London, England

HMV Hammersmith Apollo

November 21, 2011

[Joe Neanor], [Mick Gold], [Martin Gayford], [Mr Jinx], [Tony], [John Doyle],
[Chris Job], [Paul Clayden], [Ken Cowley], [Trevor Townson]

Review by Joe Neanor

This is pretty much the Bob Dylan quarter here in the capital of the Land
of Don't Look Back. The venue is just a mile or two away from the scene of
Bob's last solo acoustic concert, choose between the final show at the
Royal Albert Hall in May 1965 or the 12 song set performed in front of an
audience at the BBC Television (White City) Studios a month later.

They can call this place what they like but to me it will forever be the
Hammersmith Odeon.  A large Art Deco former cinema, tonight all the ground
floor seats were removed to allow standing, a set back balcony above. This
is most definitely a No Big Screen Required venue. The old cinema floor
provides a steep pitch, leveling out about 10 yards from the stage, giving
a good chance of unobstructed sight of the performers.  I enjoyed a great
view, just 15 yards from the stage.

Starting just after nine o'clock the show got off to a flyer with a
thumping Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, played straight down the middle. Mark
Knopfler was on stage for this and the next two numbers.  Bob left his
keyboard to pick up his guitar and sing a fine measured version of It's
All Over Now Baby Blue centre stage.  Knopfler adding some nice touches on
guitar alongside Bob.

Things Have Changed was performed by Bob centre stage, picking up and the
handheld microphone.  He frequently returned it to the stand to strike
poses or play a howling harmonica. Behind him the band delivered a
pounding accompaniment with George Receli beating out the rhythm with
brush sticks.

An album true version of Spirit On The Water followed with Dylan back
behind his keyboard. The audience dismissed Dylan's lyrical assertion that
he might be over the hill and enjoyed his reference to having a "Whopping
good time". A mellow counter point.

But let's face it you don't go to a Bob Dylan concert for a mellow
experience. And so it was back to business as usual when Bob strapped on
the electric guitar and launched into Honest With Me. As the volume was
cranked up it was harder to hear all the vocals but the sentiment
expressed in the refrain was reflected in the intense delivery of the
song. Having seen Bob do a kind of rain dance when performing this number
last month I preferred tonight's less manic version. This was to be the
second and last time Bob played the guitar tonight. I had a good look at
his finger movement up and down the fret board and the contribution he was
making to the band's sound. He was playing strong guitar, not just going
through the motions with a few chords.

Forgetful Heart was performed centre stage, Bob crooning into the handheld
microphone and playing some nice bluesy harmonica. An album true version
and the only song performed from his most recent Together Through Life
album. This is closest we got to an acoustic number all night with just
Stu Kimball playing an electric guitar. Some very nice violin from Donnie

After this the show motored along with Bob back behind the keyboard. The
Levee's Gonna Break had a long improvised ending that Dylan and his
musicians were enjoying us much as the audience.  Lyrically I find this
song repetitive but the groove of the beat made it work very well live
tonight, all those short rhythmic bursts overlaying each other.  Bob
piping in with his squeaky keyboard parts.  

Bob was back at the handheld microphone for a mesmerizing and somehow
almost jaunty performance of Long Black Coat. He seemed to particularly
enjoy delivering the final lines about the ambiguous departure of the
female subject of the song "She never said nothing, there was nothing she
wrote, She's gone with a man in a long black coat." 

At this point it should be said that Bob was pretty much wearing a long
black coat tonight. Garbed in a three-quarter length black jacket/coat
with four brass buttons, the top one left undone, over a blue shirt and
blue neckerchief drawn together by a silver ring. On his jacket cuffs were
more brass buttons and the occasional glimpse of his shirt sleeve revealed
sparkling cufflinks. He wore black trousers with white piping vertical
stripe on the outside of each leg and, of course, a hat, tonight's being
light grey, with a small feather to one side. A stage dandy from head to
toe. With that kit on you know you're in show business.

Highway 61 rocked and featured an extended improvised finale which worked

Bob remained behind the keyboard for a great performance of Desolation
Row, omitting just two verses - those referring to Einstein, TS Elliot and
Ezra Pound. (Celebrity obviously cuts little ice with Bob when he is
downsizing his songs to ensure the show can finish before midnight.)  When
he got to the line "Have mercy on his soul" he threw out an extended open
left hand. Unusually, the verses were more or less evenly delivered but
with just enough variation to keep the song interesting and dynamic. Dylan
made hardly any reference to his lyric sheets on his keyboard during the
song or throughout the evening. 

Bob may not talk much on stage but when the lights are down between songs
he frequently has something to say to bass player Tony Garnier. What is
there to talk about after all these years and shows? We will probably
never find out.  It is evident that Garnier holds the whole thing together
on stage and loves playing.   Charlie Sexton adds well to mix and was less
over the top tonight with his stages moves.

Hereafter the show became a bit predictable for those who have seen it few
times this tour. Thunder On The Mountain had Dylan bending his knees at
the keyboard as it banged along. Ballard Of A Thin Man is great theatre,
with its vocals echo, Bob working the stage, blasting away on his
harmonica, and spitting out the lyrics with the handheld microphone like
Mr Jones had pinched his car parking space only yesterday.

All Along The Watch Tower was OK but it was hard to hear Bob vocals. Like
A Rolling Stone was the usual crowd pleaser with Bob staying in the same
time as the audience for the chorus. The final song saw the return of Mark
Knopfler to share verses of Forever Young with Dylan, finely performed by

All of this earned Mark a place in the take-a-bow lineup with Bob
gesturing towards him and Mark gesturing back. Quite a contrast to the
usual close, where Bob stands alongside  his steadfast musicians without
so much as a wave towards them.  It was nice to see Knopfler give them and
Bob a round of applause.  

So a fine show tonight and all the more pleasing that eight of 15 songs
came from the 70s or later, to give a more balanced representation of
Bob's creative career.

Joe Neanor


Review by Mick Gold

Bob-cats pushed relentlessly forward against the bar at the front of the former 
Hammersmith Odeon, hats on their heads. Mark Knopfler was caressing liquid 
guitar solos from his Stratocaster. On Brothers In Arms, the notes flowed down
his fretboard like drops of sonic quicksilver.

A random cross-section of the audience (i.e. two men standing next to me)
told me their main motive for coming to see Bob was "He may not be back 
again". One of them said, "Once we came to listen to him. Now we come to 
be in his presence." There was plenty of presence tonight.

Bob and the band kicked of with Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, with Mark Knopfler 
and Charlie crouching and strutting in gun-slinger guitar poses. It's All Over Now 
Baby Blue had a staccato vocal rhythm, with fluid guitar breaks from Knopfler 
holding things together. On Things Have Changed, Bob delivered high, keening 
harp solos, his notes cutting across Knopfler's guitar. George Recile played a 
racket at the end, banging the sides of the drums, churning up the rhythm.

Forgetful Heart was one of the highlights of the evening, a lovely, simple tune 
bouncing off Donnie's fiddle. Those haunting last words, "The door has closed 
forever more, If indeed there ever was a door" were delivered with a dying fall. 
One of my favourites, Man In The Long Black Coat, was enlivened by a slick, 
faster rhythm which suited the song. As Bob sang, "When she stopped him to
ask if he wanted to dance, He had a face like a mask", a self-deprecating grin
flitted across his face. All evening there were a series of grins and frowns and
little laughs, like micro-emotions scurrying over that face. 
Another highlight was Desolation Row, delivered in waltz time, with practically
every verse present and correct. Ballad of a Thin Man was done with great 
panache, electronic echoes giving extra bite to words like "lepers and crooks", 
Bob's voice positively caressing the lines "you're very well read, it's well known". 
There were only a few songs when his voice sounded like a hoarse bark, Honest 
With Me was one, and Thunder On The Mountain was another. All Along The 
Watchtower managed to sound both staccato and lyrical. Like A Rolling Stone 
was slow, stately and sorrowful, with no hint of derision in the vocal delivery.

Then there was a flurry on the stage and suddenly Mark Knopfler was back in 
the spotlight centre stage, beaming and waving to the audience, as they
launched into Forever Young. Knopfler took over the vocal on the second 
verse, "May you grow up to be righteous…" with Knopfler and Charlie both 
injecting elegant guitar lines between the words, conjuring up memories of 
Robbie Robertson at The Last Waltz. On the third verse, there was slight 
confusion over who was singing, then Knopfler's voice rose up to take over 
the lead, and as he sang, "May you heart always be joyful, May your song 
always be sung", he lifted his arms and gestured towards Bob, and the
audience roared with pleasure and devotion. It was a memorable ending. 


Review by Martin Gayford

Hammersmith felt like a dark cavern  tonight, although the muted lights,
faded moulded ceiling and sticky floor felt familiar. At Bournemouth he
was a lot more active, and I missed the gesturing during Honest With Me
which didn't happen due to Bob's 'interesting' guitar playing. It was a
great night though and it was really good to see him. Baby Blue was good,
he didn't murder it as he appeared to do on some other nights recently.
John Hune behind me - 350 concerts puts my 51 to shame ha ha. We tried to
keep our hands out of the way. Man In Long Black Coat almost as good as
Blind Willie Mctell at Bournemouth (they share pretty much the same
arrangement). Knopfler looked scared before singing with Bob- don't blame
him. K handed it to BD 'may you stay...' and Bob handed it back. Looked a
little uncomfortable about the 'duet'. Took hat off few times and shook
sweat from hair like shaggy dog. Looked very trim, nice goatee. I got to
2nd row left of centre despite arriving at 6. Cursed himself for getting
last part of first verse of Desolation Row wrong. Crafty looks, squinting
at crowd, lots of smiles. Still cuts himself short of what he can do, but
still captivating. Forgetful Heart was brilliant. Thin Man - best ever.
Seeing him do it tonight was the sort of thing that makes you believe in
him again, regardless of anything he's done before. It was...great. Good


Review by Mr Jinx

Now this was a truly great show.  From the first gargled, bloodthirsty
lines of Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat to the tumultuous encore Forever Young –
Bob trading verses with Mark Knopfler – this show was a keeper.

Highlights came in unexpected places tonight.  The Levee’s Gonna Break,
normally used as a momentum generator or even as a breather by Bob, was
simply white-hot.  Bob sung it as if each line was an urgent dispatch from
the front.  He almost over-sung it!

Another unexpected highlight was Desolation Row.  It, surprisingly, made
an appearance for the second night running and this time it soared. Where
the previous night I had been struck by the new shapes of the lines, this
time it was the interplay between Bob and Charlie Sexton that really drew
my attention.  Between them they set up a wonderful floating coda that
insinuated itself between verses.  It was something pure and almost
heavenly like a peal of bells.  The performance was elevated by it and the
lines took on fresh colouring as a result.  Hard to explain this  . . .
but I’m trying!

The performance of the night was Forgetful Heart with Donny
Herron playing Violin and the band hushed to a whisper Bob sang the lines
with great tenderness.  It was an emotionally charged performance and it
stilled the packed and heaving crowd sanding on the ground floor in front
of the stage where I was.

Man In A Long Black Coat was set to a staccato beat and drew
a prowling performance from Bob as he sang with full-throated ease centre
stage, only the mic. and harp at his disposal. He enunciated this sober
tale of mortality with fearsome precision.  Oh Mercy, indeed!  And merci,

Thunder On The Mountain roared like a caged Bobcat and Thin
Man reached some sort of apogee.  This
song has been played and played on this tour, honed until it has reached
its critical mass.  Tonight it exploded.  What a performance – one of the
best I have witnessed in 45 shows I have attended.

The encores were a blast, Bob riding the crowd euphoria and
the general sense of end of tour jubilation in the air.

The encore of Forever Young with Knopfler ought not to have
worked but it really did.  Knopfler
pointed to Bob as he sang the line ‘May your song always be sung’.  The
crowd roared and just for a moment Bob allowed himself to be thanked.  It
was touching.

So that was 2011 then. 
Another year of the unique odyssey that is the so-called Never-Ending
Tour. This final show at Hammersmith was a sublime way to close the tour. 
Happy Thanksgiving, Bob. Thank you for coming to London.  See you down the
line.  Now, have a rest, eat some pecan pie and see if you can’t paint
some more photos for us over the Xmas break!

Mr Jinx 


Review by Tony

Bob was unbelievably good tonight.  The band was again excellent and Stu
Kimball's lead work on Thunder on the Mountain showed that that it's not
just Charlie who's a great guitarist.  Forgetful Heart was mesmerising and
Desolation Row again brilliant, although Bob got the last lines of the
first verse wrong (no riot squad and lady and I, but ambulances and
Cinderella instead, which he then repeated, correctly, in the next verse!)

Knopfler joined in on the first 3 numbers and then returned for an
unexpected encore after Rolling Stone had seemingly brought the show to a
conclusion.  Not so, for Bob and Mark produced an absolutely stunning
Forever Young, with Mark bringing the house down as he sang the last verse
directly to Bob: "May your heart always be joyful, may your songs always
be sung, and may you stay Forever Young".  I don't mind telling you I was
in tears.

I've seen Bob every time he's toured in England since 1965 and his voice
may be gruff now, but last night was among the greatest performances I've



Review by John Doyle

Third time this tour to see him and this was the best by far we got there
at 4pm and where in the lot that could have been at the very front but
chose half way on the barrier centre stage mark knoppler was good again
and he must be in the top 5 players in the world bob came on to a packed
house and did not let us down mk was  very good with.bob on baby blue and
things have changed and he gives pill box hat something else the highlight
for me was desolation row where bob sang every word lasting over 11 mins
bril like a rolling stone again got the crowd gasping for more and the
forever young with mark k was out of this world  2 world class guys
together bob was at his best and key he stay forever young a great finish
to the tour


Review by Chris Job

The final night of this epic three night stand left me feeling quite overwhelmed.
The first two nights were shows of extraordinary intensity but tonight outdid 
even those.  I feel the need to simply express my gratitude to Bob for providing
my wife and I with one of those rare moments when live music reaches into the 
soul in a truly special way, the magical rendition of Forever Young performed 
with Mark Knopfler as a duet.  Concluding an epic set that had featured stunning 
renditions of Forgetful Heart and Man In the Long Black Coat(particular highlights 
for me), this performance of my favourite Dylan song left me totally overwhelmed.
It epitomised for me just why this man has touched so many lives.  I cannot say
any more.


Review by Paul Clayden

Really enjoyable concert. I was in the stalls on the RHS. I first saw Bob
back in 1981 at Earl's Court and 2011 has seen me really immerse myself in
his back catalogue. The Mono Box Set is incredible and I really got into
Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 Revisited in a new way. Really came alive.
Plus the recent albums all sound fantastic. Te setlist last night,
therefore, was superb with 4 tracks off Highway 61 and and three off
Modern Times possibly the highlights. There is merit in including a few
songs off a particular album. Forgetful Heart was magnificent with a
magical Harmonica solo. 	The Levee's Gonna Break really left a big
impression and Honest with Me was absolutely classic. In my opinion Baby
Blue and all Along the Watchtower were the weaker songs. Ten out of ten to
the band. Crisp, clear and inspired. I just hope we get a Bootleg Series
Volume 10 celebrating this portion of the Never-Ending Tour. Was nice to
hear Man in the Long Black Coat. This concert hugely outstripped my last
Dylan concert - the disappointing 2009 concert at London's O2, even though
a number of tracks were repeated (7 in fact). Bob and the Band are playing
so well that I hope it means a new album might be forthcoming.

Paul Clayden


Review by Ken Cowley

I thought I’d write a wrap-up review of the last few shows on the Dylan/Knopfler tour,
focusing especially on the last show, but also touching on the entire tour, and where 
the Never Ending Tour is at (for me) as 2011 draws to a close.

Essentially this has been a good tour. By any standards. But especially by the standard 
of Dylan’s last few half-decade or so of touring. My opinion is that there has been a 
steady improvement since 2009, following a steady decline since 2001. That decline 
was very gradual though, and there were great periods within it, eg Fall 2002, Fall 2003,
the likes of Bonnaroo, Barrowlands 2004, Fall 2005 with the altered band line-up, Fall 
2006 which had the fillip of the Modern Times songs, etc etc. But 2007, 2008 were 
not so great really, so it’s been good to see a steady improvement since then.

However that does not mean his voice has improved. Far from it! The Dylan we see on 
stage today does not have anywhere near the vocal range of the late 90s/early ‘00s, 
nor even that of 2005. Coupled with this problem was that he seemed to get so fed up 
of singing some songs that he began to phrase them in ever more bizarre ways. In the 
heyday of the N.E.T. this was one of the ‘selling points’ for regular attendees, the fact 
that not only did he regularly change the song arrangements, but he also changed the 
phrasing, often from night to night. But, at that time, the ever changing phrasing 
seemed to have some point to it, and he usually found some way to make the phrasing 
fit the song, or whatever emotion he was trying to convey on the particular night. In 
recent years, while he can still achieve this when he wants to, there have been occasions 
when the bizarre phrasing didn’t seem to make any sense at all. Some songs seem to be 
guiltier of this than others, eg Hattie Carroll and Hard Rain. So good to see things improve 
on this front and that he continues to do 'interesting' things with what are left of his 
vocal chords.

All of which brings us to a mild November day in Hammersmith last Monday. The tour had 
been notable for several reasons. Firstly, of course, having Mark Knopfler as an opening 
act. Having seen the opening night of the tour in Dublin 6 weeks ago, I had been 
disappointed he played not one Dire Straits song, so it’s been good that he’s added 
Brothers in Arms and So Far Away to his set. The rest of his set is pleasant rather than 
inspirational, the most interesting thing for me being his guitar playing. He has definitely 
added something to Dylan’s sets too, as from mid-tour on he joined Dylan every night for 
the first 3 or 4 numbers, just playing guitar, and making a nice contribution to the band’s 

The other notable thing about the tour is Dylan’s increased engagement with the 
audience. From Glasgow onwards he had been out in the middle of the stage much more 
than usual (up to half the numbers) – and in a much more energetic way, moving around 
almost like a boxer just holding the microphone in one hand and his harmonica/harmonica 
mike in the other hand and/or using the mike stand as a prop of sorts. This has made the 
shows considerably more enjoyable visually, and haven’t hurt the musical performance at 
all, quite the opposite actually.

By the London shows, the level of energy from earlier in the tour had perhaps ebbed a 
little, but was still very evident on some songs. So, what were the highlights of the 
London run? Here are a few examples;

Mississippi – very enjoyable new bouncy arrangement, making this the best live version 
certainly since 2001

Blind Willie McTell – amazingly this is (arguably) even better than the great arrangement 
he had been using since 1997, now cast in a genre that’s hard to define – part country, 
part stomping 1920s dixieland jazz (if that makes any sense!), punctuated (and finished) 
with some of the best hand-held harmonica you’ll ever see

Man in the Long Black Coat – this great song from 1989 has been transformed from a slow 
atmospheric number to a powerful up-tempo opportunity for Bob to stalk the stage 
barking out the verses in his best 2011 growl, again with fine harmonica

Forgetful Heart – I’ve seen some amazing versions of this since the song came out on 
Dylan's last studio album in 2009, but the one on Sunday at Hammersmith probably tops 
them all. This is 2011 Dylan at his best, and by far the quietest song he performs these 
days (Dylan concerts are now very loud rock affairs, with very little acoustic or quiet songs). 
Anyway, he gave this song an incredible vocal in London and performed it very theatrically 
too, like some kind of torch-song, really communicating with the audience like he used to 
in 1995 or 1999 or earlier in his career. At times during this performance I felt he was 
incorporating the spirit of older performers, not the blues/country guys he normally reminds 
us of but people like Sinatra, Fred Astaire, even Charlie Chaplin.

These are just a few highlights – lots of other songs were also very well performed over 
these 3 nights, and my only complaints are that he plays slightly too many ‘by-number’ 
rock/rock’n’roll/blues numbers, and obviously we’d like a bit more set-list variation - his set-lists 
having become a bit more static (by his own high standards of variety that is) in the last 
couple of years, but this tour saw a small but significant improvement in variety. So overall 
just a good solid run of shows, ending a very good tour.

The final thing I want to talk about before I sign off is the last song of that last show. Up 
til then it had been a pretty good show, of a similar standard to the previous night, and 
definitely better than the first Hammersmith show, but now we were to get a 
performance/moment to take the show to another level.

I had been wondering would he ask Knopfler out for one final song, and sure enough there 
he was, strapping on his red Strat(?) and, adjusting the microphone in the middle of the 
stage. So, wow – we were to get a vocal duet – something that had not happened thus 
far on the tour (he had only played guitar with Bob to this point), and indeed, I can’t 
remember the last time Bob performed an actual proper vocal duet with someone – maybe 
Norah Jones in 2005?

Anyway, it really was the special moment that people have been talking about. Ok, 
perhaps nothing extraordinary musically, but just a very genuine and (presumably) relatively 
unscripted moment and it led to a lovely communal feeling of warmth spreading across this 
great old London venue. The song of course was Forever Young –Bob taking the 1st 
verse, Mark the 2nd and sharing the 3rd. As people will know, not just from other reviews 
but from the youtube vids(!), Knopfler sang the lyric ‘May your heart always be joyful, may 
your song always be sung, and may you stay forever young’ right TO Bob, and gestured 
with his arm to Bob on the line ‘may your song always be sung’ to which the place erupted. 
You’d have had to have a heart of stone not to have enjoyed it, and if Knopfler was ever 
to win over the Dylan audience, he did it right there.

The song finished up with a solid harmonica solo from Bob (this tour having seen a very 
high standard of harmonica playing by the way), and the artists exchanged hugs with Bob 
giving Mark plenty of acknowledgement, showing friendship and respect between these 
two artists (and collaborators of old) in equal measure.

It was a fitting end to a decent year’s touring. With no rumours or news yet, who knows 
what 2012 will hold, but let’s hope, as he approaches 71, that he keeps it fresh, enjoys 
himself and is not done yet.


