August 13, 2007
Review by Jock McNamara
I arrived home from a 4 hour drive to and from the concert to check the
website for a review of last nights concert, aware that there may be mixed
reviews of the brisbane concert, but to my surprise there was none at all.
I thought this is typical of Queensland, so being from just below the
border, thought it my duty to inform the awaiting fans from the fairer
states to provide a non clinical review from the heart where great music
lives. Comments like "great band, pity about the singer" could have been
the order of the night when Bob started up as those expecting to hear the
old high pitched nasal Dylan instead heard a deeper rasping bluesy sound
with many of the words hard to pick up. But to the credit of the band,
Bob and the crowd something clicked and we were entranced throughout.
Dylan's newer songs were a better fit for the voice but the new
arrangements of "Tangled Up in Blue" and "All Along The Watchtower" in
particular were a real blowout for everyone. Dylan moved to the keyboard
early in the set and looked and sounded extremely comfortable from then
on. The band moved comfortably from blues to swingy jazz and even country
and then to hard driving rock without missing a beat and Dylan's voice
fitted in throughout, sometimes just as an instrument when the words were
indecipherable. The bassist, the drummer and the guitarist were absolute
standouts and I would love to see them again just to take in the quality
and invention of their performances. A couple of other observations and
curiosities, something not unusual for Dylan: - the Oscar on the stage?,
and playing the keyboard facing left?, denying those to the right of the
stage a decent front on view of him. Final observation - this concert
deserves a venue, possibly outdoors, where people feel free to get to
their feet and move to the beat. Come on Bob, how about it?
Review by Benjamin Myers
Bob Dylan’s concert here in Brisbane last night was a revelation, a miracle.
With his eyes glistening beneath a white Spanish hat, Dylan conjured up
images of a younger self, of that wildly anarchic Bob Dylan of the 1970s’
Rolling Thunder Revue. And he performed here with comparable energy
and intensity (albeit with greater control), reshaping and transfiguring
some of his greatest songs.
The song and dance man was in fine form, and he was clearly enjoying
himself. He was playful and exuberant in “Tangled Up in Blue.” He
erupted into a raw and piercing harmonica solo in “Ballad of a Thin Man.”
His interpretations of “Lay, Lady, Lay,” “When the Deal Goes Down,”
and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” were marked by subtle
tenderness and exquisite longing. And his haunting delivery of “Nettie
Moore” was almost overwhelming in its spare intensity – I couldn’t look,
I had to close my eyes, as Dylan evoked his darkly luminous vision of a
“world … gone black before my eyes.” In all this, I was above all
impressed with a sense of how much Dylan cares about these songs –
he is not their master but their servant, and night after night he
lovingly places himself at their disposal.
But the greatest moments of the evening were the electrifying
performance of “Highway 61 Revisited” and the explosive re-creation of
the 2001 song “High Water.” The power of this latter performance was
best summed up in Dylan’s own fierce growl, “I can write you poems,
make a strong man lose his mind.”
If you didn’t feel this threat – the risk that you might “lose your mind”
in the furnace of Bob Dylan’s creative intensity – then you simply
weren’t paying attention.
Review by Minh McCloy
Magnificently unfamiliar arrangements of songs from deep bobtime - It
Ain't Me Babe - with Bob on electric guitar - for example. So difficult
to sing along with so you listen and hear it again for the first time.
Same same Lay Lady Lay.
Bob & his band really did Charlie Patton proud last night. High Water (for
Charlie Patton), coming as it does from almost present bobtime , & being a
song that grabbed me by the sensibilities on first hearing, was a
suitable cause for celebration even if Charles Darwin is still trapped out
on Highway 5 neither dead nor alive. Visceral. High Water after a Hard
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol? Hold still & listen. You could hear
the grief & anger that drove the creation of this early masterpiece.
Highway 61 Revisited?
