October 16, 2011
Review by Martin Manuzi
So a few comments on the Lille show, which I certainly would not describe as a
review... And there are certainly no conclusions to draw,...
I've been through some "scorched earth" shows but never one as strangely vicious
in sound as like last night. Not just the voice and volume (maybe Mr BD thinks
it is the 1974 tour over again?, judging by the near-physical assault on the
microphone), but also the manic impatience to spit out the words, with fire (In
this respect, the final part of the 1987 tour may be an even closer parallel).
The body movements were just manic - and at times near comical (for the latter,
see videos of Honest with Me). After Mr Knopfler's set - during which the crowd
gave all the signs that a sing- and clap-along would be appreciated most of all
- the torrent of words and sounds had many of the audience looking totally
puzzled, if not alienated. Is this what this legend is supposed to be doing?
Instead, truly disconcerting stuff from an artist that quite some years ago sang
"It's not dark yet, but it's getting there" with a voice reflecting at least
potential acceptance. Yesterday, there seemed to be most emphasis on "not yet",
while "it's getting there" was snarled in defiance. No signs of any surrender to
time, as yet. Iron lungs for the harmonica blasts too.
What is also remarkable is that voice. It is indeed there and it can reach those
notes that some years ago were out of bounds. Take the opening Leopard Skin: a
really great start, belting out and holding those notes. But it seems that there
is a determination to make other, rougher sounds. Very striking throughout, but
always kicking in just where a sentimental heart might crave for something
softer. Also evident on Forever Young - the surprise encore - where the chorus
line was delivered with a deliberately gravel-type burial sound, as if to
underline that there is no room for sentimentality in the battle with time. And,
of course, it would not be a BD show if we had anything similar to the cheery
waves to the crowd that opened and closed Mark Knopfler's opening set. Of
course, this is not to be expected - but it was indeed quite extraordinary....
the final chords were still ringing in the ears when BD looked around at his
musical companions and promptly walked off stage as if regretting having
provided the encore at all. How to react? The crowd clearly did not know.
A Hard Rain, Jolene and Tryin' to Get to Heaven, were probably the standouts,
along with Things Have Changed (maybe this song really conveys where things are
at just now: what does he think about about the present mess?). Rolling Stone
was the moment when artist and public were at their closest. Ballad of a Thin
Man seemed to encapsulate it all: "Oh my God Am I here all alone?". At the end
of the day, this seems to be the most recurrent question.
I drove back after the show, some 100 kms, in silence, wondering what I could
make of it all. I still am.
Comments by Kevin Carolan
A big round of applause fror The Zenith for achieving the best sound quality of
the tour so far...It put the Uk venues to shame to be honest.
Review by J. Graf
Well you know how it feels, so let me just tell you that the highlights of the
night were : Not Dark Yet ( would be great to have it too today in Paris : "
I've been to London and I've been to gay Paris ) beautifully sung, Hard rain and
Tryin' to get to Heaven. To my though, Bob was in great shape, no guitar center
stage but wild choregraphies and great harp playing. That was a nice one in
Review by Dana Enciu
Last time I saw Bob Dylan was in October 2007, in Albany (USA). Many things have
changed for me since then but my love for Dylan's music has remained the same.
Yesterday I saw Dylan at Le Zenith in Lille. I was pleasantly surprised to see
that the passing of the time has left Dylan younger and more vibrant. He
performed his songs, some written over 50 years ago, with a powerful, amazing
and electric sound, he changed the rhythm so that for some I had the feeling I
was hearing them for the first time. To my great surprise he almost danced, I
have never seen him move so much (and it was my 9th concert in 10 years). The
venue was sold-out. The crowd seemed to enjoy Mark Knopfler's more accessible
sound and rhythm, only to be puzzled and quite attentive at Dylan’s
performance – I guess many were trying to figure out the songs they were
listening to, and by the time they got it, Dylan had already moved on to the
next song… sort of “catch me if you
can !” to my great delight.
For me the highlights of the evening were Things Have Changed (wow!), Tangled Up
in Blue, Not Dark Yet ( I got goose bumps from head to toes listening to this
one), Tryin' To Get To Heaven , A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - delivered in a
prophetic voice. Although Dylan was never comfortable with the title “ prophet
of a generation”, I cannot help to notice that there is a prophetic tone in
all the songs he performed during the past few years. The big surprise was the
encore "Forever Young", it left me wanting more...
It was a great concert and I was happy to be there ! I was as happy and amazed
as the 2 young girls not older than 14 standing next to me. I stopped looking at
Dylan for a moment and observed them. The pure joy on their face made me realize
they were going to be Forever Young, just as Dylan wished us all at the end of
the concert. Hope to see Dylan again in Canada, it would be about time…
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