Florence, Italy

Mandela Forum

April 18, 2009

[Snijezana Matejcic], [Claudio Manara], [Anita Pravits], [Vittorio Colombo], [Mark A. Hoddy], [Mike & Max]

Comments by Snijezana Matejcic

Can't believe nobody wrote a word about that night in Mandela forum 
in Florence yet. It was just unbelievable - pictures and music in my ears 
is still so vivid - so many young peole in front of the stage singing from
the top of their lungs and Bob responding playing and singig out of joy,
it seemed. I've been on one cocert a year since the lounching of Never
ending tour, each time in a different town, mostl Ital, and I think this
is a highlight so far. Dylan concerts have been my intelectual and
emotional energizers, and this one might last for a few months. 
I love BD!

Snijezana Matejcic


Review by Claudio Manara

I am surprised that so few words were written on the Firenze 
show…Very shortly, this was the third Italian concert and I attended to
all of them (it would be difficult for me to follow the tour  somewhere
else…). I must say that the shows were worth the expenses: in three
nights I just collected a list of almost 25 different songs. The music
started as a train at 910pm as usual. This show is like a perfect wall of
sound that opens every night and always might be offering jewels. Nothing
is quite expected and everything could happen. So, it may happen that Bob
once again plays Dean Martin’s ‘Return To Me’, as he did play in
Rome the night before. This was a cover and a gift presented to Italy,
but, most likely the magic moment was meant to last one single night and,
I was wrong: here comes Bob playing that song once again, along with the
final verse in Italian: ritorna a me…solo tu solo tu mio grande
amore!!!! (never be sure about nothing in front of a Dylan concert). This
was the highlight of these Italian nights. And it was a real pleasure to
hear the thundering start: ‘Maggie’s Farm’ sounded like a
prehistoric rhythm followed by ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ like a marchin’
band and ‘Most Likey’ that recaptured the 1974 tour mood. One real
high point was 'Workingman's Blues #2': Bob sang this song with a rare
intensity and proofed that this song is a gem (it reminds John Lennon's
'Working Class Hero' thirty years or so after).But I want to mention
‘Man In The Long Black Coat’ where Bob picked up a glittering Gibson
LesPaul. And let me say that ‘Highway 61’ is kind of growing night by
night, although it keeps growing since the 60’s it looks like a never
ending work in progress, even these days. And then another surprise:
‘Ballad of Hollis Brown’ such like a perfect painting of Spoon River,
low side lights, on the stage only shadows of a cowboy band growling in
the dark! And it was a perfect pair with ‘The Lonesome Death Of Hattie
Carroll’: this one was sung with a nice lullaby melody. In LARS,
finally, the crowd was singing altogether and the band stopped for a while
to let the chorus fly, Bob laughed and at the next refrain he sang a
little bit earlier to prevent the chorus again!!  

Claudio Manara


Review by Anita Pravits

the best time to arrive in Firenza ist the very early morning ... the mild
light of the rising sun behind some clouds ... most locals and tourists
are still sleeping, some travelers arriving or leaving, some homeless
people on the street ... a kind of calmness you wouldn't find the rest of
the day, even Arno River seems to sleep, flowing so lethargicly that you
don't know in which direction it is flowing ... the beautiful places
there, Piazza San Giovanni uncrowded, singing birds, displaying doves,
marveling at the Ghibertis "Gates of Paradies" only by myself ... that day
going with the flow, watching the city, Boboli Gardens, sitting on the
stairs of many of that renaissance builings watching the people ...
nothing trying, nothing estimating, approving the things like they are ...
wish they (the musicians) could also see a little bit of that beautiful
city, feel it and get some inspritation ... his concert ...with Maggie's
Farm he put it straight, that he's not working for THEM any more, that
one, who hasn't got it till now I hope that they recognized it finally
that they're playing rock 'n' roll, and how it rolled this evening! ...
even the Man in the Long Black Coat rocked and Highway 61 Revisited and
Summer Days and and and ... his first harmonica playing was with The
Lonesome Death... great performed, really nothing to cri-ti-cize (like he
sang it) ... and than one of the highlights this evening 'Til I Fell In
Love With You, Bob Center Stage, only he and his harp, playing the harp in
each break of his singing, like gasping for breath, or like a heavy smoker
drawing on a cigarette, singing that song in such a hauntingly way, so
impressively, can't tell you ... awesome Working Man Blues, Po` Boy,
Ballad of Hollis Brown, sounding with Donnies Banjo like High Water, don't
want to numerate them all ... then a real great present from Bob this
evening - Return To Me - Bob modified hisself from the coyote to the
howlin' wolf to an american crooner, please hurry back, hurry back, oh you
love, to him!!! ... that evening he gave us never lukewarm! ... what
should be noticed else in addition to the fact that it was an amazing
concert on the whole? ... Bob's cuing to his band at Maggie's Farm ...
Tony playing the double bass on Highway 61 (I hope I remember well) and
Po`Boy, let it swing!, Bob's keyboard playing at Highway 61 and never
forget George, Stu and Denny, what luck Bob has with them all (and we
have)!  ... with Like A Rolling Stone the last nostalgic woke up, great
also the three encores, although Spirit on the Water still didn't work, I
listened very carefully, what's the matter ... it's not the way how they
played it, it's not the way he sang it, it's an amazing song and was
performed marvelous, I love that intimate song at that time, so near to
the end, but I guess the most of the audience isn't in the right mood for
a song like that in that moment, why ever ... no kind of criticism from me
about his choice of songs, if you like the very most of his songs, there
can't be something wrong, but on the other hand there are so much left,
you also would like to hear live one day ... Someday Baby maybe, always
wanted to know, by whom he was inspired -  Estes, Hopkins, Garcia, guess
it's been Muddy Waters, the earlier recording of '55? ... whatever ...
thanks for that great concert, deeply impressed I loved it! ... two weeks
ago, while I was listening outside to their rehearsal (and never heard him
sing) I found a little seeding of a tree in the grass, only two big,
longish seed leafs, thought I should save it from lawn mower, dig it out
with some earth and enclosed it with moss and gave it in a little plastic
bag ... wanted to give it somebody, forgot it later ... thinking about it
some days later I thought now I've killed it, but when I get it out from
the coat pocket it was still alive and got two new leaves in that dark
cave, now you could see that it's a maple tree ... I'll take care of it
till it's strong enough and then bed that little Munich tree into the
Vienna forest ... maybe the only tree ever been in a Bob Dylan concert?
... what fool am I ... 