This is as good a place as any to give the grumps. Nothing to do with Bob
as such. The venue has the most appalling acoustics. This is a given yet
the mixing was done from a box off to one side of the stage. Other Bob
events at the same venue have had the mixing done from the floor &
compensation for the distorts & proper balancing could be & was done. More
of that please. Note to managers/organisers - There is an open air venue
on the other side of town - used by the Stones & lots of others. - please
That said Hi 61 Rev was thrilling. It is just that at Ballina - small
outdoor venue - a few years ago it verged on the transcendent. Last night
would have matched this - had not the acoustics & management of the
acoustical been unequal to requirements.
Bob's harp playing was scrumptious - Tangled Up In Blue mmmm Bob - harp
Summer Days - Bob & the lads just went OFFF - great fun.
Ballad of a thin Man- more from deep bobtime - more close listening -
(acoustics permitting) - more new from the old.
Back for the two encores - satisfying, accessible yet still carrying their
And Bob brought the band to the front of the stage.
Review by Glenn Henry
We got the good Zimmerman tonight, folks!
This was my fifth Dylan concert - all in Brisbane (1986, 1998, 2001, 2003)
and tonight's show was as good as any, and maybe the best. Way, way
better than 4 years ago. Bob and the band rocked hard, the musicianship
was inspirational, and Bob was in fine voice as he smiled, shook his butt,
and got into the songs. He connected with the crowd - something he
doesn't do as much these days. All the songs were instantly recognisable,
yet the l atest arrangements added new layers to the classics, both new and old.
About 10000 people attended tonight, it was 80% of a full house. Most
were aged in their fifties and higher, but plenty of young people probably
seeing Bob for the first time.
My only quibble tonight is with the prices - parking, food, T-shirts etc
were all overpriced, but maybe I'm just poor.
Irish band The Frames kicked things off at 7.30 and performed an
interesting 40 minute set. They seemed unsure of themselves at first,
seeming competent at best, and had some technical problems. The first
3 or 4 songs were like an Irish version of Coldplay, which is the last thing
we need. But then they hit a groove on the last few songs, and rocked
some quirky arrangements. They won't become superstars, but could have
been if they were around 25 years ago, like another Irish band.
Only a short break and Bob was on stage at 8.30 in his suit and white hat.
On Fender Strat he shook his leg Elvis-like to Cats
in the Well, from his most under-rated album (apart from Street Legal)
Under the Red Sky. A fantastic arrangement of It Ain't
Me Babe set the tone for the evening, Bob singing loud and clear. His
guitar work was rudimentary and all solos were left to
the brilliant Denny Freeman. George Recile's drumming was especially great
tonight. This is the best and most versatile
band Bob has had in a long time. The crowd really got into Just Like Tom
Thumbs Blues and Lay Lady Lay, before Bob moved from guitar to organ.
Bob's organ playing was a revelation. His piano 4 years ago was woeful and
always off-key, but tonight he played that organ like nothing I've heard
fore. He could hold his place in any band.
Bob only picked up the harp a few times for some
short solos, I wish there had been a bit more harp playing.
Great versions of all songs continued - especially those from Love and
Theft (2001) and Modern Times (2006). Even though
the 8 songs Bob played from those two albums are quite new, the band
departed from the recorded versions and especially
used dynamics of volume, rhythm and tempo. In every case, it only made the
songs better, as Bob snarled, spoke then sang
the lyrics. Bob Zimmerman is only Bob Dylan when he wants to be, he loves
morphing his current singing limitations into
Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra, Howling Wolf and Eminem, with a bit of
Ornette Coleman on the keyboards.
Standouts included Tangled up in Blue and Nettie Moore. With Ballad of a
Thin Man, Bob left the stage and the crowd
erupted. Everyone was on their feet boogieing to All Along the Watchtower
- the best version I have heard. Then Bob bid us
Looking every bit of his 66 years, this could be Bob's last visit here.
