August 27, 2014
Review by Al Reynolds
We had seen Bob at the Palais Theatre in Melbourne the week before, as
well as seeing him in Amsterdam last year. We knew what great form he was
in and when the opportunity arose to see him in an even smaller venue on
this tour of smaller than usual venues; we thought we would give a try. I
was surprised to get tickets on my third attempt, especially after hearing
later that they had sold out in seconds.
So we fly into Brisbane and survived an afternoon downpour to arrive at
the theatre to a queue snaking around the block. The Tivoli is an 800 seat
theatre, but the seats were taken out for the night for 1500 of us to
stand and enjoy. We got to the front door at 7:45. Just before we entered
I looked behind to see the security guards holding back the queue while
they opened the gates to the parking lot beside the theatre, waiting for
someone to arrive. While I was tempted to see if I could catch a glimpse
of Bob, I thought it better to get inside and get as close to the stage as
The gongs clanged right on 8 and the show began. As other reviews of this
tour all testify, Bob is in great voice at the moment and really appears
to be enjoying himself. He appeared even more relaxed than in Melbourne
the week before and seemed to be feeding off the vibe in the crowd, which
was very strong being such a small venue and everyone standing up.
The first half set-list was the usual from this tour and after he had
finished with Love Sick and it was intermission, we agreed it was another
great concert. We stood waiting not wanting to move as we would never get
back to our standing room positions if we did. Bob came back and as
anticipated did a cracking version of High Water (For Charley Patton).
Then something happened. Instead of the anticipated Simple Twist of Fate,
Bob walked to the centre stage and with minimal accompaniment sang the
most poignant and angst ridden version of Girl from North Country.
His voice brought such heart, soul and experience to the song that he
could never have imagined 52 years ago when he wrote it. It was a spine
tingling moment and quite a few fans I spoke to after the show admitted
tearing up during it. It was all the more exciting because the set list
had been broken and we had no idea where Bob would take us next and I also
suspect neither did the band.
Rollicking versions of Cry a While, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and
Lonesome Day Blues followed. Bob was really swinging along on the piano
and the band also enjoyed breaking loose. Trying to Get to Heaven was
another standout followed by the band letting loose again with Thunder on
the Mountain. There was one more wonderful surprise to follow with Ballad
of a Thin Man. I have never heard Bob sing it better. It was spellbinding.
Who can imagine what inspired him to break out tonight? Due to the size of
the venue he didn’t have his usual light show that has been closely
choreographed to the set list so maybe that gave him the freedom to change
it up. Maybe he had a flashback to his 2009 concerts. But I think he just
felt like kicking up his heels and showing us a “whoppin good time”
The encore was the usual from the tour but no one was complaining about
that. It’s pretty hard to beat Watchtower followed by Blowing in the
Wind being two of the best songs every written. A brilliant night full of
surprises with a fantastic band and we were privileged to see the master
at the top of his game.
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