August 21, 2007
Review by Maris Sayner
Well, the Bob Dylan circus swung quietly into Adelaide after a four year hiatus,
and the evening was shall we say, interesting. The crowd were colourful and
enthusiastic and a great cross section of ages, which must say something of
the draw of our man Dylan to the young, or at least those under 35 years.
Not looking to pull the concert apart like a pizza after an all night binge on
Chianti and Marlboro's, there were a couple of things that became rather
evident, rather early in the night. This was going to be a loud concert. While
Dylan was more than audible in the mix, the sound level was often quite
overwhelming, which left Dylan with very little option than to just bark out
the lyrics like a spitfire on Viagra. It was also quite apparent to me that Bob
seemed to be meandering his way through a few of these songs with very
little attention to the detail of the lyrics. Many a song in the first six were
mangled a little with miscalculation, misspeak and mumbling. To be balanced,
some moments were very good. Frankly, it took me some time to feel any
intimacy with the singer. I should say that I use this term advisedly as really,
Dylan made no attempt to sing at all, all evening, and when it appeared he
might be willing to put himself out there on the cusp, the music was either
too overblown that he couldn't compete or he quickly pulled back.
To the songs themselves, Cat's in The Well is a favourite of mine from a
favourite album. Rather a good way to start a concert in my opinion. Get's
the blood flowing and it's a way for the band to loosen up. Dylan did a fairly
reasonable job with this one. Lay Lady Lay caught me a little by surprise in
the #2 slot, not so much for it's appearance, but for it's juxtaposition to the
opener. It was fondly received by a good deal of the audience, and set the
tone of Dylan being a narrator of his songs for the evening, rather than a
singer of them. You Ain't Goin Nowhere was a tasty delight and gave me
enthusiasm for what might be to come. Whether many people in the
gathering could relate to this song was one matter, but Dylan did it great
justice before becoming lost in the fairground country mire that was the
We seemed to hit a bit of a lull in the show at this point. A brief one albeit.
The band maintained a good edge in terms of what had come before, but
Dylan seemed to lose his way momentarily. It's Alright Ma was a little clumsy
for my liking, and Levee's Gonna Break seemed a bit of a low burner to start
with. Then, it was if Dylan snapped into a wildy different zone. The end of
Levee's Gonna break was awesome, the music having a real suitability to the
delivery of the words. This was a real highlight.
Not realising that the performance of Beyond The Horizon was a "first live"
possibly dimmed my excitement of this next track. Dylan worked the lyrics
over quite well in parts, but again, for a song so rich in sentiment and imagery,
it came across as rather trite. Things Have Changed a was real clanger, the
huge disappointment of the night. Bob ran through this piece as if he had an
urgent phone call to make backstage and the contorted upsinging at the
end of each line just became to much to deal with. The worst of it was that
this seemed to be the element of the performance he was most concerned
to get right. A fizzer in a tall glass with ice!
Cry A While began as if it was going to be Lonesome Day Blues which is often
the tease with Dylan live shows. The performance was solid though I somehow
wish he'd performed the former song. Any lingering disappointment at this
faded with what was probably the best song of the night, Workingman's Blues.
Truly a wonderful song and one that Bob was determined to do justice to. It
may have been this song or another from Modern Times where Bob seemed to
be throwing in improvised lyrics. At one point I quite distinctly remember him
phrasing something along the lines of "you don't wanna hear the whole story,
it'll make you weep". Strange days indeed.
Highway 61 was a great crowd pleaser, as were most of the songs that
concluded the main set. John Brown was an interesting surprise and had strong
wistful bite to it, as did Summer Days, which jammed along almost sinisterly. It's
worthy to point out that whilst I have no qualm with this band's ability to jam as
such, much of the lead/main guitar soloing during the evening was dull,
contrived, and almost a bit basic. It really left me a bit flat that a band could
play together so well, yet when individual members were asked to go out on
their own, it turned rather anti-climactical.
Blowin' In The Wind was the pick of the encores and probably kept people in
their seats right up until closing time. All in all, a fairly average to good show.
Perhaps a few more highlights might have aided my overall impression. Thanks
to the kind lady sitting next to me who lent me her binoculars to watch the
"formation" at the end of the show. One feels that Dylan has certainly lost
the steam of a few years back. The temperance in energy level even from
when I saw him in 2001 is marked. Even Al Santos sounded a bit beleaguered.
All things being equal, it was the first chance for my brother to see Dylan and
this was a nice point in itself.
Review by Mike Williss
Dylan performed here last night to mixed reviews.
I got my money’s worth.
