Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne International Music and Blues Festival
Blue Stage
February 8, 2003

[Mende Joveski], [Paul Grieves], [Darren Tucker], [Julian Boehm], [Nick Miller]

Review by Mende Joveski

At about 9:15pm, a guy called bob dylan came out:

As he walked out on the stage, he had a smile on his face before he sung
anything. we were right up against the rail at the front - 4 meters from
the stage. he had the black suit with white stripe and b&w boots. he
looked happy and healthy: the full intro was played tonight (as of the 2nd
half of last year)

Seeing The Real You At Last: same arrnagemnt as the oct/nov tour. at the
end of it he said "whythanky'all". is this the first time he's acknowldged
the audience after the first song in a long while? - i think so. he was
smiling too. piano

I'll Be Your Baby Tonight: nice bouncy little version with harp and bob on

Highway 61 Revisited: Same as the paino version from oct/nov. very

You Ain't Goin' Nowhere: piano again. really nicce version here. around
this time bob was about to speak, but chicked out at the last minute. we
did a 2nd "thank you" though

Things Have Changed: not as good as i've heard. average - not bad. same
arrangement as oct/nov last year. something weird happened around about
here. bob stopped playing the piano and just stood there, tapping his foot
with one hand leaning on the keybaord. he looked pissed off and walked
across the stage to billy, gave him a dirty look and walked back to the

Drifter's Escape: sat on drum riser again. if i remember correctly he
played both guitar and piano on this one. nothing spectacular with this
song, as you all know.

Just Like A Woman: something stuffed up on the intro and they had to play
that bit twice. bob looked frustrated but it ended up being a good
version. maybe that business with bob walking over to billy happened
around here, i forgot. i think there was a problem wiht the PA here and it
started cracking. larry looked a bit worried and one of their crew sat
beside larry on the steel during the song.

Lonesome Day Blues: wow, this was really good. kicks arse over the album
version. bob was happy again. still on piano

One Too Many Mornings (acoustic): first acoustic song of the night. nicely

Honest With Me: see lonesome day blues

Saving Grace: later in the set tonight. done faithfully to the album
version. good thing, come from a self-confessed Saved hater like me.

Bye And Bye: i loved this version. one of the highlights:

Summer Days: Now, who said the best summer days jam was in nov last year?
Kent or somewhere? bullshit. wait till you hear this one on the recording
when it comes out. PERFECT. Blew the place apart with precision, tightness
and volume. after this they stood in front of the stage for a bit. i
swear, bob looked at me at this point.


Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)
All Along The Watchtower

nothing to say about these ones - you know how they sound.

The whole billy thing. i wasn't in canberra but apparently he was very
nervous. that's expected for the first time. tonight, he was very relaxed
and smiling quite a bit. he was very close to larry and the exchanged
smiles with him and with tony. the boy's ok, even though bob might have
gotten pissed off at him

Security were real bastards with photos. during the othet people's sets,
there was a video camera for a big screen and journalists/camera people
were allowed in the front for photos. when bob came on, no one was allowed
to take photos and one guard got really shitty when he saw people and
threatened to kick the guy out. as flashes were going off left, right and
center, even bob looked a bit pissed off.


Review by Paul Grieves

We had Beth Orton, Ani DiFranco to warm the stage for Bob to swagger onto.
Ani is an amazing woman and performer. She has so much passion and
talent.She told the crowd when she was young she was embarressed to be an
American and now she is old enough to know better...she is now ashamed.She
couldn`t believe how many benefit concerts she does in the U.S to again
try and make a difference to stopping war or another war. Some of her
songs have the presence of Masters of War and it`s punch.

Bob played the Festival as if it was The Melbourne Blues Festival and i
was close enough to see him looking over the cue sheet during the band
playing the instrumentals. He played more keyboards than guitar and has an
almost "grazing" look as he ponders the harmonicas...."aahh...that`s the

I`m not doing the song by song stuff. I know like the Canberra concert i
went to...he is relaxed and comfortable enough to know.... he has nothing
to prove. The crowd was privleged to have him visit again and i lost my
voice, being in the fifth row from front, thanking him for coming back to
us and really having him be appreciated with "good on you Bob". I know he
heard most of what i stretched my vocals for!

For me the best song was "Lonesome Day Blues". This song which still has
the echo of Pill Box Hat has so much going on in it like a lot of Bobs
blues tunes. He really loved doing this song and it was the one that he
appeared to really lean he was saying...."are you getting
this?" Maybe it was the three people and my self who had thanked him with
so much admiration and passion before the song with our powerful and
extended cries...of  "that was great....keep it rolling Bob...and Good on
your`re kickin ass tonight?" 

