August 23, 2007
Review by Craig Wainwright
Last night with Bob and his Band in my hometown was for me the tailend of
a fantastic most memorable musical journey for 2007. In March of 07 I was
crossing the United States of America as part of my Round the World
Ticket...and I happened to venture to the 'North Country Fair where the
wind hits heavy on the border line'...to quote a phrase ....quite by
accident actually...as I passed this way....always wanted to visit the
roots of Mr Zimmermans beginnings 'The Graceland of the North Country
Fair'...so I thought why not?..... this was a good opportunity Visited
Duluth and Hibbing ( Minnesota) two magical places...When you walk the
suburbans streets and towncentres of these two places you can almost feel
and sense Dylan lyrics around each corner ..there beginnings at least
....his early childhood and teenage years spent here ..fertile ground for
a then thoughtful perceptive young man....the cold north winds off Lake
Superior that beat upon these mining towns would drive this fertile poetic
mind onward to greater things...and they did ....last night I saw stark
compelling evidence of that. Visited his two Childhood Houses in Duluth
and Hibbing ....took photos... was invited into his previous home in
Hibbing ( by the owner) a lovely guy who invited me to sign his visitors
book. He urged me to visit Hibbing High School and the Auditorium where
Bob played 'Little Richard' at a School concert... a stunning Auditorium
...was taken on short tour by the current music teacher a lovely lady who
showed me a piano that Bob had played on...when he was at the
School....all fascinating stuff. Then it was off to Zimmys Resturant in
Hibbings main street where I spent a few hours talking with a kind
lady....Linda ( one of the inspirations behind Zimmys)....who told me some
nice stories about how the resturant came about and other Stories about
Bob and the Zimmermans...visited the Hibbings Iron Ore Mine...which may or
may not have inspired Subterreanean Homesick Blues..but you couldn't help
but feel it did. I caught up with Bob in Birmingham on 17 April at the
tailend of a magical musical trilogy week ( my three favorite
musicians)...which began with 'Van the Man' Morrison in Cardiff ( 14th)
and then James Taylor in Manchester ( 15th) two fantastic concerts in
smaller more intimate venues. Cardiffs Millenium Centre and Manchesters
Apollo Theatre.... Birminghams Indoor Arena is huge and so the sound was
not so good but Bob was still doing his stuff if only in an inferior
surrounds acoustic wise......But last night in Perth was something
else...Bob was on fire last night and the sound was fantastic..clear and
crisp. I have seen Bob several times in Perth since the Rolling Thunder
Revue back in the eighties and last nights performance ( for me )was right
up there as being one of the best. For the first few numbers his voice was
a bit like gravel but after that it was like the finest of
sandpapers.....clear succinct and full of feeling... ...like sandpaper on
skin you couldn't help but feel the effect of his voice on your heart and
mind when he sang his lyrics full of depth and meaning his voice
complimenting that depth... He might not have the 'lovliest' of voices or
'prettiest' but for me he has one of the greatest voices in music...full
of texture....he knows how to tell a story..... and tell it so well.....
and each time tell it slightly different...by changing words or a change
of inflection in his voice Bobs Band is brilliant They play like Dylan
Sings......it sounds slightly disjointed unorganised... almost free...but
at the same time tight succinct totally in harmony with Bobs disorganised
style of singing.....the end result is an unbelievable musical
experience....you have to be there to understand what I just tried to put
in words..... There were many highlights to this night each song really
was a totally new experience....you sit like a child as though you are
listening to new story for the very first time...but for me...the standout
songs were ...You aint a Goin Nowhere, Spirit on the Water, Tangled Up in
Blue, Summer Days....but the absolute best were Hard Rains A Gonna fall
Aint talkin and Ballad of a Thin Man......sung so beautifully .....
