Bournemouth, England
Bournemouth International Centre (BIC)
June 28, 2006

[Graham Cole], [Joe Neanor], [Martin Gayford], [Mike Morgan], [Rebecca Harley],
[Martin Maw], [Philip Bradley], [Kevin Lees], [David Wood Paterson]

Review by Graham Cole

Just Like a Grain of Sand?

This is going to be a hard one to call.  Last night as I drove along the M4 
from a memorable Cardiff gig, I overtook the two tour buses (it would 
appear that Bob and the boys hightailed it out of the CIA whilst the 
crowd were still crying for more after the encores?) and realised that bar 
for the thin walls of my car and his bus and the space between, that was 
the nearest I have ever been to Bob.  I was excited, as I had been from 
start to finish during the concert, and could look forward to at least 
something different and possibly as good again tonight in beside the 
seaside Bournemouth.  Tonight we managed to get closer to the front 
than ever before, and had a lovely straight ahead view of Bob from row 

This was a much easier trip for us (Loraine and our son Sam were there, 
the latter now well and truly "on the bus", listening to lots of Bob and 
having his own favourites after years of enthusiastic parental inculcation!) 
driving along from Southampton, and it was great to have two virgin 
Bobcats (in terms of concerts) with Mark and Rich joining the throng.  
The question would be how much would we all enjoy the concert, 
coming at it from so many angles and with so many aforethoughts?

In the end, I wanted all of them to have been with me in Cardiff, from 
which you might gather that their responses to Bob's show this evening 
were more enthusiastic than mine.  Indeed Sam and Rich, the young 'uns 
in our group, were positively excited when we met by the soundboard at 
the end, and it was good to see this.  Loraine had clearly enjoyed things as 
well, and Mark, like me, felt that things lifted significantly about two thirds 
of the way through the show when Stu Kimball picked out the opening 
notes of Just Like a Woman.  So  how do I feel about the show two hours 
later …?
The band came on at 8 o'clock to thrash straight into Maggie's Farm, which
they then followed up with the same four songs as last evening.  The 
immediate difference for me was that there seemed to be less 
engagement in proceedings, both on the part of performers and the 
crowd.  Whilst the band members were unchanged in their garb, Bob had 
a different black suit, with a cream shirt and necktie, which glittered with 
something at the collar. As to the choice of songs, there were four 
changes from the previous night, some of which worked well, others less
so.  The opening five tunes were given a slightly rockier feel, notwithstanding
some nice country steel from Donnie, but somehow, the band did not seem
to be on top of their game, and, as an example, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle 
Dum seemed disjointed.  There was evidence of some internal upsinging 
throughout the evening, which will doubtless raise the hackles of some fans, 
although there was one lovely section of Positively 4th Street where a line
including some upsinging was immediately followed by some lovely phrasing 
which I can only describe as downsinging!  Some of Bob's singing at this point 
was both melodic and tender (as noted at Cardiff), but the whole thing 
seemed too distant, almost cold to really work.

Instantly recognisable, even in a different arrangement, Masters of War was 
pleasing as it marked the first departure of the evening from the night before, 
and had a fine brooding introduction, appearing at the same point as the 
brooding intro to Love Sick yesterday.  Tony G had moved to double bass for 
this song, and it came over in a good chunky and funky manner.  Sliding into 
Watching the River Flow, which had appealed so much down in Wales, things 
seemed to be very loose and untidy.  It looked as if twice Bob was cued to 
play some harmonica, but twice it failed and the performance left me quite 

Maybe I just needed to accept my mixed-up confusion and think about how, 
when Just Like a Woman kicked in, suddenly we had moved up several levels, 
and Bob was giving us a trio of stellar performances before the inevitability of 
Summer Days and then the usual encores.  Indeed JLAW got a star from me, 
which meant I could then give two for a superb Every Grain of Sand.  These 
songs worked brilliantly well, as did Cold Irons Bound squeezed between them.

