Auckland, New Zealand
North Shore Events Centre
February 22, 2003

[Robyn Dombroski]

Review by Robyn Dombroski

Why Bob keeps coming back to play in the local gym where my boys play
basketball(he was here last time in 1998) may be a mystery but I'm not
complaining.There are a number of other more suitable venues in Auckland
but I don't mind a  short drive and easy park.

Tonights show is just as rewarding to these ears as the night before.I've
only seen the guy 5 times in my life( 78, 92, 98 and twice in 03) so am
not jaded by  viewing too many concerts. But I do come armed with the
aural knowledge of listening to hundreds of tapes and CD-Rs . The mutal
pleasure of recognising every song in seconds with my trading buddy
Winston was pure joy.Winston had come all the way from Sydney to see the
Auckland shows before heading south to catch the other NZ dates.We had
been trading ten years without meeting and this was a great way to
celebrate all those years of shared enthusiasm for the music of Mr Dylan.

Front row seats stage left gave us even better viewing opportunities than
the excellent seats we had the night before.Security was also tighter
tonight after everyone had rushed the stage and stood for the entire
Friday show.Tonight we were told that the front row only would be allowed
to stand, everyone else had to stay in their seats until the encores. So
we were in with the lucky few to spend the entire evening; a perfect view
standing directly in front of Dylan at the keyboards as if he was in your
own living room!

Billy the new guitarist is starting to look more at home each night with
the band.Tonight Dylan huddles with all the guitar players in the band on 
all the songs he plays electric guitar on.It looked to me they were all
accepting and trying to encourage the new guy as one of the team.He was
receptive enough to know when to rock out,strum or just keep quiet.

Larry is holding this band together with confidence and style.While Dylan
ultimatley is calling the shots on stage with his signals,eye contact and
presence;it is Larry providing the musical gravey over most of the
night.Tony is also doing a lions share of the work holding it together
like glue and communicating so many vital messages to drummer George.

Dylan is very much at home on the keyboards with the band .While his style
may seem simple and even incompetent to some;to these ears his highly
eccentric piano style is as refreshing as his guitar playing.The nursery
rhyme glee of a 4 note solo can say more to me than the competent playing
of anyone you care to name.His sense of timing is always highly erratic
and exciting in the knowledge you don't know what rythmic surprises are
just around the corner.

Dylan is fine voice tonight.When I first heard Moonlight performed live on
CD-Rs I used to cringe listening to him struggle with some of the high
notes.Tonight he sang Moonlight with the ease of Dean Martin; like a true
crooner of yesteryear.

Dylan and his band are sharing great musical moments together with obvious
pleasure from what I witnessed last weekend.Anyone who is lucky enough to
witness the communication going on between them will know just how special
it is.

Highlites were I'll Be Your Baby Tonight(beats all the 90's versions I've
heard,Things have Changed works better with Dylan on piano,You Ain't Going
Nowhere was a great one to sing along with,Mr Tambourine Man and Masters
of War were both spot on with the attention Dylan gives these vocally for
the zillionth time!Piano gave Tangled a refreshing new feel.Summer Days is
as red hot as All Along The Watchtower and that was as vital as the day it
was born.

I doubt we'll get another appearance from Bob in New Zealand at the
irregular rate he chooses to visit but am more than content with the
memories I take away frome these two wonderful shows.
P.S. Just Like A Woman on Friday was the spine tingling moment of the two
nights.A perfect tempo due to Tony's  superb sense of timing.


page by Bill Pagel

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