November 19, 2013
Review by Paul Ryan
Back to the Armadillo for the second night.
This time I was with my son: only 20, but this was his sixth Dylan
concert. It may have been only 5 degrees C outside, but he wasn't going to
cover up his H61 tee-shirt. Oh, to be young again . . . .
He was nonplussed by my attempts protectively to manage his expectations;
a different Dylan show was something he said he was actively looking
forward to. Having had to stand for Knopfler's set before we got to
Dylan last time, he was happy with the prospect of being seated tonight
You will have known already that it was going to be the same set as
before, with exactly the same arrangements. Techie son pointed out that,
as well as the sound and lighting control desks situated at the front of
the first balcony, there was an additional set-up in a recess at the right
of the stage. Clearly visible on a screen within that area was that a Pro
Tools session was running. This wasn't a simple line from the soundboard
capturing the concert hall mix for archival purposes; this was evidence
that professional multi-track recording was in progress, for later studio
mixdown. Case closed m'lud.
Perhaps the set changed in Rome as a one-off because, for some reason,
there wasn't to be recording that night and advantage was taken of the
temporary loosening of the leash.
Mind you, there was the occasional problem with the sound tonight. Some
buzzes and other noises. The latter section of Watchtower was delivered
without Tony's bass, except for the concluding few bars. If they want to
use that particular recording then there will need to be studio work done
on it later. Easily done when you've got separate tracks recorded, of
Where there wasn't any problem at all, though, was with the performance.
It may have been the same set, with identical arrangements, but this was
even better than on Monday. The first night was good, but the band was
even tighter second time round.
A bit more life about things on stage and the same could be said about the
crowd. Who knows which influences which first - who throws out the
initial cue - but there's no doubt that live performance can become a
feedback loop, with one party reinforcing the other. There was even a
definite roar tonight from the audience at the end of the main set,
something which was noticeably absent last night. Not exactly oomph -
still mellowness throughout - but somehow the show didn't seem to sag in
the middle any more.
Bob too upped his game. Nothing startling to be truthful, but everything
good on Monday was improved to some extent. At the first gig he seemed
somewhat unsteady on his feet at points, particularly at the end, and
almost to be clutching the mike stand for support. Still a hint of that
this time, but much less so. Likewise, the passion was there again,
burning perhaps even slightly more brightly.
The only talking from Bob was to announce the intermission. No "long live
Scotland" or any other sop to the location. Not even band introductions.
Just Bob and his show. Who needs anything else when he's on his game like
P.S. There's an outfit handing out a pamphlet after the shows. It's
heavy on Dylan content. The overall theme is religious. I won't indulge
in any cheap knocking of their message, but I do want to say something
about and to them. The content looked interesting enough - though I'll
read anything - but when flicking through the material later at home I
noticed that they seem to think that the term "England" is a synonym for
"United Kingdom". (It's a mistake that isn't made on their website.) You
handed that out in Scotland? It went straight in the bin after that.
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