Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne Park
Rod Laver Arena
March 21, 2991

[Phil Teece], [Graeme Simsion], [George Massouris], [Patricia Jungwirth]
[Geoff Lambourn], [Rob Griffin], [Wolf], [Frank Moon]

Review by Phil Teece

Flawless performance at the Rod Laver Arena last night. This morning's
paper said it all in its headline: 'Dylan still a dynamo'...and so say all
of us. Bob and the boys were on-song right from the get go. Strong vocals
throughout; all the many-layered phrasing genius we've come to expect; and
spot-on guitar work by all, including Bob ... how good is Larry Campbell?
Pretty darned magnificent!   Hard to pick the highlights; there were many.
 Perhaps the best Knockin'On Heaven's Door I can recall was my personal
stand out. But how can you leave out a perfect Don't Think Twice
culminating with an inspired harp burst incorporating the riff from
Waltzing Matilda...delightfully mischievous stuff. The electric numbers
were all powerful and had especially the younger members of the audience 
in raptures.  And it was good to see Blind Willie get a run, though this
was slightly spoiled by some particularly retentive behaviour from members
of the 'we won't stand' brigade at that point. Interesting to get an
'Untangled' show for once, with Ain't me Babe replacing it at 9. Bob
looked super-fit and pretty pleased with Tricia J said at the
end 'he CAN'T be 60'!  Finally, and most amusing, Bob's powers of prophecy
remain in tact...Hard Rain made a powerful and welcome appearance at
number 8.  As we finished beer number unknown around 3am, the first spots
fell...all night it poured...our taxi trip to the airport as we head for
Tamworth was an epic obstacle race, avoiding raging creeks, waterlogged
roads and a totally flooded-out airport freeway...Melbourne traffic is
gridlocked and still it's coming down...a hard rain indeed!  


Review by Graeme Simsion

"Of course he won't play it" said my wife, knowing that going to a Dylan
concert expecting him to play your favourite - unless it's Tangled Up in
Blue or Like a Rolling Stone - is setting yourself up for disappointment. 
In the end it take her a couple of bars to recognise the live arrangement,
and he left out her favourite verse, but four songs into the set we got a
rare, though predictably electric, performance of Blind Willie McTell. 
And no Tangled Up in Blue!

The set list takes on a certain amount of importance when geography
restricts you to seeing Dylan only every few years - and predicting it is
getting harder.  I did manage to catch him a year ago in Pocatello, Idaho,
and it was great to see how much he'd changed the choices.  Only three or
four songs (notably It's Alright Ma and Highway 61) had been carried over
in the same form - and both were strong inclusions - on both occasions. 
The sound seemed MUCH better in Melbourne, and we were spared any problems
with the lyrics - a totally professional performance that you needed no
apologies or explanations to the non-believers.   (Though on the subject
of "professional" we could do without the "Columbia Recording Artist, Bob
Dylan" introduction)

Dylan's still extracting everything he can from what's left of his voice,
and after a few doubts with To Ramona early in the evening, we relaxed and
enjoyed the singing.  

Don't Think Twice was a highlight - a more traditional version than he was
playing a few years ago, and better for that.  Finished with a nice bit of
harp playing (he also managed a short harp solo on Wicked Messenger- twice
in one evening!).   

Even 35 years on, the balance of acoustic and electric numbers is an
issue: the couple next to us left once Dylan settled into the second
electric bracket.   More than a bit unfair - songs like Wicked Messenger
and Watchtower were played tightly, with flair and energy with every word
(well almost every word) clear - much much better than the chug-chugging
average rock band performances that he's sometimes turned out.  But you
always have the feeling that Dylan's enjoying being the only person in the
world who can pretend to be a rock star... 

I'll remember the acoustic numbers longer, in particular the first time
I've really enjoyed It Ain't Me Babe - fresh, with feeling (it's not just
the hard rock numbers which can lose something from being ground out
concert after concert).

I'm still not sure about If Dogs Run Free - but it fitted better as a
change of pace (and style!) in a live setting than on New Morning.  Let's
just say that views from our party were mixed...  The trouble, of course,
is that every song of dubious merit takes the place of one from - say -
Blood on the Tracks, Desire, Street Legal, Planet Waves, Nashville
Skyline, Oh Mercy even - none of which were represented.  And for me,
that's the marvel, that the man has created a body of work so vast that he
can leave not only landmark albums but whole genres (where was the
Country, the Slow Train / Saved / Shot of Love period) which he has
profoundly influenced untouched - and still deliver a concert that should
have got through not only to the faithful but to those Melbournites who
came along to finally have a look.

