London, England

Royal Albert Hall

November 28, 2013

[Joe Neanor], [Martin Gayford], [Trevor Townson], [Fiona Clapperton], [Paul Carvajal],
[Mr. Jinx], [Joe Butler], [Andy Lewington], [James Scott], [Graham Cole]

Review by Joe Neanor

For the first time ever a third, sold-out, night in a row at the Royal
Albert Hall for Bob.  Many songs were sung using a fixed centre stage
microphone, left hand on hip, with the audience in front and beside him,
the band set further back on the stage. The other songs were performed,
with Bob standing, knees bent, at the grand piano, to the side of stage,
alongside his band. Either way Bob was a highly visible and compelling
performer for all to see and hear. His voice rasping, cracking and plain
sweet at various times.   Sitting in one the choir seats at the back of
the stage I had a Bob's eye, if elevated, view of the audience.  Take note
that at the Royal Albert Hall tonight if you had a seat sat in it.
And so the audience did, from the front row to the furthest reaches of the
circle.  At the very top of the house a, single person deep, standing area
ringed the concert hall.  (Was this where all the people were who would
buy front row seats and then stand-up?)   

Tonight was rich on Tempest songs,  my favourite performances being a
hypnotic Scarlet Town. This was immediately followed by the gentle,
optimistic Soon After Midnight, Bob tinkering away on the piano and
reminding us that "Its now or never, more than ever" .  

A two song sixties encore brought the audience to its feet.  Looking down
at George Receli it was sight see the physical power he used to really
bash those drums to bring All Along the Watchtower to a crescendo.  Bob
closed the show with a carefully performed Blowing in the Wind, finishing
centre stage. He then went over to glad hand some fans at the front of the
stage before taking his final bow.

You have to admire Bob for working hard to keep the show fresh. It would
be so easy for his act to amount to him singing his classics, with a
guitar and harmonica rack. Instead he mixes it up and takes chances.
Including rewriting the lyrics for Tangled Up In Blue and going centre
stage to face the audience alone, without a guitar to shield him or lyric
sheets to crib all those words he uses in his songs.

Wearing a light coloured shirt with a large white oblong taking up most
of the back, and white spates on his boots, Bob spoke just once, to
announce the interval.  Throughout a fine, contemporary, show Bob was
once again superbly supported by his band.  

Joe Neanor


Comments by Martin Gayford

The RAH shows were phenomenal, especially the 2nd and 3rd nights.
Perfect venue and sound, a very contemporary set and - in some of the 
Tempest songs - Bob's most powerful singing for decades. Amazing. And
time for high fives in the front row. Loved it.


