Dublin, Ireland

The O2

May 5, 2009

[Ger Daly], [John McCarthy] [Daan Arts], [Markus Prieur]

Review by Ger Daly

Stellar show. In very rude form from the start Bob and band sang and
played the best I've seen for sometime. The Irish crowd, fancy new venue,
having a No. 1 record, all was right on the cards but after the pretty
lame show at the roundhouse/London I was holdin back on gettin too hopeful
and prepared for some disappointment but still hopin for those shining

Leopard Skin first, Bob lunging at the organ, a very solid start. Don't
Think Twice is always great live though I'm missing all the fine picking
from a few years back. The sound by now was perfect from my vantage point,
4th from front centre, Bob's guitar on this one interesting. 

Now Lonesome Day Blues was deep and dirty, just perfect. The black
background and stark white light above, had me imagining all this was
taking place under the darkest moonlit nite somewhere a million miles from
everywhere. Bob was in his element, the band clearly loving it, I couldnt
even take pics on my stupid little phone cuz my hands were shakin from the
thrill of it!

Just like a Woman sounded fine, all singing along, gorgeous harp work.
After many magic moments already I was starting to expect a dip and Rollin
and Tumblin came across as quite standard though with great interplay with
Bob and Donnie, Tony and George really making us bounce and Stu and Denny
doin just enough and just right. A good version alright and the high
energy still there with the audience.

John Brown went down very well I thought, again something intriguing
happening between Bob and Donnie, one of those 'hey my songs are just
plasticine' moments. Stuck inside of Mobile, never a live fav of mine
before well it is now, Bob's singing real nice and clear and such a relief
to have almost no weird off key growls.

By now we were clearly in for a very memorable show. 

Under the Red Sky was a sweet surprise especially Bob's guitar which went
on all kinds of new levels and for some time too i thought, love to hear
more of this. Honest with me was faultless.  HIghway 61 a blast though not
as wild as I remember from Dublin 05 it still sounded pretty cool, the
instru breaks all tight. Though this song could allow ample room for some
searing guitar work, leaving a blaze in its wake as it trundles past, I
got the feeling that's not allowed anymore. Aint Talkin' was better than
on record for me. Thunder on the Mountain also still sounding fresh.

Like a Rolling Stone is usually the part of a show I just wish would
change but now I was loving it! Great response, Bob's voice needin a hand
from us all at this stage, interesting long instrumental bit between some
verses where the band seemed to just vamp on it, well the structure did
sway anyway. 

Of course the surprise of hearing the new but instant classic riff of If
You ever go to Houston was worth admission alone. Amazing response from
all. Bob lovin it. I'll never forget the looks of glee and 'hey this a
blast man' between Tony and George everytime Bob hit those chords on the
organ. After the gorgeous finale of Blowin in the Wind I thought they may
have come back for one more, crowd goin mad. but hey there's still
tommorrow! Roll on Bob. Anyone goin to a US show this summer sure in for a

So great to see Dylan when he's on top, he brings you up there with him
sayin 'whaddya mean ya heard i'm losin it?!' 

Ger Daly


Review by John McCarthy

We, my wife, daughter and I, are just back from the concert at the O2. It
was a significant night for me in that it was exactly 43 years to the date
when I first saw Bob in concert.  It was in the, since demolished, Adelphi
cinema in Dublin on the 5th of May 1966.  Anyway history is history.  We
thought Bob was fantastic tonight.  His voice was strong and clear all
night.  I won't go in to too much detail as it is getting near midnight
here and work is looming tomorrow.  The highlights for us: Just Like A
Woman (he encouraged the crowd to join in, which we did with gusto);
John Brown; "Mobile"; Under The Red Sky; Masters Of War; Ain't Talkin'; 
Like A Rolling Stone ( the best live version for years - it was fantastic); If
You Ever Go to Houston - an absolute joy to hear and sung beautifully.  I
think he enjoyed himself - I hope he did.  We certainly did.  