Finally some observations: the Oscar is still there behind Bob with his harmonica
rack, and he had two guitars close by him, a Telecaster and a jumbo, but of 
course both were untouched all evening.  As an aside, if we are to believe that 
Bob has arthritis in his hands, and that it is this that makes guitar playing a no-no 
for him these days, how easy does he find it to play keyboards?  And what did 
he have immediately in front of his keyboards, and why?  It looked like a pedal 
steel, but I couldn't be sure.  Why Cardiff and Bournemouth this (short) time 
around?  And just what goes through his, and the boys' minds when they stand 
together at the end to bid farewell?

So in the end, a 7/10 show for me, but this does not mean disappointment, 
especially as I reckon there will be some out there (Sam and Rich might be two) 
for whom it gets a higher score.  I consider myself fortunate that I had Cardiff to 
peak above tonight's show, but put the two together, and it has been an 
interesting contrast of shows to reflect on until the next time.  And there will 
be a next time.  For now, though as ever, to Bob and the boys, I am thankful.


Review by Joe Neanor

You learn something new everyday.  I had assumed that the opening
announcement at each show was recorded and that this explained its
inaudibility.  In fact a bloke actually makes the announcement "live". 
This is a nice touch but why can't it be more clearly heard.

The BIC is a nice venue, right on top of the beach.  A very good (almost
end of the pier) show tonight, albeit dominated by songs from the sixties.
Dylan's voice was strong throughout and he played some wonderful harmonica
solos.  There were great renditions of She Belongs to Me, Stuck Inside of
Mobile, Masters of War (very clear vocals), Cold Irons Bound as well as
Ballard of a Thin Man.   

There seemed to be some backstage glitches.  A delay at the start of the
show, then a delay before the encore, when the "Eye" on the back curtain
appeared for the first time.

Dylan performed wearing a black Stetson, with all but one of the five band
members likewise wearing hats.  Dylan did not go front of stage at any
time during the show, staying behind his key board and directing the band
with nods and his hands. At the end he and the band went centre stage to
take a bow and he looked around and acknowledged at the audience.   

Joe Neanor


Review by Martin Gayford

The set list looks quite boring
The entire band are quite forgettable
Bob's piano has turned into an organ
Bob's singing was fantastic
Bob's harmonica playing was fantastic
His performance made most of the songs great
Even if they were ones I thought I didn't want to hear
(for example Memphis Blues Again)
His organ sounded at times like a thin wild mercury sound
and at others like a fairground ride and a church organ
I enjoyed tonight more than the entire Brixton run last year
It was all to do with Bob's voice and harmonica
I won't cry if I never see this band again though!



Review by Mike Morgan

The regulars will have hated it. Only four songs different from the
Cardiff set the night before. But Bob hasn't been down on the South coast
here since 2002 and most of the crowd were coming to the latest band for
the first time. I took an almost perfectly constructed demographic sample
of Dorchester folk with me last night:

a semi-retired probation officer who last saw Bob on the Isle of Wight a
couple of 50-plus folk musicians and dancers who thought he was better
than in 2002 amid-twenties couple who spent last weekend watching Massive
Attack and Damien Marley in Hyde Park their mate who looks the type of
youth you'd cross the street to avoid on a dark night a mid twenties
indie-lover with a nostalgic penchant for Take That

They all made it over to the BIC bash and all left the venue enthusing
over what they had seen. Maybe absobing their mood, I also thoroughly
enjoyed what the Times disparaged as the 'Americana juke box' show, 
despite standing for longer than I have since my accident last 'fall'. The
sound was good and warm, the mix was right and Bob's voice was coming over

Of course I wish it had all been like the powerful and timeless Masters of
War, and that he would stop playing Tweedle and Summer Days. (At one
stage, with Campbell and Koella, they were excusable for the virtuoso
guitar playing, now they are just shapeless jams. Pity because elsewhere
the band were really good in their own way - not The Band or Charlie and
Larry but with Bob you should never look backwards)

On the other hand, the new version of Cold Irons Bound was stunning and
revitalises the lyrics. I'd heard recordings of it and wasn't sure, but
live and loud it was the highlight of the evening. 

