Bob Dylan Manchester Apollo 28th October 2015
Bobby; he keeps reinventing himself. These days he has become a crooner, the ultimate smokey lounge singer, paying tribute to all those great balladeers who went before. It sort of suits his croaky gravelly rasp. Like he has found his way back home. His latest album “Shadows in the night” covers songs made famous by Frank Sinatra. It has been a big success; reaching Number 1 in the UK album charts and achieving rave reviews. The Telegraph declared it Dylan’s “best singing in 25 years.” The crowd at Manchester Apollo knew the score. Two nights sold out in the blink of an eye. Everyone wants to go see Bobby sing those sad winding poetic tunes. From Rolling Stone: “He felt that a lot .. of it was written from the heart …He felt there was a lot of spirit in that music. …. ‘I’m not gonna write a song; I’m gonna pay homage to what shook me as young boy.'” So no “Like a Rolling Stone” or “All along the Watchtower” this time around, although we were treated to “Tangled up in blue”, “She belongs to me” and, for an encore “Blowing in the Wind”. The rest of the set was drawn from Dylan’s recent albums. But hey I’m not complaining. Bob Dylan is singing great; better than he has been for years. Sure; I never dreamed I would see Bob Dylan sing Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I do”, but it works, and seems so natural. Dylan’s voice fits these songs like an old glove. Of the more recent Dylan tunes, “Scarlet Town” is dark and powerful. Closing classic “Autumn Leaves” was truly emotional, and a great way to end an excellent and enjoyable concert. As we made our way out of the Apollo, I could hear everyone around me commenting how good it was. Very different to shows I attended 10 years ago, which left some people disappointed. Me; I went back to my little hotel room in Piccadilly and got some sleep; I had to get up at 5am to catch a train to London for a meeting. Till next time Bobby.
Set 1: Things Have Changed; She Belongs to Me; Beyond Here Lies Nothin’; What’ll I Do; Duquesne Whistle; Melancholy Mood; Pay in Blood; I’m a Fool to Want You; Tangled Up in Blue
Set 2: High Water (For Charley Patton); Why Try to Change Me Now; Early Roman Kings; The Night We Called It a Day; Spirit on the Water; Scarlet Town; All or Nothing at All; Long and Wasted Years; Autumn Leaves
Encore: Blowin’ in the Wind; Love Sick
Archive for the ‘Bob Dylan’ Category
Bob Dylan Manchester Apollo 28th October 2015
Bob Dylan 24th Nov 2013 Blackpool Opera House
This was my first visit to Blackpool, and it was for a pretty special occasion. Laura and I were going to see the one and only Bob Dylan in concert at the Blackpool Opera House. This was my 16th Bob Dylan concert experience, and Laura’s second. For the first time, I’d struck real lucky and managed to score front row seats. I bought the tickets the minute that they went on sale, and was amazed to find that we were sitting right down front :). We set off for Blackpool around 3pm and arrived just before 6pm, after a nice drive over the A66 and down the M6. I could see the Blackpool tower lit up from miles away as we drove in. The Opera House was quite easy to locate, being part of the Winder Gardens Complex, right in the centre of town. We ran into some old friends, had a chat about Dylan, and there was just time for a quick Italian meal before show time. We also spent a little time hunting for a stick of Blackpool rock to take back for Marie, but everything was closed on a Sunday night, so we sadly failed in that task. Dylan is on a short tour of the UK, calling at Glasgow, Blackpool and the Albert Hall; playing three nights at each venue. This is his first visit to Blackpool, and it seemed a little strange, but very welcome choice. Actually having said that, it does sort of fit. There is a feeling of old grandeur about Blackpool, a mix of greatness, tradition and the past, yet a validity within the present; all of which sits well with the legend that is Dylan. I can imagine him wandering the streets and arcades. I wonder if he did ….?
Last night was the final night of Dylan’s three consecutive shows in the venue. The Opera House is a lovely ornate hall, which holds just short on 3,000 people, and reminded me of the Odeon cinemas I would visit as a kid. Its a small intimate venue, compared to the arenas which Dylan normally plays when he comes to the UK. In recent concerts, Dylan has been playing a lot of tracks from his latest album, Tempest, with a few classics thrown in; so Laura and I knew what to expect.
