Glasgow, Scotland

Clyde Auditorium

November 20, 2013

[Trevor Townson], [Paul Ryan], [Bill Ferguson]

Review by Trevor Townson

Why so few reviews so far, come on all you scribes and get something put
down for the UK leg at least, let's give the tour a good send off, perhaps
the static set lists have done nothing to inspire all the would be
reviewers out there, well there must be something of interest that any
attendee to a concert can scribble about the show or the tour, to any
foreign visitors to these shores why not write something in your own
language, the Dylan community like having the challenge of reading
something then having to try and work out what it means, could give them
something to study for many years to come, surely a word puzzle review
requiring deciphering by the majority of readers would be most welcome
here, failing that just write anything like I do as it usually gets
posted, I am no expert, never said I am an expert, or want to be an
expert, who wants to be an expert anyway, OK, maybe deep inside many would
like to be an expert, would love to be an expert, sometime, somehow,
someday, somewhere, about someone, something, someother, as for me, I am
happy not being an expert, too many expectations in being an expert, far
better being near the bottom, not too far to fall from there, much safer
to work down from there to someone, something, someother, sometime,
somehow, someday, somewhere, it's a long road, it's a long and narrow way,
so don't work up, work down to someone, something, someother, sometime,
somehow, someday, somewhere, working down is easy if you are not an
expert, roll on if you got a ticket to ride and you ain't no paperback
writer, or any kinda writer, I am no expert but did Changing Of The Guards
need backing singers, did the album need backing singers, don't listen to
me, listen to the album, am I right or am I right, may be I am, may be I
am not, as said I am no expert, no matter, even with backing singers it
was still a Street ahead of other albums for me, perhaps Bob needed
backing singers at that time to take him to where he was going onto next,
but did we need them, like do we need another Bob Dylan album now, was
Clean Cut Kid really that bad, was Born In The USA really that good,
listen to both, which creates the best imagery in your mind, then we got
Trust Yourself, then we got Emotionally Yours, then we got Something's
Burning, Baby, finally we got Dark Eyes, as said I am no expert, don't
want to be an expert, then again do I really know what I want, I even
found that jacket on the cover cool at the time, as said I am no expert,
not even sure that I am talking about the right album, Oh Mercy, standing
in line outside the Heineken Music Hall in 2009, Jeff from Amsterdam told
me how Bob was helping to teach him English, he was telling me about
hearing the word superfluous in the lyrics, he asked me if I knew what the
word meant, I told him not to worry about the word, I told him it was not
a necessary word, not necessary like backing singers, not necessary like
another Bob Dylan album, not necessary like going to another Bob Dylan
show, do we really need another Bob Dylan song, do we really need another
Bob Dylan album, not necessary, just not necessary, even with some of our
favourite songs from decades earlier, never been heard live by us in
concert, let us hear something new, not that any of us have yet heard live
ourselves Something's Burning, Baby, why not let us hear that, why not let
us hear New Pony, why not let us hear No Time To Think, why not let us
hear again Baby Stop Crying, why not let us hear once more Is Your Love In
Vain, why not let us hear Where Are You Tonight, funny you should ask
that, with a desperately needed album of new songs to stop us all getting
bored of the up until now very limited library, some of the new songs from
the new album we have yet to hear live, then again what is new in that,
Bob has an older album called Street Legal the songs of which most of us
have still yet to hear live, a couple of songs that nobody has yet heard
live, then he has a more recent album than that called Empire Burlesque,
not heard too much off that album either, maybe only the one I think,
prior to that though we had Knocked Out Loaded, what was the point of that
album, is this another chance for Jeff to practice the use of his new
found word superfluous, come on now all you experts do you know of any
song from that particular album that has ever been performed live, am I
right or am I right, as said I am no expert so I am probably wrong but
hopefully you get the point, for this reason I decided that I was not
going to like Tempest, I just did not feel like I needed or wanted another
Bob Dylan album so having played it a few times I put it aside, I did
however read all that I came across of what others were saying about
Tempest, still nothing really interested me in what was being said or in
any of the blogs that may have followed, then one afternoon whilst
relaxing I put the album on and found that I really enjoyed it, I
subsequently really enjoyed the songs when I heard a few of them first
time live, perhaps Bob can please some of the people part of the time but
it is just not possible for him to please all of the people all of the
time, including me it seems, not that Bob owes anyone of us anything for
that matter, the deal has already been paid in full, still the thought
remained, do we really need another Bob Dylan song, do we really need
another Bob Dylan album, do we really need another Bob Dylan concert, do
we really need air and water, lets take all we can get and be thankful,
