August 15, 2007
Review by Nick Miller
It's great having Bob back in Sydney. The pre show discussion focussed on
memories of all the shows enjoyed here since 1978 and what the new (to us)
band members would add to the event.
Following a likeable set from The Frames Bob came on at 8.30 pm to a
packed Entertainment Centre. Two things immediately stood out - the great
sound mix (with Bob's deep voice highlighted) along with his huge hat!
Cat's in the Well got the crowd going and was followed by a reworked and
rewarding Times. We were treated to great renditions of a few early 70s
songs in Watching the River Flow and When I Paint my Masterpiece. The four
songs off Modern Times were all handled extremely well by the band -
Workingman's Blues and Nettie Moore especially good. Throughout the night
Bob was in great voice and seemed to be having fun, as was the crowd.
Highlights were A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall and Masters of War - both full
of potency and emotion. Also good to hear Tangled up in Blue again - was
that a 20th or 15th century poet?
The standard last two songs and band line up at the front only left us all
wanting more - which thankfully we'll get tonight. I'll be there with my
young daughter Ramona - so hope Bob plays her song.
Compared to 2003 and other recent shows in Sydney there was less variety
in style with no acoustic numbers but the overall feeling was that the
concert was better than in 2003. Just a night of fantastic music - with
both driving rhythms and elegant quieter numbers such as Spirit on the
Water. Thanks Bob and keep bringing it back (to our) home.
Review by Stephen Mills
A terrific concert after a shaky start: "Cats in the Well"?? But with
Watching the River Flow they all got into their rhythm.
“When I Paint my Masterpiece” is just such a superb song and this was
a great version; Dylan repeated the last verse just to show he cares about
it. Ended with him doing a beautiful little guitar riff - then he put down
the axe and moved to the keyboard for the rest of the show. Our terrible
seats (off to the extreme left hand side of the stage) turned out to be
brilliant as he was facing straight at us for all the rest of the show.
Then he takes us way back with Masters Of War - awesome.
Lots of stuff from Modern Times. Nettie Moore is a brilliant heartfelt
song. And Working Mans Blues probably my favourite of the whole night.
(The theatre music playing before the band comes on, while they are still
setting up the stage is Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man - I
wonder if this is Bob's homage to a theme that he then picks up and
provides his own brilliant take on. With all its comments about
contemporary working conditions it actually counts as one of his more
He is a quaint funny little old man, with little man mincing gestures and
stance. Tiny little steps in time with the music. Sometimes on the
keyboard he stands side-on to it like he is riding a horse side-saddle.
Voice - hoarse and deep and only occasionally is he actually singing. With
the chorus of Hard Rain he did not hit one of the notes right, not once,
in about five verses. But he wasn't really trying ...
The band provides brilliant support - the lead guitarist in particular
being outstanding with Mark Knopfler-like melodies and hard driving rock
He does have the Oscar, or an Oscar replica, on stage - as he did last
time here in Sydney. Dunno why.
Review by David Finn
My tickets were good one's, the best I've had at a Dylan concert, (this
was my 5th, my first was in 1992, the previous one in 2001) and there was
a great vibe in the Entertainment Centre last night. I was happy to see
him open with "Cats in the Well"-its a song off "Under the Red Sky" the
first CD I ever bought, and I've always liked that song, it's a funny one,
but about the end of the world, which is a good way to start a Dylan
concert. He then followed up with "The Times-They-Are-A-Changin'"-when I
first became a fan, this song obsessed me, and while it still wouldn't
rank as one of my absolute faves, it still has a place in my heart as my
first "Favorite Bob Song."
It was really good choice of songs, and I think it reflects the strength
of Bob's output since "Time Out of Mind" in 97. That was the album that
put back on the map in a contemporary critical sense-he surprised many,
even his own die-hard fans, by producing a full album that could be judged
as a great album on it's merits alone, not just thru the prism of his
decaying genius, like much of his work post 1980.
The two albums which followed, "Love and Theft" and "Modern Times" (both
of which got 5 stars in Rolling Stone, and "Modern Times" went to #1 on
the US album charts) showcased a looser Dylan, with a swagger and a smirk,
and it's that's side we see in Bob concerts these days. He's actually
quite playful, in his natty white hat, slick suit, and sequined guitar
strap-almost a bit of a cowboy, in his "cowboy band", as he calls it.