Thanks Bob for entertaining us tonight, keep Painting
Glenn Henry (mightyquinn61), Brisbane
Review by Brett Hay
Bob took the stage at 8:30 precisely with little fanfare. It's dark and
black...and all of a sudden the band rips into "Cat's in the Well".
Dylan's in a dark suit and grey hat; dressed like a Spanish bullfighter,
as I"ve read one reviewer elsewhere say. I had purposely not checked
too many previous set lists; I just wanted to enjoy the show on its
merits, and the opener took me a little by surprise. A great start and
the band was tight throughout. Very heavy towards the last 2 albums of
the 2000's, but, hey, the crowd should have expected something like
that, right? "When the Deal Goes Down" was brilliant, "Hattie Carroll"
was unexpected, but "Tangled Up in Blue" blew me away. I hung on every
word, every change, listening to the story develop and grow. Some
terrific harp work finished off a classic. The two encores were nothing
short of live performance perfection; if any young bands want to know
how to rock, they should have been there for "All Along the
watchtower"; out and out power, raw rock and roll, loud and heavy.
It's interesting to watch the Dylan crowd as everybody gathers before
the show. probably skewed a little towards an "older demographic"
overall, but everybody was there; baby boomer couples,
twenty-somethings, Dads with older kids, Dads with 10 tear olds,
revolutionary students, middle aged dudes with pig-tails, doctors,
artists, teachers, the whole gambit. Dylan's poetry is ageless.
What a night! Worth every bit of 120 bucks for the ticket and a two and
a half hour each way drive. This is my fourth Dylan gig at the BEC;
it's just a shame that the venue is like a big rectangular barn, but how
often do we really get the opportunity to see and hear a living legend?
Was the best, is the best, will always be the best.
Review by Michael Willys
Amazing! Only word I can think of to describe Bob's performance last
I haven't seen Bob since 2000 (Frankfurt Jahrhunderthalle) and honestly I
was not expecting too much from the show last night. I have listened to
some of the recordings of recent shows and I can't really appreciate the
music due to the quality of the recordings themselves.
For me, it's simply an honour and pleasure just to see Bob and be at a Bob
show. Really, I honestly don't care if the music is good or not. To me
it's always good!
But in any case my fears were unfounded as Bob and the band were great.
Bob's voice is NOT croaky at all but firm, deep, soft, and sweet. He hit
some beautiful high notes in SOTW. I could not believe how well he sang. A
group of us did the customary NO when Bobs asks the 2 questions in that
Hattie Carroll!! Oh my goodness! I reveled in the setlist and could not
have asked for anything better.
Tangled Up in Blue was fantastic. Some new line about Atlanta and "Why
don't you just stay here" in the verse where he meets the girl in the
Bob did the first few songs with guitar then slipped over onto the
organ. I loved the sound that the organ made. Bob is so cool! Does a
harmonica solo with 1 hand and plays a chord on the organ with the
A great Watchtower to close the show....quite funny seeing the JW's had
their big annual convention in the concert centre that finished up just
the day before! I bet Bob did not realize that! Ha ha!
I am off to Melbourne on Friday to see the next installment.
If there are any Aussies reading this who are still undecided about
attending the shows, stop pissing about and go and buy a ticket. Don't
even think about it- just do it!!.
Don't you dare miss it.
BTW the support act The Frames were pretty good. They took some friendly
heckling in their stride. They started doing a cover of Caravan, Van's
song from the Last Waltz. Someone from the audience shouted out "You're
not Robbie Roberston". After the song the singer asked the audience guy
what he said and when he heard it repeated he said "And I take that as a
Review by Luke The Drifter
I cant believe the review that said 'bobs guitar playing was
rudimentary!?! Bob's solos in tom thumbs blues shifted the ground beneath
me! by the time he got to the last verse i didnt even know what the words
were, what song is this? where am I? Who am I? Bob is a fantastic
guitarist. obtuse, perverted, but divinely inspired. everything his
harmonica playing used to be. Bob & the band were nailing a very smokey,
funky groove from the start. nothin country about this show, it was all
chicago. Bobs keyboard playing is cool. very quirky. but it doesnt lift me
the way his guitar playing does. at least it could be heard in the mix in
Brisbane. His voice was croaky phlegmy, but definately not a whisper.