many people are now coming around to that way of thinking, that we should
take all that we can get and be thankful, a lot of people me included will
be taking in multiple shows on this tour, Bob is not forcing any of us to
show up, well he is actually enticing us a bit with those Don’t You Dare
Miss It posters, no matter, three nights of Bob in the same venue, that
always has the potential to grow better night on night, done that before
but not like this, sitting down and comfortable at a Bob show, yes really
comfortable armchair seating that you sink into, more like being in a
cinema than a music venue, all very refined and everyone very civilised,
although it was really an older end audience on all three nights, probably
not the coolest of venues for local youngsters to frequent I thought, may
be they would see it as a place their Grandparents like going to and that
they would always be in danger of bumping into their Geography teacher
from school, how not so very cool and uncomfortable that would be for
them, that is not to say that on these nights there was not the odd pocket
of youth with good taste willing to brave those particular obstacles, you
never know what you will get with Bob and we had been thrown a couple of
curve balls already in Rome with that explosion in the set list box that
threw together two radically different and out of the blue shows, I was
not expecting anything like that to happen here, not that there is any way
of me knowing that of course, it was just gut feel I guess, my gut feel
proved correct and as the show started it was looking like Things Have Not
Changed, so having seen the show one time already it was time to just sit
back and savour it all again, this is probably something that not many Bob
Dylan fans have had experience of, consistency, it had the knowledgeable
ones in the audience taking a different tack, now no longer analysing the
variations in which songs were performed but very minor and small
differences in the same songs, quite unique really, people would ask me my
thoughts, I really did not know, whilst being a detail person myself I do
not have the ability or memory to differentiate minor changes and tweaks
in songs night on night, being able to focus my concentration on other
areas however it gave me another opportunity, not to analyse each song as
others were doing, instead I decided to have a better look around the
stage and guess what I found, a drummer, whilst he was not always visible
due to this guy who would occasionally wander centre stage and block my
view, you really must look out for him if you get the chance to go to a
show, he is positioned towards the back of the stage which is probably why
I have not noticed him before, but yes folks don’t miss out on this part
of the act as it is absolutely amazing, I asked a guy sitting next to me
and was told that the drummer is called George, I just could not
understand how this guy does what he does, he is like a fully packaged
music making machine all on his own, so many different movements and so
many different sounds going on and all perfectly in sync with everything
else that is happening, I thought it was only supposed to be snowflakes
that you can never find two alike, well there is another wonder of the
Universe here in drummer George as every move this guy made seemed to me
to be totally different to any other, every move made formed a visual and
audible hypnotic extravaganza on both eye and ear, I do not know where you
would go to learn how to play a music making machine like that let alone
how  to co-ordinate your body in order to do that, nowhere was this more
marked than during Duquesne Whistle which was just a Masterclass to watch,
Bob played harp on a few songs each night but George played his music
making machine on every song, so there you have it people, this instrument
is indispensable and needs to be given the respect that it deserves, check
it out yourself if you get the opportunity and no doubt like me you will
be in total wonder, so static set lists do have some major benefits if you
look for them, I feel sure that I could have watched Bob perform for
another twenty years or more and never discovered George and his amazing
music making machine without having had the time to reflect on things like
that, may be the shows opener is telling us something, actually it does
kind of go full circle almost, a mini glimpse of an immense career
condensed down (by Bobs standards at any rate) into just a handful of
songs, the ending is amazing as you get three brand new songs from Tempest
which build up then build up some more till you get blown away with easily
the shows highlight for me, Long And Wasted Years, followed after a short
break by two truly classic and iconic encore songs, I honestly have never
been to a Bob show where so many people have been remarking to each other
just how good it had been, the first night I again attended with Chris my
Glasgow based Bob Dylan buddy who just could not believe that he had to
say yet again after the show that Bob just gets better and better every
time, walking out night two I overhear a group of young girls who had been
brave enough to chance bumping into their Geography teacher by going to
the Clyde Auditorium, one says to the others that this had been one of the
best nights of her life, even the long term Dylan throng were full of
praise and I must say that I was rather impressed myself and enjoyed each
night in equal measure, that was of course until the final two songs of
the final night as the crowd finally break free of the restricted seating