"Rollin and Tumblin", "Summer Days", "Spirit on the Mountain", and
especially "Thunder on the Mountain" (the first song on "Modern Times",
where Bob name-checks Alicia Keys!) work beautifully in this context, and
whilst some of those who go to a Dylan concert with only a Greatest Hits
CD under the belts, might wonder what these strange archaic chaotic songs
are, for the true fans, it is a joy to hear these relatively "new" songs
in concert with his excellent band-in a way, they sound so natural and
fresh, so much HIS OWN SOUND, the culmination of a lifetime of work and
craft, it's impossible to recall there was a time in the 80's when Bob
struggled thru a haze of alcohol, writers block, and glitzy
over-production that took him further adrift than any motorcycle crash
Maybe the point is we shouldn't remember anything at all. The myths and
the histories are so blurred people made a good buck trying to adjust the
focus, but they just added to the confusion. There is only now, the songs,
and the singer, always an enigma, just now a more playful one. If you
tried to encompass everything everyone has ever written or said about Bob
Dylan, every myth, every shadowy half-truth, all those pages of column and
comment, you would wind up talking about the Devil or God.
For me, a defining moment in the concert was when he started "It's
Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"-I know the song by heart, even though I
haven't even played it this year. It's one of those you never really
forget. He played it perfectly, his voice so clear, that strange, youthful
fire in him still burning, but in his tone there's a touch of hell-fire
now, as he talks of those flesh-colored Christ’s that glow in the dark,
and the people’s games, that you got to dodge. How did he write songs that
stay so alive, so adaptable to the passing of time and taste, so strong?
How did he make it when so many others fell along the way?
"He that is not busy being born is busy dying".
When Bob said that line and I closed my eyes and almost cried. Because
after all these years, he still brings it all back home. When he and his
band took their final bow, he simply said "Thank you Friend" and flashed a
peace sign, smiling. It was quite touching, and I suddenly knew that the
magic of Bob, which I discovered as a teenager in my mother's record
collection, would never leave me, would always stay. And he wasn’t just
this quasi-mythical entity from the 1960’s, who somehow knew the future,
way back then, when he sung about “Desolation Row”, and the superhuman
crew, and I was stoned and 18, and he was the starry beacon in my hazy
No, for he was here now, vibrant and creative and alive, and my re-found
clarity had not robbed Bob of his power or his hold.
And yes gang, when Bob played "Tangled Up in Blue", he did the version
from everybody's point of view, switching it around like a Robert Altman
movie. It was that kind of a night. Transcendent, in these modern times.
Review by Jim Provencher
Winter in Oz, Dylan down under. I'm an American ex-pat waiting for him
to come on at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, andbookended between a
Swedish Grandmother(w/10 yr old grand-daughter) and a Romanian Couple
Bob's age. I comment, isn't this amazing, but the white-haired Romanian
gentleman who speaks five languages says, No, this is Australia.
Spot on time, as usual these days, Bob morphs out of the darkness to
sudden stagelife, sporting a white parson Neil Young hat(almost an
akubra), black undertaker's coat, and carny pinstriped pants.
It takes him and the soundmixers four or five songs to clean the frogs out
of the wellpipes. Really, the soundmix on the first five songs is
downright disgraceful and that doesn't help Bob's gratoring years' worth
of dirtroad gravel. But then he starts coming on strong and clean with
'Rollin' and Tumblin' and "Til I Fell In Love with You." "Hwy 61" is
tighter and more terrifying than ever, and the band begins to cook. So
Bob continues his tour of song genre--it'll be 17 songs, 17 generic nods.
Crowd's whoop-whooping pleased with 'Nettie Moore' and "Masters of War'
breathes new life into neighsaying. "Summer Days"--now an old concert
standard--has been sharpened and tightened. "Thunder" and "Watchtower'
encores reverberate and sizzle as Bob finds a timbre sheeted in stainless
steel. You beauty!
Lights come up, transported back, we peer at an elderly tired looking
greyhaired man frozen centre stage, ready to take a bow. He pauses for
what seems a pregnant time, reaches for the microphone, and we hang there
expectantly. Then nothing -- just a poignant wan wave from the hand that
made it and he's swallowed into the dark wings again.
Review by Lindsay Ditcham
Firstly, The Frames are a good band. I enjoyed their music and the humble
acknowledgment that we weren't there to to see them. But they could rock
and roll and deserved some acknowledgment themselves.
