Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review: Well, there's just three words that I need to describe Patti's set tonight: Absolutely fucking amazing! Actually Townsville was even better (mainly because she did her "Visions Of Johanna", "Horses"), but Smith and her band were ON FIRE tonight. After opening with "Wicked Messenger" (always a good sign), she did "Dancing Barefoot" (First time she didn't take off her boots during this song, I guess she was still a lil sick), a couple of songs from her new album, including a rare "Spell", before dedicating the new song "Wild Leaves" to the families of the planecrash victims. Very moving moment and a beautiful song as well. She also had some nice conversations with the audience, who were yelling for "Pissing In The River" and "Because The Night". She declined to play the former, but did play the latter even though it wasn't on her cuesheet. Storming renditions all night with a very emotional "Beneath The Southern Cross" thrown in for good measure. The ended the set with a punkrocking "Rock And Roll Nigger" which gave James the chance to sing along with Patti. I think he liked that :-) During the break we were all discussing whether Bob would be able to top this splendid show or not. If he would play the same boring set he did the night before, he'd clearly lose. So we were all hoping for some nice surprises. Showtime was 9.15 again and they started, not very surprisingly, with Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat Which was solid. Bob didn't move an inch during the first three songs, which was kind of unusual, but I guess he was determined to deliver the good today. I Threw It All Away Now THAT was a nice surprise! First rendition of this song since 1978 (that's twenty long years) and it was nicely sung at least. That the band butchered up the intro badly and their playing was less than impressive throughout did hardly matter. Everybody was happy to hear this very nice song again. You just can hope it wasn't a one-off! Sounded a lot like the other "Nashville Skyline" songs in the #2 slot, too. The arrangement is basically a "Tonight I'll Be Staying…" spinoff. Cold Irons Bound A little slower than usual and that was nice to hear, band made a couple of mistakes but all in all it was a pretty good performance. Just Like A Woman Not as good as the version from the Nuerburgring in late May, but pretty impressive nevertheless. Very fine guitar solo at the end. Can't Wait Well, I told you about my "oh honey" theory the other night and tonight that line was fantastic. Even though they got the intro wrong they hit the perfect groove on this one and for me it was one of the night's highlights. Silvio Great version. Usually Kemper misses one of the breaks (I don't blame him, there are so many different parts in this song), but today everything went as planned and Bob finally started to relax a little more, making eye contact with the people in the first few rows and he started to move around a little more as well. A black haired woman rushed to the rail during that song, standing just a meter or so away from me, right next to Andrea actually. Guess who it was? Patti Smith! Stone Walls And Steel Bars (acoustic) Hmmm, again? Same as it ever was: solid. Love Minus Zero/No Limit (acoustic) Even though I'd still prefer a full band electric arrangement or an acoustic renditions sans drums I have to say that this was the highlight of the night by a million miles. Bob's singing was just heartbreakingly beautiful. Pretty slow version as well. Just very, very nice. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) Again, pretty good version with a lot of guitar soling going on at the end. Bob let Larry play a little more tonight, which was nice to see cause Campbell is obviously the better guitarist. My Back Pages (acoustic) Was another highlight for me even though Bob seemed to have forgotten the words at one point. Ended with a harmonica solo that was better than most of the others in Oz so far. An unexpected singalong as well. She Belongs To Me Not one of my favourite songs, but the slightly slower arrangement that they debuted the other night suits the song just fine. Crowd loved it as usual and that made Bob smile quite a bit. After the band intros it was time again for: "Til I Fell In Love With You which was a solid. Nice way to end a show. Bob unplugged his guitar approx. 30 seconds before the song ended, took a few bows and then turned to David as the song ended, pointed at his drummer Elvis-style and siad something like: "good one". Maybe it was "well done", I can't remember but it was something along those lines. (encore) Love Sick The guitar solo was not as godd as the night before, but it was yet another beautiful rendition nevertheless. Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35 Yup, that one as well. Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic) Was okay, but has seen better days before. At least most of the 11,000 people in the venue were happy. A cute girl managed to jump on stage during this song (she wanted to hand hima poem, apparently) but she almost knocked over Bob (I guess she was pretty excited) so Bob just smiled and backed off before Tommy came and took the girl back to the side of the stage. Highway 61 Revisted Was very, very intense. One of the best version on this tour actually but to me it doesn't make sense to play "Rainy"/"Blowin'" and the come back for "Highway"/"Forever Young". The latter two instead of "Rainy" and "Blowin'" from time to time would be just fine I think. Would mean a change that was would be nice as well. Forever Young (acoustic) Pretty tired version, much loved by the crowd though. The show was a little shorter than the first one in Sydney, around 105 minutes. It was one of the best of the tour as well, maybe even coming close to Darwin. I guess we can hope for some more surprises for the rest of the show as well now. Cheers to Brett for getting me the ticket! Thanks for reading, see you in Wollongong! Carsten Wohlfeld please reply to: email@example.com -- "what once was your home is now a minefield" (damon & naomi) ********************************************** Thanks to Stephen Crump for the following review: In Sydney on Friday 4th, the sound was a better, though not perfect. We sat closer (without the kids this time, unfortuneately for them) and had a good view of his face and.. believe it or not, dancing feet! Dylan was in top form and enjoying it to the hilt... maybe because there were very few tourists in this smaller but absolutely rocking crowd... who knew most of the songs and cheered for gems like "My Back Pages"... even the teenagers sitting around us. "Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat" was Ok for an opener. It set the mood for a good night out and sounded pretty much straight off Blonde on Blonde. Dylan then did another number off Nashville Skyline as the 2nd song - "I Threw It All Away" - that was tender-bitter, country-rock at its best. I could've gone home right then a happy man. "Cold Irons Bound" didn't open as well as on Thursday night but built up to a thumping finish, the band finding a groove and the audience starting to realise that Dylan was giving a bit more tonight. A very slow "Just Like A Woman" followed. The best electric guitar work I'd heard yet (not drowning Dylan's voice) with some great vocals and instrumentals. The audience didn't really cheer this one 'til the first chorus which was strange given the instant recognition to most other songs. "Can't Wait" was much better too. Dylan by now was moving his feet everywhere, couldn't seem to find a place to put them, but this restlessness showed in his voice to great effect. Many of us would've liked a slower one from "TOOM" - this band would be perfect for "Not Dark Yet", but Can't Wait works well in this set. Not much more left to say about "Silvio"... nor "Stone Walls". Good songs done well, and he kept the audience with him ... "Stone Walls" getting a loud cheer - or was that for the acoustic guitar?! Then he nearly brought the world to a stop with "Love-O". It's hard to describe how powerful, sharp, tragic, soulful, heart-renchingly well he sang this and how well the band fell into place. If you liked this on "Unplugged", then multiple by 500%. He then got the first verse right on "Tangled Up in Blue" (didn't have a clue on Thursday 3rd).. and seemed pretty pleased with himself (an ironic smile showing he knew he had to do better). The guitars were in better synch and the audience was jumping. I can't remember when, but I think it was here he said one of his extra "thank yous" this night... with a few extra half bows. It was pretty clear he was pulling out all stops ... really long ending and playing his heart out doing acoustic solos.... he just had to know that 90% of people there were going beserk. When he started "My Back Pages" I was ecstatic but wondered whether he'd loose the crowd just built up into a frenzy. Not at all! Another deep-voiced well-paced, brilliantly sung and band-under-control song that he finished with what seemed like an endless harp solo. People were cheering like crazy when they saw him walk to the back and start to fumble for something!! He played harp without his guitar, harp and microphone held to his mouth as he wandered around the stage building up the song bar by bar to a great finish. I half expected him to give someone a 'high five'! On the strength of that he dropped into a funky "She Belongs To Me", getting good audience recognition yet again, and, though not the same intensity as the previous songs, played really well and brought to an end just about right (no endless messy instrumentals like those that spoilt Thursdays songs). This funkiness was built on in "'Til I Fell in Love With You", that scored good recognition yet again (you might recall I wrote that on Thurs. 