Paris, France

Palais de Sports

October 19, 2015

[Laurette Maillet], [Nancy Cobb]

Review by Laurette Maillet

I am still staying with Maxime and his mother. We have a nice talk about
life and death, the economy, the politics, the corruption and greed.... I
take the metro all by myself at 5:45 pm. I reach Le Palais des Sports at 7
pm. Same crowd as yesterday. A great amount of middle age people. Some
youngsters. Not the Hippy kind. The Hippies are dead. They were probably
dead before being born. The summer of love 67 all gone. The funeral notice
said. "HIPPIE in the Haight Ashbury District of this city, hippie, devoted
son of Mass Media. Friends are invited to attend services beginning at
sunrise, October 6 1967 at Buena Vista Park."

Only the Gratefull Dead revived the deads for few weeks every year. But
the Dead are now...dead. Only Franky (from Prague) is basking with 'Mr
Tambourine Man'...for few bucks! The scalpers are also trying to make some
bucks. The times are hard for some folks. I have to beat them for my free
ticket. I move away from those doors.

A young man offers me a ticket. The value is 15 euro.
I am surprised that he doesn't try to sell it. Some people are not greedy.
Thanks God! It is 29th row back from the stage but anyway the sound is
good. I take my seat quietly. Again, people are late being seated. At 8
o'clock, Stu strumms on his guitar. Bob strolls to the mike, wearing the
suit he had in Sarrbrucken, all flashing. Alright! The setlist will be the
same, no doubt.

7 Sinatra covers :
-What'll I do
-Melancholy mood
-I'm a fool to want you
-The night we called it a day
-Why try to change me now
-All or nothing at all
-Automn leaves

Never did Bob promoted so much an album since....'Slow train coming' and
the Gospel time 79/80.

It is a strange choice.
Franck Sinatra is part of the American culture, not so well known in
Europe. A crooner with a bad reputation ; he had been linked to the Mafia.
His only 'atout' was his voice. He never wrote a song ( for what I know).
The exact opposite with Bob Dylan. He is well known for his writings and
poetry. The fans accepted his voice. He was never the Great Caruso. With
the exception of the 3 Country and Western Albums, where he proved he
could ... sing. What a chalenge! He knew he would be criticized and he is.
He is not actually indifferent to the critics. In Manchester 65 one fan in
the audience called him a 'Judas'. Bob was deeply hurt as he could
remember the incident and even mentioned it in his autobiography book :
 "Chronicle 1".

Criticized in 65 when he turned electric
in 67 The Country and Western time
in 79/81 The Gospel time
playing charity shows and playing with other Artists to revive his image
in the 80' Not so good in movies, not so good in Plastic Art But trying
everythings and renewing himself again and again. As Pablo Picasso, Bob
Dylan is a multi-faces Artist. One of a kind. A cameleon Ghost. Changing
with the seasons (or before the seasons). Never where we expect him to be.
A rebel. A free spirit.

5 songs from 'Tempest' :
-"Duquesne whistle"
-"Pay in blood"
-"Early Roman kings"
-"Scarlet town"
-"Long and wasted years"

The album was released in 2012. A dark and gloomy album, envelopped by
violence. All the songs having a touch of death and violent mood. Even
"Duquesne whistle" when the video clip added a violent interpretation.
-"Early Roman kings". Refering to the kings? Or to the businessmen of that
greedy world? There was no Detroit in the Roman Empire. 'Power, greed,
corruptible seeds...' he said in Blind Willy Mc Tell. -"Scarlet town".
Where he was born. It could be Duluth or Hibbing. -"Long and wasted years"
. A broken heart, maybe a broken life!

