Antwerp, Belgium


October 19, 2011

[Wouter Demuyt], [Filip Heylens]

Review by Wouter Demuyt

I’d been looking forward to the evening, as it was the first time I’d see
either Knopfler or Dylan live. 

Mark Knopfler started at 8 o’clock sharp, playing a selection of songs taken
mostly from his solo catalogue, and featuring one new song called Privateering.
He played an atmospheric set – with lots of Celtic folk influences – in his
relaxed but virtuoso way. Brothers In Arms was the highlight of his concert and
after finishing with Speedway At Nazareth the crowd demanded an encore: So Far
Away. Knopfler and his 8 piece band got a standing ovation after a too short 75
minute concert.

Next was the great man himself. He seemed to be in fine form. 
The opening song – as on previous occasions – was Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.
Dylan played three songs from Time Out Of Mind, which were all delivered
passionately. Love Sick sounded less fatalistic than the studio version, and had
a hopeful feel to it. Later on Not Dark Yet was declaimed more than it was sung,
but in such an impressive manner that it was one of the best moments of the
evening. Can’t Wait was tight and strong. It was nice to see Bob playing
guitar on Tom Thumb’s Blues. There was a bizarre upbeat waltzy version of A
Hard Rain, with Bob playing cheerful phrases on the organ. One of four songs
from its eponymous album, Highway 61 had the band producing an intense and solid
sound. The drummer was especially great on this one. It was nice to see the
interaction between Dylan and his band here. Bob sang beautifully and clearly on
Forgetful Heart. Summer Days and Thunder On The Mountain featured rockabilly
style playing from the band, suiting the former song better than the latter,
which was played rather too hastily to my taste. Ballad Of A Thin Man was the
apotheosis of the concert. Sound effects creating an echo of Dylan’s voice,
and lighting that made for a dark and threatening atmosphere all emphasized
Bob’s harrowing performance. What a stage persona! Dylan plays his weathered
voice in grand fashion. The evening ended with All Along The Watchtower, in a
version that really rocked; and of course Like A Rolling Stone, during which
lots of people left their seats to gather at the front of the stage to bellow
along, yours truly reaching the first row to get a sight of Dylan up close. Two
people tried to jump onto the stage, only to be dragged off it by security. They
had no bad intentions towards Bob, though, they just got carried away a bit
(figuratively ŕnd literally). The crowd roared out for an encore, but it was
not to be. Bob greeted the ecstatic audience once more and then he left the

I left for home a happy man...

Wouter Demuyt


Review by Filip Heylens

Amazing show yesterday in Antwerp, much better than the one in Lille, Dylan
really enjoying himself, laughing, grinning, dancing....beautiful rendition of
'Can't wait' and a stunning version of 'forgetful heart' almost brought me to
tears, I was sitting  first row in front of the stage, Dylan almost in touching
distance...amazing experience, to see him and his band so  close-by , the
dedication and energy he puts in every song, the sound also was brilliant (given
the fact  that the sportpaleis is ...well ...a sportsvenue) I have seen Dylan at
least 25 times since 1998 and i have to say, this will be one to remember. Not
in the least because security was very tight and annoying, everybody had to sit
down, you were not allowed to stand up, not allowed to take any pictures with
your cellphone, and believe me, they were very aggressive about it, but then in
the end people got fed up with those fanatic overzealous security men and when
Bob started LARS people got out of their chairs, pushed the security-nazis out
of the way and i found myself leaning over the crash barriers almost kissing
Dylans feet, people came down from the higher parts of the arena, people stood
on their chairs and everybody started to sing along 'HOW DOES IT FEEEEEEL....'
Then one or two guys , i can't remember well in all the excitement,   climbed
over the crash barriers and tried to get on stage, one guy actually got on
stage, but got stuck with his feet in some kind of microphone cable, security
people went nuts and Dylans personal bodyguards had to come on stage to push the
guy away, I watched the whole thing front row and watched Dylan while all this
was happening, and he was laughing, really laughing, it was almost like he
enjoyed the whole thing, like he was  glad something happened, i guess he still
loves a good riot once in a while:-) It was a brilliant ending of a very good
show. And please next time people of Antwerp don't put chairs in front of the
stage, he may be 70... but he's much younger than that now.

Filip Heylens


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