The only drawback to the evening was a collection of merchant bankers, in
every sense of the word, who kept talking loudly to their women throughout
the show. I shut them out for most of the time but when they threaten to
ruin Every Grain of Sand I turned round and yelled at them. It worked for
the one song. These people get so many freebies they lose all sense of


Review by Rebecca Harley

Bob’s voice is the best it has been for very many years.  Both its
fluidity and its flexibility have returned in good measure, he’s hitting
all the notes with apparent ease, and the new sonorous lower register, now
part of his vocal “palette” is both a joy and a surprise.  He pulls,
pushes and investigates the levels of meaning locked up within the songs,
last night by giving weight and emphasis to each syllable, working them
with enormous concentration, which the harp solos also benefited from

The band was really tight and was free from the often chaotic shamblings
of Denny and Stu.  Denny Freeman, although he never took his eyes off Bob,
no longer appeared terrified/traumatised, and the frankfurters that caused
him to gut-wrenchingly flub almost everything he did at Brixton in
November, have morphed  into capable fingers and he seems, at last, to be
able to empathise with the music and understand what it requires of him. 
Stu Kimble was so much more relaxed, seemed to be into it and doing what
he needed to do with some considerable style and spontaneity.  George
Recile kept his head down and got on with the job and played with more
subtlety dynamic range.  Tony Garnier, in many ways the canary of the
band, you watch him to get a real sense of what is happening for them, was
doing the business well but looked rather switched off.  George and Tony
got a huge response from the audience at the eng, and I hope they know how
much respect and affection their audiences have for them.

They cantered through “Maggie’s Farm” as a warm-up.  Dylan performed “She
Belongs to Me” as a drama with interacting characters.  But somehow the
Bournemouth audience were not able to respond and enter in to it.    I
felt that Dylan changed tack at that point, deciding to give a different
kind of performance.  “Tweedle” came next anyway.  I just don’t get it. 
It always seems to me to be a kind of unsettling black hole, which sucks
them in, chews them up before extruding them.  “Positively 4th Street” was
given an outing as a song about regret, but oddly without the regret. 
They did get stuck inside of Mobile for what seemed to be a long time of
getting not very far, sadly.  “Masters” was terrifying in its commitment. 
We all went up onto the moral high ground with Bob and were strengthened
and confirmed by being there.  “Watching the River Flow” was great
rollicking fun.  I don’t remember “I Don’t Believe You” which probably
says it all, everyone joined in the chorus of Just Like a Woman” which
seemed to take Dylan by surprise. “Cold Irons” was fabulous, and greatly
impressed some young members of the audience standing next to me who
hadn’t heard it before.  “Every Grain of Sand” was given away.  “Summer
Days” good, “Watchtower” excellent.  It wasn’ t a buzzing London audience.
  Audiences are 50% of any live performance.  I ’ve often seen all kinds
of good performers flogging their guts out to get an audience to engage,
and if they don’t/can’t/won’t, the performance ends up inevitably less
than it could be.  Bournemouth is a well-healed, attractive south-coast
seaside town, one of the major retirement hubs of the UK.  BIC is a
newish, soulless,  bland venue.  When I first saw that they were doing a
gig there, I did feel that the chances of it being one of the truly
inspirational gigs were slim.

Dylan was engaged, he wasn’t throwing it away, but he was responding to
the feel and the feedback from the audience.  Technically and musically it
was very good, much better all round than the Brixton gigs, but it never
caught that life-enhancing fire that Dylan offers increasingly these days.


Review by Martin Maw

I came to this after the second night at Brixton last year, which was a magnificent 
concert.  Bournemouth fell far short of that: Dylan's voice was frayed, and (for me)
 one number was a disaster.  But there were still some extraordinary moments.