John McCarthy


Review by Daan Arts

The day after, already back in Holland. My friend and I flew to Dublin on
monday to drink Guinness and see Bob. We got what we wanted with both
these joys of life. The concert was great, the crowd was amazing. Don't
think twice, oh my god what a performance of that great song, then Just
like a woman, where he invited the crowd by nodding and smiling to us to
sing the chorus. Goose bumps. Great performance of Mobile  and Under the
red sky (not a great song, but a great performance of it!). Too bad for us
that most of the first 10 songs we recently heard in other concerts, so
that was the only little down of the evening. That quickly got erased by a
whopping performance of Like a rolling stone, again making the crowd a
main factor and putting smiles on the band. The band was on fire last
night, great jamsession on Thunder On the mountain. The band kept lookin
at bob for hints where to go.. they just kept going and had a great time
doing it, seeing the smiles all round. Then the intermission; expecting
the standard watchtower, spirit and blowin in the wind, we got If you ever
go to Houston!!!!!! what a great surprise, the crowd loved it and i must
say that the song last night was better then on the album because the
accordion wasnt there, so the guitar part could shine a lot more. 

So money well spend and another town I'm definatly coming back to!
Hopefully to see Bob again, but just guinness and irish music will do just
fine aswell!!



Review by Markus Prieur

Exactly 43 years to the day after his first two concerts on the Emerald
Isle (May 5th 1966 in Belfast and May 6th 1966 in Dublin) Bob Dylan ended
his European spring tour of 2009 in Dublin with his 24th and his 25th
Irish gig, two sold out shows at “The O2” (which was built inside the
remaining walls of what used to be “The Point”). It was Dylan’s
first appearance in the Irish capital since he had ended the European fall
tour of 2005 within these same walls three and a half years ago with two
excellent shows, which were the last ones before he switched his keyboard
from piano to organ sound, (one day after those shows he went into a
Dublin studio to record “Can’t Escape From You”, released last year
on “Tell Tale Signs”).

The first Dublin show on May 5th was also the first Irish performance
since his memorable appearance down here in Cork in June 2006, which means
it was the first Irish show since the release of “Modern Times”, his
now second to last album. However he performed only three songs from
“Modern Times” during the first show, the best of these three being
the fantastic “Ain’t Talkin’”, as song number twelve in the set,
which generally leaned heavily toward the hard rocking blues songs of the
“pillbox hat lonesome day blues rollin’ and tumblin’ honest with me
highway 61 thunder on the mountain” variety, which are all somehow the
musical equivalent to driving a long freight train through a large brick
wall, sort of, extremely fun to watch every time, but quite similar. And
it is not that I had never seen them or other regulars before.

In fact I saw 16 of the 17 songs of the first show before, but some of
them not since London 2002 (like the fine closer “Blowing In The
Wind”) or even longer. One of the finer moments of the show was seeing
Bob on guitar for my first “Under The Red Sky” since Aberdeen 2000.
The obligatory Tuesday songs “John Brown” and “Masters Of War” I
saw last year already in Spain, but I did not mind at all hearing those
two again, especially “John Brown”, which was extremely well sung. I
also enjoyed “Stuck Inside Of Mobile” with four harp solos (on the
second night he would play none during this song). Overall Bob was very
lively during the first concert, he danced around and smiled a lot, and he
and the band obviously had a lot of fun playing those faster songs, and
the audience seemed to love the show very much.

The peak of the concert for me however was the only song of the night I
had not seen before, and in fact nobody else in the audience for that
matter. It was the first live performance of any song from Bob Dylan’s
new chart topping album “Together Through Life”, as the surprising
penultimate song of the concert, “If You Ever Go To Houston”, which
was delivered word perfect and well rehearsed, and which works much better
in concert than I ever would have expected, with the organ replacing the
accordion played on the album. For 62 Bob dates since 1981 I had to wait
to witness my first live debut by Bob Dylan. I had seen one US debut
before, and several European debuts, but to be a part of the audience
during the actual live premiere of a newly recorded Dylan song is one kind
of special concert experience I never had before, and which is all the
more enjoyable when a song is nailed like that the first time around, and
you are standing close to the stage, mere four steps away from the rail.

Markus Prieur


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