Bob interacts well with his band and was showing the drummer during "Just
Like A Woman"(I think) how to really accent some beats with his arm and
fist like hammering ...while still comfortably staying in his own groove.
Tony smiled a few times and Larry and the other guitar player watch Bob to
see where he`s going and what to follow (what`s next and when will the
song many bars?..or will this has some harmonica before it does)
It`s like the band knows the songs well yet still every playing is a new
mapping. It keeps it fresh, alive and inspired. None of them can really
afford to drift off. 

After 85 minutes it was over and we had the Blues. The crowd was pumped
for another 15 minutes more, yet we still would have wanted another 15 or
30 on top of that. It`s just the way it is!  Bob`s really is going well
and we`ll have him back anytime and everytime...I`ve seen him here in
Halls, Centres, Clubs and now Festivals.

Enjoy the rest of your travels in Oz Bob and may your good health follow
you on your wings!

Paul Grieves 


Review by Darren Tucker

I was on the fence last night left of centre stage, privileged for the
third time to stand with Bob in person. ( I have vowed not to miss him
when he comes to Melbourne)

Bob was on keyboard for the first four numbers. Crowd shoulder to shoulder
fifteen thousand deep and you had to nudge the person next to you out of
the way to applaud.  With Bob 20 feet away we it was a little
disappointing that we did not see him for the first four songs, because he
was obscured by two large amplifiers.

Crowd was yelling " Can't see you" , "Please Bob don't hide" - sobbing -
giving up hope - some were screaming - angry. Then for a short time Bob
grabs his electric guitar and appears centre stage ( but not forward of
the band ) so the view's still only and occasional glimpse. This continued
throughout the performance. Bob played a lot of keyboard last night.
Alternating back and forth. He didn't seem at all to steady on his feet
either, and left me wondering if he was all right. It wasn't until the
last half of Summer days ( the shoulder to shoulder sardines almost jumped
out of the can) that we got a taste of dessert - Bob on electric guitar (
for what seemed to be a lifetime) and the house came down.

Then the lights came on Bob staggered around to centre stage with both
arms outstretched semi clenched fists - in aimless motion raises his hands
and signals the shows over - that's it and the lights dim.

I tell you it was like dying. The sorrow the sadness - Up close there - I
could not help but think that the lights were on but no body was home.
Feeling and thinking - does Bob really want to be here - he looks so
tired. Praying that he was not ill. Hoping that this was what he wants to
do ( keep on touring) thinking - is it the record company who is just
pushing him around, taking advantage, making him get up there night after


The Acoustic set for " Blowing in the Wind " was the icing on the cake -
my fears allayed - vintage Bob Dylan - this was what the crowd wanted to
see and the king of showmen gave it to them with a second helping - he
lifted their souls to place were  the knew they were going but had never
expected to go.  Fifteen thousand sang the chorus, hands waving in the air
- saluting the man who gave us Rock 'n Roll.

He showed us where it came from then he showed us how it is when he
launched full speed head on into the wind with all along the watchtower,
The band following Bob, whipping the wind to create a storm like this
Earth has never experienced before. "Watchtower" was like stepping back 30
years, as if Hendrix  and all who have ever played it before were there
with him, The master, The one and only ( forget the imitations) Bob Dylan
himself  giving them all a lesson - just how it should be played.

I guess I'm selfish in a way - because I'll be there once gain - one more
time - waiting for that simple twist of fate.

Darren Tucker


Review by Julian Boehm

It was a warm afternoon in Melbourne, with not a cloud in the sky, when my
wife and I arrived at the International Music and Blues Festival.  We
arrived at about 3.00pm with Bob due to take the stage at 9.00pm.  Bob was
playing on the main Blue Stage, and there was no reserved seating at this
event, all general admission, with ticketholders barred from bringing in
their own chairs. The viewing area was described on event maps as "The
Blue Grassy Lawn", however with much of Australia in the grip of one of
the worst droughts on record, and water restrictions in place in
Melbourne, their was not a green blade of grass in sight, only dead lawn
and plenty of dust being whipped up by a reasonably stiff breeze.

And so it was that we made our way towards the stage, with our
"disposable" picnic blanket(as we had become prepared to lose it) in hand,
to await the arrival of Bob and his Band.  Our anticipation was high, as
we had seen him in Canberra a couple of days earlier, and knew we were in
for a treat.  As the hour approached, so did the inevitable crush, as more
and more people made their way to the main stage, and sitting was no
longer possible, as was the intake of fluids to avoid any unscheduled
toilet trips, as it became obvious that you would not regain your vantage
point easily.

