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Review by Glen Dobson
We went to Sheffield with high expectations and great seats thanks to Bill's
advance information. Ray a lifelong Dylan record fan has never seen him live;
Ray's favourite period is the mid 60's so we were interested in his reaction
to Dylan 2000.
Around 7-20 the arena starts to fill up and you can sense the buzz of
anticipation building up.
The lights go down and the stage lights up, Dylan stands centre stage flanked
by two acoustic guitars and a double bass, drums bringing up the rear.
The opening four numbers "I am the man, Thomas", "Times they are a changing",
"It's alright,ma" and a personal favourite "Love minus zero" are an acoustic
wonder. The band are tight and the sound quality is superb, Dylan is in great
voice and the band and Ray are both off to a flying start.
A slightly changed version of "Tangled up in blue" follows and I'm amazed how
Dylan continues to subtly enhance old songs to make them sound fresh. Dylan
introduces the harp on this track and receives the obligatory cheers, why is
this? I don't understand the reaction to this although it happens every time
I've seen him. A solid performance of a song I've never heard "Searching for
a soldiers grave" follows and then it's into a lively version of "Country Pie"
with Dylan stretching the syllables to good effect, I thought I saw him grin
but Ray certainly was.
An excellent version of "Dignity" follows, driven by a support who are
becoming increasingly confident and special mention to the drummer who 's
laid back style was impressive in its subtlety whilst providing a solid
platform for the guitars to play on. "All along the watchtower" has Ray
waving his arms in the air in a manner I've never seen before and the whole
audience are starting to warm up. A moody version of "Not dark yet" shows
how good Dylan's voice currently sounds and he is performing songs as if he
means business, not throwing them away as in some performances I've seen.
"Cold irons bound" follows and then it's into a hard driving "Leopard skin
pill-box hat", this proves to be the crescendo of a superb first half and
Bob and the boys form a curious line centre stage to receive their well
The crowd yell and cheer them from the stage but soon settle down awaiting
the well publicised "Encore" or second half.
Dylan opens the second half with a solid and well sang performance of
"Love sick", his vocals are holding out better than I had hoped for and I
didn't have long to wait for my and many of the audiences favourite "Like
a rolling stone", this version lacked some of the dive and attack of
previous versions I've seen but what the hell you can't please all of the
people all of the time.
"Mr .Tambourine man" followed and Dylan obviously decided things were in
need of an audience lift and so produced his magic harp. The response was
predictable and the audience got well into the song. Ray's night was now
just about complete; he had seen his hero play one of his favourite songs.
"Things have changed" followed and I really can't remember much of this
An exceptionally good version of "Forever young" followed, the band laying
a solid acoustic backing with yet more solid vocals from Dylan, a man of
his age really gas no right to still be this good live.
Another change of instruments and Dylan and the band sailed. into a
ferocious version of "Highway 61" which drove on and on, gaining in power
all the way, the drummer let of his tight reign layed into this one with
a vengeance. Not on of my all time Dylan favourites but certainly the
The set closed with a slightly less than anthemic "Blowin in the wind" and
following another curious centre stage parade, Dylan and the band trooped
off for the final time. No amount of audience cheering yelling and stomping
could bring them back and finally the lights came on.
In the final analysis, absolutely superb, so many songs to chose from, we
all heard some of our favourites we all wish he had played others. What
we all agreed on was it was superb. Ray still hasn't stopped grinning.
We look forward to the never-ending tour 2001/2002 to see what life can be
breathed into more old favourites.
Review by Julia Reid
It is seated in Shefield tonight and all the front tickets have gone to the
Bob fans. Of course it is good to be up front, in the centre, on row four,
which is where I watched the show from after the stage 'rush'. Yet, I was
a little uneasy tonight about this fan allocation. Someone had said that
Bob was a litttle fed up seeing tha same faces on the front rows each night.
All the old faces, and hats, where there tonight, lots of old geezers like
me. The show in Birmingham had lots of young people up front, I hardly
recognised anyone. Someone told me that at Birmingham the seciruty had
invited people in from the Arena concourse before they allowed the queueing
people in. It is good to see fresh faces amonst the old. My unease was
compounded by the fact that tonight was one hell of a show and I was wanting
to dance, jump and shout and I did to som extent but for much of the time
those around me seemed in low key mood, physically and vocally. The crowd
at the back of the hall where making a hell of a noise - have we 'fans' seen
too much that are response is jaded?