Review by Trevor Townson

Things Have Changed, a diary without a tube map in it, what a time for me
to discover this, why did I scrimp on the diary by buying the cheapest on
the shelf, no doubt some WH Smith cost cutting exercise, probably some
graduate type seeking promotion and trying to impress the board by telling
them that everybody uses an  iphone these days, so why not save the cost
of one whole 6 inch by 2 inch piece of paper per diary by removing the
tube map, well kid, download this onto your iphone, copy and past it then
text it to Facebook, we are not all quite there yet so I expect the tube
map to return back into the WH Smith diary pretty damn quick, I'm not dead
yet, but I'm getting there, you know you are a Bob fan when, Jen is
probably right, I do tend to get too easily wound up these days by
political correctness and the like, I should also probably stop reading
the Daily Mail, then again it is her fault as she buys the paper, no
chance of me investing good money in anything that is not going to last me
at least twenty years, how on earth will I find the National Portrait
Gallery now though without having a tube map for me to use in order to
guess where the place is located, pity I am a man otherwise I could just
ask, a downside to these night on night shows is that you do not have any
spare time to plan, especially when you have to put in a couple of shifts
down the pit in between in order to be able to pay for it all, if the
mission is for some Bob related issue however there is always a way, I
arrive at the National Gallery to find Carole from Blackpool sitting in
the entrance, she informs me that I am in the wrong place, this is the
National Gallery,  I actually need the National Portrait Gallery which is
accessed around the side via a kind of tradesman entrance, what would we
do without women to look after us guys, still not bad though for me to
land myself so close without so much as a tube map to guide me there
thanks to some graduate lead initiative scheme at the WH Smith HQ,
eventually having asked a lady behind a counter where the free section is,
I arrive to find Bob's art which had been stuffed into a pokey little
alcove, the brief overview of the collection starts by saying - collected
from life, memory and the imagination, hell Bob where have you been taking
yourself to, I felt that I was standing at the bar in the Kings Head pub
back home, it goes on, all of whom may look vaguely familiar, hell, I am
standing at the bar in the Kings Head pub back home, Face Value my eye,
Twelve Ugly Bastards would sum it up better, a group of artistic types are
standing in the alcove discussing the twelve figure head display, to add
to the artistic flair of their gathering and to make me feel even more ill
at ease than I am already feeling being in such an area of sophistication,
some in the group are talking in French accents, I think that is what it
sounded like or they were trying to make it sound like, they may just have
been from Solihull putting it on a bit, no matter, I was unnerved, as I am
wandering around suddenly the lady in the group steps back without warning
and bumps into me, I stumble and crash against one of the paintings
hanging on the wall, I do not know how those paintings are fixed to the
wall but fortunately it did not move an inch, none of the paintings looked
to be signed so were probably not too valuable, even so I had a vision
flash through me of the painting falling off the wall and me standing on
it, or at least having to square it up on the wall again by adjusting the
string, probably I would have got picked up on CCTV whist doing that and
then have had to spend the rest of the afternoon trying to convince some
official that I was not trying to steal the painting, as I would have no
doubt been the only person not using a French accent whilst trying to
explain my innocence, it was clear to see that I would have had to take
the rap for this incident should any damage have occurred, even though to
my mind the paintings were not very good and therefore worthless no doubt
others with French accents would value them quite highly, Bob had also
probably invested quite a lot of time into them, perhaps as much as three
or four hours, as such I would have been very upset in having played any
part in spoiling his display, however I can't say that I got anything out
of the visit, I was thinking that may be if I sent off a receipt to Bob's
Management explaining that to them, perhaps I could get my £7.30
reimbursed back from them that I had to spend on my discounted off peak,
super saver return fare otherwise known as The Yorkshire Man In London
tube ticket, I kept looking outside to see how dark it was getting and
that my tube ticket would become invalid for off peak, fearful that I
would have to walk the several miles back to my hotel with only the stars
to guide me thanks to a graduate lead WH Smith cost cutting exercise, it
was however only necessary to spend enough time to fit in the one stumble
in order to take everything in so after a couple of minutes I decide to
wander off in another direction to see what else in the gallery was
available for free, I found the gift shop which was free, well if you did
not intend buying anything it was free, a postcard with Bob on it for 70p,
I was tempted but was still hurting from the £7.30 tube fare and was not
convinced that my reimbursement plea would prove successful, Bob's
Management never chipped in, pardon the pun, for the Fish & Chips in
Blackpool so there did not seem to be much hope, they would probably get
Bob's lawyers to fight me in court for it, as this is London that would
probably mean the Old Bailey so I do not think that my funds would stretch
to that even if overtime was still an option at work, it is at times like
this that you wish you were much poorer than you are, if I was an
immigrant from Bulgaria living in a bin liner in Hyde Park with a copy of
the Sunday Times as a blanket, then I would no doubt get legal aid off the
Government (to wit me) to cover my costs for free thereby upholding my
human rights against being victimised by Bob (to wit SONY Corporation),
thereby taking Bob's Management as far as I wanted in the Old Bailey, that
way it would not cost me a single penny in order to get my £7.30 back,
cost to English tax payer about £285,000 but justice would have been seen
to have been done and the £7.30 would have been returned to the rightful
owner thereby allowing it to be sent back to other family members still
living in Bulgaria in order for them to buy a years supply of turnips and
a car, I finished my coffee in the café, put down my copy of the Daily
Mail and moved on, there were quite a lot of pictures that were free to
look at, many much older than Bobs, one that caught the eye  The Visions
of St Augustine of 1520, you know you are a Bob fan when, do you see what
I mean, would that particular title not have caught your eye  too, each
gallery room had an attendant sitting on a chair, probably looking out for
anyone likely to stumble into a painting, these paintings looked seriously
valuable though unlike Bob's, there was no such person sitting on a chair
in Bob's alcove where my stumble had taken place by the way, another
painting called Next To A Concert of about 1485-95 by Lorenzo Costa showed
two men and a lady, one of the guys holding a Lute looked a bit like Larry