quite full and soaring in places. Cheeky vocal phrasing throughout. very
playful on Tangled & I think Lay Lady Lay. Changed lyrics in Tangled:
stopped in for a beer,
was on my way to atlanta,
she said no you gonna stay right here....
....crowd thinned out,
i's about to do the same,
standing ther beside my chair
said dont forget I know your name,
I said 'No Ya Dont!'
& He then descended into laughter with Tony, falling across the keyboard,
just straightening up to finish the verse.
The arrangement of High Water was breathtaking. Is This new? I havent been
following news lately... It was dark and menacing. quite political in my
mind... & hattie carrol was gorgeous! first time I have heard this live &
it recieved all the majesty it deserves.
The rest of the set seemed heavy on 12 bar raveups to me, Bob obviously
has a lot of fun but personally my mind tends to go blank through highway
All in all it was a fantastic show, I only wish I could afford to follow
him across the country like i did in 2001, but hey, maybe next tour.
Review by Dave Kennerley
I listened to my first Dylan album 43 years ago - as a sixteen year old.
Last night I took my 16 year old son - a talented musician himself - and
passed on the faith. Dylan was Dylan - never been anything else. This
isn't a musician who will stand up there and run through the repertoire of
favourites to please an audience. He's still teaching us to listen. Dylan
is still -literally - making music - great, great music. And this band
makes the best music I've ever heard backing Bob. I include "The Band" in
that. Everyone in this team is a superb, talented musician.
Sure, some of it was a bit "Guess the Song / Spot the Tune" - but that's
the fun of a Dylan concert. And he's entitled to sing 'em to any tune he
likes. If you want to hear them the way they are on the albums, get out
the vinyl. There were a few who complained as usual and sure, it was a
crap venue and the singer's mic was badly set up and no-one fixed it but
despite that Dylan came over as the master he is. I'd like him to come
back one summer and do an Aussie evening, outdoor gig. In the end, it
would have been insane to pass up a chance to listen to one of the
greatest poets of the twentieth century, one of its finest musicians and
one of its most creative thinkers - and it's all the same guy. Can't sing?
It depends what you mean by "sing" - there are moments in the Dylan canon
that contain the most moving lines in modern music - rendered by the only
singer capable of delivering them. Honoured to be there. Thank you, Bob.
Byron Bay, NSW
Review by Andrew Paltridge
Having been a fan of RZ for over 20 years (I am only 40 now!) I would like
to add a comment to my first ever Dylan concert last week in Brisbane. I
decided not to see Bob in New Zealand in the late 80's (instead I bought
the boxed 5 album Biography set for the same price...I thought that would
give me longer value....)...Oh pre internet days.... ...Anyway... I had no
money to see Bob the last 2 times in Brisbane, but coughed up the $165 to
see him last week. My word...how good is this guy live... Ok, the first
2-3 songs...well it seemed like he needed to clear his throat, but I have
been used to Bob's voice so no worries for me....the audience in Brisbane
that night was spellbound - I was watching all of them - the 60 year old
Rasta; 20 year old druggie; 50 year old lesbian couple; fat Aussie guy
with his Asian wife (sleeping...yes..true, they were in front of us...)
Back to the concert..Bob was Bob...great versions of old songs and the new
ones too - Watchtower at the end was brilliant....I also loved Tom Thumbs
Blues (but who can't after the "Royal Albert Hall" version) and Hattie
Carroll Loved it - hope to see Mr Zimmerman again...but if this is a one
and only - I will be happy...Bob still has it...
| Click Here
to return to the
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists