Assago, Italy

DatchForum (ex Forum)

April 27, 2007

[Stagger], [Matteo Callegari], [Hilary Rapp], [Graham Cole]

Review by Stagger

Another evening with Bob can't go too wrong can it.  The new arrangements
of Tom Thumb's and It's Alright Ma are just terrific workups of beautiful
tunes.  Sweet Ramona was just like silk.  Nice plinking of the many
guitars and maybe even the bobster's - who knows, he's not much better
guiltarin' than keyboardin' and I came to hear the guy talk, speak,
enunciate, emphasize and he does that just as clear as any time I've heard
him in the last forty years.  He flubbed a couple of early beginnings and
a couple of the tunes need to be retired but when that band gets agoing it
is pure R&R pleasure.  If only they could lay on a couple of mighty
hour-long dead-head grooves that keep building till your head just, ah but
never mind.  D. Herron is full of nice sounds and just how the bobster can
shout those nasty phrases and make them understood and a part of the
cacophany is something to see.  A great country - swing - rock your socks
off band with ups and downs like any and a nice spring evening in Milano
to watch them do it.  Thanks Bob.



Review by Matteo Callegari

I attended last night concert in Milan, Bob was on stage at 21,00 dressed in 
black suit and a white we are used to see him...Glad to see him back 
at the guitar, even for 5 songs..

His mics was high in the mixing for all the concert so I can say that his singing 
was clear and strong and sometimes great, lot of energy came from his 
phrasing and a good tuning too....

He gave us of classics like IT AINT ME BABE, To RAMONA, DESOLATION ROW 
but ITS ALRIGHT MA was the highlight for me...

The new songs are great to hear live , particolary the crooning-ones like DEAL 
encore works well.

I did not like some arrangment for i did not understand if some things were 
casual or not..but im sure that STUCK INSIDE was not really good...and not 
for Bobbys fault... all in all he seemed pleased to be there,tough the audience 
was not the typical italian: warm and noisy ...the concert began to fly on the 
end ,with a heavy HIGHWAY61 followed by LARS

I'm a little disappointed by the band cause I saw Bob 8 times (from 1991) and 
I saw him in better company.. im afraid the band with Campbell and Sexton 
was another planet

We love you bob.



Review by Hilary Rapp

Can i really do this,submit a review for Dylan.?..times have changed.A
totally biased Englishwoman travels to Italy from Singapore-don't expect
any criticism here.Last saw Dylan in 1978.This time I go alone so as not
to disappoint anyone-there was no need to worry.So much wonderful material
from Modern Times I guess this is the here and now he wants to and indeed
should  convey-Jung's Archetypal Trickster(or am I just reading too much
into the title?). I must confess a yearning for some of the older
stuff-the set was either contemporary or way back-Blood on the Tracks
sadly missing that night.Seems for him here and now is the more real
(?)Tennessee band-hey they were good enough,brilliant at times but I did
miss those fab female vocalists he had backing him or on violin years
ago.I know the works are different now but maybe that was some of the
sadness-a group of older men.... I watched the crowd arrive slowly(more of
the aforementioned!)-DatchForum not full but full enough with the right
enthusiasm-but folk seemed  unexcited to be there   -not sure how much he
enjoyed it..... always so self -deprecating in his body language.Tonight
no chat, small introduction to the band(a band)and feel we may not have
been good enough as audience.An Italian friend had warned me he was not so
big here.... So many comprehensive reviews ahead of this one-what to say
technically(haven't got a clue)-there were some unusual arrangements which
caught me out.Some worked'All along the Watchtower'cruel to finish on in
its excellence. Desolation Row was strong but Mobile could have been
left.The spirit of the set seemed one of separation,departure really quite
sad but I may have been projecting,hoping very much this is not the last
time. Nettie Moore (yes,who is she?)as many have remarked was very lovely&
Spirit on the Water smooth and very sensuous two of several really
remarkable new compositions.Frankly,he is breathtaking as ever-from the
quality of his poetry to that unforgettable sound via harmonica or
guitar,his presence wish I could have shared it with someone. In
the words of the song I was waiting in vain for 'Don't let me drift too
far,Keep me where you are Where I will always be renewed. And what you've
given me today Is worth more than I could pay And no matter what they say
I believe in you.'

Hilary Rapp


Review by Graham Cole

Dylan at the Duomo?