Campbell but I don't think it was, actually the whole group looked more
likely to have been Fiddler's Dram posing before one of their earlier
gigs, I asked a guy sitting on a chair if the paintings really were that
old as they looked so fresh, he said that they were then almost
apologetically says, some of them have however been retouched, I said it
was amazing to find them hanging in open forum like this, were they not
afraid of some idiot stumbling into them, night one had been the same set
list as I had now heard seven times previously with only the one change in
Roll On John which we got again for the second time as the show closer, it
was however fantastic to be in the Royal Albert Hall, this was my first
ever visit to the place, I could not make it the first time in 1966 as I
was only 7 years old at the time, only two nights then not three as this
time although the set list had no variation at that time either, for the
first night I was seated on the floor section about half way back, the
Albert Hall is a rather larger venue attendee wise than both the Glasgow
and Blackpool shows that I had only just previously attended, also because
of the cathedral like construction, structurally the place is a huge
expanse of space in comparison, although I was up much closer all nights
at both Glasgow and Blackpool,  in comparison then there was a tremendous
lack of intimacy for me here so it was just never going to be as good
following after what I had just experienced six nights running, for me it
was going to be more a case of being able to say, I was there, more than
it being anything special other than being at The Royal Albert Hall of
course, night two proved a similar experience although this time I was way
up in the rafters in the circle, the audience there was very well behaved
and polite, there was no talking or mobile phone activity but the
applause, if people were doing that at all, was rather subdued so it did
make you feel rather inhibited to express your own appreciation fully, as
such I had to restrain myself from waving my hands over my head whilst
screaming out COME ON BOBBY, BRILLIANT!, it seemed more appropriate to sit
there quietly, if this had been a football match it would have had the
hardcore singing "it's just like being in church", not too far from the
truth either with that huge organ forming a back drop to the stage,
actually it was probably more appropriate this time around for things to
be a little more subdued, the way the songs seemed to have been selected
and the way in which they were being performed lent them more to quiet
contemplation and study rather than out and out "Rock & Roll", one
noticeable thing this time around however was that the majority seemed to
be respecting the no photography rule, even that seemed to add an element
of respect which helped to make the occasion feel more refined, Thursday
afternoon it is time to visit the Halcyon Gallery, in order not to incur
another tube ticket dilemma I decided to walk this time as it was (just)
within walking distance from my hotel, quite a few familiar faces were
browsing around at the same time as me, it must have been a little bit
frustrating for the gallery staff as they must have known what a bunch of
timewasters they had in the place from their point of view, they did not
show that though and were all perfectly polite and respectful to all,
including all of the great unwashed followers of Bob, the door men in
particular were very courteous and respectful, it did however seem
possible for the gallery staff to weed out the genuine people as one guy
was quickly brought a glass of champagne and given a guided tour, despite 
my outstretched hand no such glass materialised for me, I did however
follow at their heels to see if I could learn anything from what the young
lady was saying to the guy but no, it was just a load of art bollocks, she
did actually spin one of the metal wheels round that was fixed to the
wall, that just made me go a little dizzy so with the experience from the
National Portrait Gallery still at the forefront of my mind I decided I
had best take in the remainder of the exhibition alone, I do not
understand art to be honest so cannot offer anything of too much value,
probably frustrating for Bob as he will never really know if these works
of his stand up in their own right or if it is due to the name Bob Dylan
being attached to them, not sure that it will really matter that much as
my guess is that Bob just enjoys doing them, sorry, I mean creating them,
probably like his music and songs it is as much a labour of love as it is
a means to make a living, I guess the best way to confront any critic is
to say, OK lets see what you can do, how many of us could come anywhere
close to matching it, probably many of us would never have been in an art
gallery if it had not been for Bob, OK, probably only me then, the
exhibition was split into two galleries one either side of the street, one
mainly for the Drawn Blank art work and the other mainly for his Metal
Works but there was a bit of a mix of both in each, a couple of tables,
like tall bar tables were in the Metal Work section but they both had "do
not touch" notices placed on them and no price tags which lead me to
believe that they had both been sold, the best table of all however, in
fact the best thing in the whole exhibition as far as I was concerned, was
a table in the entrance way to the Drawn Blank gallery, it carried a price
tag of £75,000 but no "do not touch" notice so I had a lean, it was just
so perfect, how did Bob know my size so well, I felt like popping back to
the local Sainsbury's Local for a can of beer in order to do the job
properly, afterwards I went cold thinking hell this is a table welded by
Bob, not a proper welder, what if it had come crashing down, nobody would
have believed that Bob had got it wrong and somewhere in the small print
it no doubt says that any damaged goods are to be paid for, actually the
best thing about this table was that unlike the other items on display it
seemed perfectly symmetrical, gosh I thought it does look like Bob and I
share the odd few brain cells in common, probably just the two but no
matter, it had resulted in the perfect Trevor table, just need to throw in
a couple of stools, symmetrical ones of course, at (say) an extra £40,000,
what more could a man want in life, who needs a garden, let us just be
thankful that Bob's music does not carry a similar price tag to his other
art works, to my mind his music is infinitely more valuable to the world
and thankfully available to the masses not just the chosen few, there
seems to be some who think that these particular static set list concerts
are being recorded, hopefully they are as they would make a fantastic and
long overdue live album, I have been wondering for a while now, with all
the live performances that Bob does why so far no official live recordings
of current tours, I guess we should now be awaiting Bob Dylan : The
Complete Never Ending Tour Collection Vol. 1, would that not be more than
one contradiction in terms, Benny Hill did a song called What A World as a
send up to the last time Bob played at The Royal Albert Hall, not sure
there is anyone around anymore able to do something like that this time
round, then again this time I do not think anyone could rightly be
knocking BobDylan, Brilliant!

