Rome, Italy

Terme di Caracalla

June 29, 2015

[Giuseppe Curzi], [James Lattimer], [Gerry and Yvonne McCool ]

Review by Giuseppe Curzi

All day I was humming to myself , "tre streets pf Rome are filled with
rubble .....etc. etc.  and they are both material and human.  It's been
the same set list for the last 2 years, so I won't bore you with the
details .  Being of a certain age, I prefer the oldies greatest hits,
but hey, I am becoming a believer.  I do not know any of the words to
the new songs , but they seem to be about relationships and as is his
style, we don't know if he is singing to himself or to is? As the lady
behind me had been repeating all night in Italian, "ms a 74 anni " and as
the young guy beside me said, "I can't believe it is really him!"       

The thing is is that he is still at 74, a genuine hipster, he is now on a 
slower speed and mellowed.  The band is great and the sound was  
"country music style".  The night was perfect for an outdoor show 
and the sound was pretty clear.  What stood out though was
the" coolness" of Mr. Dylan.  In this ancient setting, he looked like 
he did in the Arena di Verona 29 years ago.  What a spectacle.  He is
"the Poet Laureate " of many generations".  What a troubadour!!         
Displayed beside his Oscar was a white marble bust of an ancient Roman
lady , not unlike the many that you see in the museums in Rome, Some
of us of a certain age wonder what we are doing still attending these
shows and what I can say is "what an honor it is to have him amongst us "
Today I saw 2 great men: Pope Francesco at the Vatican who blessed us
from his window and Bob Dylan who graced us with his presence.

Giuseppe Curzi
Montreal , Quebec, the land of "The Poutine"


Review by James Lattimer

My wife and I spent a very pleasant evening with Bob in Rome on Monday. Best
moment was surely Full Moon and Empty Arms, delivered hand on hip like an 
awkward crooner to a splendid full moon perched above the Caracalla ruins.  
Highlights included Simple Twist of Fate, Full Moon and Empty Arms, She Belongs 
to Me, Early Roman Kings, and Waiting for You (the latter song was much nicer 
than the version on the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood soundtrack). 
Lowlight was Pay in Blood. The band is more subdued than ever: sound mix for 
the guitars kept very low, George relying on brushes for most songs, and the 
tempo kept consistently slow. Dylan has thankfully replaced the Hammond organ 
with a baby grand piano. His playing is much more audible on the piano and he 
plays well on most songs, notwithstanding the occasional meander among 
discordant notes. Over the last 14 years (since Love and Theft) Dylan has drifted
into the musical terrain occupied by the likes of Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, 
and he is firmly planted there now, hand on hip.  All songs (even Blowing in the 
Wind!?) have been rearranged to blend into the jazz-inspired sound. The only 
two songs that strayed noticeably were Early Roman Kings wherein Charlie was 
unleashed to deliver some great blues riffs, and Love Sick, whose arrangement 
was quasi-rock and roll. 

My first listening of Shadows in the Night left me thinking it was surely the most 
somnorific product to be released since valium, but I have since come to
appreciate it. His singing voice on that album is certainly the best it has been in 
many, many years (since Time out of Mind?) and the crowd warmed to both 
Autumn Leaves and Full Moon and Empty Arms. The gig might have disappointed 
on so many levels (only 5 songs from his pre-Love and Theft canon; very slow 
jazzy tempo all evening; croaky voice; etc.) yet somehow it did not disappoint. 
The crowd was very appreciative, especially of the new material, and were on 
their feet crying 'bravo' and 'ancora' as the evening drew to a close. I wouldn't 
go so far as to say Bob had the Romans eating out of his hand, but the
ambience was highly supportive, bordering on reverential.


Review by Gerry and Yvonne McCool

Wow - what a scene!  The Baths of Caracalla almost 2000 years old, the
backdrop to a tiered auditorium almost amphitheatre like.  An expectant
audience just going to twilight on a beautiful warm Roman evening.  Out
comes Bob Dylan and his band - a treat - very relaxed Bob, clearly
enjoying himself. A standard 'Things have Changed', then a lovely soft
version of what is now a 50 year old song 'She Belongs to Me'.  Next comes
a nice bouncy version of 'Duquesne'.  A back of the neck hair standing
version of Forgetful Heart and then a tremendously intense 'Pay in Blood'.
A lovely version of 'Simple Twist of Fate', with some word changes, then a
much more upbeat 'Tangled up in Blue' than in recent occasions. Then a
twenty minute break, part of Bobs now established format. I actually think
this balances out the show much more, a more settled set list and slowing
the tempo overall all helps. I guess at 74 you have to act your age a wee
bit. Second half starts with standard versions of 'High Water', 'Spirit on
the Water', and then very popular with the locals, but not me, 'Early
Roman KIngs'. A haunting and deep felt rendition of 'Pay in Blood' and
then on towards the end with one of my personal favourites 'Long and
Wasted Years'.  Finished off with a little song that few in the audience
seemed to know but Yvonne beside me said 'thats an Eva Cassidy song,
'Autumn Leaves'.  Eva is very well known in Ireland of course!  Encores -
I was hoping for a blast of 'Rolling Stone' or 'Watchtower' - but not to
be, a whole band version of 'Blowin in the Wind' and then a fantastic
stomping version of 'Love Sick'.  Great concert! How does he keep doing
it?  Why does he keep doing it?  He seems totally compelled.  As usual I
continue to be amazed at the number of kids there the young Roman girl
beside me knew every word!  We arrived from Belfast just the night before
and on Monday were wandering through St Peters square when Pope Francis
appeared at the balcony, totally unexpected for us.  What a day, two of
the great men of our times, the Pope and yer man Dylan on the same day!

Gerry and Yvonne McCool 


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