3rd only 2 old chesnuts got an opening clap) and brought the set to a fine close. The encores were the same as Thursday but nobody minded and they sounded better anyway! Dylan did long breaks between them, so it seemed like he wasn't coming back on... especially after some woman got onto stage and tried to press a bit of paper into his hands while he was playing "Blowin..". He seemed a little shaken by that and it looked like he might end it there. By the way, she just calmly walked to the side of the stage just out of the lights where she was allowed to stay and dance... and..... But no one was walking out yet! This audience wanted MORE, in capital letters. Though less than half full, the place was roaring. "H/way 61" was fast and furious... did he just want to get outa there or was he driven? Who cares! It couldn't have sounded better. Then the anthemic finale, "Forever Young" again. I'd hoped for "Knockin'.." given reviews from early concerts in Australia but was happy enough to hear this again, sung with such tenderness and hope. I didn't mention that, on Thursday night, this was my 8 year old's favourite (after Love Sick!). And deservedly so. After many bows etc. he walked off raising his arms over his head and putting them together like in a salute. I like to think he felt good. The lights stayed out for ages, so we all hooted for more... still hardly a soul leaving to grab the first cab... then came on.... then went out again to cheers and roars... only to come back on again. Did he think about another song? Maybe.. because the roadies were holding back too.. but that was it. Now if this sounds review sounds too much I tell you that walking out of that venue was the happiest crowd I've ever been in. People seemed to linger, smile at each other and dig deep for a last chance souvenir. Thanks Bob, we all seemed to say. Just "thanks". Steve Crump ********************************************* Thanks to Tony Hunter for the following review: I agree with Carsten's review of Patti Smith's show.The band really came on with both guns blazing, full of energy and with something to prove it seemed.After breaking a string on acoustic guitar during Southern Cross more strings got broken by her and the band .For the last song Patti was deliberately busting them on electric.Watch your eyes Patti. a top show. Carsten's review covered the Dylan set list .I agree , a much more interesting set list ( in my humble opinion ). Sound seemed better or maybe I was missing the echo as I was closer .Still I reckon the size of the P.A. was undersize for the venue. Silvio really rocked and despite the pretty basic chorus the band like playing it and it shows .Hot. It was a delight to hear Love Minus Zero and She Belongs to me...oneof my favourites.The harp in My Back Pages was welcome after Thursday's harp free zone.Dylan cut a rather Chaplinesque figure as he played sans guitar , but curiously preferred to play one handed. Bob was less remote tonight and the crowd responded well.A slower version of Lovesick set the encores up and yep Highway 61 broke speed limits .hot too. All in all a big improvement on the night before. Not bad for a guy coming off heart disease and into the second half of his fifties. ************************************************** Thanks to David Upham for the following review: Just another review from a thrilled fan.. The cloak and dagger dangled in Sydney tonight as country dr. dylan rambled through, with his band. We sat, expecting all the gifts... we'd seen the set lists for Melbourne (the Mercury Mouth in the Missionary Lounge), Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Townsville and Brisbane; this fan was counting on Watching the River Flow or The Man in Me (did he catch The Big Lebowski on his way down the coast ?); maybe Matchbox or Nadine. During the first number, Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, we noted that absurd bottle of wine was tonight, a barrel: equally wry, but the mattress wasn't going to hang quite the same, obviously. The garage door was still open though -- the band