Lyon, France

June 29, 2023

[Laurette Maillet], [Joachim Meckel], [Christof Graf]

Review by Laurette Maillet

From Aix-en-Provence to Lyon.
The Flixbus left on time and arrived on time. A nice trip with 
a break near Montélimar where I had a treat of nougat.
I walk 40 minutes along the Saône to my youth hostel. I have 
bunk in a 18 bunks mixed door.
But to my surprise it's quiet.
June 30th.
I walk a long walk to the botanical garden and back to my room 
for a change of clothes and charging my phone. Then walk again 
the long tunnel under the city to the venue.
I meet with Ben and Guillaume just on time to see the Band 
arriving for soundcheck.
We three chat a while around drinks and it's time to look for 
a ticket. Finally I get one from Ben and we walk inside. The 
venue is an amphitheater.
Smaller than Aix-en-Provence but not totally full.
Many seats are empty and I grab one, fifth row totally on the 
left. I see Bob clearly on the piano.
They start a little late and people are taking their seats on 
"watching the river flow". 
After "I've made up my mind to give myself to you" Bob Britt, 
Tony and Donnie come close to Bob for the 14th song. 
" West L.A. fadeaway ". When I stand up and dance and truly 
enjoy myself at that specific moment 🤣
The show is good with an excellent sound and Bob's voice is 
clear. No harp on "Masterpiece" or "Every grain of sand".
No "ce soir" and no "merci" from Bob.
Maybe a couple of " thank you". A remark on 'how difficult 
those songs are' after "Serve somebody".
I'm surprised about the audience being so quiet when about 20 
Bobcats are in the public tonight.
It feels more than a church where folks focus and concentrate 
on the sermon of the priest individually.
Each Fan has a different reason to be here tonight.
It's my 15 shows and a half (Granada only sound) on that Tour 
and my 4th tour with more or less the same setlist. So my 
feelings are ... Unique🤣
Bob's energy is a lot better after the Greatful Dead song. 
Even "Every grain of sand" will be my highlight.
A rapid salute where he asked Tony to join him.
My best encounter was after the show when I had a long 
conversation with three beautiful people : A couple from 
Brésil (the man being originally French) and their friend from 
Auvergne Thierry. They will give me a lift to my hostel as it 
starts raining. Thank you😘
Life is full of surprise. Definitively not my best show. And it 
is my opinion 🤣
Thanks to Ben, Thierry and friends, and the folks who tried to 
help me for a Tix.
I hope Bobby and the Band will enjoy Lyon.
See you tomorrow.


Review by Joachim Meckel

It was once again a great experience. I found it very intense 
to simultaneously follow the six great musicians and absorb the 
long lyrics of the seventeen songs, which were perfectly 
understandable. Amazing with what intensity Dylan and band play. 
He played constantly alternating between sitting and standing at 
the small grand piano. There were beautiful recitative passages 
with bowed or plucked double bass and then again incredible 
moments where he hammered heavily into the keys and drove the 
two guitarists to ever new heights. "West L.A. Fadeaway" was a 
nice surprise and an absolute highlight.

It's more like a jazz concert. The musicians are very 
concentrated and don't pose one bit. After the band introduction 
he asked, "These songs aren't easy to play, what do you think?" 
The audience answered in the affirmative with increased applause. 
There never seems to be a routine. At my last concert in Krefeld, 
he did a lot of free improvising on the piano and contrasted the 
band's playing with wild accents. This time he didn't play so 
rhythmically, but accompanied the songs mostly melodically. It 
was lovely to see Tony Garnier take a thieving delight in 
Dylan's surprising playing on several occasions. It was a 
wonderful evening in a very pleasant concert hall and I hope to 
see the band again in Germany soon.

Joachim Meckel
from Frankfurt)