The opening 7 songs tonight were as for NEC except for Love -zero/No limit
replacing One Too Mnay Mornings which is not a gain I think. Am I the only
one who finds Loveminus a tedious song. It's Aright Ma seemed to vary less
in its dynamic range tonight, still very focused and clear. Tangled went
back to its usually opening with Larry rather than the more jangly strum we
had on Wednesday from Charlie. Harp solo too.
Were it began to happen tonight was part way through Dignity which followed
Country Pie. Bob was into his singing and addressing that microphone as if
it was 66 again. Watchtower was blazing with all the guitars bringing
Hendrix back for us.in a suitable commeration. It finished too soon as Bob
brought it to a sudden end once he had finished his well executed vocal.
Not Dark Yet, a first for me live, - what to say? how can I describe how Bob
sung on this? There was one phrase he song that had such a beautifully
melodic and mournfull inflection to it that I almost cried and smiled at the
same time. Such a change of mood from Watchtower but it is intersting to
have these 2 songs together. What connections could we make between them?
AND THEN with Cold Irons Bound the musical mood changed again. This was
fantasically exciting. The drum tap behind the first part of each verse and
then the band kick in with a metalic roar - wow. I wanted to go grazy
and jump and shout. This is a great rock band [ that can play many other
styles - I now believe Bob when we says they are some of the finest].
I had to take time out for reflection during Pill Box, you have to ask
someone else about that.
After the break Lovesick continued at the same level of excellance. Nice
blue lighting efffect during this so that it looked as if there was
daylight behind the curtains to the back of the stage. Rolling Stone jaust
as good. Mr Tambourine Man followed before I could recognise it. Good
harp solo with Bob playing as he searched for a place behind him on the
stage to gently lay his guitar down. . What to do with the spare hand was
the next problem, in the pocket? no, ah, yes, hold the microphone cable,
thats cool. The harp had a full resonant sound that brought Grain of Sand to
mind. Good to hear Things Have Changed in this slot. The excellance
continued right to the end of the show. I often find the last few sings
are less satisfying than the body of the show but not tonight. It just kept
being so good. The vocal on H61R was full of raw blues inflection - Bob
great white blues singer fullly in command of a magnificantly expressive
voice. Better than Caruso, you betcha Bob.
I am taking a break until London and I am glad to do so. I am happy for
last night to float in my mind for a while but if he were to play
Higlands and I missed it....
Review by Joseph Williams
The lights came on, and the show was over. The final chords still echoed
around my head. A stunned crowd blinked, then started for the exits. Bob
Dylan had come and gone, leaving the roadies to collect the kit.
The fun started 20 minutes behind schedule. Local parking was difficult,
and a thousand seats were still tilted-up, empty, but the natives were
getting restless from waiting. A great roar went up, as the hall plunged
into darkness. The stage lit up. A quick intro then Bob came on and
launched straight into 'I am the man'.
I took my binoculars as I've pretty poor sight ("What licence plate,
Officer?"). They are heavy, but powerful. I thought the man's black and
white boots were brilliant, and the drape jacket neat. The face was
craggy, eyes hard to read. I passed the glasses along the row. The young
lady to my left had bought 2 tickets for her Dad's Birthday - no one else
would keep him company.
BD ran through acoustic sixties stuff - 'Times / Alright Ma / Love minus
Zero / Tangled' , and a new one to me on a familiar theme- "Searching for
a soldiers grave"
The slow duck walk was there. Actors in a long running play subtly alter
the props, to add variation. Maybe the walk sequence helps keep the songs
alive. Mr. Dylan stopped to introduce the band, but didna talk to us. I
was really sad about this. I wanted to hear something to remember, if only
On into a rocking 'Country Pie', and a great 'Dignity'. The usual shuffle
of guitars, then 'Watchtower' , which always reminds me of Jimi Hendrix,
and an emotive 'Not Dark Yet' , one of my favourites from "Time out of
Mind". By now, the volume had been cranked up to seriously loud, but the
board man hadn't finished yet. A few more notches for 'Cold Irons Bound',
then all the way for 'Pill Box hat', to finish the set.