A Murdoch journalist wrote a really glowing review, emphasising the
blues-iness of the material; callers to morning talk-back radio criticised the
quality of the sound and of Dylan’s singing, but generally conceded that
the band was spot on.
Perhaps some people still expect to see a lone man and an acoustic guitar
singing "Blowin' In The Wind" just like it is on the record. But Dylan's
never been one to accept conventions, particularly those he creates
The Entertainment Centre is a fairly hard and soulless place and music
there can sound thin, like a CD does compared to vinyl, but I thought
Dylan rose to the occasion really well.
The set selection was superb and included the first public performance of
"Beyond the Horizon"; overall a great balance between old and recent
People say Dylan doesn't communicate with his audience, but it's all in the
songs, in his phrasing and delivery. For an audience in a country still
engaged in the US crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan, how appropriate was
the singing of both "John Brown" and "Masters of War"! The growl that is
Dylan’s voice now delivered these with a greater ferociousness and
intensity than the originals.
Dylan started on electric guitar for the openers: “Cat’s in the Well”, “Lay,
Lady, Lay”, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only
In addition to “Beyond the Horizon”, performances from the most recent
CD Modern Times included "The Levee’s Gonna Break", "Workingman’s
Blues #2", "Ain’t Talkin’", and "Thunder on the Mountain".
Others from Dylan’s more recent work were "Things Have Changed", "Cry
a While" and "Summer Days".
The groove that Dylan got into with his harmonica solo at the end of "I
Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)" was just so cool
that Tony Garnier, loyal lieutenant on bass for over a decade, broke out
into an ear to ear grin, and he and Recile on drums had their own private
smiles at the conspiracy to introduce "Blowin' In The Wind" in a way that
caught everybody completely off guard.
Now I’ve just gotta start saving the pennies for the next time he’s out
here – possibly when he cracks six score years and ten.
Review by Peter Armstrong
this show had a different look and feel to the last three tours. the
stage looked more balanced and Bob on keyboards was more central &
upfront. much better view. also the keyboards were initially at 90
degrees to stage front but moved about half way through so Bob was at
least partly facing the audience. he seemed more animated, more relaxed,
smiling more, a bit more interaction with the audience. i used binoculars
a few times - he looked younger & less grouchy than in recent pics. at
the end, with house lights on and Bob upfront acknowledging the audience
i could see the young bob in his face.
i felt the audience was quieter than usual, there wasn't mass
standing up, even during the "encores", and we had a good view
throughout. there were a few people standing at the stage, but they only
let the first 3 rows stand up against the stage (standard house rules?)
and this time they enforced it. i guess that one person in the 4th row
who starts the standing wasn't there last night.
standouts (would have paid just to hear these)
blowing in the wind
Cat's in the well (i was glad this was the opener instead of rainy
day women which i'm a bit sick of live)
you ain't going nowhere
it's alright ma (different again)
beyond the horizon
highway 61 - really good new version, more funky than hard rock
i don't believe you (thought back to the first time i saw him doing this
one 41 YEARS AGO!!!) masters of war (another drastic reworking - growled &
spat out the words) thunder (although not quite a dramatic as i expected)
could have done without
lay lady lay - haven't really liked any of his live renditions of
this one and i thought his singing on this one was just plain awful
nettie moore. but it was great to hear Beyond the Horizon instead. i
didn't realize until i got home & looked at the setlist on line that he
had never done Horizon live before. he has started giving the MT tracks
new arrangements, all of them were great and got good audience response
expecting the last song to be either Rolling stone or Watchtower. i had
decided beforehand i'd probably prefer to hear the latter. was completely
thrown when Blowing in the Wind started. a beautiful slowish and long
musical intro, no idea what song it was, a bit puzzled, until "how many
roads...." - yet another totally new arrangement
i thought his voice was fine - i felt he was in control (apart from lay
lady), and there were touches of resonance, richness, the higher pitch
where appropriate. enjoyed the harmonica too, seemed more mellow &
harmonious, not as strident as it sometimes is - he didn't use the rack,
just picked them up as he used them, and held them with one hand. and
Oscar was more clearly in view than in the last couple of tours
Review by Sam Kelton
ONCE upon a time he dressed so fine and last night the master of folk
threw Adelaide a dime proving to his critics that he is not yet beyond his
prime. Supported by Irish folk group The Frames who showed the future of
folk music is in capable hands, the tightly packed Entertainment Centre
eagerly awaited the arrival of Bob Dylan. There were no flashy lights nor
extravagant stage show, just a great songwriter taking to the stage with a
more than exceptional backing band. Getting straight down to business
Dylan began with "Cat's In The Well" before sending vivid memories flowing