Dylan and his band came on stage at 7.30pm prompt without any introduction. The opening song was “Things Have Changed”, a song from the film Wonder Boys, which was released as a single in 2000. It was clear from the start that Bob was on good form and in good voice, and the sound was crisp and clear from where we sat (there had been reports of poor sound on the first night in Blackpool). It was great to have such a close and unobstructed view of Bob and his Band. Dylan alternated between standing at the mike centre stage (no guitar this tour), and playing a small grand piano which was to stage right. His band are excellent and feature three guitarists; Stu on acoustic rhythm, Charlie on electric lead, and Donnie on pedal steel, mandolin, banjo and violin. On the last couple of occasions I’ve seen Bob Dylan in concert, his voice has sounded stronger than it has for many years. He seems to have a settled into a deep, snarling raspy groove, not unlike Tom Waits. This gives the songs a dark, bluesy feel. There is more emotion in his voice, you know that he means every phrase. The set was, as expected, drawn largely from Tempest. I have the album, and have played it a number of times, but I can’t say that the songs are yet familiar to me. However, last night they sounded good, as did old favourites “She Belongs to Me”, “Tangled up in Blue” and “Simple Twist of Fate”. The encore was a great version of “All Along the Watchtower” with a slower, moodier arrangement than the usual rockier version that Dylan has been playing recently, and a new song “Roll on John”, which is about John Lennon. This was a surprise, as the last song has been “Blowing in the Wind” on other nights of the tour. The crowd cheered loudly when he started “Roll on John”; its a crowd favourite already and the end of each verse was the cue for another cheer. Bob spoke to the crowd only once, to announce the intermission. He seemed in a good mood and quite animated at times, with some staccato leg movements while he was at the mike, and some little twists while at the piano. A great performance, by a legend that just continues to please. The show finished around 9.45pm, and we were home shortly before 1am.
Setlist: Things Have Changed; She Belongs To Me; Beyond Here Lies Nothin’; What Good Am I?; Duquesne Whistle; Waiting For You; Pay In Blood; Tangled Up In Blue; Love Sick. Intermission. High Water (For Charley Patton); Simple Twist Of Fate; Early Roman Kings; Forgetful Heart; Spirit On The Water; Scarlet Town; Soon After Midnight; Long And Wasted Years. Encore: All Along The Watchtower; Roll on John.
Bob Dylan – vocals, piano, harp. Band: Tony Garnier – bass; George Recile – drums; Stu Kimball- rhythm guitar; Charlie Sexton – lead guitar; Donnie Herron – banjo, electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel, violin
“Doctor, doctor, tell me the time of day; Another bottle’s empty; Another penny spent; He turned around and he slowly walked away; They shot him in the back and down he went.
Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John.
From the Liverpool docks to the red light Hamburg streets; Down in the quarry with the Quarrymen.”
(Bob Dylan, Roll On John, 2012)
Bob Dylan Newcastle Arena 12 April 2007
This was the the most recent gig by Bob Dylan at Newcastle Arena, and my last posting on Bob for now. Although I have seen him since 2007 (two gigs; both in Scotland; one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow) I have already blogged on those concert experiences. David and I went to this gig and had good seats in the fourth row. The big suprise of the evening was an excellent version of House of the Rising Sun, which of course features on Dylan’s first album. He presumably did so in tribute to The Animals, and because he was plaing in their home town. Great stuff, and worth the entrance price for that song alone. From The Journal: “Rock legend Bob Dylan is thought to have acknowledged a 40-year-old debt to Tyneside band The Animals when he played in Newcastle this week. The singer-songwriter thrilled thousands of North-East fans when he played a version of House of the Rising Sun at the Metro Radio Arena on Thursday night. Dylan had recorded a version of the traditional folk song for his debut album in 1962, only to see The Animals score a massive hit both in Britain and America when they released a rock ‘n’ roll version of it two years later.” Setlist: Cat´s in the well; House of the rising sun; Watching the river flow; It´s alright, ma (I´m only bleeding); The levee´s gonna break; When deal goes down; I don´t believe you (She acts like we never have met); Masters of war; Rollin´n and tumblin´; Desolation row; Spirit on the water; Highway 61 revisited; Nettie Moore; Summer days; Like a rolling stone. Encore: Thunder on the mountain; All along the watchtower
Bob Dylan Manchester Arena 16 Nov 2005
David and I drove to Manchester and stayed in the Travelodge just up the road from the arena. We had floor seats about half way back the massive MEN, which is a vast venue. The place was packed and there was a definite buzz in the air; the crowd were really up for seeing Dylan, and he didn’t let them down. This was one of the best Dylan concerts that I have attended in recent years. Dylan spent much of the evening from behind the piano, as on the previous couple of times we’d seen him. His singing was much stronger and there was less evidence of the strange up-singing that had featured a lot in performances of that time. The whole arena sang along to Like A Rolling Stone. Highlights for me were I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight and Lay Lady Lay. Jack White was in the crowd and walked passed us just before Dylan took to the stage. Setlist: Maggie’s Farm; She Belongs To Me; Cry A While; Lay, Lady, Lay; Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine); Million Miles; Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again; I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight; Man In The Long Black Coat; Down Along The Cove; Girl Of The North Country (acoustic); Highway 61 Revisited; A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall; Summer Days. Encore: Like A Rolling Stone; All Along The Watchtower.