I took my 10 year old.  I think he'll remember it.

Graeme Simsion
Melbourne Mar 21


Review by George Massouris

The Melbourne show was the best sounding Dylan show ever. In typical
melbourne fashion most car parks were closed and it was a mad rush just to
get into the place. Considering this venue is not noted as a concert venue
the band sounded great. Ramona, Till i fell in love , Hard Rain, it aint
me babe and Blind Willie Mctell were highlights. We also got  rainy day
and  highway 61but despite recent misgivings about the songs they were
performed with spirit.  Heavens door and then Blowin got the crowd going
mad. If anyone connected to Bob reads this please do not play this venue
again. It is a barn.Thank god the new french sound system provides clear
sound. The band are tight. sexton adds some nice licks . All in all a good
gig but look out for the smaller shows down the road. Tamworth and Ballina
are going to be magical. Oh yeah nice Aussie touch to Dont think twice


Review by Patricia Jungwirth

A great get-together at the Corner Hotel before the show, meeting up with
old friends and new, with the "Live 1961-2000" cd on the p.a., then a
brisk walk in the clear autumn dusk down to the venue. Paul Kelly's set
was enjoyable but a bit dull, I thought, though it was nice to hear the
Bull sisters with their sweet harmony. Before we knew it, Dylan was
onstage and into Duncan and Brady. A bit of silliness with security trying
to clear people off the rail, which was all of two feet in front of the
first row of seats. We were actually standing up talking with friends when
the lights went down and the band came out, so we just stayed where we
were. The band were in their matching maroon suits with black shirts,
except David, who was blackshirted also but no jacket. Dylan wore a black,
short-jacketed suit with a very nifty black & white patterned silk shirt
(sort of uneven stripes, almost op-art), black ribbon tie, black & white
boots. For some reason his eyes looked particularly aquamarine tonight.
Definitely a moustache trying to get out there somewhere. The kerfuffles
with security continued through Ramona (and indeed for most of the first
set). Not letting that spoil anything, though, how could you with 'It's
Alright Ma' in third position on the setlist, the perfect spot for it.
It's getting on for 3 am so I'll dispense with the song by song, and just
give some impressions. A young friend commented to me later that he was
impressed by the beauty of the music and the grace with which it was
presented. That's a pretty good summation. When the first set ended I
couldn't believe it was 12 songs already, they just seemed to fly by. Hard
Rain was a standout, as was Wicked Messenger, despite Tony looking a
little worried all through it and Dylan getting his harmonica upside down
for the first blast. It was great to see Things Have Changed back in the
show, this works so well live, the humour and the quirky lyrics give Dylan
a lot to play with. I'm betting on Dylan getting the little golden man
next week. There was no talking tonight, but plenty of interaction with
the audience. One thing I must mention is that during Don't Think Twice
there was this funny little bit where Dylan almost turned the tune into
'Waltzing Matilda', I think he did it twice (!) which really cracked up
the audience. 'If Dogs Run Free' was wicked fun, with some lovely runs by
Larry and great singing by Mr Dylan ("you could be queen, or king"). Maybe
they could try Three Angels next? Watchtower was blistering, followed by a
surprising, lovely 'Knockin On Heaven's Door', with the "oo-oo" harmony
from Larry & Charlie adding greatly to a very measured and emotive vocal.
Really knocked me out, that one, very spacious and beautiful. Dylan seemed
to enjoy it, too, bending down a couple of times to add a hard, fast strum
on his guitar as an emphasis to the rhythm. Highway 61 seemed to be an
endless jam, with Bob introducing the band during the song! Then came
Blowin In The Wind, and it was all over. I haven't even mentioned Like A
Rolling Stone, which was in there somewhere and seemed to go on forever,
irresistable melody spiralling on and on to triumphant resolution. How
could that be two hours plus? How could that man be almost 60? Great show,
looking forward to Tamworth on Friday!