The Band walked off, to applause and cheers, as the stage dimmed. An
interval ? There must be more! Just the eerie purple of the UV lamps was
left. I could see ghostly shapes across the stadium - all the seats were
full now, with hundreds sitting on the floor. More ! More ! Whistles and
Shouts and Yells. 5 minutes pass.
Stage lamps come alive again, and Bob is into 'Love Sick', then a couple
of Greatest Hits - 'Rolling Stone' and 'Tambourine Man', a strong
pulsating version a planet away from the Byrds. 'Forever Young' was a high
for me, a song to express feelings for any Dad towards his boy. Just two
more to come - 'Highway 61' , and finally the timeless 'Blowin in the
The lights came on, and the show was over.
Review by Steve Bullivant
Now, first to be said it would seem, is that this was my first Bob
gig. Been a fan for a good few years, been a SERIOUS fan for about
the last year or two. Sixteen years old. As irrelevant as this
information seems, I figured I'd just point out where my perspective
is coming from when I say that I was disappointed to see Sheffield
Arena full with the late middle-aged fans dressing retro, who were
probably never 'there' in the sixties and are trying to make up for
it now (like my dad who joined my brother and I to the gig on the
pretext that we pay for his ticket as long as he drives us there and
back). Bought myself an amazing T-Shirt of Dylan ‘made of
dots’ and a
few posters for various people of him looking evil. But on with the
Following the background music at the venue of “Hammond Organ Hits
and many, many more…” at 8:00 Bob enters the stage (no support
wearing a long black coat, embroidered with black leaves (or flowers)
with two slits at he back with gold buttons at the top of them. He
wears a white shirt and what looked like a red and silver metallic
tie (viewed with binoculars from my Row 28 seat on the right of the
floor of the Arena). Immediately after “…Columbia Recording
(which I could have sworn the man said wrong. The man needs no
introductions) we get into the excellent concert.
I AM THE MAN, THOMAS – This was a rousing song which I’ve
before, I recognized it from the set lists here. Nice opening to
show. Pretty short.
TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ – Oh yes! A fine new version with
immense power in his voice coming through. Lots of different
phrasing, for example at the end of the title line he starts high and
gets progressively lower until “chaaaaaaaaangenn”. He really
his solo on this one with his guitar held like a firing rifle at his
hip playing intricately up at the high end of the fret board. GREAT.
Couple of other points: he missed a few lines – the second of the
song and the Senators/congressman line – but nothing major, he
look too happy though. And the end of “Will later be last”
sounded lovely, just the way he sang it. I assume anyone else who’s
caught him on this tour will have noticed the way he says Thankyou
“Thankyew!”, a ‘little’ like an upbeat Garth from
IT’S ALRIGHT MA – This was a treat. I was expecting either
this, ‘Desolation’ or ‘Johanna’ in this slot.
Maybe I’d hoped it
would be one of the other two but that’s only out of being forced to
choose between three all-time favourites. In my notes I’ve
written “Brilliant!”. That about sums it up. But I promised my
I’d write a blow-by-blow account of the gig so I’ll
drums and the stand-up bass works very well together on this giving
it a very ‘groovy’ feel. The band managed to construct an
tight end of chorus with things suddenly getting heavier just at
the “…I’m onleee…”. I’ve also
highlighted a nice phrasing of the
word “hatred” which I wish I could remember now - it went up
the ‘red’ part of the word, that’s all I can tell you.
The solo was
particularly great (and if you heard this you’d be amazed that I
could be picking out PARTICULARLY good things) with all three
acoustic guitars apparently having a distinctly animated
conversation. What I also noticed was Bob ‘dancing’ with the
his guitar pointing down. Which was nice. And as far as I could hear
he didn’t miss a word.
LOVE MINUS ZERO – This was another exciting surprise as one of my
MOST favourite Bob songs. It started out as if it could have
been ‘Desolation Row’ (which I thought/hoped it was) but as
realized that it was ‘No Limit’ there wasn’t a shred of
disappointment. Well, it was a new arrangement sung with feeling. The
pedal steel guitar added some lovely (gotta find me some more
adjectives) touches. The lighting (impressive but simple throughout)
was soft tones of pink and orangey-yellow. GREAT version and now the
concert’s REALLY in full swing. Has any else noticed Bob’s
dancing? He just kind of swings his bent left knee from side to side.