"She Belongs to Me" was lovely, but it took until "Mobile" for Dylan's attention to 
come fully into focus.  Instead of reciting the lyric like a comic strip from forty years 
ago, he started to tug and accentuate the words, bringing them (and himself) to 
the present tense.   Keeping that mood, "Masters of War" and "Ballad of a Thin 
Man" grew to be the highlights of the evening.  Dylan inhabited the first song 
completely, and swung it to indict Iraq and the Gaza Strip just as coldly as he'd 
once eyed Cuba: a wonderful example of Ezra Pound's dictum, that "poetry is 
news that stays news."   With "Thin Man,"   Denny Freeman pulled out a great 
vinegary solo, and Dylan got noticeably looser verse by verse.  He waltzed through 
"Just like a Woman," complete with audience chorus, then performed  "Every Grain 
of Sand"  less a song by now than a psalm.  There's simply no one else who can 
bring this vision and sly passion to a public stage.

But "Positively 4th Street" was dreadful.   Dylan sounded as if he was trying to 
reinvent it by giving the song a heart-broken tone and a new emphasis, but singing 
against and behind the rhythm proved too much for him, and the song turned into 
a slow motion accident: it was like watching a drunk collide with his own reflection 
and being none too sure what to do next.  Given this, and the tight-but-routine 
feel of the last three numbers, I left with mixed feelings.  The best songs were 
magnificent - you should have been there.  The worst - well, you could always 
have walked past Dylan's black limo parked outside and gone down to the sea-front 
in the mild dusk where a teenage band was playing to anyone who wanted to listen 
by the light of the brand new moon.  It might have been more entertaining.

Too little's been said about Dylan's musicians.  It's worth stating that George Recile 
and Tony Garnier are one of the best rhythm sections you'll ever see at work.  
There were a great many moments last night when the show stood or fell or their 
skill, and they came through every time: I've no idea what George is paid as drummer, 
but it's nowhere near enough.   Stage left, Stu Kemball and Donnie Herron added 
essential body and colour.  You'd notice the hole in the sound at once if they 
weren't there.  And Denny Freeman has the hardest supporting role of the lot, 
trying to find something new to play in these songs with the ghosts of Robertson 
and Bloomfield leering over his shoulder.   Sometimes this doesn't work (you try it); 
but when it does, as in "Thin Man," he's damn near definitive.

Which leaves Dylan himself.  Coincidentally, this gig took place on the 80th birthday 
of another matchless American writer and performer, Mel Brooks, and Dylan often 
reminds me of Brooks's greatest creation, the 2000 Year-Old Man.  He's been 
everywhere, met everyone, and views everything from an extraordinary angle, a 
wise and funny individual who's also a constant stranger to his times.  In one routine, 
Brooks gets asked about "people of your age."   He interrupts: "There are no people 
of my age.  There's only me!"  The same goes for Dylan.  No matter how flawed his 
voice, he's unique.  That's the reason why the prospect of "Modern Times" is so 
exciting, and why no one seemed to be asking for a refund after this patchy concert 
last night: there's only him. 

Martin Maw


Review by Philip Bradley

Bob was in the mix tonight, really in the mix. This was a much better show
than Cardiff despite the fact that there were only four songs different
from the night before which according to my understanding of Bob's song
rotation is a low figure. However after looking at the set lists so far on
this European Summer 2006 tour it does appear that Bob is keeping a more
or less structured set and only changing a few rather than most of the
numbers from night to night. It might have something to do with the fact
that he is playing the keyboards now and needs more regularity in terms of
the material he chooses in order to play along and in the midst of it
break into something new depending on how the rendition might be
progressing. There is also the fact that the songs can change so much in
terms of performance from night to night, and in this respect I was
actually pleased to get the chance to hear a lot of the songs again
because they sounded in the main much clearer and sharper than they had
the night before in Cardiff. It was only by listening, for example, to his
new versions of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee and Maggie's Farm for a second
time that I was able to truly appreciate them rather than dismiss them and
thus close my ears to what is actually going on and what is actually going
on is a constant evolution. Bob often takes the form of conductor these
days and the band perform according to his direction. The sound he gets
from keyboard is a kind of organ wheeze that reminds me fairgrounds and
that was somehow distinctly appropriate when heard in a seaside town such
as Bournemouth, a comfotable resort on the south coast of England. 

