on the southern shore of Pescara.
I suppose it is used mostly for opera and ballet, as it haves a large hole
in front of the stage, about 5 1/2 feet under it's level, big enough to
accomodate the orchestra without covering to the sitting people the view
of the stage. As you can imagine there was no orchestra tonight and so,
apparently on Bob's request, a couple of hundreds of bobcats were allowed
to stand in that hole having a perfect vision of what was going on the
stage without disturbing at all people who wanted to sit through the show.
I think it was absolutely perfect: everybody was allowed to sit or stand
without interferring each other with the usual problems that the two
attitudes normally bring.
Bob was dressed in white tonight, the same dress or very similar to the
one he wore in Ancona last year. It seems that the Adriatic coast inspires Bob
to dress in white.
At the beginning of the show Bob seemed to be distracted by his own
thoughts. If you mistake the words of Tambourine, well your mind is
elsewhere...Sometimes he forgot to put his mouth near the microphone and
this problem went through practically the whole concert. When he began the
first electric triplet he began concentrating more and more, especially
in Long Black Coat which was very good.
I have no doubts, this time: Not Dark Yet was the absolute highlight of
this concert. Bob was totally dedicated and concentrated, he sang it
beautifully, the blue lights behind him turned the stage into an outer
world. I was looking Bob in his eyes while he was singing and chills run
through my spine. I've heard more than a thousand songs live and this song
was comparable, in terms of emotions it gave to me, only to the first
Visions of Johanna I had in 99 in Granada. Jewels that will shine forever
into my memory.....
My back Pages was another highlight, very convincing and full. At this
time Bob was having a very good time and he decided to show it while Blowin':
at the end of each phrase he gave four strong strums on the guitar and he
opened his eyes and put his mouth into a surprised shape as saying : "hey,
listen to this...isn't it great?...how can I do this?...unbelivable
sound,don't you think so?.." it was very funny and it turned Blowin' into
something totally different. The problem was that he didn't know how to
end this song after all those strums and while the rest of the band was well
into the outro he moved his hands desperately through the neck of his
guitar looking for something apropriate. I looked around and everybody
was smiling or laughing and Bob himself made a large smile when he finally
decided to strum himself outside the song.
A very nice concert, the bad vibes of Genova are gone and Bob is back. I
will not go to Anzio and Perugia, so hopefully somebody else will make
reviews. I don't want to invent them!
Review by Michael Farry
The Pescara concert was my first foreign (non-Irish) Dylan concert, the
first time I had seen two Dylan concerts in the same year (Kilkenny the
previous Sunday) so please keep this in mind when reading these
The first thing to be noticed were the differences - Kilkenny had a crowd
of perhaps 25,000 people in a huge sports stadium, Pescara an audience of
2,200 in a small intimate open-air theatre setting. I was in row 11 - the
nearest I've been to Bob ever! The set played in Kilkenny was almost entirely a
pre-crash "Greatest Hits" set which was really enjoyed by the crowd. The
set-list in Pescara was a much better balanced selection from a life's
work and in fact there was an overlap of only five songs.
We spent the afternoon in the vicinity of the stadium, Theatre
D'Annunzio, (named after an Italian poet of the 20th century) and heard part of the
soundcheck including "Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie". I hoped he wouldn't
open with that as he had at Kilkenny but when Bob (all in white) and the band
took the stage dead on time it was the opener - a disappointment. "Mr.
Tambourine Man" followed and I began to fear the worst. It was ragged -
lines were lost and forgotten and it seemed that Bob had no interest.
Things got a little better with "It ain't me, Babe" and by the time the first
electric set began everything was humming.
"Man in the Long Black Coat" was menacing and threatening and Bob's harp
playing on "Mama, You've been on my mind" was crowd pleasing as it had
been in Kilkenny. "Tangled" was a highlight - I know everyone appears to hopes
he doesn't play it but in Pescara he sang it as if for the first time - he
really loves that song and appears to pour a lot into it, or did on this
night. Two songs later another highlight - "Not Dark Yet". (Markus, you
should have been there!) No sense of Bob just going through the motions -
he became part of the song - it part of him. From there on everything went
very well - two more TOOM songs, not my favourites but well performed. The
encore were predictable - "Blowing in the Wind" was sung as an anthem - as if
Bob says " OK if I gotta sing it I'll sing it as it should be sung" or
rather "we'll sing it" as Larry and Charlie joined in on the chorus. The
closing song was "Rainy Day Women" - I had been hoping for something, anything,
else but the crowd loved it.
Was Bob in good humour or not? I don't know. He certainly was annoyed by
something during one of the songs - I though it might have been a broken
string or a badly tuned guitar but it didn't affect the show. He did his
usual rock star gyrations which pleased those in the orchestra pit. No
Ronny Wood here so few smiles, Larry seemed to smile more than anyone else.
Even in Kilkenny with Ronny clowning around the band remained very focussed -
nothing more than smiles. Not a word was spoken apart from the songs, no
thank yous, no band introductions.
We went out into the Italian night delighted that we had made the effort
to see a "foreign Bob show" and thankful to all who had helped get us
Another European tour next year Bob, please!
page by Bill Pagel
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