On anyone else it would look foolish, with Bob it just seems cool.
TANGLED UP IN BLUE – One of three ‘definites’ which I
was 99% sure
would be included. Six verses. All sung with energy and freshness. No
mistakes that I could hear, just a tight band playing around a
spotlighted Bob’s exemplary vocals. Again he stretched the
like he did in ‘Times They Are A-Changing’ so the last line of
verse went “Taaaaaaaangled upinblue” (he seemed to do this a
the various songs – it sounds good; interesting.) He started in the
3rd person narraive before changing to the 1st for the ‘Book of
poems’ verse and staying in that vein for the rest of the
THEN… HARP SOLO!!! Stops playing the guitar, picks up his harp and
hand-held microphone and launches into it. The harp was a Hohner
Marine Band by the way, well it looked that way through the
binoculars. Now, having read reviews talking of disappointingly short
(albeit brilliant) harping from Bob the LONG solo in TUIB was an
extra joy. This was pure, rocking Dylan groove. Just right for the
song. Powerful and rhythmic. Yet another enjoyable nuance of this
performance was after each verse there was an alternating shadow
projection of the band from two different angles – again simple but
SEARCHING FOR A SOLDIER’S GRAVE – The 2nd of the three
heard before, but recognized from the reviews. The long-haired guitar
player was on the mandolin (I should know his name, I know but I keep
forgetting which one of the two he is). It seemed a country sway-a-
long and brought the acoustic set to a nice ordered close.
COUNTRY PIE – The 2nd ‘definite’ and third unknown to
electric bass. Bob playing a classic sunburst Stratocaster. I’ve
written “Almost looks like he enjoying it” (it was a quick
shorthand). He DOES seem to like this one. I do too, it’s a nice fun
song to go through to get everyone into the mood for the electric
set. (I’d probably best give the audience some credit here, they
the songs, they’re enjoying the gig, it’s making for an
DIGNITY – Surprise. I REALLY didn’t think he’d do this.
But he did.
In traditional Dylan style it was a race to the end of each line. He
actually seemed to love playing this song and for the first time
properly started to smile. A LOT. This was ONE of the highlights. A
great pacy version with Bob really getting round the words with a
smile at the end of most lines. “Digniteeee” – I just
loved the way
he said that! The lyrics were pretty standard except for a change
from the original in the Prince Phillip “Wanted money up
from “…said he’d been abused” to
“…‘fore he’d give me any news”. The
guitars were really singing in this one with ‘long hair’
an extremely funky solo.
ALL ALONGTHE WATCHTOWER – Another big surprise. Another FANTASTIC
version. ROCK, but not in the Hendrix style as on Biograph. The pedal
steel guitar got an outing again adding some fine touches. ‘Non-long
hair’ gave a blinding solo before Bob gave a searing solo himself.
NOT DARK YET – Another of my total favourite Dylan songs and given
particular anticipation having read the recent review at this site
from a man citing it to be his favourite song version of a song ever.
Long intro with some lovely Dylan guitaring. FEELING. Singing with
plenty of emotion bending himself around the mike stand and with a
smile after the “London” line, dunno why… The knee
again and then later we were treated to some of Bob’s side-to-side
dancing where he just shifts his weight from one foot to the
other. “Thankyew!”. Wonderful, just wonderful.
COLD IRONS BOUND – Second song from ‘TOOM’. The intro
was wild and
intriguing with the steel drum making me think of Budokan. The steel
drum continued throughout the song (which took me a few lines to
recognize) giving it (again) a rocking, lilting groove sound to
it. “Thankyew!”. No really, Bob, thankYOU.
Band introductions now (with a bit of disappointment at not hearing a
weak joke about having two shirts to play golf in incase he got
a ‘hole-in-one’ or whatever). Oh well…
LEOPARD-SKIN PLL BOX HAT – Third ‘definite’. Rousing.
guitars playing off each other. This version makes it VERY much a
guitar song and just perfect for ending the first set with a
flourish. Larry (‘non-long hair’) used the tremolo bar on his
to great effect. ROCK!!!