There was also the fact that is not to be underestimated that the crowd in
Bournemouth was a hell of a lot more civilised that the one in Cardiff
where a good proportion of the audience simply saw the fact that Bob was
in town as a perfect excuse to go and get absolutely hammered. Bleak. The
vibe in Bournemouth was a much better one, not so desperate, and as a
consequence I was more than happy to stand there for nearly four hours
without ever having much thought of shifting from my spot which I guess
was around 8 or 10 rows from the front. Apart from getting as close as
possible to Bob I really cannot see the point of queuing for hours and
hours in order to be right at the front. You might get up and close and
personal to the great man although in truth that is impossible but you
miss out on the quality of the sound as you are then in front of the
speaker stacks that are suspended from the ceiling and those faithful
speaker stacks can make all the difference . 

The night before in Cardiff I had actually done something at a Bob show
that I had never done before and that was abandon my position just before
Summer Days, the final song of the main set, and go off and get a pint of
lager. Believe me I would have only done that if I really felt like I had
needed one. Consequently by the time I got back in the hall with my cold
plastic glass of Carlsberg Bob and the boys were coming to the end of Like
a Rolling Stone the first number of their two song encore. From a distance
right at the back of the arena Bob and the boys in Cardiff had appeared to
me to be distinctly unimpressive by the end of the night, but in
Bournemouth it was a different kettle of fish altogether and my faith was
well and truly restored. Bob's singing was clear and at times truly
excellent and his movements were sharp. As I explained before, the
complexity of the music also demanded more than one listen and that was
why I was glad to get a second opportunity to hear again 11 out of the 15
songs that comprised his set, including the standard encore songs Like a
Rolling Stone and All Along the Watchtower which in Bournemouth sounded
totally transformed from the night before, courtesy of the ultimate shape

Philip Bradley


Review by Kevin Lees

There is no doubt that Dylan's more recent style of delivery would attract
few fans without knowledge of the original songs. The Times describes his
Cardiff efforts as sounding "like Crazy Frog's grandfather". That's
probably a bit unfair. I believe the style grows on you and is well
complemented by his excellent band and the splendid arrangements. My
appreciation of Dylan's music is more recent than most and my wife, who
came with me to this concert, has no real interest in his music but she
was impressed by the performance as a whole and in particular by the band,
who were exceptional and seemed to enjoy every minute. Dylan's image is as
magnetic as his songs so the potential for disappointment is high. Having
read numerous contradictory reviews, I went without high expectations. If
you're expecting rain, you may just get some rays of sunshine and that's
what last night's concert provided in excess. From Maggie's Farm to
Watchtower, it was a thoroughly professional and enjoyable performance by
everyone on stage. I would gladly buy the CD or DVD but sadly, apart from
bootlegs, there is no official record of these live performances of
classic material. Sony/Columbia should record and release these concerts
so that a wider audience can appreciate the new arrangements. Dylan is an
original and a survivor who continues to deliver after more than 40 years.
I am pleased to say I have now seen him live. He's someone you need to see
before one of you disappears.


Comments by David Wood Paterson

Travelled down from Glasgow to see the gig , plenty other Scots there 
as always. Even saw a lady wearing a brand new Leopard Pill Box Hat! 
Very nice venue . The Dylan Tour Buses and Trucks arrived on site in 
the early hours of Wednesday morning. Good atmosphere in
town with local music festival going on and of course nice sunny
weather ideal for a Bob Dylan Show on the beach. To the actual gig
itself , would say it did not come alive until Masters of War which was
performed as good as I've ever heard .The highlight of the night was
Watching The River Flow , an amazing rocker which had the band going 
at full tilt . This was closely followed by Cold Irons Bound which was
outstanding. Ballad of a Thin Man also deserves a mention and of course
the sublime Just Like a Woman , pity the crowd did not join in a la
Barrowland 2004. How long the NET goes on is anybody's guess 
however I for one will be there all the way. Bob come back to the UK

David Wood Paterson


Click Here
to return to the
Main Page

page by Bill Pagel

Tour Guide
Tour Guides
Bob Links
Set Lists
by Date
Set Lists
by Location