Reviews

Glasgow, Scotland
SECC
November 17, 2005


[John Archer], [Hugh Barney], [Pete Younger],

Review by John Archer



Somehow I had low expectations. The last Glasgow concert, Barrowlands in
summer 2004, was such a treat in an intimate venue that returning to the
SECC again was a huge challenge.  And how was the voice to be?  But the
sound was fantastic right from the energetic Maggieís Farm ( never a
favourite of mine) through the great audience come-on of Tonight Iíll be
staying here with you and Iíll be your baby tonight.  A punchy It's Alright
Ma led into one of the evenings highlights, It  Ainít Me Babe with itís
deep droning backing that adds an unexpected beat.  A rocking Highway 61
was followed by the magical Every Grain of Sand, reminding us that even
through his Ďreligiousí phase Dylanís lyrics could impress.  High Water
feels like a New Orleans homage now.  Just Like a Woman was superb, with
pauses for the audience to sing out the title lyrics.  An energetic Down
Along the Cove, a punchy acoustic Sugar Babe, Cold Irons Bound (which
Iíd have traded for Blind Willie McTell to make the totally perfect set)
great stand up  bass and steel guitar on North Country Fair, to a swinging
Summer Days and the encores.  Dylan is in superb voice.  None of these
songs were reminders of earlier versions, or a memory of another time:
they were the songs themselves, in person.  In an age when we can all 
listen to a recording within the week, a Dylan concert beats tenfold the
faded memory that a recording provides.  Having said that, Iíll be looking
out for a downloadable recording to repeat this great night a few more
times. Thanks Bob.

John Archer

[TOP]

Review by Hugh Barney



Our annual Bob Pilgrimage 2005 consisted of myself, Huw Evans and Simon
Warren.  We all took the day off work and travelled up from Newcastle. We
managed to catch a curry at the Koh-I-Noor before a zero degree walk back
to the SECC.  Bob was in fine voice, the best I've heard him over the last
three years. There was very little use of the 'upsinging device' and it
felt like he was taking great care over every phrase.  The sound quality
was variable. When it was good, it was very very good but at least 50% of
the time it seemed to be on the edge of overpowering and got in the way.


The highlights that stood out to me were:


Highway 61 Revisited 

   Blew your socks off as usual.

High Water

   Good but dissapointing. The new guitarists dont cut it in my opinion
   the way Larry Campbell did in 2003/2004.  The banjo sounded like
   biscuit tin with an elastic band stretched over it.  Nevertheless Bob
   did a great job.  Its the way he sings 'They got Charles Darwin trapped
   out there on Highway Five' etc.

Just Like A Woman 

   Done in a style very close to the Blonde on Blonde version. We all
   tried to sing along.  When Bob did the harp solo, he walked to the
   front of stage something he also did on 'Tonight I'll be Staying here
   with you'.

Down Along The Cove

   Totally understated, cool and flawless. 

Sugar Baby (acoustic) 

   Wonderful surprise. Never expected to hear this live.  Great
   interpretion, lovingly sung by Bob.  This is a better arrangement than
   the one on Love and Theft.  The sound was excellent.

Girl Of The North Country (acoustic) 

   Great new version that I'd not heard before. The band gave it a kind of
   Elizabethan make over.  Bob was really in a great voice here.  Would
   love to hear this again.

Summer Days 

   Rocked as usual.  Almost as standard as Highway 61 these days. Bob
   clearly loves this song. At the end the band all stood together on the
   right hand side of the stage.  Bob seem to be holding something silver
   up to show the crowd.  I worked my way down to the front to see.  I
   asked someone and they thought he was holding 2 harps in a sort of V
   for victory sign.  What was that about ? Maybe it was to acknowledge
   his inducton into the Britsh Rock and Roll hall of fame ?

Like A Rolling Stone 

   The best Rollng Stone I've heard out of the 6 concerts I've been too.
   The crowd response was exillerating. All around were people with big
   smiles on their faces, swinging about, some dancing in the ailes. The
   sound quality was excellent the band were right on without the sound be
   over powering.  Felt like 'revolution in the air'. Brilliantly sung by
   Bob.


And that was it for another year.  Really hope we can get more tickets
next year as we'll be back.  Those agency block bookings should be banned
!  We booked within 48 hours and still ended up 2 blocks from the front. 
0/10 has to go to the totally shambolic SECC car park exit strategy. Talk
about being 'stuck inside a mobile' for an hour not moving.  What was the
problem ?  Can't the roads cope in Glasgow ?  Maybe Bob should play 4
nights in the new 1200 easter at the SAGE in Newcastle next year.  Really
hope so. Thanks again Bob for 'somethin' strong to distract my mind'.
Great show.

[TOP]

Review by Pete Younger



I too had fairly low expectations for this show and I'm glad to say that
it was better than I had feared. But not much. The set list was rather
uninspiring - the sound variable - and this band is a cut price version of
the previous plodding country metal outfits.

When he sang properly Bob was in great voice - particularly in the earlier
numbers. But the dreaded and dreadful upsinging became more apparent as
the show progressed. It ruined even his greatest song (Every Grain Of Sand
natch) - and marred Girl Of The North Country despite all the care taken
over its nice new arrangement.

The show had too many unremarkable 60s songs - why not be brave and air
some of the unrecognised masterpieces from the 80s? I can't see the point
of doing I'll Be Your Baby Tonight next to Tonight I'll Be Staying Here -
both fine but essentially the same song and sentiment. And why thud out so
much tuneless filler like Cold Irons Bound or Down Along The Cove? 

Just Like A Woman was a nice surprise and the crowd singing was jolly. But
the real highlight which on its own made the whole evening worthwhile was
It Ain't Me Babe.  Not my favourite song but he sang it as beautifully as
I've heard any song sung. By anyone. Ever. Exquisite.

Pete Younger

[TOP]

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