through every beat-nicks hazy memory with a memorable performance of "Lay
Lady Lay". From then on the five-piece band jived along the blues highway
with Dylan's voice as the prime mover showing no signs of slowing down. A
tight unit all evening the band did at times let their hair down to
extended jams with Dylan's signature harmonica resonating throughout
Hindmarsh much to the crowd's delight. "The Levee's Gonna Break" "Summer
Days" and a barely recognizable "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" made
sure the crowd were both intrigued and entertained. Last night that stage
in the Entertainment Centre could have been the stage of any blues bar in
the America's Deep South. It was the mere presence of Dylan that set this
act apart, with the crowd being witness to a blues jam many bands would
envy and a front man all must admire. Primarily situated behind his
keyboard Dylan at times jived along to the blues soaked bass-lines
reminding us all that this is a man who has danced with the devil many
times in the past. In his wide brimmed, straight edged hat, Dylan seemed
somewhat removed from the large audience which seemed partly due to his
dedication to the band surrounding him, not lack of interest. As the light
dimmed the crowd eagerly awaited the masters choice of encore and as Dylan
introduced the band (his first non-singing dialogue of the evening) For
the final act he chose a twelve bar blues rendition of "Blowing in the
Wind" which seemed to blow right past the Adelaide audience for quite a
few bars, only to give way in the second verse. His voice may be a little
rusty but in turn I must direct some of the blame towards the sound of the
venue with Dylan's voice clearly too powerful at the beginning of the
night. Adelaide, last night we witnessed a great poet, a brilliant
songwriter, a fabulous musician and well - a capable singer.
Review by Dennis Linard
"If you're looking for volume (for it hides a multitude of sins) then you
won't get it from Bob. His concerts are at a volume you can hear all the
players clearly and Bob's voice soars above it all. He has plenty to say
in his songs and he wants you to hear his words. And what words they are!
There are no better anywhere in music.
If you're looking faithful re-presentation (since it's easier to just do
cover versions of your own songs) then you won't get it from Bob. He
reinvents the songs. He keeps them alive. He makes them relevant. No-one
else in music has that kind of courage and yet he still gets criticised
for it. After all these years you'd think people would have learnt the one
lesson Bob has always been teaching: never to have expectations. Be
excited, sure, but don't expect anything.
The latest Bob incarnation is extraordinary. He found his muse again in
the early 90s and his last 16 years have been almost flawless. To hear
what he and his cowboy band are grooving out there is something to behold.
There are no egos. Every one of those gentlemen play a part in this
organic, intricate, functioning, rockin' beast and it is an honour to have
been part of the experience.
The best way to experience a Bob show is to challenge yourself with
trying to recognise the song as quickly as possible and then let the
song just wash over you. Enjoy it for what it is and not be annoyed for
what it is not. After all, Bob did say recently that his records are just
blueprints and very few have definitive versions of his songs on them.
I am thrilled with having seen Bob 7 times (my first Bob concert in
Adelaide in 1986), including twice this time round having been to the
extraordinary 17 August 2007 Melbourne show at Rod Laver Arena as well as
last night's. To think he only repeated 6 of the 17 we heard Friday night
(we heard John Brown twice!!) just shows how dynamic these concerts are.
The only thing I regret is not being a wealthy man so I can attend more of
his concerts, but having grown up on Dylan has made me a very rich man
Review by Wayne Stidston
I left for the concert after picking up the tickets from my brother in law
. He had a hip replacement 8 weeks ago and still things haven't healed so
one of the three tickets he gave away. A bummer as we've been to every
Dylan concert in Adelaide since the 1978 show.
When we arrived a lovely lady I work with who works at the entertainment
centre ( two jobs , a bit like the guy from the carny) got us transferred
to great seats at the front of the balcony looking straight down at Bob.
The Frames were not my thing but the lead singer seemed like a good guy
and applause was enthusiastic after each number. He borrowed a couple of
lines from "When I paint my masterpiece" in the last song which was quite
Bob started with Cats in the Well. It was OK. I always think he needs a
number like this to warm up. It was clear from this song that Bob was in a
good mood. The audience were interesting. Not too many aging hippies. Many
seemed quite young and well dressed keen to see Bob before he hangs up his
Lay Lady Lay tested Bob's now limited vocal range but it was cool. Heaps
of energy and the band were sharp (as they were all night). He still
captured the essence of the song with its "big brass bed" feel.
At this stage I was writing down the songs on a piece of paper. I've
always thought I,d send in the set list to Bob Links but forgot you needed
a pen light so my list was fairly garbled. Lucky some sharper operators
had already sent through the information..