rocked, loud and clear with few frills, making space for Dylan's guitar and yeah, harmonica, down at the end of My Back Pages -- he laid his guitar down and played two candescent choruses (pretty much in the style of Tryin to Get to Heaven) with one hand hanging free, dancing like quasimodo himself. Dylan plays harp the way Lonnie Mack plays the guitar, like a hanged man: Lonnie's long dead, with a downcast look from lighted eyes; Bob's still swinging -- except there's no gallows step, just a crooked skip, a picture of Chaplin in East Texas, or a dirt road through Notre Dame. I'd like to meet his tailor. The core of his Grammy band was there: David Kemper on drums, Tony Garnier on basses and Bucky Baxter on pedal steel and mandolin; then there was Larry Campbell behind a white Telecaster and Bob of course, doin' his 'electric rhythm lead' thing, grounding each of the songs in his blues. Stage right led the way to the back curtain, past a stage-noir setpiece from Robert Johnson's classic, Love in Vain: a dark path marked by one blue light and one red. It was a way to peek into the songs... down a rocky road under clouds of blood, or somewhere inside the rain. Bob's Stratocaster drove Cold Irons Bound and I Can't Wait down Highway 61 again, like thunder -- managed discreetly from the sound desk, boosting all bass at chorus climaxes. That was nice: it served the songs and stirred up some of the albums gumbo... And no piano, leaving Bob with just his guitar to hit, hounding each tune with flatted licks, cross-country chords and Mexican changes, as ever, "just a little somethin' I picked up in England!" ...it's chaos in a Cadillac. The band's played the new songs since they were on paper and they understand the old ones, but Dylan will dodge easy changes (they all fall there so perfectly) so for all their rehearsal, the songs never get ripe. Dylan's acoustic songs were performed with the band -- a gorgeous surprise; everyone changed guitars and stayed amplified, with mandolin replacing pedal steel. They stole a sweet waltz on Stone Walls and Steel Bars, then marched through Tangled Up in Blue. Later there was Love Minus Zero, Forever Young and Blowin' in the Wind, each of them crafted into a good rockin' stringband ensemble over Kemper's drums. To the critics of the venue's acoustics I have to say that on Friday you missed a great concert. The system pitched the sound over the fan pit and into the house where most of us sat, looking down on a funky upholstered stage lit by yellow spots ... The dancing may have looked a little strange if you were watching his eyes but from the terrace it was a ballet in a sharp suit, a low-wire act, a bit like those moves on the Hawks tour. From where we sat, all vocals were clear and the band roared around Bucky Baxter's steel. Larry Campbell was a regular thrill. Tony Garnier drove the band, a bonafide electric, acoustic and double bassman. The harp solo was fantastic, fuck, it was amazing. Riding a hit record, his black dog barking, Dylan performs! Tell me, where do I get a tape? Where are you, Columbia? Send a crew out to California and film that shadow that hes chasing. He should be hot by the time he joins Van and Lucinda, after Hawaii. If you do release the 1966 show this year, why not a bonus live album? One of the best things about the True Confessions tour was Hard to Handle, a video souvenir of Dylan's Sydney shows with the Heartbreakers and Tom Petty (where are those other songs?). Another souvenir of the tour in '86 was Band of the Hand, a one-sided platter on HMV, recorded (backstage, so to speak) at Festival Records' Pyrmont studios, near Sydney's wharves: so do it Columbia, and I'll buy it. Think: Highway 61 as a hit single; follow it with A Series of Dreams, then issue all the Basement Tapes, and the early Topanga Canyon sessions too. Dylan's reached that spooky place again, 'where the willow don't bend' -- gravity's not down; somebody got lucky. Time Out of Mind was recorded waist deep, with great gravity 'standing in the doorway as the last rays of daylight go down.' Well come on out, Bob, the dark is just beginning! 'You ain't seen nothing like me yet' I used to think that line meant no other had appeared; but the moral is, I think, that (Blonde on Blonde!) Bob Dylan himself is about to make an appearance. The songs have always been a parade, from the Phantom of the Opera to Little Boy Lost; now with that line of Al Jolson's (another short sharp dresser), Bob's Dixie bound, up there 'in the second line.' Check the dates (before they close the door). He did it in Australia and he can do it there.
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