1s Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Reviews - 7/15/01


Kilkenny, Ireland
Smithwicks Source Festival
Nowlan Park
July 15, 2001

[Jimmy Fay], [Markus Prieur], [Niall Ahearne], [Sean O'Callaghan]

Review by Jimmy Fay

All day it spat rain and I was convinced the show was going to rival Hard
Rain or Woodstock Irish style but come six oclock the sun shone bright and
as someone near me said 'it's raining sunshine'. The crowd were mainly
young or those near the front were anyway, big stapping lads (Kilkenny is
famous for it's hurlers) and  high spirted ladies. But there was very good
representation from the middle aged hard core fans. Juliet Turner did a
fine set but talked for longer than she sang which was a bit of a drag.
The blind boys of Alabama stole the show up to this point with a fantastic
set of soul gospel and got this crowd going far past their years.
Extradionary stuff. Elvis Costello took the stage a while after and was
doing pretty good but my bladder wouldn't hold so I stood in a queue for a
portable loo for haft his set, in increasing desperation.

Nine a clock was coming and I squirmed and squashed myself back to a
fairly good vantage point. Nine on the dot and the main Cat made his
entrance. Boy he looked good better than I'd seen him in the last few
visits to this country. The crowd went mad for, but at the same time were
bewildered by, Oh Babe It ain't no lie. Then To Ramona got a certain
amount of familiarity sing along to it. Desolation Row had us squarley in
the palm of his hand. The sound was terrific and as I said Bob looked
amazingly  fit even for a man haft his age. Ron Wood came on after
Desolation Row and Bob started cracking up laughing - yes laughing- like
he didn't expect him. I've never seen the man in such good form and    now
he seemed to give the audience what they wanted a growled and terrifing
Maggies Farm an inverted and remade Heavy metal style Ballad of a Thin man
and a breakneck Tombstone Blues - by now he seemed a little pissed off
with Ronnie antics behind him and ignored him a bit on stage. Ron left a
banished man and Bob settled into a lovely haunted acoustic set  It Ain't
me babe followed by Visions of Johanna wow and even better Don't think
twice It's all right. Now before everybody got comfertable with the soul
ballad minstral he kicked the band into a wild Stuck Inside of Mobile with
the memphis blues again. One of my all time favourites. The Kilkenny cats
joined in as best they could with the chorus of Just like a woman but Bob
kept confounding them by singing it later. However he didn't seem to be
annoyed that anybody would dare sing along with one of his best know

The Wicked Messenger saw some great harmonica in fact I don't remember him
blowing so hard for so long before. Leopard Skin Pill box hat finished off
this set to heartfelt screams and applause.

Moments later he was back and the first cords of 'How does it feeeel..'
got the standard wild reception. All along the watchtower followed and I
realised the Man ain't done nothing post '69 and I longed for something
new 'Highlands' or even a surpise like Most of the Time but no we got a
falsetto Knocking on Heavens door and a heavy Highway 61 Revisited and as
someone said behind me we can't ask for more, total respect. And indeed we
didn't get it. Bob had played as hard as the best of them and now 11 o
clock the night dark blue we trailed slowly out of the field looking for
the pubs and chippers of Kilkenny town. In mightly awe of the youngest
looking sixty year old ever


Review by Markus Prieur

Well, where do I start? After seeing Uncle Bob ten times last September
(from Vicar Street to Portsmouth), this was the only Bob date for us this
year. It was the first time that Dylan performed in two consecutive years
on this Emerald Isle, where my wife and I chose to move to from Germany
almost two years ago. It was my 32nd Bob Dylan concert since 1981.

As everybody has read the setlist, I will not give song by song
descriptions, but will share some personal and general thoughts about this
big event, for this is what it was. It started as "Bob Dylan plus special
guests" and became a full blown one day festival, with local and Irish
bands starting to "entertain" the audience more than six hours before Bob
hit the stage at 9:05 pm, five minutes behind schedule. Everything else
was exactly on time. Elvis Costello performed for one hour from 7:30
-8:30, but it didn't do much for me, as I was standing for some hours
already five or six meters away from the stage (center center), and as
more and more drunk people tried to get up front (that is what you get for
going to a festival sponsored by a brewery).

Much more enjoyable was the supporting act preceding Costello. They had
only half an hour, as the four acts before them, but these "Blind Boys of
Alabama" should have had Costello's time as well. They were GREAT!!!
Supported by a band, they were some old (two actually blind) men perfoming
the most remarkable black gospel I have heard in a long time. Well worth
mentioning. They "delivered" four songs, first an Irish one, "Danny Boy",
then "If I Had A Hammer". Then one of the blind boys asked the audience to
"listen" to the following song, and the band started into a long bluesy
intro, which was immediately recognized as the tune of "House Of The
Rising Sun", but when they started to sing, it was not "There is a house
...", but "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound ...". Truly amazing!!! To
top even this they did a blistering rendition of "Soldier In The Army Of
The Lord", which had everybody dancing.