Trevor Townson


Review by Fiona Clapperton

Did some horse trading and sweet talking and the box office
BOBNESS!!!!!!  Magical, lyrical... He cast a spell on the whole place.
The band was tight and rocking, the return of Charlie Sexton, the awesome
blues guitarist, is the best thing that’s happened. ! Dylan doesn’t
play guitar anymore due to arthritis but he was blowing the harp like the
old days. I really liked the Grand Piano, Bob was playing his heart out...
and the voice??? The voice it was goooood!. Personal favourites, "Early
Roman Kings" (play those blues Charlie!) and "Soon after midnight", both
from "Tempest". A lot of people aren’t familiar with the new stuff but
everyone I spoke to was blown away anyway. 

We did wonder if he would do some thing special as the last night of the
tour but the whole night was special.He was in top form and shaking hands
with the fans at the end, pity about the person who threw something (a
paper plate?) ..that didnt go down well, and he was off .... 

Fiona Clapperton


Comments by Paul Carvajal

In all this world with its plethora of cultural production pouring through
the data stream there is no-one comes close to Bob.  he stands out from
his generation for his pure artistry.  There are so many opinions I could
give about his significance.  I'll spare you from that except to say that
while waiting for my family to go see him I wrote in my little book-'he
didn't need to bring God to our modernity-but he did'.  He has brought us
a language and rich way of being in the world too So when he came on stage
last night at that iconic venue we feel so much.  And there he was with
his superlative band and deep poetry of lyric, voice and presence out
there working, 'mixing up the medicine', pure focused craft.  And always
new, in the moment of creation with those stunning transcendent moments. 
Moments of what my son later called 'sublime beauty' and total poetic
power.  For me this time there was a peak that split the sky when he sung
'show me your moral virtue first'.  he changed my idea of the political
too-years ago.