Normally 66 year old men if they are still singing have come OUT OF
retirement and are doing the small venues dragging in the old folk for a
''meal and concert deal'' ...but not this old man....hes still twinkling
his toes....bringing people of all ages The baby boomers of the sixties
and everyone imbetween the baby boomers children.....who have grown up
listening to their Parents music whether they liked to or not ...but who
ended up in the end coming out on this night because they were compelled
to come and witness a STILL relevant musical legend who remains a force in
music whos always shedding another layer of skin...why because he has
stayed true to his roots....and true to his ownself....and for me
....humble....before a greater force in this world...the all seeing eye...
Thanks Bob for a memorable night
Perth Western Australia
Review by Mark O'Mara
The venue is a disgrace. The best seats were temporary and plastic on a flat
surface. The acoustics are awful. Cavernous, bloody barn!
As an opening aside it was interesting listening to Perth radio reviews and talkback
today churning out the same old tired clichés about Dylan and his concerts.
Bloke next to me did not clap once through the entire evening!
Having heard the tapes of the other Australian shows I was looking forward to the
Perth show as Bob's voice was sounding better than earlier in the year. I was
impressed, again, with Bob's commitment to the song and intensity of delivery but
I miss the range in his voice. Due to the deterioration in his voice over the last five
years he doesn't even try for the high notes and more importantly we don't get
the warmth and softness along with the hard edge we expect and love. Tonight
I got very few of those moments. Bob lacks the rhythm in his singing he had up
until about 2002 and that detracted from my enjoyment Maybe the venue had
a bit to do with it but the enjoyment I got from tapes of the other Aussie shows
wasn't there for me tonight. We all love Bob's voice and know what to expect
but I'm not sure we face the fact of its current state. To me it isn't enough just
to write it off as a croaky old voice, its sadder than that.
The setlist was great. Apart from "Rainy Day Women", which is one of the few
Bob songs I don't like, I thought we were lucky to get such a great bunch of
songs. Bob sounded best on "It's Alright, Ma", "Workin Man", "Spirit on the
Water" and surprisingly "Like A Rolling Stone".
Sometimes I wonder what all the fuss is with "Summer Days". Didn't grab me
The players, as expected, were very good. The arrangements in "Ain't Talkin'",
"It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)", "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", Working Man's
Blues" and "Tangled up in Blue" were excellent. However the band at times
meanders through some very simple music, which was dull. The band needs some
grunt and drive to match George Recile on the drums. More solos from Denny
Freeman would be good.
I have plenty of great shows over the years to savour to but this wasn't one of
them for me.
Review by Mal Law
Mr Re-invention!! Every time I see Bob he always surprises me in a
positive way. Not only does he revise his oldies but his phrasing on some
of the newer material was a delight. Intro "Rainy Day Women #12 &
35" was a bit of a struggle audio-wise until the group got used to the
Dome's acoustics. "It Ain't Me, Babe" and "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" got
the Dylan treatment and you could sense some audience members trying to
decipher them. "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" was a real treat with
Bob on keyboards; I'd imagined him 'sitting' at a piano after some of the
other venue reviews I'd read and was therefore delighted to see him
standing and giving his all on the rockin' numbers. A favourite of mine
"The Levee's Gonna Break" was followed by my wife's favourite "Spirit On
The Water" and again his phrasing was so different to the CD. Enjoyed
"Highway 61 Revisited" and "Workingman's Blues #2" and took a little while
to 'remember' "Tangled Up In Blue" (the words of which were being sung
raucously by a guy behind me) who obviously didn't know "Honest With Me"
as he shut up! Another highlight (with Donnie on mandolin) was "A Hard
Rain's A-Gonna Fall" which was performed with gusto (did I just say
that??). "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)" was another
favourite from the past followed by a couple of 'newies' in "Ain't
Talkin'" and "Summer Days" which I particularly enjoyed with Tony on
standup bass, which I think always lends itself to good ol' rock 'n' roll.
