October 20, 2011
Review by Bas Bos.
Awesome concert in Rotterdam. I've been to over twenty shows since 1984. Many of
those were fantastic in one way or another. Yesteday's reminded me of the one I
attended with my good buddie Mr. Sjef from Hilvarenbeek. Together we went to a
Dylan concert in 1995 and were blown away positively by the experience as a
whole. That was in Dortmund and it all felt just perfect; the atmosphere in the
arena, the arrangements of the songs, the performances of Bob and the band where
Tony was also part of. To me it was very much a holistic thing back then and
there. One and one was one and not two! Get it? And I shared it all with Sjef
who pretty much felt the same about it and was (as me) all shook up positively
and therefore had a hard time keeping his car on track driving back home (which
after all went just fortunately fine). So what about Rotterdam 2011? Sjef had
other plans so he missed this one but I was happy to be there with Jan, Bob,
CÚline, Bart, Ton, Klaas, Inge, Niels and Willem. That makes ten of us in
total, the youngest about 15 years old, the oldest just over 50. After the show
all generations agreed that it was a fantastic experience as a whole! And it
Rocked! Bob and his cowboy-band were awesome! I was already pleased and grateful
to see Mark Knopfler perform and play his wonderful tunes with his band. They
sort of set things ready for kick off and from Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat on
until the last notes of Like A Rolling Stone it was just superb! There was such
power in Bob and his music and the way it was brought to us. All the tracks
played yesterday had something special in terms of arrangements, performance of
Bob, performance of the band. How they did Highway 61 for example, I just can't
describe. As we say in The Netherlands: It stood as a house, the puzzle was
complete, it all fit, yeah!!! So who cares about sound quality of the Ahoy
arena? Why bother? Greatness is greatness where ever. This show was a treat from
A to Z. On the way back three of the juniors I had to take home safely were
hungry and had two big hamburgers each from the McDrive which to me was quiet
impressive in itself! As I write this the day after, it's a beautiful sunny
autumn afternoon and I still have only eaten one succulent apple, with a
Review by Brad Timmer
I visited Bob'show last night in Rotterdam.
After Mark Knopfler's set (almost one hour and a quarter) the roadies took
some twenty minutes to rearrange the stage for His Bobness.
And then, appr. 9.05 PM, the famous announcement came: "Columbia recording
artist: Bob Dylan!"
He started with a rocky Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, followed by It Ain't Me,
Babe, which was sung beautifully. The crowd tried to sing-along, but als
always, Bob changed the rhytm a little.
Then came Things Have Changed, with a screaming harp. Beautiful!
The next song was for quite a lot of people hard to recognize: Mississippi. He
did it wonderful.
The Levee's Gonna Break rocked heartidly and after that came the classic A
Hard Rains; A-Gonna Fall. It was quite a long time ago that I had heard that
High Water was one of the favourites of the evening. A beautiful song, sung
intentionally and with such great harp-playing! And immediate after this
top-song came Blind Willie McTell! Again with great harp! In the middele of his
harp-solo he took the whole band 'on a string' and blew-blew-blew the band on
trail. Very very beautiful!
A snaring Highway 61 brought us bach to earth and after that song we could
welcome Workingma's Blues: another briljant song from His Master!
When Thunder On The Mountain was played we knew that the last part of the
set was reached.
But we did not leave before we had heard Ballad Of A Thin Man. BEAUTIFUL!
Again that fantastic harp-playing. How does he do that? He's seventy years
old and still having iron lungs. Unbelievable!
The end og the show came with a straight All Along The Watchtower and of
course (after introducing the band-membeers) Like A Rolling Stone.
For me (and my sister and my son) this was a great show and certainly one of his
best that we have ever visited.
Review by Joop Bekkema
A good thing to the Ahoy arena is the possibility for everybody to have a seat,
since not everybody likes to stand up for 2 and a half hour.
If you want to see Dylan on this leg of his tour, you get Knopfler for free.
A lot of people however only wanted to see Knopfler and left when the stage was
prepared for Dylan, in a remarkable speedy fashion by the way.
Knopfler was good but with an overkill as far as his band was concerned. I
counted 8 people at a time but still liked the sound of the three basic players
(base, drum and Knopfler) the best. I hate the sound of violins, flutes, pipes
etc. in a decent band.
Knopflers and his band's performance however was good and flawless.
The only solo's on guitar this evening were skilfully performed by Knopfler.
Since Larry Campbell and Freddy Koella left Dylan's band, no decent guitarsolo
has been heard ever since.
A wall of sound has been the logic result, while the only solo's this evening
came from Dylan's organ.
No wonder these solo's were painfully simple, sometimes even with one finger and
repeated notes in a certain rythm.
Only the opening (Leopard skin Pillbox hat) was promising as far as Sexton was
After that he just played along.
Dylans voice was good as long as he used his high pitch sound.
As soon as he switched to the low region his singing changed in a growling type
of talking and rapping.
Only in two of the 14 songs (Pillbox and The levy's gonna break) his voice was
high pitch and therefore remarkably good.
Although Mississippi was the real surprise of the evening, the new arrangement
of the song made it quite a bit less impressive.
All the new versions of his songs were lacking improvement.
Since he owns his own songs, Dylan is perfectly entitled to alter whatever he
wants, but I can say whatever I want about his changes.
The new version of his majestic song Blind Willy Mac Tell I consider more as a
rape than a rearrangement.
Also because he was not singing a single note, but spits out the text in a
New but rather simple as far as I'm concerned.
Workingman's blues was surprinsingly good as wel as High water.
Thunder, Highway 61 and Watchtower were very moderate and were obviously lacking
His very good phrasing sometimes resulted in surprises like in A hard Rain's
A good version but probably that one was not even recognised by those who came
to see the Dylan of the 60's an 70's.
No wonder that lots of people left even before All along the watchtower was
Amazing to see that Dylan continues to surprise people with changing setlists
every evening, but finishes every setlist with the same two songs (Watchtower
and Rolling Stone) for ten years in a row now.
Also in those details Dylan is a never ending mystery.
Doing his own stuff, no matter what people think of him.
And as long as his shows sell out he will continue to perform.
And he will continue to impress me.
Even if he would bake an egg on stage.
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