Sydney, Australia

Sydney Entertainment Centre

August 16, 2007

[Lindsay Ditcham], [Nick Miller], [Eamonn Young], [James De Siun], [David Drury]

Review by Lindsay Ditcham

The problems I had about Wednesday night's show regarding some early poor
vocal audio can't be pointed at Thursday's show. It was great audio on all
that Bob sang and I enjoyed it more for that reason. Surrounded by quieter
members of the crowd tonight and sitting on the left side of the stage. A
better perspective on the stage but the atmosphere directly in front, but
the same distance back as tonight, gives a different atmosphere.

As with last night the show opened with 3-4 songs with Bob on guitar and
after that on keyboard for the remainder. He's then facing the left hand
side of the crowd, where I am sitting, but I feel for those on the
opposite side who are looking at his back. A few calls to "turn around
Bob" are ignored. Hey, you can't please all of the people all of the time.
I was sitting close enough to see some facial expressions from Bob and the
band and their interaction through the show. That was a plus.  Bob's
gyrations at the keyboard are good to see and he sometimes looks like he's
about to mount that thing. He's clearly enjoying performing and that means
he's not going to stop anytime soon.

Some great opening songs, Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, Don't Think Twice and
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. All oldies and tremendous to hear the different
mix from last night. There were probably 5 on Thursday's show that he'd
played the night before, but that's fine. Again he asks  "Am I too old or
over the hill........." He likes the response I'm sure he gets every time
he sings that just as much as the audience likes answering him.

He finished with Watchtower again. One of the greatest songs in the known
universe, but a finale with a different favourite would have been welcome,
at least for those who went to both shows!! Hey but you can't please all
the people all........ok.

This has been a temendous two nights. going to both shows was more than
worth it. I'll do it again if he plays two in a row in Sydney next time,
whenever that might be. Soon I hope.

Bloody fantastic.
Lindsay Ditcham


Review by Nick Miller

Second night in Sydney and another full house full of expectation - we
weren't disappointed. A totally different feel to the first night - volume
down and acoustic content up.

Bob stared with a rollicking Leopard Skin followed by a personal favourite
in Don't Think Twice - executed superbly. We are off to a great start and
things only get better with the highlight being a superb rendition of
Visions of Johanna. We also get a great Stuck inside of Mobile and a
mostly different set of Modern Times songs.  During Spirit on the Water my
8 year old daughter whispers "he's got the words wrong" - if only she knew
how much time I'd spent discussing such things over the years!  

The first half or so of the concert is totally different songs to the
first night and the second half retuns to familiar territory. Throughout
Bob is in great voice, again having fun. Sitting on the flat we see the
Oscar, smell the insence and share the joy of Bob's presence with those
around us.

After the lights come up we  stay awhile to watch the roadies start to
pack up then from the carpark see the enormity of the job with many people
and trucks moving the show to Melbourne. It's a huge effort from Bob and
his Band - but much appreciated and so just a big thank you to all
involved. Don't miss these Australian shows - in two nights in Sydney we
have heard much of Modern Times as well as great songs from the 60s - it
has been just fabulous.  


Comments by Eamonn Young

Bob Dylan brought to life the spirit of Johnson and all the others again
tonight. The man has went beneath the beginnings of American music and
become great. Elvis was king,. Bob Dylan is the great. Tonight he
transcended to the meaning of existence and touched the souls of the lucky
few who were there to absorb this wondrous event. It was a great concert.
What is also amazing is that the Oscar that the Sydney Jumpers gave to
Dylan at Cairns the day after he received the award in absentia is still
on stage.


Review by James De Siun

A great, great show.  We were lucky to be there.

He was dressed like a Mexican charro with metal ornaments attached all
over his black suit.  He wore a purple silk scarf pulled through a ring at
his throat.  His white, flat-brimmed hat had gold and black feathers on
the left side that looked like the logo of the Commonwealth Bank.  A
diamond-encrusted band was on his wedding ring finger. Who's he 
married to?