I must admit I didn't recognise the final number of the main set "Ballad
Of A Thin Man" but was dumbstruck by its delivery, a great way to end a
concert (I thought). After a standing ovation and much foot-banging and
hand-clapping, Bob and the group came back and blew us all away with my
favourite "Thunder On The Mountain" before giving a stirring finale with
"Like A Rolling Stone". This was another great evening in the presence of
a master at work. I've seen him three times in the past six years and feel
privileged to have been a part of music history. It was a pleasure to see
so many younger folk (some of whom were accompanied by a greying set of
parents!!) in attendance along with us 'oldies'. Come back again soon,
Perth, Western Australia.
Review by Phil Auty
The Perth Casino Dome may be suitable for moto cross or truck racing but
for a Concert of World Class musicians forget it.
From the opening bars of support act Frames it was apparent the sound
men were either back in the sixties and inhaling or the turgid sound was
due to the awful acoustics of the Dome.
When Bob & band came on an expectant buzz went around the arena
consisting of a mixture of grey power and offspring .
Rainy Day Women ..Bob on guitar got off to a cracking start and was a
surprise opening, very tight performance and Bob in good voice
Next 4 songs all Bob on Guitar .
Apart from Not Talking and Summerdays and the 2 song encore all the
other songs were marred by muffled vocals,overtrebly guitars and bass that
was like it was coming from beneath the sea.
Many people were walking out from around us I can only assume it was due
to not being able to hear clearly or the lack of an "experience"
Bob was side on to the audience playing keyboard and very hard to see
Highlights were It aint me babe,You ain't going nowhere,Summerdays,
Thunder on the Mountain
The Dome was supposed to be bulldozed some time ago they made an error
not doing it.
Review by Sean Tanner
My first show since the 2003 Tour. That show was at Claremont Showground
and featured a 12 song set. The 2003 Australian Tour featured Bill
Burnette on guitar and a consistent set list which seemed to be structured
to suit him (he seem to struggle badly). Bob himself was on piano and
overall it was disappointing even though the venue meant I could get nice
and close (I did get to see Ray Charles perform on that day so that was
the memory that stayed with me).
Fast track to Thursday 23 August 2007 via a great album "Modern Times",
"No Direction Home" documentary, "Chronicles" but I confess a diminished
interest in listening to circulating field recordings since 2003. The fact
that the Burswood Dome was to be the venue didnt inspire me. A good venue
for sporting events maybe but the acoustics for a live music event - I
think not. Its an empty cavern. But I paid to get a close up seat to the
stage and counter this problem.
I got in just as The Frames were on stage. The sound at the back was
shocking and I felt for the people who would be sitting there. But as I
good to my seat if had improved and I felt chuffed by my decision to fork
out the $165, the right decision.
Not enough has been written about The Frames. They are a very good band, I
had listened to their 2006 "The Cost" album in the week leading up to the
show and had liked it. Part Gabriel era Genesis, part Coldplay (the better
part of Coldplay that is) and a nice 70s studio era sound (well thats to
my ears). They performed really well and guys if you read this come back
to WA and play at The Fly By Night club, would love to see you in that
venue (they have played there before). Hats off to them for ending their
set with a tribute to Bon Scott. Im not familiar with AC/DC songs but it
was a great song that they ended with that i'll have to track down.
Onto Bob, who took to the stage at 8:30 as expected. I won't do a song by
song breakdown but one thing that grabbed me was that when Dylan took to
the keyboards things shifted into top gear (didnt think i would say
This change occured at "The Levees Going to Break", my memory was that for
"Its Alright Ma" Bob was still on guitar (this is different than the
setlist posted on this site). Before that Bob appeared to be warming his
vocals up and the band finding the groove. Yes "You Aint Going Nowhere"
was nice but based on this performance, Bob definently needs a few songs
to warm up his vocals these days.
From "The Levee...." though, I was just blown away by the sound. There was
good sound seperation down at the front and I could hear the layered input
of each band member. This appeared more intricate than previous Dylan
bands and i was amazed how they could perform like this and still keep to
Dylans method of drawing from a 60-70 song base for each tour. There was
some very intricate playing!! and George's drum patterns were complex and
compelling. We really do neeed a soundboard recording to be circulated
from a 2007 show so that Dylan history will show this band to be just as
good albeit diffent to the Sexton era.