Review by Mr. Jinx


Where to begin? 
Bob Dylan ended his tempestuous European tour tonight at the Royal  Albert
Hall.  Any fears that he  might not have had enough gas in the tank to
cruise his hopped-up Mustang Ford  of a band across the finish line were,
it swiftly became apparent,  unfounded. Dylan strolled on stage punctually
in what my friend archly  described as a ‘cut ‘n’ shut’ of a suit.
 He also sported a pair of white gangster spats.  It was the Buggsy look. 
But it truth it was more bunny than  Chicago mobster.  Looking at the 
suit I thought he must have left his welding bib on by mistake.  But no
matter.  Bob was all business from the off.  And it would take more than a
car crash  of a suit to stop him.  Usually in a review like this I try to
pick out a few  highlights to tell you about.  Tonight, though, the show
was pretty much all on some elevated  plain.   I remember Bob saying
something about Tempest the album at its time  of release:  “You just
have to  believe it makes sense.”  To hear  songs like Early Roman
Kings, Scarlet Town, Pay In Blood and Long And Wasted  Years sung with
such authority was to be left in no doubt that Tempest does  indeed make
sense.  And not just in  the curious elliptical world of Dylan, but in a
grand auditorium like the Albert  Hall in front of a pan-generational
audience of the curious and the downright  balding and pony-tailed!  They 
clearly believed Tempest makes some kind of sense, and so do I now.  I
have to.  I suppose if I had to select one spine-tingling moment as 
emblematic of this triumphant evening it would be the harp solo at the end
of  Blowin’ In The Wind.  Bob, centre-  stage, as he had been for much
of the evening, faced the void in front of him,  the expectant faces in
the vast expanse of plush, red seating, and he let his  heart sing out
through the harmonica.  It was a wonderful way to sign off.  Hand- on- hip
and head tilted back, he filled the hall with the music  from his lungs
and soul. This struck me as a very personal way to end the tour and when
Bob  went along the front row shaking hands with the audience afterwards
as the  cheers, whistles and exultations rang out all around, it was clear
he felt he  had achieved what he wanted from the night and from the tour. 
Mission accomplished. I must just say that I shall not forget Forgetful
Heart for as long  as I have memory. It was so tender and sweet tonight,
so brimming with regret  and compassion.  Bob used his best  ‘soft
paw’ voice. You know the one.  And the five thousand in attendance were
fed.  I am beginning to see Forgetful Heart as  a latter-day masterpiece
to rival Not Dark Yet.  It has grown so much on this tour and it  cuts to
the bone.  It  looms. What good am I?  Bob  had sung in the first half of
the show.  Oh come on now, Bobby.  You  hardly need to ask! Thank you yet
again, Senor.   Thanks everybodyyyyyy. 

Mr Jinx


Review by Joe Butler

London these days is becoming such an old courtesan ! Selling itself to
whichever rich scumbag takes up residence. It's mighty river Thames is
lined with apartments that only sheiks, oligarchs and former New Labour
prime ministers can afford. The Albert Hall is a somewhat tired, but
nonetheless less stately, bauble on the décolletage of the old tart.  to
be fair the city does have a vigour that foreign money has rejuiced, but
it's decadent, so much so that it would need a Hogarth, Swift , Otto Dix
or a young Bob Dylan to delineate its foibles.

Whether a somewhat older Dylan would share this view was not evident last
thursday. Opaque as ever, he gave his enthralled audience little or no
clues to his state of mind , although one observer who was closer than my
circle seat did see him smile ( a dylan smile , quelle surprise ) and even
from my lofty perch I saw him dally at the end to give low fives to those
at his feet.

Many observers have made much of the excellence of the band. Well yes, but
I feel it's like ordering a chateaubriand steak and saying the sauce was
excellent.  I came to hear Dylan sing: he could have come on stage with a
dustbin lid and I would have listened. Listened to what?  These days Dylan
resembles nothing so much as a walrus with laryngitis .  Others have
commented they heard every word, well my hearing is not what it was but
even taking that into account I reckon I heard about one word in ten.

"Tempest" was a poor album, not having the rich melodic charm of "Love and
Theft" nor the dark intensity of "Time out of Mind" , but thankful for
small mercies he spared us the dreary length of its title track.  The
first half of the concert was below par with Dylan's idiosyncratic piano
providing an odd counterpoint to his mumbles and barks. Only his harmonica
seemed to speak clearly as it drew a huge cheer.  "Pay in Blood" seemed to
grumble on, and while "Tangled up in blue" drew cheers from the bobcats,
it was left to the last song of the half to engage me , his vicious
pleading on Love Sick seemed to bring a moment of intense truth telling
from our man.

