Zürich, Switzerland
April 21, 2002

[Jean-Martin Büttner]

Review by Jean-Martin Büttner

It never really happened until "High Water", not because the band wasn't
excellent and their playing inspired throughout. It never happened because
Dylan, for all his joyful playing wasn't singing with enough
concentration. In fact, and maybe we are being a bit stern here, the most
part of the acoustic set was either uninspired or shambolic with the
possible exceptions of "Mama" (although nearly unrecognizable), "One Too
Many Morings" and "Wait For the Light To Shine" where he got things right
or at least interesting. On most of the other acoustic material his voice
sounded like a mixture of a foghorn and a yelp. "Times...", "Forever
Young", "Blowing..." and even "Tangled..." and "It's Alright, Ma" (both of
which he normally plays well and played brilliantly the last time he was
here) were nearly unbearable.

Funny thing, though: He sang brilliantly on the new and on most of the
electric songs, "High Water", "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Man Of
Constant Sorrow" being fantastic as anything I've ever heard him play and
nearly as good as the whole setlist looked tonight. The new man's subtle
second-line drumming makes the band groove even more, they sound both
incredibly tight and loose. Maybe this would have been the way Dylan
should've approached some of the "Infidels" sessions.

The concert definitely had its moments of brilliance or at least very good
performances and went down well with the croud who received Dylan back
with an standing ovation . "Solid Rock" was low and humming in a sinister
kind of way; "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You" had the dreamy
feeling of his '65 brand of R'n'B. "Not Dark Yet" sounded used but
ironically benefitted form it. "Cold Irons Bound" was fantastically
arranged; I rarely heard him play it so hard before.

I wish he'd stop torturing us with his solos, though. He has two brilliant
guitarist who play as one, he is the boss and the reason we all came
along. Why those endless two-or-three-note-doodlings that seem to go on
hours? Why doesn't he do what he does best? Of course, this is exactly the
kind of question he eludes by doing precisely that. So be it. Again he's
performed the trick of surprising everyone, causing heated discussion, and
evoking marvel, derision, boredom, awe and incredible excitement. 

Jean-Martin Büttner, Berne, Switzerland


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