Highlights of the show were many. All of the "Modern Times" songs were
stunning. "Honest With Me" sounded so much stronger and interesting in its
reworkingbut the standouts to my ears were:
"Hard Rain" - Ive never heard this done so well bar maybe the Japan TV
1994 version with orchestra. This was just great!
"Ballad of A Thin Man" the ghosts of 1966 waltzed across the stage in
time. Dylans vocals were stunning on this one. Clear, distinct but
"Like A Rolling Stone" This was just so strong and fresh. It went down a
storm and capped a great evening (bar the crap venue that is).
Dylan has once more my friends taken me to another level. The depth and
the complexity of the performance by his band and himself was something I
cant recall witnessing before. But it is interesting that this was more
evident when he went on keyboards.
Sean In Perth
Review by Greg Brennan
Burswood Dome is one of those massive concrete buildings with no soul,
primarily used as an indoor sporting arena. You know the ones. So I was
worried how the sound would be, in fact a caller to our local radio
station rang in and complained that the sound wasn't up to scratch
further back,but we were lucky to be only ten rows back, directly in
front of Bob where the sound was excellent .The band was in fine form
with Denny having a great night playing a yellow strat.He is completely
different to Larry Campbell, but all things must change as they say. It
was great to hear alot of Donny Herron on the pedal steel, a highlight
being the opening number Rainy Day Woman. You could pick any song as a
highlight, but "The Levee's Gonna Break" , "It's Alright Ma", and "Ballad
Of A Thin Man" were mine. There were no duds. All in all a great show,
9.5 out of ten Thankyou to Bob and the men in grey suits for coming to
Perth, aka Dullsville. He never lets us down.
Review by Brad McDonald
After last seeing Bob in 1978 at the Sydney Show Grounds, in the
MUD, I was really looking forward to this concert. His music has always
been a source of inspiration and joy ,regardless of the period or critical
Last night the venue managed to quash his best efforts. As per the last
reviewer, I thought the bass/bottom line was just not there. The band no
doubt, had enough fold back to keep them cooking . But as a part of the
great unwashed ...something was lacking.
I bought my ticket on the day they were released and thought I was on a
good thing!.......... BUT,......... as I was on the right hand side of the
stage and the stage was skewed to the left????by about 25%, I was miles
away from the action.
It was still an enjoyable experience to hear Bob again plus, those
unheard renditions from those early albums (check the set list).
Compounding problem, Bob played most of the night facing the left side of
the hall. Fair enough, he wants to see the rhythm section. But I would
rather see the drummer from behind than Bob.
Why can't the band be skewed to allow some audience interaction?
This venue is just not suitable for this type of concert. Perth needs a
I would pay double to see him at His Majesty's.
Surely its not a money thing now for Bob.......that game is well
I am sure HE would have a better night at a more intimate
venue...and............... isn't that what we are all hoping for......
just one more night.................
Review by Lyndon Morgan-Hobbs
All Hail His Bobnes.
The lights went out the Master sang and the Perth audience once more sat
back and went to sleep.
This unique performer re-interprets His songs--yes they are His songs, not
ours and we should be grateful he is still doing it for us after all these
I wont review all the sings but mention what were hi-lights for me.
Four classics to start the show, all re-arranged, yes it took me a line or
two to recognise some of them buts thats all part of the mystery of
attending one of His shows.
Spirit on the Warter
Is he over the top is he past his prime, absolutely not.
Working Mans Blues #2,
Poignant, soulful and heartfelt.
A masterpiece of almost 'stream of consciousness' thinking.
Pumped out and driven by superb drums and bass.
His voice gravelly but loud and let's face it he's 66, he's done some
The guy sitting next to me moved his right thumb now and then and oh yeah
he moved his left also---to answer e-mails on his blackberry ---how sad!!!
If you didn't enjoy the show then you haven't done the journey wirh him, I
have since my first concert in Wales in '64.
I will be back next time to see what the Master can paint on his next
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