Enlivened by a pint of RAH's outrageously expensive beer, I took my seat
for part two with a better heart . Suddenly, and with great feeling, he
was actually singing! With an aching  line from the violin, and a poignant
rendition of "Forgetful Heart" all was redeemed, and a magic swirl of
Dylan's timeless magic engulfed my heart. Nothing that came after matched
that moment but it alone had made the pilgrimage worth while.

As we left I said to my wife "that was my last Dylan concert" she chortled
and murmured "we'll see"


Review by Andy Lewington

This was my 20th concert in 17 years and my first at the RAH. I try to see
Bob a couple of times when he tours the UK but this time it was just this
one. I was a lone traveller as my wife does not appreciate 'His Bobness',
being more a Robbie Williams fan. This was probably the best of his shows
that I've ever been privileged to see (and I've seen one or two real
turkeys over the years). 

Bobs voice was strong and much better than it's been on occasions. The
band were tight and together, probably due to the fact than it was a
settled set list, and the acoustics at the theatre were superb.

I won't break down the songs individually but my favourites on the night
were Things have changed, Love Sick, Spirit on the Water (with the
customary cheer when he sang the'over the hill' line), and a very
emotional Blowin' in the Wind, which is so relevant today despite being
over 50 years old. 

Whether I will be around to see another tour, or indeed if there will be
one, who knows? I know if I don't get to another, I witnessed a cracking
show this time.

Andy Lewington
Bristol, England


Review by James Scott

Appropriately enough, I first saw Bob at his show following his "RAH
Bootleg recording." Jumping rapidly to the 21st century I remember seeing
Bob in Bad Reichenhall, Cardiff, London, Valencia, Encamp& Zaragoza,
Barcelona and now London again. Eight concerts in five countries, none of
them the land of my birth.

My only previous visit to the RAH was probably around 1978-9 for an
anti-Pinochet concert sponsored by the TGWU and involving either
Quilapayun or Inti-illimani and with Pete Seeger himself on stage too. Or
is my memory of having once heard the axe-man play live an invention of

On the way to the concert, I dropped of our car in a garage where, irony
of ironies, the loudspeakers were playing a Dylan recording. I listened
and enjoyed an unknown-to-me C&W style song which I now know was "I feel a
change comin' on" off an album so dire that after downloading the free
sample available pre public sale and listening to that song many times, as
well as listening to a couple of other tracks once or twice, I wrote it
off as dire.

Knowing that Tempest was at the heart of the current show, and only being
able to listen to Duquesne Whistle, Tempest and Roll on John on that
record, I had resolutely tried to listen to some of the rest of it again,
but tracks like Early Roman Kings or Pay in Blood are just too
disappointing to bear much further listening, even knowing he would almost
certainly feature these songs.

The RAH itself is a stunning venue, a wilderness away from the junior
football ground in Encamp for instance, and the atmosphere before the show
was very relaxed. Obviously there were plenty of richer and apparently
more committed fans than myself in the audience from the ovation Bob
received on arrival. I was placed directly opposite him as he played on
the grand piano and as well as noticing that his usual legs akimbo stance
wrestling with a keyboard was, if anything, more exaggerated than
previously, I noticed too that he seemed only to use one hand to play.
Like everyone else, I could see that he had shed his usual dark cowboy
garb in favour of a slightly garish, hat-less Max Wall style garb on
stage. This was supplemented by a stiff, camp, hand on hip stance on
several occasions which one review I read did attribute to continued and
worsening problems with his hands. Overall there were a few unmistakable
signs of elements of physical frailty which
 previously I had not noticed.

The show? The playing? The singing? The songs? The inspiration?

The playing was spot on. Rehearsing on stage every night to a standard set
list has its benefits. Only once did I see Donny's eyes bulge as he
struggled to follow Dylan's piano chords.

The singing was very good or better. Some elements of declamation instead
of carrying the tune although fortunately no upsinging; none at all. And
no barking the lyrics either; well almost none. Moreover he played the
harmonica to great effect too, roundly confounding Country Joe's harsh
criticism. For the final night of a long tour his voice had stood up
remarkably. Whilst, "for a man aged...."