From the good old days
-"Blowing in the wind". The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan 62.
The hymn of the Pacifists, anti-war, anti-vietnam. Though nowhere in the
song Bob uses the word Vietnam. His force, the sign of a Genius. It makes
the song universal and timeless. "Blowin' in the wind" is linked to Bob
Dylan as 'Guernica' is linked to Pablo Picasso. -"She belongs to me".
Bringing it all back home 65. The electric album. A love song, obviously
for Suzy Rotolo, his friend, lover, muse from 61 to 65. The woman who
inspired him the most to write protest songs and poetry. Suzy was from an
Italian communist family,  herself leftist and Artist. She introduced Bob
to the European litterature and Art. The Dada and surrealists having been
a strong influence revealed in "Subterranean Homesick blues". The first
Punk/rap song ever. -"Tangled up in blue". Blood on the tracks 75. A
master piece for the Fans though Bob never understood how we can love an
album so full of pain. "The most beautiful poems are coming from the
deepest pain " said Arthur Rimbaud. Here we are! Bob seperated from his
first wife, Sarah, after he had taken painting lessons with Norman Raeben
in New York.Raeben was a philosopher  as much as a painter and taught how
to look at the world with Artist eyes. Bob and Sarah could never
understand each other again and Bob moved to his farm in Minessota,
writing the songs for the album, with a broken Heart and angry Soul.
-"Hight water" (for Charlie Patton). Love and theft 2001. Charlie Patton
did "high water everywhere". Notice that the Album is called "Love and
theft". -"Spirit on the water". Modern time 2006. Sweet and swinging,
jazzy on the piano. -" Love sick" . Time out of mind 1997. The most broken
hearted love song, according to the Master himself. when Love is one way
street it is dramatically painful. Everyone will experience this feeling
in a life time and will associate wirh that song and scream with Bob :
'I'm sick of Love, I wish I'd never met you. I'm sick of Love, I'm trying
to forget you. Just don't know what to do I'd give anything to Just be
with you'.

At the intermission Bob said "merci beaucoup".
Merci beaucoup a toi mon Ami.
Thanks to you, my Friend.


Comments by Nancy Cobb

Reading the Paris Dylan show review reminded me of when I saw Bob in Paris
at the Palais Omnisports in 2007.   I was on a tour and just happened to
see the concert advertised in the weekly English magazine for tourists.  I
had seen a concert in Berlin in 2003 while on another tour after spotting
a flyer stapled on a telephone pole from the tour bus window; now this
would be the 2nd time I would see Bob Dylan live outside the US.  At both
shows I found the audience to be much more  polite and Dylan happier to be
performing than I was used to.  In Paris it was slow entering the arena
and a little scary because the band started on the dot and the lights went
totally black while I had to navigate steep stairs and climb over people
to take my seat.  But the first song (Cat’s in the Well) I never heard
of and the next 2 ( Ain’t Me Babe and Tom Thumb’s Blues) were not
among my favorites anyway.  There were a lot of young people at both
concerts (college age in Berlin and younger in Paris) and some didn’t
know what song he was singing but no one yelled out requests or screamed
(or booed) like they sometimes did in the states.  The similarities
between the Paris shows of 2007 and 2015 are amazing to me.   First, it is
the same band except now Charlie Sexton is lead guitar, second, he was
featuring his latest album- Modern Times then and Shadows in the Night
now.  Every time I see Bob sing and play, I have a twinge of fear that
possibly this would be the last time, and each time I do get to go I feel
the show is better that the last....(last time I have seen him is this May
in New Orleans).     The highlight for me in 2007 was Nettie Mae, where
you could hear a pin drop in the 6000 seat arena, and in New Orleans it
was Autumn Leaves.   Three songs ( Things have Changed, Spirit on the
Water and Love Sick) were on the setlist both times.  In 2003, people were
saying Bob might be over the hill – and he actually sang “I swear I
die before I turn senile” and here in 2015 he is in the autumn of his
years and singing the words of the great love ballads going back to the
thirties before he was born (and doing even more songs 20 vs.17).  I so
hope he will bring back home his beautiful voice and the timeless music he
is now performing.

Nancy Cobb   


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