The Band lines up for a minute before walking off for five minutes of
rapturous applause, then returning and launching straight into:
LOVESICK – Sung sweetly with great emotion. I’ve written
in large underlined letters in my notes. That about sums it up. It’s
at this point that I’ve also written in VERY LARGE letters “I
THE SAME ROOM AS BOB DYLAN!!” underlined 4 times. The man is a
legend. And my hero. WOW! “Thankyew!”. Another BIG
LIKE A ROLLING STONE – The song my dad would’ve been
if he hadn’t have sung it. Similar to the original and having lost
none of its ‘edge’. Bob doesn’t seem bored by having
sung this for
near enough the past 35 years. I doubt anyone’s bored of hearing it.
Some great jamming going on as well in the instrumentals. Bob played
his solo sideways with the neck pointing upwards – mortar cannon
style, with some nice side-to-side dancing again. Guitars singing at
TAMBOURINE MAN – Soft. Gentle. Wonderful!! Amazing!! It came with an
unusual backing – but good! In my opinion far better than the
original (which I’ve never been a great fan of…). HARP again!
THINGS HAVE CHANGED – Darkness on stage, before leaping into the
beat – ‘Wonderboys’ style. Lines said quickly with
haaaaaave changed”. I think this song’s brilliant. I love
FOREVER YOUNG – Rock style but with affection like he meant it. All
three guitar-players joining in the chorus. “May you stay –
stay Forever Young”. I love this song. It was a bit like
the ‘reprise’ on Planet Waves. Only better.
HIGHWAY 61 – Groove. ‘Things Have Changed’-type rhythm,
Much better than the original (which I love anyway). No slide
whistle, probably an improvement. SMILING. He IS loving it. Yeah!!
BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND – With feeling. Again, I prefer this
three joining in the chorus, which seems ‘slightly’ like a
smiled at the “Too many people have died” line - ?!??? It
seemed that he was flirting with the dancing front row in this song.
Smiling and giving little looks to someone in front of him to the
right. Another rifle solo. And the end of two hours of pure Bob.
Now I’ve seen some fine concerts in my (relatively short) time, but
nothing surpassed seeing Rock’s premier artist in top form in front
of 13000 adoring fans.
“I am the Man, Thomas”? Bob, if Thomas has seen you on this
there won’t be a doubt in his mind.
Visit http://www.chrisgainesfans.com for all the
latest info about Chris Gaines!
Review by Bernard McGuinn
Sheffield last night was beyond my highest expectations.
We were in row 7 , to the left of Bob , thanks to Mr. Clapham -
the boy done good!. Of course everyone stood and rushed the stage,
but what the heck, at least we didn't have to stand in line for
No support band , which was great, and the house lights went down at about
5 to 8. On came the gang to tumultuous applause - the Lamb was front row
centre; how does he always manage to do that?
Opened up with You are the Man, Thomas, which proved a great start to the
proceedings. Excellent harmonies between Bob and band.
Bob's voice is as strong and clear as its been in a decade, and the whole
thing just felt renewed, somehow.
You'll see the setlist elsewhere, and it will reveal no great surprises ,
but it won't begin to give you a clue of what it was like to be there.
This was my all time favourite Bob experience , and I'm still tingling
while I'm typing this. This is the best band I've seen him play with for a
long long time - I preferred them even to the Tom Petty lot.
Dylan showed Van - yet again - that a bar band can actually be something
special. Charlie Sexton - I think that's his name - is an improvement on
Buckie Baxter. So unlike Bob to make a change in the band that's for the better!
It's Alright Ma sung with feeling , and no missing or slurring of the
words. I'm 14 yrs younger than him and I can't remember all of them!
The light show on Tangled up in Blue actually adds to the theatre of the
event, and , again, Bob managed to actually bring freshness to the performance.
How does he do it? Ended this one with guitar slung over his back while he
blew us away with the harmonica.
A divine Love minus Zero , which began as though it would be If not For
You. Brilliant moment to notice the relationship between the two songs
But the real surprise of the night , for me , was Watchtower!!
Yes , I know , this song has been something of a filler in live
performance for longer than any of us would care to remember.