The songs started with "Things have changed" an excellent opener providing
an upbeat tease or perhaps a challenge if not a put-down to fans. Unless,
that is, the lyrics are only a tipping of his hat to old father time. "She
belongs to me," the only survivor from my first show, other than the
performer and the observer that is, was curiously flat, the weakest of the
20th century songs in the set, I felt. Flat too was "Duquesne Whistle"
which was well sung and played but lacked edge. A surprising eventuality
given how well he delivers it on the album and ominous too given how many
intrinsically weaker songs from Tempest were yet to come. "Soon after
midnight" did fortunately receive a performance which lived up to its
considerable potential but most of the rest of the Tempest material struck
me as competent and well delivered rather than inspiring. But then I have
never really warmed to that album.

"Spirit on the water" did greatly benefit from the extensive rehearsals
already mentioned. I registered that "Waiting for you" was not from any
mainstream source but the song itself seemed anodyne. The standouts in the
main set have to be "Tangled up in blue" and "Simple twist of fate." Both
had lyric changes I reckoned, much more so the former than the latter,
though I'll blame the loudspeakers placed high above the stage and to my
right for not really having been able to follow the 2013 subtleties. In
the encore section Bob gave an excellent rendition of "All along the
watchtower" before Donny Heron's electric violin carried the sweet melody
of "Blowin' in the wind" which Dylan sang with passion and conviction to
round off the night.

Before the encores Bob had posed "more bewildered than ever" as he soaked
up the applause; applause from a rapturous audience. After the encores he
briefly and stiffly shook hands, or more accurately fleetingly engaged
fingers, with 4 or 5 adoring fans in the front row. Then he raced off
stage, refusing to pander to his audience by providing an extra encore on
the last night of his current tour. Only?


Review by Graham Cole

Somebody Touched Me …

Forty-seven years ago Bob Dylan played the Royal Albert Hall in London as 
part of the '66 tour that many present (sadly not us) consider to have 
been his finest live moments.  Fast forward to July last year and the show
in the famous Roman amphitheatre in Nîmes, France, a night which Loraine 
and I will always treasure as a unique show amongst the many we have 
seen Bob play, on that occasion for being invited backstage by Tony 
Garnier, and meeting also with Charlie and Donnie.

And then on Thursday night, it was Bob and the band at the same 
beautiful Victorian splendour that is the RAH.  Sadly, Loraine could not be 
there as she was caring for her now-late Mum.  I was so grateful to 
Michele, and especially Brigitte from near Dusseldorf, who bought her 
ticket and enjoyed one of the best shows I have seen in at least twenty 
years.  Our seats were wonderfully close, (thank you, John B., Tracy and 
Derek).  Derek had told me before the show how good the preceding 
two nights had been, and old school friend Robert Clary had reviewed the 
Paris Grand Rex so strongly (Brigitte concurred about that show).

The RAH offers a band an intimacy with many of the audience, and this 
was something that was evident throughout the evening.  So it was that 
Bob, as neat as ever in his black and grey suit with black open-necked shirt, 
played closely and attentively to the rapturous crowd.  There were so many 
high points, the show benefitting from the band playing more quietly, even 
on the rockier numbers.  Bob's voice, now sexily husky rather than raspy, 
and his lyrics, were clear throughout every song, and it was great to hear 
all the instruments in the mix, most notably those played by Donnie Herron, 
whose pedal steel and violin shone all evening.  Bob's occasional harp also 
seemed altogether more purposeful when added into a song, and for a man 
of 72, he moved with much vigour and style, holding the piano in a 
legs-astride manner.  I almost saw a glimpse of that old Bob-jig from years 
past when he stepped forward as the show was about to close, and in all 
my time of seeing Bob, I have never seen him approach the crowd to 
shake hands with some of those lucky souls in Row 1!  Tonight there was 
deep and dirty blues with Early Roman Kings, a lovely country lilt with 
Waiting for You, the swampy backwoods of High Water (For Charley 
Patton) and the sheer poetic lament of Forgetful Heart.  Next time anyone 
tells you Bob Dylan can't sing these days, play them this live version!

We now have to hope that Bob will come again - Loraine wants to see 
him at least one more time before he closes a wonderful life in music.

This review is in memory of Mary Ellen Day, a wonderful Mum-in-law.

Graham Cole


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