Bob Dylan Newcastle Arena 22nd June 2004
I’ve got a couple more Dylan concerts to cover after this, and then I will have blogged on all of my Dylan concert experiences. I figured Dylan is of such legendary stature that I really need to say something about each time I have experienced him in concert, but to be honest I’m finding it difficult, as the concerts have started to blend together in my memory. This is particularly true of the Newcastle Arena gigs, as I’ve seen Bob 5 time at that venue. Anyway here goes: Dylan was back at Newcastle Arena in 2004. David and I had good seats, in the second row, but a little too much to the side. This was a classic Dylan concert, one of the best times I’ve seen him. He was singing great, and the sound was really clear. I remember that the highlight for me was This Wheels on Fire, which I hadn’t seen him sing before, and it was a truly great rendition of the song. Setlist: Seeing The Real You At Last; Tell Me That It Isn’t True; Lonesome Day Blues; Under The Red Sky; Cold Irons Bound; Ring Them Bells; Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum; This Wheel’s On Fire; Highway 61 Revisited; The Lonesome; Death Of Hattie Carroll; Bye And Bye; Honest With Me; Masters Of War; Summer Days; If Not For You; Like A Rolling Stone; All Along The Watchtower
Bob Dylan Sheffield Arena 20 November 2003
David and I drove down to Sheffield to see Dylan on this cold autumn evening in 2003. David was studying in Leeds at the time so I picked him up first. We got stuck in a massive traffic jam between Leeds and Sheffield and arrived at the venue just a few minutes before Dylan came on stage. We were meeting David’s friend Joel at the venue, as he was studying in the city; we quickly met up and then took our seats. We were sitting in the upper tier to the side, quite far away from the stage, so Bob was a small dot so far away from us. Dylan was playing a lot of piano during that period, and spend most of the show behind the keyboards. This was an ok performance by Bob, but his voice wasn’t strong and the sound mix was pretty murky. Dylan was still suffering from a throat infection, which has forced him to cancel a gig in Ireland a few days earlier. However we all enjoyed the event and seeing Dylan. David and I spent the night in a Travelodge near the venue and drove back the next morning. Setlist: Maggie’s Farm; It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue; Cry A While; Desolation Row; It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding); Girl Of The North Country; Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum; Man In The Long Black Coat; Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again; Highway 61 Revisited; Every Grain Of Sand; Honest With Me; The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll; Summer Days. Encore: Cat’s In The Well; Like A Rolling Stone; All Along The Watchtower
David and I had great seats for this Dylan gig, in the front block and a few rows from the front. It was a real treat to have such a good view of our hero. The gig itself was ok; but my no means the best time I’ve seen Dylan in concert. Reviews afterwards were very mixed, which is often the case with Dylan concerts. Its almost as if some fans were at different concerts; its funny how different people see the same gig in so many different ways. Reviews on the Boblinks site showed both ends of the spectrum, with one guy saying “There are simply no bad Bob Dylan concerts these days.” and “Last night there were of course some songs I enjoyed more than other songs, but that does not give me the right to knock those other songs, for they still are multiple times preferable to anything else performed by any other band or artist out there.” Another fan declared the Newcastle gig “The Newcastle show was over, and so far Kait and I were immensely disappointed. The crowd was horrible, security was bad, Bob’s guitar solos were terrible, his harmonica was less than great, and he just wasn’t trying with his performance in general.” and “Anyway, this show was the worst Bob show I’ve seen and I’m not exaggerating: it was disappointing.” David and I enjoyed the gig, and being so close to Dylan was enough in itself. I do remember that his singing wasn’t great, and there was lots of his “up-singing”. Setlist: Wait for the Light to Shine; Song to Woody; It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding); Love Minus Zero/No Limit; Solid Rock; Just Like a Woman; Subterranean Homesick Blues; Cry a While; Mr. Tambourine Man; A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall; Tangled Up in Blue; Standing in the Doorway; Summer Days; Cold Irons Bound; Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat. Encore: Love Sick; Like a Rolling Stone; If Dogs Run Free; Honest With Me; Blowin’ in the Wind. Encore 2: Highway 61 Revisited