to stand before the stage, I was on the end seat in row three for that
show so I decided to join them and walked forward to stand just a few
yards from the Maestro himself as he performs perfectly two of his most
famous works in perfect close up, by the relaxed way that Bob performed
those final two songs I felt sure that everyone standing there would have
believed that he was singing  them just for them, it had such an intimate
feel, perhaps the fact that the three shows had been performed so
disciplined and sedately it was a relief for Bob as well at the end when
people broke ranks, he must have really enjoyed the occasion as he breaks
ranks himself too and moves forward of the band line up taking a few steps
forward to touch hands with some in the crowd facing the stage who were
leaning forward with outstretched arms in his direction, to top that Bob
then strolls a few steps along the front of the stage with his arm
outstretched and his hand doing a kind of sweeping swooping low, high
five, if that makes sense, Bob is all smiles throughout, having amazed the
people by touching so many outstretched hands Bob then leaves stage, what
a fantastic gesture to end a magnificent trio of concerts, cannot top that
and it is all over so I make a quick escape back to the car and on my way,
even flying past two Beat The Street buses travelling in convoy shortly
after having joined the M8 signposted Carlisle as we all travel South, no
time for me to hang about as it is work in the morning for me before
getting ready to travel onto Blackpool on Friday, probably as local a
venue as it will ever get for me unless Bob does Leeds some day, I will be
doing the three Blackpool shows with my friend Jennifer and truly hope
(now here is a first for a Dylan fan) that Bob does exactly the same set
list as I know Jennifer would just love it as she really enjoyed Tempest
and took it at face value without any of the issues I had to put myself
through about it, guaranteed to get Bob to change the set list probably by
asking him not to but Bob this is serious, dont change the bloody set list
at least for one of the shows, whatever the set list is at least those
visiting for the shows will have the opportunity to experience Bob & Fish
& Chips in Blackpool thanks to Carole Newton and her tram trip as posted
on the fan site The Desolation Row Information Service run by John
Baldwin, so queue up, queue up or stand in line, stand in line from
10.30am on Saturday 23rd at the tram stop right outside North Pier for the
10.58 Southbound journey to Starr Gate, first leg to Starr Gate past the
Pleasure Beach then cross the tracks to catch a Northbound tram to
Fleetwood which are every 15 minutes, from Fleetwood arriving back to
Starr Gate and getting off at Bispham Red Bank Road to cross over the road
to the Bisphan Kitchen Fish & Chip Café / Restaurant for lunch around
1.00pm, Roll up roll up, it's a pretty big tram holding 50 people so Don't
You Dare Miss It, failing that there is another tram following at 11.18 so
no excuses, come on Bob and get on board, John Baldwin is I think pretty
experienced at dealing with officialdom so he would no doubt get in touch
with Blackpool Corporation and negotiate with them to put on a black tram
with blacked out windows just in case, I feel sure that I have seen a tram
like that anyway during the illuminations so Jeff Rosen will have no
excuses either as there will be no need to overspend on the jolly by
having to convert a tram, actually if the tram ride proves too much you
could always just mosey on up to the chippy for one o'clock on the day in
the coach and tie it to a lamp post, you should find that Blackpool is a
very coach friendly place but if you were to get busted for parking I
guess that Jeff would soon sort it out, he has just got to be a man who
puts a few thousand dollars and a “black card” in his socks when in
foreign parts, that will do nicely in Blackpool, may be Bob will already
be too busy to attend, perhaps visiting Blackpool Football Club to receive
an honour off them as they have decided that he just must be far better at
keepy uppy with a football than Stanley Matthews ever was, or may be he
has ended up really pushed for time as Blackpool Tower also wish to honour
him for being a far better organist than Regional Dixon ever was, that
however does not excuse the band or crew from joining in and catching the
tram as they never get invited to join Bob in attending his most awkward
moments anyway, it is not as though the band need the time off to rehearse
and the stage and sound will be set up from the previous night already, so
even if the sound was bad on night one do we ever really complain so that
you would notice and would anyone notice if we did, best get to the
Bispham Kitchen chippy instead guys and leave the sound alone as nobody
really cares and we will all still be there again next time should we be
lucky enough, may be Bob would notice the sound but if he prefers to spend
time jaunting off to pick up honours on his own, well tough, Blackpool can
however be a little chilly at this time of year so Carole will probably
still turn up with a blanket to put over Bob's knees just in case,
probably  not too many outside of the circle know who the band are anyway
so those guys would be fine and we could always just stuff Bob in a corner
if necessary in a “Kiss-Me-Quick” cowboy hat which I am sure would
make him feel at home, anyway who would ever seriously believe that Bob
Dylan was in Blackpool, anyway you really just cannot be serious in
Blackpool, can you, nah, Brilliant!