As the sun finally passed over the top of the stage, the breeze died down
and Melbourne turned on a perfect late summers evening.  With previous
acts Ross Wilson, The Waifs, Beth Orton and Ani DiFranco complete we
awaited the arrival of Bob.  We had been able to move to within 20 metres
of the stage, helped by the crush, just off centre to the right, and had a
great view.

The lights dimmed, the musical introduction started, followed by what we
consider the unnecessary spoken introduction and Bob and his Band took
their positions with, as we have come to expect, Bob at the piano.

Their were to be no real surprises tonight, starting with a solid "Seeing
the Real You at Last" followed by another lovely "I'll Be Your Baby
Tonight " with Bob appearing very comfortable and relaxed.  Next came
"Highway 61 Revisited" and once again Bob did not let us down with this
song, great blistering rock with Bob growling out Highway Sixty
Wwwwwwuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnn as only he can.  It had become obvious
to Mrs B. and myself that this performance was going to rock, the festival
atmosphere was great and the crowd were loving every minute of it.

A good version of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was followed by another very
solid "Things Have Changed".  Then as I prepared myself for the recently
customary version of Brown Sugar at song No 6, Bob donned the electric
guitar and it was into "Drifter's Escape".  This song proved to be a low
for me in Canberra, but not so here.  It was back to the piano for "Just
Like a Woman" with some excellent work by Larry on the slide and Bob
leaving the piano to take centre stage and finish with harmonica.  Just
what was needed to further excite an already appreciative crowd.

"Lonesome Day Blues" was true to Love and Theft and then it was on with
the acoustic for "One Too Many Mornings".  A couple of anxious moments for
Mrs B. and myself, following the problems in Canberra, but thankfully none
and the song was beautifully done.

"Honest With Me" was solid and was followed by another beautiful "Saving
Grace" sung with true feeling.  A perfect rendition of 'Bye And Bye" was
backed up by, what for me proved to be a highlight, the most fantastic
version of "Summer Day's" you could hope to hear.  Starting on piano, and
then taking up the electric guitar for some of the most blistering work I
have seen from Bob and his Band.  It built to a crescendo, getting louder
and louder with the Band obviously enjoying every bit of
it....................truly amazing stuff to close out the first part of
the set.

Then it was back for the encore.  "Blowin' In The Wind" with those lovely
harmonies from Bill and Larry with the crowd joining in the chorus,
followed by the introduction of the Band, and then into "All along The
Watchtower" with Bob once again on electric guitar doing justice to what
is clearly one of his favourite songs..................... and then it was
all too quickly over.  Bob and the Band stood there momentarily soaking up
the atmosphere and left.

Tonight's show was for us another memorable experience.  Bob seems totally
at ease with his Band, letting them take over much of the guitar work of
previous tours, allowing him to relax and enjoy performing more.  His wry
grins and interaction with the Band members appear to bear testament to
this as does the happy, smiling disposition of the Members themselves.

Bill Burnette was much less rigid this evening and is proving to be a more
than adequate replacement for Charlie Sexton in what seems to be a tight
group of musicians.

Now it's off to Brisbane for Tuesday night's show, Bob just keeps getting


Comments by Nick Miller

What a treat we have in Australia with a now almost annual Bob summer
visit - long may it last!

Just a few additional comments on Melbourne - was a momentous night for me
after many Dylan shows and the first time we took our children (Jack 8 and
Ramona 4).  We thought the outside venue would provide respite from the
noise if needed - but no problem - like Canberra the volume is way down
this tour. 

It is fun seeing Bob at the start of a tour - his voice is strong and the
expectations are as high as ever.

The intro in Melbourne was just bizarre - a potted history of his life -
seems the "Introducing Columbia recording artist..." has gone. 

"You ain't going no-where" fitted the festival mood nicely and "Lonesome
day blues" was excellent. "Summer days" seemed to go all night - and
sounded great. 

No real surprises in the end nor any chilling moments like "Masters of
war" in Canberra (just superb). However a great night in Melbourne and yes
both kids feel asleep in the end - as we crashed on the fence to see a
small Bob in the day I asked Jack who his favourite member
of the band was - his reply of "the keyboard player" says it all.

It will be great to see Bob in a few days in my hometown Sydney and then
on to end the Australian leg of the tour in Newcastle. The highlights so
far of this tour for me have been the strength of Bob's voice and the
unpredictable nature of the band with a new guitarist and Bob playing
piano as only Bob can do!  

Nick Miller


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