Sydney, Australia

Sydney Opera House

September 7, 2014

[Nick Miller], [James Mackie]

Review by Nick Miller

The day starts with a possible sighting of Dylan in King St Newtown -
possibly him, possibly not.

The concert begins at the magnificent Sydney Opera House right on time -
with a highly exuberant crowd. It's the same set list as the other Sydney
shows but the sound is immaculate, in fact this is a near flawless
performance with an animated Dylan and band at their peak. The bass and
drums drive a constant rhythm with the guitars and piano/voice cascading
over the top. 

It's hard again not to pick Workingman's Blues #2, Early Roman Kings and
Scarlet Town as highlights - although all songs add to a great night of
healing music.

So just one night left in Australia.

Nick Miller
Sydney, Australia


Review by James Mackie

More excitement tonight - Bob in this iconic building surely this will be
very special we think. Tonight we are attending with some other friends
who were also there in the mud in 1978.  This would be their first concert
since that day.  As Jon commented d " I can't think  what I would have
said if you told  me on that day your next Bob concert will be 36 yrs
later".  Right on 8pm the gong sounds, the house lights go down and Stu
starts strumming. Away we go Things have changed.  Bob is energetic
tonight his punctuation the most pronounced of the 4 shows I have seen
this time round. He pulls the mic stand over toward quite a lot tonight,
like a real rock star (as if he isn't)! The crowd respond,  we are very
appreciative  there is lots of energy. There is no guitar of course
although there does appear to be a guitar on stage for him. He walked to
it once looking down at it I wondered if he was thinking of picking it up.
 The set list is unchanged. The delivery is perfect.   The highlights
Workingman's Blues #2,  Duquesne Whistle, Pay in Blood,  Forgetful Heart, 
Love Sick and once again the Long and Wasted years ends the regular set
and is superb.  Unfortunately the security team make people sit down after
they get to the rail. A real bummer. Bob deserved a packed standing crowd
to celebrate another great performance. Not as many harmonica solos
tonight and  the slow piano solo in Watchtower seems very short.  Are the
fingers sore or was this just the usual artistic license we expect. 

Unfortunately I am not going to the final opera house show so a final
summation of the 4 shows I have seen.  They are slick very slick and Bob
is very enthusiastic (or manages to appear so) but why the lack of set
list variation?  I know we all can have our opinions so I will put my
thesis - I am happy to hear yours.   The shows are focussing on newer
material , could Bob be out to prove these songs are just as good as
anything else he has written. The lack of set list variation has us
focussed on the songs and the performance rather than thinking about what
he might do next.  There is little difference in the quality of band
performance from one song to the next they are all outstanding again
directing you to the song and its qualities. The winner from all this is
Tempest. It has grown in stature ( a huge amount) in my mind with these
shows. It is a wonderful collection as good as anything he has done before
I now think.  Whatever you think you have to marvel at his creativity and
hope that it will continue for years to come. 

James Mackie


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