Bob and the band came on at 8.30. Bob with black suit and white fedora.
The band in black and black hats.
The audio on the first four songs was pretty dreadful. Unintelligible. Simply
over loud and disappointing.When Bob moved to keyboard from the guitar
the audio improved, with him singing some quieter slower songs making it
even better still. I know it takes a few lines sometimes before you can work
out what he's singing but those first four were not good. I'm going again
tonight so I hope they have fixed the problem.
Other than that the show was great. Tremendous versions of Till I Fell in
Love With You, Masters of War, Nettie Moore, Summer Days and Hard Rain
were fantastic. A great mix of very early and recent music. Bob was
enjoying it by the look of things. Almost asking us if " he was too old or
over the hill, we can have a whopping ? good time" was answered by the
audience with NO!! from all sections of the crowd.
Some great harmonica from Bob which everyone loved.
He did the usual 16 or so songs and a two song encore and finished with
Watchtower. This was tremendous. " Two riders were approaching, the
wind began to HOOOOWWWLLL." Fantastic. The greatest lines hearing
them live and loud, I loved it. The crowd was standing at the encore,
many on their seats. The show got better the longer it went.
I can't wait for tonight. Just hope that audio is corrected in the early
part of the show. And no Bob, you're not too old or over the hill and
we all had a rollicking good time. See you next time your down here.
Review by Michael King
As I sat waiting for Bob to weave his magic tonight I noticed 6 people
dotted around me from my small home town of Gloucester 3 hours drive north
of Sydney. Two from just across the street from where I live. How cool is
that? The frames warmed us up with several local references to " The
Castle" a local Oz film. They reckon it an honour to be supporting Bob. We
agreed with applause. The Show. Grumps first. My 4th show but not the
best. Sound was thick and clouded in heavy drum and base so Bob's
articulation of some song lyrics got lost in the mix(not an uncommon
complaint these days) Is there a reason why a mega star, icon like Bob is
shrouded in shadow on stage, so his face is hardly visible from my vantage
point. A fact not helped by the large brimmed hat he wore all night. The
Praise. The set list was a delight. Bob selected selected samples from his
first albums to the last. The only decade not to get representation was
the 80's. Special for me was Tangled up in Blue and When I paint my
masterpeice. At the end of the show as I looked around I saw every age
group represented within a 2 row radius. From the moody teenage
impersonating Bob at Big Pink to the 6 year ols with mum, to the few
gerries like myself. As the large blue eye of God looked down from the
backdrop during the encore I realised that, with Bob's frequency of visits
to Oz that this could be my last concert with bob. Sad! But then I thought
that in 2001 and 2003 to! Hope springs eternal and so it seems does Bob's
Review by Horst Huisman
Just got back from the Sydney show… what a briljant performance (again) it
was. The I don’t know how many’th Dylan show this year (been to all the
spring-shows in Germany, Austria and Netherlands) this one definetely was
best. Maybe it was partly the thrill of being ‘down under’ (I recently
started my new job in Hong Kong so I flew over to Sydney for this
occasion), or maybe it was just Bob being glad to see me again, but
extraordainary it was. A great privilege to see Bob on fire like he was
tonight. Although I’m almost too excited to nail down a decent review
right now, I’ll give it a try anyway. 1 Cat’s in the well – vast, loud.
Still going strong. I love this one because I have cat’s of my own. 2
Chimes of freedom- the first of the few great dissapointments of tonight.
I never liked this song. 3 Letting the river flow – by now this song bores
me to death. It’s a mistake to play it. 4 It’s alright, ma – i liked the
‘European arrangement’ with two electric guitars used much, much better.
It sounds powerless now. I rather not hear it than hear it like this. It’s
like seeing a beautiful lady undress and then discover she’s fat and
disgusting and full of swears. 5 Painting my masterpieces – never heard
this one live. Don’t know what to think of it. I don’t think Americans are
such great painters. There’s this exhibition in Germany (Chemnitz, quite
close to my hometown), paintings by Bob. I haven’t seen it yet but I heard
it was not so good. So why should he play this song if he’s not such a
great painter? I don’t understand this. I don’t mind him being not a great
singer, but painting??? A masterpiece??? Aber nein, also! 6 Rolling the
Tumbling Dice – first of a bunch of sublime songs in a row. Rock and roll
mr. D! Rock and roll!! 7 ???? - Couldn’t make out which song it was.