Review by Trevor Townson

Buy 1 Get 1 Free is usually a point of interest to us if seen posted against our
favourite items whilst shopping in the supermarket. Most of us like the idea of
getting something for nothing unless of course it is an extra packet of
chocolate biscuits when we are feeling large enough around the waist already.
Two artists of note has got to be worth the one ticket then, right? Well not
exactly; Buy one get one free tends to work by giving you more of what you want,
the same thing. It is not the best of offers if it costs you twice as much in
the first place and then the free item is not quite the same as your usual
brand. Even less of a deal if you also get less of your normal brand than usual
and a little bit more of that other brand that you are not overly keen on. How
big headed is Mr Bob going to get though, he just cannot get a hat to fit him
properly these days, first he tries on a black one then a white one finally for
the third time what looked like a grey one but none of them seemed right as he
tried in various ways to get them to fit on his head. No problem though you can
be big headed where big headed is due and nobody has more right to be big headed
than Bob Dylan has so it is perfectly right and fitting that we found him
struggling to get his hats to fit on his head over the three nights at the HMV
Apollo. Good job Bob closes his touring in time for Thanksgiving as this year if
he had left it any later it sure might have got a little too cold to queue as
the London air got colder day on day. Having stood there in line for quite a few
hours on day one the venue staff announce that there was to be an early entry
option for Mark Knopfler fan club members so another small queue quickly formed
to the side of the box office doors. Strange how most of those Mark Knopfler fan
club members bore a striking resemblance to many hardened Bob Dylan fans I
recognised. The same rule applied on the subsequent days too so I am sure Mark
would have been mighty pleased to see all of his newly devoted fan club members
on the rail each night standing there looking poker faced whilst staring blankly
in silence at him. Worst show Best show has never seemed to be more relevant
than it is today as far as Bob Dylan reviews are concerned and how do you say
one show topped another although believe me the second night was the best. I did
witness a first however after the close of the second night as some in the crowd
were booing after the performance had ended, not booing because it was bad but
get this, booing because it had been too good and an expected encore was not
forthcoming. Bob just cannot win, the crowd were actually booing for more,
unbelievable. No matter Ballad Of A Thin Man night two was easily the stand out
and best performed song of all three nights for me. You cannot play back a
current Bob Dylan concert on either Bootleg or YouTube and experience in any way
anything as near like what you get by being there. If you are there and still do
not get it "You're in the wrong place my friend You better leave", there is no
point in trying to explain to those who do get it as both parties are losing
precious time and would be better placed devoting that time to something else
more useful like charity work rather than wasting time in trying to get their
point across to the unconverted and the unconvertible. Mark is probably not used
to the same people being there night on night in anyway near like the way that
you get with Bobs followers and he must have been a little self concious himself
in the end by the fact that to this particular band of people he was being a
little bit repetitive by now to say the least. I was actually wondering myself
when Privateering was going to stop being a new song as it had seemed rather
familiar to me by the time that I got to Manchester. Well first night at
Hammersmith we got a change from Privateering being the new song being sung for
the first time to it being, according to the introduction that Mark gave  "First
time played in London" which left me wondering what does he say tomorrow night,
"Second time played in London". In the end I think he just dropped it all
together when actually he could just have said, "Here's one that most of you
will be familiar with". Earlier in the tour we had heard cries from out of the
dark during Mark's set such as "Play something we know" or as someone put it
more sarcastically at Nottingham "Why don't you play what you want Mark".
Actually by the time we got to Hammersmith I am sure some in the crowd would
have felt more like shouting "Play something we don't know Mark". No need as we
got it anyway as Mark obliged with the first time live, well to my ears anyway,
Donegans Gone. The place seemed to get a wake up during that but then it was
back to the same old same old. To me it seemed clear that these were Bobs nights
at Hammersmith and I think Mark and his band knew it as there was more of a
restlessness about the audience more so than on previous concerts I have
attended on this tour and not just because most of those up front where probably
at the point of barely being able to stand up for much longer without the
welcome lifeline that Bob springing onto the stage would give to them. I
understand that Mark had proved popular in certain areas on the continent and
helped to fill arenas that Bob would have struggled to do so alone, however, as
we all found ourselves Sailing To Philadelphia for that one last time most
people had just the one destination point in mind and that was to be standing
watching Bob Dylan even if they would be doing so once more like me for the
final time this tour on very aching feet. Strange but some of the stand out
songs were not the expected as both Honest With Me and Thunder On The Mountain
were lifted to rock on a whole different level. Highway 61 seemed to rock for a
different reason, not sure that Bob forgot the words exactly as he was perhaps
singing all the right words but I am not sure that they were all necessarily in
the right order and he seemed to get a little lost upon which Charlie raises a
finger to the deck probably to pump the volume up and away they all went to end
the song on what would have been a standing ovation if it was not for the fact
that most of the people in the place were standing already. Earlier during Marks
performance with his band someone in the audience had shouted out "Too many
guitars" after one number where his band seemed to be in some kind of a
synchronised strumming competition. Bob however also fell into what must be a
musical failing during Its All Over Now Baby Blue on night two where he then had
five, yes, five guitars in a line during that number so it needs to be said
again, "Too many guitars Bob, too many guitars". Talking of guitars, what about
Stu Kimball can he play when he wants to or what, how can you have so many
shows, in some cases probably best part of a full tour when you cannot hardly
hear the guy then he gets plugged in to deliver like that. So the tour ends on a
high even if Bob seemed to have misplaced for the final night the wedding band
that he had sported on his finger for the previous two nights. I have heard that
at many shows on this tour some of the Mark Knopfler fans were leaving early
during Bobs performance but being too far forward myself at most of the shows
that I attended I cannot say that I witnessed that personally but I sure hope
for them that they stuck around on the last night or they would have missed one
short extra performance by their man as Bob invites Mark back on stage to close
out the tour with him and his band by joining them in the finale with Forever
Young, Brilliant! 

Trevor Townson


Click Here
to return to the
Main Page

page by Bill Pagel

Tour Guide
Tour Guides
Bob Links
Set Lists
by Date
Set Lists
by Location