And he has never , for me , captured that something extra that Jimi
managed at Electric Ladyland. Well , tonight he did it!!!!!
Take a bow, Charlie , you were great. But what a voice!
Centrepiece of the whole night came just after , with a rendition of Not
Dark Yet , which left me with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye, and
I'm proud to admit it. That hasn't happened for me at a Dylan concert for
maybe 14 years. I could have gone home happy at this point, but the beat
Cold Irons Bound had the power of 1998s wall of sound , but with a voice
that's now strong enough to ride it. It's worth mentioning at this point
that the sound mix tonight was just so much better than I've encountered at
any Dylan show since 1984. Somebody is finally beginning to get their act
together in this department.
Pillbox Hat let standards slip ever so slightly , but what a Forever Young
he gave us later, by way of compensation!
And then the whole band just stood there on stage , in line , with the
houselights up , while we all paid homage to the man who changed our lives.
A really weird moment!
Encore time gave us Love sick , Rolling Stone - funny how he couldn't
remember the words at Isle of Wight, only 4 yrs after he wrote it , but
he can remember it all , 36 yrs later, and still manage to breath some
life into it.
A reinterpretation of Tambourine Man demonstrated that this guy is taking
nothing on Auto pilot at this moment in his artistic life, and it was soo
exciting at the end, when he removed his guitar.
The roadie missed his cue , so Bob went down on one knee, while he placed
his guitar on the floor , while blowing the harp he held in his other hand.
Then we got a sensational little dance/ movement with one hand waving free
a la Dave Berry!
Highway 61 rocked , as always , then we were Blowing in the Wind - again
great band harmonies - and then one last chance to stand , while they stood ,
and worship god, before they strolled off into the dark sad night!
We all roared , but to no avail. The lights stayed down for several
minutes and everyone was hopeful for at least a Rainy Day Women, but Dylan
had done enough for one night. Something approaching 2 hrs of blissed out,
transcendental whatever it is.
I'm so glad we went , and I really , really , do wish I was going to
Oh yeah , the curry wasn't half bad for Sheffield..
Review by Alan James
Another year and another tour. Personally speaking, my ninth communion
with the great man and, having perused the web pages, much to look forward
to. The set lists of recent shows seemed incredibly "proficient" and
well-organised yet contained an intriguing mix of the songs that novices
wanted to hear blended with the stuff that Bob wanted to play. Show time
and no disappointment. The usual taped intro, the fumbling in the dark and
the discernible whispers in the crowd about which shadow was Bob's. Then,
suddenly, lights, harmonies, action. I am the Man, Thomas not reverential
or devotional but almost aggressively knowing, positive and dare I say it,
arrogant. I am the man demanded Bob, and no one dare disagree on this
form. Then, into The Times.. with one of those melodies with which he so
enjoys re-coining his originals. Several times it was touch and go as to
whether all the lyrics could possibly fit onto one line, but each time Bob
pulled it off and it seemed as if he was in complete control of all that
was around him; an impression confirmed by events that followed. It's all
right Ma followed exactly as recent set lists suggested it would but then,
a real surprise, Love Minus Zero, pulled out of nowhere and sounding all
the better for it. There was a passion in those word that managed to
resonate round the souls of all who attended. Tangled up in Blue sounding
more New York than ever had its usual impact on those assembled whilst
Searching for a Soldier's Grave confirmed how much of a band this touring
unit really is. The Band were clearly mystically present in rehearsals
giving support to this band. Country Pie was a functional link to the
electric section and completely overshadowed by what followed. Dignity was
a show-stopper, for novices and die-hards alike. Don't go searching for
dignity any longer Bob, you found it and personified it on this stage
tonight! Watchtower was given its usual post-Hendrix reading but
juxtaposed brilliantly with Not Dark Yet. Is it just me who would place
this song among Bob's top ten? Certainly, played live it had a glorious
darkness that was hard to ignore, even by those hearing it for the first
time. Cold Irons Bound was freer than the recorded version whilst Le opard
Skin Pill Box Hat seemed more than naturally shoddy and reminded this pair
of ears of one of those sets in the early 90s when the band of the day