Review by Christof Graf

Review by Christof Graf

The Charm Of The Void – Bob Dylan live at the Amphitheatre of 
Lyon (France). Regardless of whether you see the current 
concert tour as a "never ending" Rough & Rowdy Ways tour or 
as a "Rough & Rowdy Ways Never Ending Tour", for me it is just 
another chapter in the long history of an incomparable tour 
format of an incomparable popular music artist with an 
unmistakable unique selling point. In the last three decades, 
this "lifetime tour" has only been interrupted by the pandemic. 
Just as the pandemic slowed down the world and imposed 
restrictions on its inhabitants, such as mandatory masks and 
vaccinations, it also brought Bob Dylan’s concert tour, once 
titled "never ending tour", to a standstill. The Japan and US 
tour planned for 2020 has been cancelled. Bob Dylan didn’t go 
on tour again until the end of 2021 and didn’t owe anything. 
He then labeled the revival of his concert activities as a 
so-called "Rough & Rowdy World Tour 2021-2024". First he made 
up for the US concerts in 2021/ 2022 and toured Europe and 
again the USA in 2022. In the spring of 2023, he made up for 
the Japan tour. In the summer of 2023, he began a tour of 
southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy) 
on June 2 in Porto, Portugal. He omitted the north from his 
planning. Before becoming one of the headliners of the 57th 
Montreux Jazz Festival on 1 July, Dylan did two concerts on 29 
and 30 June 2023 in the 2000-year-old and third largest French 
city after Paris and Marseille. When I read after announcing 
the tour dates that Dylan was performing at "L’Amphitheatre", 
I was somehow looking forward to one of those Gallic-Roman 
amphitheatres high above the city of Lyon in Mount Fourvière, 
where the festival „Nuits de Fourviere“ also takes place. But 
that was a fallacy. The „L’Amphitheare Cité“ is a convention 
center on the outskirts of Lyon, modeled on the Centre 
Pompidou in Paris. It houses a 3000-seat concert hall modeled 
on an amphitheater. Dylan gave two concerts there. The second 
surprise: I have rarely experienced a concert hall that was 
only 60 percent full, in which a Bob Dylan performed. Maybe 
it was because of the 33 degrees Celsius outside temperature, 
so that the spontaneous ones stayed away. The third surprise: 
Dylan seems to continue to cultivate his love for "The Grateful 
Dead". After playing "West L.A. Fadeaway" live for the first 
time since 1999 in Aix-en-Provence the night before, he 
performed the song from the 1987 Dead album "In The Dark" 
again in Lyon.

After the admission was set for 7:00 p.m., shortly before the 
start of the concert at 8:00 p.m., all those who originally 
had tickets for the upper tiers stormed onto the empty seats 
and rows. After that, the location looked even emptier. But 
the emptiness had its charm and it was all the more clearly 
recognizable: "Things Have Changed" again, since the last 
tour in 2022, and yes, even the void has its charm.

The stage light was darker. Bob barely moved behind his "baby 
grand piano". He rarely got up, but never walked to the center 
of the stage. The exception was a farewell lasting about 20 
seconds after the 17th song "Every Grain of Sand". Bob didn’t 
say a single word to the audience. He only introduced the 
musicians of his band after "Key West". This adapted to the 
statics of Bob’s performance. The band placed herself around 
the "Bobness", the king in the middle. All wear black suits.

Dylan seemed to be in a good mood, but was more than usual 
taciturn. He concealed his visible fragility by sitting at the 
small piano.

To his left (from a stage point of view) Bob Britt on guitar, 
Donnie Herron (violin, electric mandolin, pedal steel, 
lap steel), Tony Garnier on bass and Jerry Pentecost on drums 
behind him and Doug Lancio on guitar to the right. Everyone 
focused on the master. He, in turn, concentrated on his 
performance of the nine out of ten songs of the "Rough & Rowdy 
Ways" album as if he were playing them only for himself. The 
subtle stage lighting gives the stage, on which at times only 
the shadows of the musicians can be seen, something dramatic. 
The dramatic begins with a "Watching The River Flow" that is 
almost unrecognizable as such. It’s only with "I Contain 
Multidues" and "False Prophet" that you can hear how much 
Mr. Dylan enjoys the fact that his audience is increasingly 
getting involved with his songs. Nothing distracts, thanks to 
"Yondr". Not a single smartphone flashes. The atmospheric 
density of the evening reaches its first climax in "Black 
Rider", whose lyrics Dylan recites in a well-accentuated 
manner and his words are amplified with an echo reverberation. 
Before that, "When I Paint My Masterpiece" features a small 
acoustic guitar solo as well as a violin insert. Bob plays a 
"harp" solo. Many of the RARW songs featured new arrangements. 
The musicians took a step back on all the songs. They watched 
their boss closely to see what they had to react to. Solos 
couldn’t be too long, the drums could never get too loud.

The second musical highlight for me was "Key West", 
storytelling at it’s best. This was followed by a short band 
introduction as well as an absolutely devastating "Gotta Serve 
Somebody", in which Bob stretched the ends of the lines so 
wonderfully. It almost seemed as if Dylan loved the charm of 
emptiness in the theatre a little and sank into the 
expressiveness of his words from song to song.

The darkness on stage and in the audience does not reveal any 
facial expressions. Very rarely flashing smartphone lights are 
immediately recognized as such by the security service and 
discreetly warned. From song to song, the applause increases. 
The audience stands up again and again to applaud. After 
"Every Grain Of Sand" and almost 100 minutes, it’s suddenly 
over. Bob steps up to the stage wall for the first time. A few 
seconds later, he leaves the stage in the even darker black of 
the stage background. The hall lights come on, the work is 
done, every hair is counted like every grain of sand. The last 
lines "I am hanging in the balance of a perfect finished plan/ 
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand" resonate.

The more and a German version of this review I note in my in my 
cohenpedia-blog and sort some pictures:


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