August 10, 2007
Review by Andrew Mccallum
I don't know what it is about Wellington, but as in 2003 Bob put on
a stellar performance. Maybe it's because Wellington is a city full
of committed musos - who knows? The thing that was different
from Christchurch was that the audience was "on" from before the
show even started, and so Bob was "on" as well. Highlights - Lay Lady Lay
was very seductive. My back Pages was intense with a three note riff on
the harp to close it out. Nettie Moore was beautifully sung and tonights
Ballad of a Thin Man ranked among the great performances of this song
with a committed harp to finish off. Bob was in fine voice and sang very
carefully throughout. Denny was really doing the business tonight and
got 4 or 5 cheers after solos.
It was a great concert. Christchurch was a 5 and half. This was a 10.
Review by Robert
I'm not sure that I went to the same gig as the one reviewed by Andrew
Mccallum. What an appalling night! I'm not blaming Bob for this - I'm
sure he was great and certainly both him and the band put plenty of effort
into the performance and seemed to enjoy themselves. It's the Westpac
Arena that needs to be ashamed of themselves. The sound was excruciating.
The mix was so bad that it was only by track four ('Lady, Lady, Lay) that
I even recognized what the song was! The first three songs were just
muffled nonsense. The venue had mixed Bob's voice in such a way that if he
sang louder than the faintest of vocal the voice would just level out into
one even pitched blur.
The first song in which you could hear any of the great subtleties of
Bob's voice was "When the deal goes down" and that's because the volume of
the band was lower. The same can be said for Nettie Moore. It took 2
minutes before I recognized 'Tangled up in blue" (one of my all time
Probably the highlights were the encores. Maybe this was because it was
then that you realized it was all coming to an end and so he would
unfortunately be gone soon.
Looking around me I could tell plenty felt the same - Ok everyone was in
the presence of 'genius' so gave him the rapturous applause between songs
that you would expect. But during the actual performance many a face
looked around and didn't concentrate in a manner that you would expect if
they could actually hear those sublime lyrics.
So Bob - please come back to Wellington but avoid that venue with a barge
Comments by David Finley
Nice to see Bob playing guitar again, and he was on great form with his
harmonica solos. His singing was the best I'd heard for a few years. Set
list was predictable, but all that aside, a fabulous show, both Bob and
the crowd were in top form. We really appreciated the tribute to our
breezy city when he played 'Blowin In The Wind' as the final encore. Come
back soon Bob, don't be a stranger!
Review by Bill Hester
Where to begin - a visit to Wellington by the most documented, discussed
and dissected musical artist in popular music history.
Bob sang to those at the concert - in his never ending challenge to his
You think I'm over the hill
You think I'm past my prime
Let me see what you got
We can have a whoppin' good time
Life is always a two way street - and live music is no exception.
Bob came to Wellington in his Never Ending Tour (NET) - now in its 20th
year - approaching concert number 2000 later this year. He is
continually changing his set lists, his arrangements, his phrasing and
even the very words of his lyrics – a 66 year old man, but still vital
in his approach to his music. Nearly two hours of solid music – no time
wasted with jokes and flattery to the local audience. The performance
is the art form being presented. And along with his legacy of 500 songs
of lyrical substance, his performances will last as well – with
technology allowing virtually all of his performances to be preserved.
Listeners came to the concert from many directions, and places in their
lives – not just the baby boomers of the Sixties, reliving their past,
but young people too – with ears open in appreciation for the
experience. (The only sad thing to me is that the high cost of tickets
makes it too expensive for many young people to attend these concerts.)
The Wellington concert in 2003 (concert number 1500 of the NET) was the
best of the New Zealand concerts of that year. And expectations were
high for this year. Hard to imagine the box known as TSB Arena ( Queens
Wharf ) being the best arena in the main centres – but it is surely a
better place than either Christchurch or Auckland – and a more
appreciative audience as well.
But to the concert – 17 songs – highlights were “Rollin & Tumblin”,
“When the Deal Goes Down” and especially “Nettie Moore” from the recent
“Modern Times” album. “Nettie Moore” just works so well in concert –
poignant and lovely song. And “Honest With Me” and “My Back Pages” also
sparkled on the evening.
A real special performance was “Ballad of a Thin Man” done so well on
this night – with meaningful harmonica to finish the song.
And – to round off the evening “Blowin in the Wind” – surely a tribute
to Wellington’s glorious winds that night.
And sort of where it all began too – the first commercial recording of a
Dylan song by NZ artists was “Blowing in the Wind”, being played on
Wellington radio in early October 1963 - a single by the local group,
The Folkestone Three. 44 years later Dylan is singing it to us as his
closing song in the concert.
The music of Dylan will not stop here. It was a very good concert.
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