would play along long enough on one chord so as to ensure the song
actually finished together. It was a temporary blip. The second half; it
is demeaning to all concerned to call it an encore began well and just got
better. A sensitive Love Sick became a country-tinged Rollin g Stone,
reminding me of the song's waltz time origins. Mr Tambourine Man was given
a new melody and vitality that stunned the crowd, one of many surprises
being Bob's sensitive and restrained harmonica solo with which the piece
climaxed. Things have Changed was impeccable, Bob's voice so attuned by
now to his audience's needs that they hung on every word like a mantra. My
personal highlight was to follow. I've heard him sing Forever young
several times before, but never like this, so naked, so exposed, so
vulnerable. On the verge of his sixtieth year, Bob was the living
embodiment of the concerns of the song's lyric yet he sounded fresher and
more tuneful than ever. How does he do it? Highway 61 was raucous and
well-intentioned whilst Blowin' in the Wind was genuinely sensitive,
considered and rather beautifully despatched. The show was over, everyone
was satisified, and Bob himself seemed rather pleased. He'd
semi-duckwalked during the last five numbers, tousled his hair with
devotion and gave a half smile at three distinct junctures. The crowd were
baying for more. The demand for a real encore was as sincere as the
acceptance of a faux-encore fifty minutes before, yet after five
tantalising minutes the house lights were switched on. I don't begrudge
Bob his space but the devotion in the arena was genuine and I don't think
it would have hurt to give us one more number spontaneously. Perhaps, I
quibble. Never have I seen him be so consistently uplifting. The set did
not contain one false move and the band was tight and sympathetic
throughout. His voice was a god-given instrument that entered a range I
have never heard before during Forever Young and Bob even played lead
guitar on most numbers. Surely i should expect no more? Looking at the set
list for Cardiff, I just wish my life-style would allow me to commune more
often with his!
Review by Tony Cooper & Andy Matson
Starting with I am the man thomas bob really hit hard with his first
piece. He followed that up with The Times They are A Changin' which was
played with his usual energy. But it was clear that he still was warming
up. Its alright ma I'm only bleeding was the transition between Bob and
Bob at his best. His next song, love minus zero really blew us away but
that was nothing compared with Tangled up in Blue which although it
started off as an acoustic version really hit in with the full force of
his band at the chorus. Searching for a soldiers grave was a fantastic
sequator to such a snappy song and really gave the impression of a
heartfelt and meaningful ballad- a great contrast to his previous number.
Country Pie seems to be a standard addition to this tour and certainly
pays hommage to the Nashville Skyline Days and probably his mothers death.
What can you say about dignity, except that it was played fantastically
and was matched equally by Bob's gravelly vocals. All along the watch
tower started fast and heavy with a good dose of base and a furious drum
beat and really set the flavour for the rest of the show. In sharp
contrast this was followed with Not dark yet which had a mix of slow deep
base and Bob's voice, more meaningful and morose than previously heard
during the set. As for Leopard skin pill box hat, a great rendition
(arguably better than the album version) which left the crowd on their
feet and begging for more. It would be presumptuous to try and fault it.
The encore started with a fantastic rendition of love sick which really
incited the crowd for what was to come. Like a rolling stone was played
as an abriged version, but nevertheless the crowd responded fanatically to
the song which many had been waiting for and had finally heard again after
Mr Tambourine man was another classic track from the master as a
faultlesas transmition between two of his most famous songs. But moreover
it was a fantastic backing from a group which must have to cope with the
unpredictable variations of a temperomental legend.
Things have changed was clear and classic Bob Dylan and it was played
well. End of story. Many have said that Bob Dylan improves as a performer
as the concert progresses and this is no more true than in Forever Young
and Highway Sixty One revisited in which he and his band gave impeccable
renditions. Blowing in the Wind was the final track of the night. All
that can be said about this is that many people were cheering long after
the concert finished and everyone was on their feet in adulation of the
legend who had fulfilled their ultimate dreams for the night.