Review by Geoff Lambourn

hi just home from gig sat in fifth row sound was way way big and movin
lots of air via the bottom end bob dressed in BLACK no gold braid this
time a highlight was the arrangement of heavens door started with duncan
and brady finished with blowin in the wind different setlist to adelaide i
didnt write it down but a guy in front of me did it was i must say a
stunning show this time around the band were positively smokin, heaps of
incense bob shook his left leg an then his right sensational played some
great guitar and harp he seems to be really shapin his delivery like  a
jazz singer really putting an effort with his face forming around the
words like each word was an object to be fashioned and launched to fly out
into the ether.  charlie was on a very short leash but he still managed
some very nice subtle licks and finally cut loose on watch tower and
highway 61 songs tony and david were rock hard and solid. larry once again
stole the show with smiles and versitility the crowd were very
appreciative and well behaved a big age group the usual stampede was
tolerated by security with only a few exceptions all in all a very fine
show please come again bob dylan


Review by Robert Griffin

What can I say ? A truly exquisite performance both vocally and
instrumentally by Bob & the band. Loved the accoustic numbers, (Dogs run
free, Don't think tiwce, Hard rain  & It aint me babe were magnificent
renditions of songs I have rarely, if ever heard done any better)
Interesting to hear Things have changed for I beleive possibly the first
time this tour. Tombstone Blues, Rolling Stone & All along the watchtower
were really on cue. Vocally I haven't heard Bob in such magnifcent form
before in person. Only gripe ? Just would have loved something off Blood
on the tracks, but it did get a bit of work at last night's Adelaide show.
Could honestly not come away disappointed in any sense though from this
performance. All the best 

Rob Griffin 
Melbourne Australia       


Review by Wolf

It was the best concert Bob has done in Australia in my opinion (and of 
those I have spoken to) It was held in the Melbourne Park venue which is an 
all purpose stadium but is famous for hosting the Australian Open Tennis
championship. The last time Bob performed here the sound was terrible and
people actually walked out because of that. This time the sound was
fantastic and the performance tremendous. Bobs voice seemed to improve to
his normal "Caruso-like" brilliance as the night went on and his movements
became more animated to the point were he almost put Bruce Springsteen to
shame (well.. almost). The audience gave a standing ovation before the
encore and again at the end which Bob and the band acknowledged with a
minutes silent standing on the stage. The song mix (which you have already
listed) seemed to me to be a self tribute to his fans. In other words this
performance gave me the impression that it may be the last we see in
Australia. I hope I am wrong.

Cheers Wolf


Review by Frank Moon

Bob Dylan IS the Man. How can you define a peerless artist with a career
past forty years? One can only savor the short time spent with the
troubadour and pray that it won’t be the last.

He sings of alienation, he sings of rejection, of relationships and of
loneliness. He makes sense of the turbulence of relationships. And it all
comes from a unique ability to position himself as an emotionally detached
observer – sort of a Meursault from Camus’ “The Outsider” or as someone
“Love Sick” and struggling to collect his thoughts coherently.

The main strength of his work has been that his lyrics always ring true.
His songs are not the ones belted out on end-of-season footy trips or on
bucks’ nights, and they avoid the stereotyped or overstated images that
characterized the work of imitators including Bob Lind (“Elusive
Butterfly”) and Barry McGuire (“Eve of Destruction”).

He appeals to people who reflect on their existence and who delight in the
resonance of words and timbre of vocal phrasing. Beforehand at The Corner
Hotel, the place was abuzz with excited conversation, for some reason, of
a slightly lower level of articulation than prior to AC/DC six weeks or so
back now. Bob Dylan is the voice of all would-be philosophers

This gig provided an astonishing experience. The mix was crystal clear
with Bob’s ever more shredded voice at its most wonderful, placed boldly
out the front. As with his last visit to Melbourne, the four piece band
improvised around the original versions of songs really providing a
powerful groove ignited properly by “’Til I Fell In Love With You”. From
that time the magnetism of the whole performance was irresistible. Some
fantastically rough guitar pickings and harp warblings from Bob, and some
blistering fret board work when unleashed by highly regarded Charlie

After 84 different songs in his 16 gigs of 2001, the worst thing about
this gig was that he ended after only 19. This night blitzed 1998, maybe
because more of my favourites were offered and he played an extra three
songs. My personal highlights: Blind Willie McTell (Bootleg Series), Don’t
Think Twice – brilliant!!, Things Have Changed, Wicked Messenger, Like A
Rolling Stone and Watchtower. A superb overview of Bob Dylan unplugged and
plugged in.

Keep an eye out for Bob performing “Things Have Changed” on Oscar Night
Mar 25th.

The Very Irreverend Frank Moon


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