Manchester, England

Manchester Evening News Arena
(M.E.N. Arena)

October 10, 2011

[David Thorley], [Carole Newton], [Ramchit Lash], [Brian O'Connell],
[David Cooper], [Philip Slack], [Sarah Anderson]

Review by David Thorley

A rainy night in Manchester began with a wonderfu celtic influenced set by
Mark Knopner.  It was a perfect start and a great way to warm up for the
main event.

Bob looked very earnest tonight. Even the intro 'ladies & gentlemen,
please welcome the poet laureate of rock'n'roll' seemed rushed.

Then it was a full-on Leapard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, with the band finding
their Manchester feet.

Don't Think Twice was sublime, hard edged and driving.

My number album is Blood on the Tracks, so Tangled Up In Blue and Simple
Twist of Fate lit up my night. Bob was right up there centre stage, with a
powerful harp cutting through.

Highway 61 really dropped down and hit a magnificient groove. The raw
power coming off the band was amazing.

Then we had the fixed final four. Thin Man held the audience rapt. 
Charlie's lead guitar throughout Watchtower evoked the great guitar god
Jimi H.

Bob seemed totally there. No dancing or messing around. He seems very
serious and poured everything into the music. His organ playing seemed
looser than ever and more confident.

There was a hurried introduction of the band from Bob, but it was an
earnest, 'let's rock' set that left a packed Manchester house reeling out
into the dark, wet night.

David Thorley 


Review by Carole Newton

Bob was amazing last night at the MEN arena, Manchester.  I was front row
standing facing him and I have never seen him as animated and happy.  He
truly was a song and dance man.  His version of Things Have Changed was
outstanding and he gave a beautiful rendition of Forgetful Heart when his
voice was full of feeling and depth.  Ballad of a Thin Man was the best
one I have heard and he just thoroughly enjoyed himself all night.  His
voice was on top form too. I can't wait for tonight at Nottingham although
I'm not front row here so last night will always be very special.  The
best view and the best performance so far, but who knows what he can still
pull out of the bag!  Keep on rockin' Bob.

Carole Newton
(from Blackpool in the North West of England)


Review by Ramchit Lash

I don't know if this where you send reviews to but I went to see BD last
night and having never seen him live before and in all honesty he failed
to impress. The band was good, but too loud and drowned out most of the 
incomprehensible lyrics so much so that i could hear people around me
saying things like " I think this is "Hard Rain". He had no dialogue with
the audience, never even said hello to the thousands of devotees - as far
as I could hear. The encore we felt was almost done grudgingly! Bob, you
once were very good and gave a voice to an angry generation but if I were
you, I'd pocket the receipts from this tour and retire!! Your support,
Mark Knopfler, on the other hand, was crisp and clear and outclassed you
in every department. (the wife loved Dylans gravelly voice however!)

Ramchit Lash 


Review by Brian O'Connel

Last night's Dylan concert in Manchester was the best I have ever been
to-and I've seen him in London, Las Vegas and Liverpool. I have never seen
Bob so animated and having such a good time. He prowled the stage like a
Shakespearean actor but his voice barked out the lyrics like a singing Lee
Van Cleef aka 'The Bad' in the celebrated Western Leone film TGTB&TU. So
many highlights in the fourteen song set, but for me the 'Ballad of a thin
man' gave me goose bumps in its ferocity. The four songs beginning centre
stage with 'Things have changed' after the first two numbers on keyboard
were magnificent with plenty of piercing harmonica solos. Later Bob
swooped up and down his keyboard/organ like Garth Hudson's best work with
The Band. 'Summer days' and 'Forgetful Heart' were also wonderful and well
received by the audience. The balance of seven songs centre stage and
seven behind the keyboard worked very well. I doubt if I'll see anything
better than this concert by Bob and his superb musicians probably in this
lifetime! There was an overlong wait for the expected encore and some may
have thought the show was over, but the version of 'Like a rolling stone'
was phenomenal as was the rocking 'Watchtower.'  I really hope these shows
are being recorded for a DVD release for as Dylan's Seventieth Birthday
Tour and if so I'll be first in line!

Brian O'Connell


Comments by David Cooper

Been seeing dylan since 87. Went on my own tonight via Scarborough and

What was bob like? Great. Blipped around the honest with me point (why the
hell does he do that song? It's shit!! It's as if bob is trying his
damndest with it (and tonight he really tried!) but it's just a crap song.
The show started well and generally was full of energy and good voice (
I'm harsh because I compare his voice to 95, 03, 05 and 06. When it was
bloody good) blipped with HWM and then built again.  The vibe was good
coming out from the arena. I'm off to see bob at bournemouth and
London.... Vary the set please Bob! But love you anyway!


Review by Philip Slack

the concert i attended was monday 10/10/11 in manchester.
i went to this concert with my eyes wide open,knowing that i was,nt going to
hear bob dylan as he was in the sixties or seventies and also that i was,nt
going to hear dire staits but mark knopfler and his new style music. when
knopfler and his band started to play i settled down to listen with
anticipation,until he started to sing that is.i literally could,nt make out a
single word.the music sounded great but what happened to the acoustics for the
vocals i have no idea,it was dreadful.and thats being kind. having said that his
guitar playing was good and the band were excellent  also. maybe it will be ok
when bob comes on i thought,wrongly,it was just as bad.i could,nt say what bob,s
voice was like because it could have been anybody singing,,again i was unable to
make out any of the words which was,nt helped by the rest of the band being so
loud. although i was aware he did,nt sing any of the songs in anything like
their original form i was shocked at how unreconiserble they were,he was half
way through a hard rain before i knew what it was and like a rolling stone was
terrible,the lyrics i could make out were the same,but what happened to the
melody? all in all the night was a let down and an expensive one at that.


Review by Sarah Anderson

I advise any friend of mine who responds 'cool! So jealous, he's a legend'
when they discover that I am seeing Dylan in concert, to avoid attending.
These are the fans who, like some of the reviewers on this site, come
expecting LARS with a recognizable melody, or laughably, any audience
interaction. I am in the group of fans who arrive having 'done their
homework' by listening to his dozens of studio albums, expecting to see a
performance by a legend, and expecting not much more. Monday night's
performance for this group felt like graduating with a first class honors
degree in Dylan studies, with Dylan humbly providing the class of 2011
address. All expectations were surpassed. Magnificent from start to

I have seen Dylan live 5 times, on 4 occasions with my dad in the UK and
once alone in New York. I would describe myself as a true fan. I always
leave Dylan concerts feeling satisfied, but Monday night's performance was
in a league of its own. The set list was predictable, performed with
energy by Dylan throughout. THC sounded as it did in the Hollywood
studios, and was extremely well received. Hard rain had the people around
me singing, and happens to be a favorite song of mine. I still don't
understand why he performs HWM which has always been a dull, terrible
song. Most probably it is in the setlist to purposely displease the
audience, and to amuse Dylan. He seemed to be enjoying himself throughout
the concert and even had a glimmer of a smile during Thunder, a very
unusual sighting. 

At one point during the concert I told my Dad that I was moved. I think it
was hearing the lungs of a much much older Dylan producing such majestic
beauty on the harp during THC, to a stunned and appreciative audience. I
joked with my dad that I would die a happy woman. Silly, as I have plenty
more classic concerts ahead of me. I look forward to seeing Dylan perform
in London in November. 

Sarah Anderson


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