Review by Markus Prieur
This was a good show. Our vantage point was a bit different than our first
row center position in Birmingham. The huge arena was filled with chairs,
but during the show everyone one the floor stood up. We sat quite
comfortably on the tiers, first block - left side - 9th row up, which gave
me a good view (especially with my binoculars) and one of the best sound
mixes I can recall. Bob's voice was so crisp and clear, doing all kinds of
vocal gymnastics on that sound carpet the tightest band in history keeps
rolling out for him. It was nice sitting down for a change after standing
for six shows since Dublin. I also was reminded that those vast crowds
come out to see Bob but once in a tour, and we crazy freaks, who spend our
holidays going to multiple shows are only a small percentage of the
audience. So we should not be surprised when Bob repeats like 13 songs
from the previous show at times. They all came to hear songs like
"TANGLED", "ROLLING STONE", "BLOWING IN THE WIND" and "! H61" (where the
shoe strings were sold even twice last night). But even the serious Bob
aficionado only has to ask himself: How would I view this setlist (or any
setlist) if it would be my first (or even only) date on this tour? Having
said that, yes, there were "only" three additions to this tour last night,
and both on my 28th and my 27th (B'ham) Bob date, Bob did not perform one
song, I had not seen before. But then again, I have to go back to spring
1995 in order to recall having two consecutive Bob dates without "RDW".
Added to this tour was a nice and beautiful "LOVE MINUS ZERO / NO LIMIT",
our first since Brussels 1996. A little surprise was the rare "DIGNITY",
which we had seen once already in Kerkrade 1995 (in B'ham I saw it on the
cue sheet in slot 18, but he played "EVERYTHING IS BROKEN"). "MR.
TAMBOURINE MAN" was already first choice for the acoustic encore on the
cue sheet in Glasgow; last night Bob finally delivered, ending it with a
very fine harp-solo-dance, laying down his guitar after starting it. For
the second time on this tour Bob performed "LOVE SICK" (moving "THINGS
HAVE CHANGED" to slot 16 this time) and the masterful "NOT DARK YET"
(which he played for the first time in England). The challenging opener "I
AM THE MAN THOMAS" Bob chose to present for the third time in seven shows
and for the second time in a row. (If you don't know the lyrics, do check
them out on the relevant page on my web site.) As my sweet loving wife
Catina is approaching our B&B close to the Welsh border on this warm and
sunny day, I am really looking forward to see Bob's show in Cardiff
tonight. It will be at least a very good one!
Review by Peter Thwaites
First impressions of Sheffield Arena suggest that it is one of these 1980s
constructions, built to cash in on the growth of basketball as a "family
sport" as opposed to hoolie-ridden soccer of the time). Unfortunately this
gives it certain drawbacks as a concert venue, not helped by the fact that
seats have also been placed on the floor area directly in front of the stage.
Bob & the band do not appear until around 8.00pm, mainly I suspect because
the audience are slow in filtering in. Touts outside are finding tickets
weighing heavily on their hands. I observed one punter with a spare to shift
offered less than 25% of face value (which he accepted!).
As usual a good proportion of the crowd are around the 117 year old range,
as opposed to a mere 86 years on my part, but there is a young couple seated
in front of me with a babe in arms. I fully endorse the start them young
approach but once the set switches to the fully plugged and ready to rock
section, notably the advent of All Along The Watchtower, mother and child
(but not father) are forced to retreat to the foyer.
The infant concerned misses an excellent set. Whilst this line-up performs
the acoustic numbers in an elegant fashion it is the full-blown electric
numbers that seems to bring them, and Bob, to a higher level. Country Pie
followed by Dignity and Watchtower really pushes the whole event into a higher
gear. What is totally bewildering is that by the conclusion of Pill Box Hat
large sections of the audience appear to be still waiting for the basketball
to start and the ovation during the mini interval is frankly pathetic.
Undeterred the troops emerge and really give it their all. At point during
Rolling Stone you can sense that Bob is thinking, this is one of the best
rock'n'roll songs ever written and this is EXACTLY how it should be played!
Ditto Highway 61. You get the impression that they really dig the sound they
are producing, they certainly weren't being lifted by the audience that's for
As the applause for the final number drifted away I sprinted past the swag
sellers to make a quick exit from the car park, not exactly looking forward
to driving back in the dark over the Woodhead pass but with Cardiff &
Portsmouth still to look forward to.
Finally, couldn't help noticing that a good two thirds of the songs tonight
had been single releases at one time or another - is there a box set being
lined up for Christmas perhaps?
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