Sounded crappy. I think it was a mistake between Bob and the band like we
see too many of these days. Maybe from the new album... Which I just
bought last week ‘cause in Germany it costs 20 euro’s and in Hong Kong
bootlegs cost just about nothing really... 8 Because I am in love with you
– i like these BANG BANG BANG chords but the septime right after that is
overdone in my opinion. 9 The hard rain is gonna fall – one of my all time
favorites. I am a WWII-survivor (well not really but I was conceived
during WWII) and as you all know we had some hard rain here during those
awful times. Russian bastards bombing us and all that. 10 Tangled in blue
– just awesome. I couldn’t understand a word he was singing but the
Aussies around me were singing along with him in their hysterical accent
so it must have been me I suppose. 11 Spirit in the water – with so many
great songs at his disposal, why does he keep playing this one each and
every night? Unbelievable. This feels like massive betrayal. I don’t go to
10 shows a year to hear this one over and over again. I would have bought
the album if I liked it that much. 12 From a Buick 6 – a lot of noise. No
melody whatsoever, no solos, B’s voices drowning in the mud. What to say
about this band... I miss Freddy, Charlie, Larry. 13 Netty More – too soft
in my taste. These songs show too obvious that His voice is shot. I repeat
I DON’t like these new songs. He can play them if he wants but without the
singing please! 14 Summer Days – ***yawn*** and this song bores me to
death even more after hearing it for the millionth time the past 6 years.
15 Ballad of Tiananmen – finally a song which was engaged, richly sung,
dripping with sarcasm and hatred towards Chinese authorities. Why doens’t
he play more protest-songs? I am personally sick of all this
ballroom-poppy crooner-shit. 16&17 Encores – did not see them cause I left
ahead of the crowd. Got stuck near the exit though and heard them in the
distance. Must say they sounded great, I now regret missing them.
All in all a magnificent experience once again. Tomorrow I will go see Him
for the last time this year, also here in Sydney, but who knows what will
happen the next year!? Anyhow, Bob, ‘danke schön’ for still being out
there, and also special thanks to L.C. Yearfield and his lovely wife Corro
Salso for their exciting company and explanations during the show, I
enjoyed it very much eventhough our neighbours thought we were too
noisy... Thank you Kangaroo, Australia auf wiedersehen, I love you, please
contact me at, email@example.com
Review by John Stirrat
I'm really trying to be objective here.
I went in with quite low expectations based mostly on what I thought was
a genuinely lacklustre show when I last saw Bob at the same place The
Sydney "People Containment Centre" during his last Tour down this neck
of the woods in 2003.
Cutting to the chase the old codger really blew me away last night!
The old River Boat Gambler looks like he still has a few aces up his sleeve....yet
Easily the best form I've seen him since my very first set of Dylan shows way
back in the 86 Tour with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I'd only rank the
86 shows (the shows I've attended) as better!
He was in very, very good form vocally, actually taking the time to ennunciate
those great words, inventive phrasing and a tangible attitude in his delivery.
Great to see him play the Guitar again.
This current Band - damn good (forget about anomalies like the Amazon.Com
Video footage) this Band has become a tight hard working unit, steeled and
seasoned by the rigours of the Never Ending Tour it may be lacking the
virtuoso's of the calibre of Larry Cambell and Charlie Sexton but they make
up for this in their cohesive approach and of course the rock solid rythm
section of Tony Garnier and George Recelli is still there.
Some great reworkings of the classics but interestingly enough he has already
started to rework Modern Times songs!! Won't say anymore!
The most amazing thing was the Sydney Audience, Australian Concert goers
are legendary in their reticence, arms folded "impress me attitude" last night's
Sydney Audience really got right behind Bob, particularly during a magnificent
version of "Working Man's Blues" and let out a huge roar after the
autobiographicaly defiant verse a couple of song's later during in "Spirit On
"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"
In my 15 Dylan Concerts over 21 years I have never seen a crowd reaction
like last nights for Bob at the end of the encores, twelve and a half thousand
people of the sold out House all on their feet cheering.
Well done and Good Luck to you Bob as you head towards another joint.......
with tomorrow night yet another show and your thirty year memories of the
truck driver from Tupelo.......
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