Well, on to the main event. As this clearly was a festival, I did expect a
greatest hits show as one way to go for Bob. But the setlists from
previous shows (especially Stirling) had me hoping for some rare gems or
some extraordinary choices. It was not to be. In fact, this was the first
show in 2001 which did not feature one of the 25 songs performed
occasionally, my website "NOT DARK YET" is focusing on. But this I noticed
an hour after the show, back in the car, tired and exhausted, with 120
miles to go home. However I had witnessed my first "un-tangled" Bob gig in
more than five years, my first "Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie" (the one of the
current openers I wanted to hear), my second "Visions" and my fourth
"Desolation Row".

Bob performed the second "Thin Man" of this year, and also the second show
this year without "Blowing In The Wind", Nashville being the first. Unlike
that festival, Kilkenny was a strictly greatest hits show, but a good one
it was. Bob was on, and he looked great (including mustache). The acoustic
songs were all delivered brilliantly, soft and tender versions of "Ramona"
and "Visions", great harp on "Babe" and "Twice", and the new fine version
of "Knocking" featuring the newest (!) Dylan lyrics of the concert. (Then
again, the only Dylan song since 1974 performed acoustically these days is
"Ring Them Bells"). Besides "Knocking" and the opener, which was a cover
song, every song was from 62-67, and five of them featured Bob on harp.

The younger songs are performed generally within the electric sets of the
show. But not one of the numerous songs Bob has written in the last 33
years, appeared in Kilkenny. I am not saying, that Bob did not sing his
sixties hits well. Especially "Memphis Blues" was the best version I have
seen so far. But Uncle Bob had to face two "obstacles", both inflicted
upon the show by himself. The minor one was the festival crowd, which,
presented with greatest hits, tried (!) to sing along, in a way they know
the songs, which is, as we know, not the way Bob sings them. This had an
interesting (not necessarily nice) affect on the audience member, who came
to hear Bob performing his songs. This "obstacle" affected both acoustic
and electric songs.

The other (major) "obstacle" affected only the electric songs, except the
last one, "H61". It was Bob's decision to allow Ron Wood to join his band
on stage for eight (!) of the electric songs. which were all strictly
sixties hits. I have read recently, that sometimes guest appearances in
Bob shows have resulted in Bob rising artistically above himself, prompted
by the artistic input of the certain guest. Well, last night, the lack
thereof luckily prevented the opposite. There was nothing added
artistically by this special guest, who was constantly "prancing on the
stage", making funny faces, trying desperately to draw the attention of
band members and audience onto himself. This would have been almost
enjoyable, had I not come to listen to Bob Dylan. So I sometimes fixed my
binoculars on Bob, who on his part succeeded to stay focused on many
verses of those songs while facing the audience. On the other hand he was
jamming inbetween verses with Ron Wood face to face, with increasing fun,
like two buddies from a garage band. The audience loved it, like they
loved the greatest hits SHOW. It was Bob's choice to please the crowd last
night. (Maybe he wants to spend another vacation in Ron Wood's house after
this tour, but to let him turn a Bob Dylan concert into a Muppet Show is a
dear price for that ;-)

I could compare this setlist with Stirling (where he performed 4 songs
mentioned on my website) or with other 2001 shows, or I could compare this
show with any of the ten shows I have seen last year. But what's the use,
but undue criticism? There are far too many writers (big ones like ...,
and small ones like me) who constantly compare Bob's artistic output with
their great expectations or what they see as Bob's greatest
period/album/tour/songs/whatever. The only thing I may compare this
Kilkenny concert with would be no concert in Ireland this year. And I
would rather have a good greatest hits show with Ron Wood joining this
otherwise great band, than no Bob Dylan concert at all.

Markus Prieur

IN 2001, IN 2000 AND IN 1999


Review by Niall Ahearne

Having missed Bob,s Irish dates last year(2000) because of  an overdue
holiday abroad,I was eagerly anticipating  this unexpected  treat in
Kilkenny,and what an unforgettable weekend it turned out to be !

Did,nt start out too good though ! Not being able to take my usual
position in front of the stage because of my girlfriends inability to
stand for six or seven  hours(is this a common problem ?) I had to make do
with seating in the stand,and this seemed to be miles away from the main
action.Anyway, to cut to what I thought  would be the main event of the
weekend(I was wrong) Bob came on stage at nine o,clock,played for two
hours and put on a great show.