Well, Bob scheduled his UK concerts before we had organised an Easter break 
so we were disappointed to miss out on all the shows here.  No matter, with a 
bit of planning, and our daughter Jessica living in Milan, there was a chance of 
seeing him at some stage on the 2007 Euro trip.  So, this was our first ever 
Bobgig outside of the UK and we were very excited to see how it would go. 
How would the crowd be, would they respond any differently from crowds we 
had been with in the past, would there be any familiar faces or people we 
knew, what would the venue be like, and so many other thoughts as we flew 
out to Italy.  Above all, what treats were we in for from a Modern Timed 

Jess had done us proud. Sorting out bus tickets and instructions on how to get 
to the DatchForum (a very un-Italian name, by the way!), and we did our best 
to get there as early as possible (about 90 minutes before the show).  A lovely 
hot Spring evening, and loads of different languages on the bus out of town to 
the Assago area of the city.  The briefest of security (drinks, cameras, etc all 
seemed to be getting in!) and we were in, to what Sam suggested was a 
smaller version of Wembley Arena, so fairly barn-y, but as it turned out with 
good acoustics from where we stood.  It was all very relaxed inside, with people 
sitting on the floor chatting, though no sense of excitement as in the UK, and 
certainly no familiar faces all those miles from the UK.  Then suddenly, an hour 
to go, everyone stands up and moves towards the stage - we end up about 
ten back from the bouncers, and with a good view of the set-up.  Then at 9 
sharp, the brief familiar fanfare and counter-culture blurb, barely audible these 
days, and there he is, black suit with neat white piping and cream Stetson, no 
tie. But rather an open-necked collar, and straightaway he is strapping on the 
Strat.  We're in for a good show!

The vocals and Bob's instruments (five on guitar, the rest on keyboards) were all 
well up in the mix, which meant we had really clear singing all the way through.  
This was immediately apparent on Cats, which also featured some great fiddle 
from Donny, who for us was a star of the show behind Bob.  Following into It 
Ain't Me Babe, Bob's vocals were deep and cool, almost sexy, and as for his guitar 
work, he seems to be playing it as if he has re-found all his six-string skills.  Tom 
Thumb showed yet more of this, as the song built steadily, a good rocking blues 
number.  The singing on the next number up, It's Alright Ma, were spat out, 
almost snarled into the microphone, and then the tone slowed to a majestic, 
stately To Ramona, full of gentle phrasing and tender nuances in Bob's voice.  
Sadly, and not for the only time on the evening, there seemed to be a lot of 
chat in the crowd, more often on the quieter numbers - why do people go to 
any music shows, and certainly Bobshows, and then chat through them?

All then changed, and the chat was banished as Bob moved slightly to stage 
right (from centre) and took up his place behind the keyboards for a rousing 
Rolling and Tumbling, our first MT tune of the night, and a clear favourite with 
the crowd.  They were pretty happy too with the following Spirit on the Water, 
treating it to a horrible clap-along routine early on.  Again plenty of attention to 
Bob's instrumentation from the soundboard, but I felt Denny Freeman should 
have selected a different, jazz guitar, for his solo work on this number.  Mobile 
got the usual solid treatment, though with some good light vocals, and the 
harp was certainly excellent, and meaningful, in a way that has not always been 
the case with Bob on this instrument more recently.

And then it came, not without warning, the familiar little tinklings signalling our 
2007 version of Desolation Row.  And what a version!  This was, I think for all 
three of us, the highlight of the evening, and certainly for me, worth the price 
of admission, flights, the whole bit.  It was, quite simply, stunningly wonderful.  
The instrumentation - sparse, the vocals - climactic at each rise to "Desolation 
Row", the backing - filigree to perfection, Bob's organ playing - gorgeous and 
clear, the lighting - beautifully gold, all this and the band quite clearly enjoying 
themselves, with Bob and Donny laughing lots with each other.  I want to hear 
this one again, and again, and again.  And then it segued into I'll Be Your Baby, 
which we all loved.  It lolled along brightly, then seemed to get a bit lost halfway
through, but came good again by the end, with Tony sorting things out.  When 
the Deal brought out the lighters with a lovely soft romantic sound, but then 
everything cranked back up for Most Likely You'll Go Your Way.  Next we were 
treated to another crowd favourite (though I feel it is perhaps slightly overrated) 
in the shape of the epic Nettie Moore, which featured some tremendous violin 
(not fiddle this time!) fills from good ol' Donny, but some dreadful, meaningless 
clapping from sections of the crowd.
And from this point on, the show followed a fairly straightforward coda, with 
Highway 61 getting its usual treatment, and then the crowd-pleasing LARS (did 
Bob try to wrongfoot the singers with some time-changing at one point? 
Certainly the arrangement sounded somewhat different to these ears.)

And then the lights went down, and in darkness, our six heroes sloped off 
backstage, to the inevitable long applause.  Our encores, and the band intros, 
were as usual, including the puzzling band home town bit, and then off into 
the night they finally went.  It had been a concert of no musical lows at all for 
us, and only occasionally marred by the hand-clapping and chat, but crowning 
the evening was such a lovely Desolation Row.  As we stepped back out into 
the warm evening air, the tour buses were just driving past us out of the car 
park, and for a brief moment, I dreamed we might see Bob walking round the 
Duomo the next day.  Twas not to be, but never mind - once again, all we 
can say is Thanks Bob for another great show!


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