Anita Pravits


Review by Vittorio Colombo

FLORENCE 2009: well, this has been something! I was ready for too much of
nothing; but straight from the beginning of the old "fuck off" song
(Maggie's farm) it has been clear that Dylan was in the right mood for a
memorable night. Each of the 18 (minus Blowin'  in the wind, the actual
"fuck off" song) songs was a highlight. But outstanding were Tambourine
man, Man in the long black coat, Till I fell in love with you, Poor boy,
Hattie Carroll, Return to me. At times I tought that even those two guys
which I prefer to leave unnamed on the left part of the stage were
bearable. Only at times... Even my six-year son this time didn't fall
asleep in the middle of it! After Tambourine man he told me at the ear:
"Dad, he did it like in late 1978....!". He has good ears....Tough, his
best ones was Workingman's blues #2 and LARS. Once more it is clear that
this band isn't fit for the man, though. When he is reworking on line
those songs they just can't understand were he's going to go. They can
follow him, but delayed. And we fall in the TA-TA-TA-TA rhythm that makes
those song look all similar to each other. But this night that only
happened a few and short times. Donnie should be there alone with George
and Tony. In times of crisis one should cut this band or else go to the
reality of low wages to compete abroad. vittorio colombo


Review by Mark A. Hoddy

My 10th Dylan concert and probably my best so far, I arrived at the
Concert in the pouring rain but everyone was in good spirits.  I entered
the venue and arrived into the upper ring of seats.  The centre floor and
bars were inaccessible from this section which was weird.  I moved seat
and got a great spot in the corner about ten feet from the stage side, the
stage looked superb and bobs keyboard was gleaming.  Bob came on just
after 9 p.m. and started off with a very strong ‘Maggie’s Farm’ followed
by an up tempo ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and then a great ‘Most Likely You Go
Your Way’ kept the crowd fixed.  Song of the night for me was next with
Bob picking up the Guitar and playing ‘Man In The Long Black Coat’. 
‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’ and Bob back at the keys was a beauty as was my
second favourite of the night, 'The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll' with
Bob in really good voice on this one albeit a bit choppy (but I quite like
that style).  Bob then bounced round his keyboard like a court jester to
the front of the stage, harp in hand and sang ‘Til I Fell in Love With
You’  highlighted by Bob doing some unusual on the spot bendy dancing!. 
Bob played magical harp on ‘Workin' Man's Blues #2’ and then performed a
blistering 'Highway 61 Revisited' with great guitar work from Denny. 
'Ballad Of Hollis Brown' was a cracker and I really enjoyed the clear
vocals.  Bob seemed to be getting clearer and clearer and a top draw ‘Po'
Boy’ and rockin' ‘Summer Days’ followed.  Bobby was certainly in fine
voice and gave the younger crowd lots of enthusiasm which in turn seemed
to rub off onto Bob.  Time was flying and I couldn't believe we were into
song number 13 already! Even though he had sang it last night Bob
surprised me with his version of 'Return To Me' and the crowd were
definitely touched by this one with a lot cheering.  Bobby then finished
the first set with a really loud ‘Thunder On The Mountain’ and played with
the crowed with a dlayed “how does it feel” on ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. 
The Encore was a well built loud-quiet-louder selection which included All
Along The Watchtower, ‘Spirit On The Water’ which made me feel as if he
was going to sing another full set (thats a great feeling, thanks Bob) and
a perfect closing ‘Blowin' In The Wind’.  

The Band were fantastic all night, Denny getting some good slide action,
Tony animated as ever on the double base, George just ripping on the
drums, Stu lovely Rhythm guitar and Donnie with some awesome pedal steel,
banjo and violin.  I came out of the concert on real high and walked all
the way back to the centre of Florence in a very hard rain (lucky I bought
a poster to shelter from the storm). 

Mark A. Hoddy


Review by Mike & Max

Bob didn't tour in the UK last year so we enjoyed a few days in Spain and
watched the Jerez show. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we decided to
combine a short break in Italy and catch the Milan and Florence shows.

On to Florence, more great music bars playing Jazz and Blues and the show
was within walking distance of the town centre. Bob and the boys were on
top form once more, played a great set and received a fantastic reception
from the crowd. Bob was clearly enjoying himself and after opening with
Maggies Farm and Mr Tambourine Man had the audience relishing every song.
Both audiences consisted of fans of all ages and it was great to see
younger fans enjoying Bob's music. To sumarise, a great six days, two
fantastic gigs with Bob and the band on top form. We're looking forward to
catching him in Cardiff next Tuesday. On this form, long may he continue
and keep touring.

Mike & Max


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