Trevor Townson


Review by Paul Ryan

Back for the third night in a row.

I shouldn't have posted my review of the second show before I'd been to
this one. I told no lie: there had indeed been an improvement from Monday
to Tuesday.  It's just that the change had been slight, whereas this time
round there was a marked difference.  Not to put too fine a point on it,
tonight's show was easily the best of the three.

Same set. Same arrangements.  It wasn't that the band played better, in
the sense of keeping time or the number of mistakes.

The difference was Dylan himself.  It may have been the rejuvenating
effects of a couple of decent nights' sleep in a row.  Or more time spent
in this fine city.  Whatever the reason, his voice was so much stronger
and tuneful tonight.  Hell, he even hit true notes at times.

She Belongs To Me was sung as well as you could hope for.  For the
repeated line "she's got no place to fall", the last word came to us in a
confident tenor delivery that I hadn't realised he could still manage. 
Forgetful Heart was great (which it doesn't really deserve to be).  Pay In
Blood and Long And Wasted Years were simply magnificent.  You could even
make out the words to Early Roman Kings . . .

There was a vim and vigour about this performance that, in retrospect, was
a bit missing from the previous shows, the first night in particular. 
There was more oomph indeed.

Much better audience reaction too, with some rushing of the stage at the
end.  And, wonder of wonders, Bob made physical contact with members of
the audience.  Some very spooked security guys as a result.

The laptop running Pro Tools had migrated from the stage-side booth up to
the main desk on the balcony.  I have no idea if the move is significant.
It was still clearly showing a multi-track recording in progress, however.

Outside there was a film crew again.   Previously they seemed just to be
filming the crowd coming and going.  This time there were interviews being
conducted, gauging the audience reaction to the concert, I think.

Talking to the guy seated beside me, we agreed that with a three night
residency you'd expect to get an extended encore for the final night.  We
both knew that it wasn't going to happen this time.  Perhaps the final
night of the tour, at the RAH, may see that tradition restored, but I
wouldn't bet on it.  We agreed also, though, that we felt no

I don't need a lengthy set. I can live without varied song choices. 
What's of most importance is the quality of the performance: a good show
is enough. That's what we got rewarded with throughout this run of shows
and particularly so tonight.   Expensive tickets . . . but worth every
single penny.


Review by Bill Ferguson

Two words I didn't expect to use in a review of a Bob Dylan Concert -
predictable and tight. And they're not a criticism. When I saw Bob for the
first time, the programme had a blank page to write down the songs.
Nothing like that on this occasion, so, For my first time ever, I knew
what the set list was in advance so the songs were predicted. The Rome set
looked like quite a night but by Glasgow, we were back to normal service.
Not that the settings were routine though, they had been in some cases
radically changed some of which worked, others not so well. The band were
much tighter than any Dylan band I've heard before, no wild mercury sound
tonight. The sound was clear and unobtrusive, helped by the venue's
acoustics. Bob's voice too was in good shape, his diction coming through
clearly and even hitting the melody sometimes. I thought the rework went
well on Early Roman Kings, less so on High Water Rising and even less so
on Beyond Here lies Nothing, a very dark song not suited to uptempo. On
the other hand, I really liked the revised versions of Forgetful Heart and
All Along the Watchtower, the latter made for a folk/country rework. But,
hey Bob, thanks for giving us something to think about in looking again at
the songs. This was a good chance to listen again to a lot of newish songs
and reevaluate them. Bob himself seemed engaged and involved in the songs
and even permitted himself some audience interaction so certainly couldn't
be accused of being on automatic pilot. Overall, Bob, thanks for 47 years
of live music since we first met at the Glasgow Odeon in May 1966.

Bill Ferguson


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