He played extended guitar solos on Don't Think Twice and Baby Tonight. His
piano playing on Levee's Gonna Break was very, very close to the released
version and recognisable from the first chords.  He was so careful in his
enunciation of the lyrics to Visions of Johanna that you had to believe
there was some special significance to its inclusion in the list.  It was
a solid gold knockout.

Tony had a lot of big smiles during the night, so it seemed the band
liked stretching out on the different material.  But it was short set of
only 16 numbers.  Dylan's voice was a growly, dark mixture of sand and
glue, but the words were clear if you knew them in advance.  Damned if I
could figure out what Baby Tonight was for the first 90 seconds.

Great respect must be given to the Daddy of all Aussie Dylan buffs, the
inimitable Darren Mitchelson.  He led the charge to the rail and once
again preserved the right to dance to Dylan's music.  He and Brad and
Mandy faced down security and refused to have their show interrupted by
demands to see their tickets.  But there were only around 15 or 20 others
who stood up for the show ; the security people were ghastly and
unrelenting.  This second concert was announced and released well after
the Wednesday show, and it seemed the place was full of those who came
along as an afterthought.  The lessened enthusiasm of the punters was
evident.  Most of them sat till the end.

There were all kinds of well-heeled people in the front rows who had not
seen a hot band in twenty or thirty years.  Can you believe real music
fans would call on the authorities to make happy people sit down ?
Television star Ray Martin never complained, but he never stood up either.

After the second encore, the lights stayed out and I thought that Sydney
might get the blessing of another encore, bringing the total to 17 songs
like the other shows.  But no.  Dylan grasped the mike stand, the band
lined up stone-faced, and Dylan made a gun of his forefinger and thumb,
saluting the front row with nods from that mask-like face.  

"Thanks a lot, you fat twat !" shouted some British-accented miscreant to
the big man who had stood front-and-centre on the rail all night. (He'd
spent the previous night in the fifth row with a bad view.  So tonight was
his night.)  A bystander interjected "He's supposed to stand up.  This
music became rock 'n' roll more than forty-one years ago, didn't you hear
?". "Fook off. Fook off. It's a seated venue", responded the mannerless
sassenach.  Why do such utter shitheads even come to these shows ?  Oh,
and the dick who kept yelling for Dylan to stop playing keyboards was
never going to convince anyone either.

Like most people, my posse all miss Larry and Charlie and Bucky, but
this is a genuinely fantastic band.  George Recile was a wonderful,
inspiring drummer and gave some real bottom to the dance music.  Dylan has
really got the right idea ; as you get older, hire a better and better
band.  Of course, eventually he'll have to start getting horses of a
different colour.  I'm looking forward to the return of Sly & Robbie.  

Five tours to Australia since 1992.  We've seen him tour behind three new
albums.  I am replete, but oh, I miss you Nettie Moore.

James De Siun


Review by David Drury

I went to both nights too and agree with all that
Lindsay and Nick have to say. Thursday was my best
Dylan concert ever and I’ve been going since he first
came to Sydney in 1966. The new material was great but
the highlight for me was the continuing evolution of
the ‘standards’ (?) – and I know there’s nothing
standard about Bob Dylan! Last night’s brilliant ’The
Time’s They Are A-Changing’ was matched tonight by a
superb ‘Visions of Johanna’ and a re-invented ‘Stuck
Inside of Mobile with The Memphis Blues Again’ as the
jewels of the reinvigorated back catalogue. It is a
tribute to the strength of these songs that they have
such vitality and freshness with each new incarnation.
And what a lovely, respectful touch on the thirtieth
anniversary of the death of Elvis to hear the riff
from ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ driving ‘Thunder on the
Mountain’. Far from being ‘over the hill’, I have
faith that the man has yet to reach his prime. I’m
looking forward to another ‘whoppin’ good time’ when
he visits again some time in the future. 

David Drury


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