Without going into a detailed account of each song,which other reviewers
will do I,m sure,I,d just like to say that this was a great concert,even
better than the last one I,d seen in Belfast a few years back.Our main man
was in great form both vocally and physically,those little on-stage
movements seemed more magical that ever before.Having Ronnie Wood on stage
 for most of the gig did not seem to distract him at all,Bob seemed more
relaxed, and had plenty of time for chatting with Ronnie ! during the
lenghty arrangements.Stand out numbers were Stuck Inside of Mobile  With
The Memphis Blues Again,Visions of Johanna,Maggies Farm and  Highway
61.Four encores were played and everyone seemed happy with that.Throughout
the gig Bob, s vocals were amazing,the voice was strong and very
flexible,and his harp playing was uncanny,honest !The whole band were on
top form.Some people griped about not having the giant video screens
activated on either side of the stage,but if you want to see Bob on screen
watch Pat Garrettand Billy the Kid or Reynaldo and Clara..

Anyway,to get to the main point.On the very next day, back in Waterford,my
girlfriend Diana and I  were  just finishing lunch in a small restaurant
when I decided to nip in to the loo in the Granville Hotel next
door.Walking through the main hotel lobby I turned right  down a corridor
and suddenly it seemed as if time had stood still,I,m sure that people
know the feeling.Loo,sorry,lo and behold,who do you think  stood in front
of me having a conversation with another guy ? YES IT WAS BOB ! His whole
entourage were booked into the hotel.The accomodation arrangements had
been shrouded in secrecy.However it was later  reported in the Irish
national press on Monday that Bob could,nt sleep on the Saturday night and
had gone out for a walk around Waterford city at 2am.One of the hotel
waiters later confirmed this story to me,and also said that Bob otherwise
did not leave his room during his stay except for going to the gig of
course. ..

Anyway, to get back to my startling encounter with Mr.Dylan I went back
out and grabbed Diana,paid the bill(actually she did) and we both rushed
back to the Granville trying to look calm...no way.When we got to the
front door Bob was just leaving the hotel and getting into a waiting
vehicle with some of his group sitting in the back.Noted for not being shy
on such an ocassion,I shouted out,"hey Bob,great show last night" he
looked at us and rolled down the car window,although he did,nt shut the
door.We both stood there looking at him,not knowing what to do next.Maybe
because we did,nt look like two maniacs,Bob beckoned us over.I said that
we had both been at the show in Kilkenny,and that it was great.Bob smiled
and said "thank you very much" I then said that I thought that he was
actually better than ever,that he was truly amazing,and so on.I introduced
Diana and she said that all of the encores had been great,Bob said that it
was very nice to meet her.We had some more small talk of this sort,I mean
what can you say to this man ? He shook both our hands and said "Well,good
luck" We sort of stepped back and I held my hand up in a kind of farewell
salute,he smiled and put his hand up in response,we both stood there
transfixed,and I blurted out "God bless you"  I may be crazy,but we both
agreed that we thought that he enjoyed meeting and talking with us.Bob put
his seat belt on,closed the car door,and the driver did a u-turn,onto the
middle of the street,but as this happened,Bob looked over at us and gave
us a wave goodbye ! what a feeling ! I,ll never forget it.I am still on a
high.I thought that Bob looked good,if a little frail and weather
beaten,may he stay forever young,or at least in good nick for the
forseeable future.

Overall it was a great weekend,it was good to meet some of the old Dylan
diehards in Kilkenny like Jerry Maguire(THE REAL Jerry Maguire)Jim
Heylin,and James...but one veteran was missing...I dont know  whats been
happening with him...someone said that he was in Sterling and Liverpool,I
dont know, guess he,s been a rambling rover,maybe some rainy night he,ll
wander into Tom Maher,s pub in Waterford who knows ?Anyway it nice to be
able to share some thoughts with other Bob fans.I,m looking forward to the
next time that Bob,s tent show comes to town.I,ll be there.

Niall Ahearne,Dublin,Ireland, 17th.July 2001.


Comments by Sean O'Callaghan

I'd just like to add a comment about the July 15th
show in Kilkenny, I would have to strongly disagree
with Markus Prieur's comments. I was less than ten
feet from the stage and It was plainly obvious to me
and most people around me that Bob was having a great
time. He had a sly smile on his face all night and
Larry was getting on very well with Ron Wood as was
Bob. I couldn't see any sign of annoyance whatsoever.
I think the reason why he stuck to mid 60s stuff might
have been to do with Ron's prescence (he is a blues
guitarist after all).

There were some magic moments that night; Tombstone 
Blues was fantastic, as was Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat, 
and Charlie's guitar work on Highway 61 was certainly 
a highlight (truly a tele-master), over all the show 
was fantastic, short of jumping through rings of fire 
Bob put on a show unlikely to be forgotten for a long 
time in this country.

So far it's been the highpoint of my life.


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