Rome, Italy


April 17, 2009

[John Hayes], [Henry Talon]

Review by John Hayes

As I live in Scotland, the obvious choices for this tour were Glasgow and
Edinburgh in May.  Edinburgh sold out immediately and I saw Bob at the
SECC Glasgow in 1990 and don't really like the venue too much, so thought
I might give this tour a miss.  However, having read the reviews and
listened to some of the early shows, Stockholm etc... I got to thinking..
My wife Maggie (NOT a fan) had said that she thought it would be good to
get away for a break somewhere for a few days and she had looked into a
few options. When I mentioned that THE STREETS OF ROME WERE FILLED 
WITH RUBBLE..., she said that  she knew that, but would I get to the point....
It was a good compromise.  A chance for her to see Rome for the first
time, and for me to see Bob (on perhaps his last tour?) at the same time!
So we were accompanied on our trip on Wednesday by our son Robert (16)
also a fan. He would have preferred to out on  Friday and back on
Saturday, and miss the culture part! The first thing that struck me was
that although I had been there twice before ( first time 30 years ago, and
briefly 10 years ago) was that I must have been concentrating too much on
the wine pizza and pasta etc.  Of course I had gone to the Vatican
Colosseum etc, but I was amazed at just how much there is too see there. 
It is a must if you haven't been Anyway after a couple of days of intense
sightseeing, feasting etc, Robert and I set out on the Metro to
Palalottomattica, the large fairly newish venue for such events. We
arrived early and found our seats which were miles back from the stage but
fairly central.  The band started promptly at 9 pm with a solid Cat's in
the Well. It was well performed with Bob singing remarkably well as he did
all night.  Following Don't Think Twice, Bob picked up the guitar, (first
time since September 2000 that I had seen him do this)  Things Have
Changed and Boots of Spanish Leather were two of  the highlights for me,
partly  because I like them anyway, but they were enhanced by him playing 
guitar again. From there, until Thunder on the Mountain were all solid and 
well performed. Then came one I didn't know. Return to Me.  It was superb 
and totally unexpected.  I have just noticed that he played it again in
Florence tonight too. From Like a Rolling Stone onwards, was of course the
expected  wind-up to the concert and it was fine. After a concert of his,
as usual, I can think of dozens of songs I would have preferred him to
have played, but none were disappointing and it is still always great to
see him  live.  The many audience recordings are often OK, but in no way
do the event justice. Needless to say.. he didn't play When I Paint My
Masterpiece, too obvious a choice!! All too soon it was the end of the
Italian adventure. Finally, Hi to Maureen and Eugenio and also to Rick, a
friend of ours and long time fan.  His renditions of some of Bob's early
acoustic stuff are legendary!

John Hayes


Review by Henry Talon

Fine concert, Dylan was on and the band was tight. Bob picked up the harp
more often than I expected and even played some guitar early in the show.
He's rearranged some of the songs, even recent ones, in this kind of weird
staccato style, but that's just his way. Highlights for me were It's
Alright Ma, absolutely riveting; Things Have Changed, Boots of Spanish
Leather. The drummer (still George Receli I guess) was doing some
fantastic stuff.

The bad part: the PalaLottomatica is a concrete sports arena and no
serious musician should ever play there. The sound was just terrible. I've
vowed never to go back, then Dylan comes and I go, but now I'm vowing
never again, there should be some kinda boycott of this place. ANYwhere
would be better, in fact the outdoor steps of the Scalinata a few blocks
away where Dylan played in '98 had great acoustics. Rome desperately needs
a good concert venue, the auditorium is great but of course you can't
listen to Dylan in padded seats. 


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