The other thing which was a plus was unlike 3 years ago Bob had a
smaller keyboard arrangement and he could clearly be seen near the
centre stage (to the right). This meant the audience could see from his
movements how much he was into his performances, especially the more rocky
numbers. In the case of the slower tracks it wouldn't matter if Bob was
standing parade ground still as he still sings these songs as no one else
ever could or will.
Anyway You Ain't Goin Nowhere was a real treat and one of the two songs
Bob could have been said to have sung. Summer Days was the other one and
whilst it isn't my favourite track it was done with enthusiasm by Bob and
the Band. It must be said the younger "fans" love this one so Bob is being
fair to all by keeping it in the spotlight.
Its Alright Ma was a pleasant surprise. In fact the set list in Adelaide
(as in the previous show in Melbourne) was great.
The Levees Gonna Break suits Bob current vocal style. Things Have
Changed was another treat. Beyond the Horizon was very polished,
especially so as it had not been done live before. Expect to see this on
more set lists in future methinks.
Cry a While as per The Levees' Gonna Break suits Bob's current vocal
style. He can halff mumble and half spit these songs out because that how
they were meant to be sung. As Bob has said he writes the songs for him to
perform and when he meets his maker he knows many will never be sung
Now Workingman's Blues. What can I say ? Bob opened up on Harp and it was
just a spellbinding rendition of another Dylan classic.
John Brown was John Brown. Hard and without compromise
I Don't Believe was much the same as Manchester but the band once again
extracted every ounce of beauty from the song starting with the long intro
before Bob once again didn't understand.
Ain't Talking' as per Workingman's' Blues worth the money for the
tickets just to hear this song. Somehow I had missed in the recoding how
much Donnie on Violin adds to Modern times. Its funny how much you take
for granted with Bob's work and I think its best to not try to untangle it
too much anyway.
This reminds me for the first time since he was here in 1986 with Tom
Petty on the True Confessions tour there was a concert booklet. A fairly
modest thing with some good photos but reasonably priced ($20) and a great
memento of the night.
Summer Days as I mentioned saw Bob in great singing voice. He played
Masters last time he was in Adelaide but as the war rages in Iraq it was
still relevant and an appropriate no 15.
The encore Thunder on the Mountain and then a heartfelt rendering of
Blowin' in the Wind culminated just another night on the Road for Bob but
another enduring memory for his Adelaide audience.
Lets hope his voice holds and he gets here one more time. In three years
he'll only be 69 !!!
Good one BOB !!! Honest as always.
Review by Bill
Lots of Baby boomers, plenty of parents with their teenage kids, and a few
old farts and tarts. Plenty of tie-dye, bandanas, and 60's/70's attire
Dressed as a riverboat gambler, white hat and red cravat. Didn't say
anything to the audience, except to introduce the band (by name,
instrument and geography) after the first song of the encore. Played the
first 2 songs on guitar and spent the rest of the evening on the
organ/keyboard. At one stage, during You Ain't Talking (I think), he was
grooving away at the piano, and may have actually danced! Yes, if that's
what facing the audience and wiggling your hips is.
WOW! They were great, and Bob was great with them. Rockin', tight, free,
relaxed and obviously having a good time. Band all dressed in charcoal
suits and black hats. Produced a great sound, although there has been a
fair bit of talk back radio today bagging the sound mixing. Maybe I'm not
that good at judging good mixing, but when you go to Bob you never know
what you're going to get.
Hmmm, pretty ordinary for the first couple of songs, but seemed to get
better as the night went on, especially John Brown and Highway 61. You
obviously need to know the words to be able to get a handle on what he's
singing. Is it fair to assume his voice is shot? He did lots of phrasing
of lyrics that allowed him to speak the lyrics, rather than sing them all
the time. but his voice conveyed the unmistakable message strongly in John
Brown, Masters of War, and Blowin in the Wind. (Love the way songs are
relevant from generation to generation
Good selection. A lot of the older songs were so 'recomposed' and the
phrasing was so 'unstudio' some were almost unrecognisable (Lay lady lay).
Most of the recent songs off Modern Times retain more of a recorded feel.
This to me was the absolute highlight. Awesome, not raspy, loud or
discordant. He might of got it out 5 or 6 times and each time it
was...sweet, melded with the music, soft, tuneful, passionate, yet still
hypnotic. Never heard him play it so well. And often 1-handed while
playing the organ. Man, it was awesome. Just seemed to fit so well.
A very good concert. Well worth the hard earned. 8 out of 10, even though
the voice wasn't great. And didn't play many of my favourites. Cheers Bill
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