São Paulo, Brazil

Via Funchal

March 6, 2008

[Eduardo Bueno]

Review by Eduardo Bueno

Fourth time around, folks! Yeah, it's the fourth time in this life time
that Bob Dylan show his face and bring his show to this part of the
planetl - and, by far, the one in which he seems to be feelling, and
singing, better than ever. He smilled, almost laught and - believe  it or
not, friends - make one or two jokes in the stage. I been around in the
ten shows Bob gave in Brazil earlier, in 1990, 1991 and 1998,  but missed
the opening nite of this current tour, in São Paulo, wednesday night,
March 5th. Anyhow, all the reliable sources say that this second night,
March 6th, was better - and, oh, man, I believe it was.

Great show, that opened with Dylan and band throwing stones in the 
face of the audiience, cause, you know, EVERYBODY MUST GET STONED,
and we surely were, in the spite of the "fancy", desgusting upclass venue  
were the show was schedueled - and the price of some tickets been as  
high as 400 DOLLARS!!!!!  But who really cares, cause, right after the bites 
and beat and licks of the guitars, the swing of the band and the twang of
Bob's voice filled the air, it was like the walls of Jericho  (and Redwing's) 
tumbled down and Red Sea oppened wide, so it became clear to
the faithfull in the room that we all would be able to cross dry feet
straitht into the Promise Land.

Then, right after "Rainy Day Women", Bob invited us to go  
upstairs... and took us to bed - and, for sure, it was a big brass  
bed. "Lay Lady Lay" was the second song and it sounded a little more 
rocky, and rolled smoothly, but with the righ tension between 
expectation and desire - as Dylan sang it wonderfully, like tasting  every
word before gently spiited them - "staaay, lady, stayy...".  Yeah, so we
were not feared, and everyone brought their bottles over  here, as the
country waltz sounds of "'ll be your baby tonight" turned  that awfull
soulless room of wealthy "paulistas" into a barn!!!! I  swear I could feel
the smell of the hay - or maybe it was grass...

Anyhow, the things got really intense as Bob let the guitar down, went
to the keyboards (where we would stay for the rest of the nite) and took
us to streets that are dead, walking with someone in his  head.... "Love
Sick" was smokie, bluesy, dense and intense, full of ancestral chords
and, this time, Dylan bited everyone word before let them drop, like
tears in the rain. It was the first really magistral moment of the show -
but there were more to come.... since the train kept a rollin and...
tumbling. "Rolling and Tumblin"was like a redemption of Muddy Waters -
and, you know, São Paulo, founded by the side of the now "most polluted
river in the word", the poor Tietê, has  plenty of muddy waters around....
This fifth song seemed to end the first part of the show, cause a gentle
and tender and sweety version  of "Spirit in the water" reminded us that
even muddy water can became clear crystal water, like memories of lost
paradise. Some believed that he has passed his prime, and he's over the
hill - but, man, he surely can give us a hop of a good time. "Spirit" was
beautiful but as soon as the storm broke and the raindrops fell like
the petals of the Hiroshima's rose, the trumptes of Appocalipse sounded
and "Hard  Rain's Gonna Fall" received one of the most amazing versions
ever, at least to the ears of this one here. How many ears, how many
years to earn it, man?

My opinion is that the emotion and dramaticy of the performance made 
the band, and even Dylan, lose focus in the beginning of the next song,
"Honest With Me", but then, halfway thru it, Tony Garnier - who was the
maestro, who was brilliant all nite long - took the song by it's tail,
while it was trying to run away, and pulled it back, and stripped it, and
rock it, and roll it, and the whole band JAMMED after him, and Bob
followed in his keyboard, and, boys, they surely turned coal into diamond
by pressured it that hard. The things cooled down, as another kind of
rain, a soft one, hummmed in the steel roof of a  poor working man's
cabin, drowned in bills, drowned by numbers, and love sick, and sick of
love.  "Working Man's Blues" was like a Winston Homer painting, and in
the spite of the wet rain dropping, sounded like a Dust Bowl ballad of
the 30's, at least to me - but I had some beers and some more, you

"Highway 61", well, there was something missing in the 6th of March 
version, but everyone says it was a blast in the nite before, March 5th.
It was alright, thou, but Bob didnt killed the son, so I guess he better
run, next time he sees the Big Guy came down the Mountain of 
Thunder...But, you know,we must be with him in the (few times) that the
Deal Goes Down... And, surely enough, things went upper and upper while
"The deals goes down" was sang with heart and mind and you hear it like a
promise and a prayer.

Then a surprise, a new version "Tangled up in blue", no changes in "the
bloods in the tracks" traditional version, but it sounded as if  it was
a... rock and roll. There was, somehow, not a deep connection between 
the lyrics and that new sound, but still it is great to hear Dylan sing a
classic like that - specially because the blew his harp outside in and
inside out, in wild, mercurial flashs of sound. The 13th song was
"Summerdays" and, well, it surely, man, cause, you know, summer
days and summernites are rarely gone in this tropical land....The body
heat as so that this 22 year old girl climbed to the  stage, runned away
from the security guards and hanged Bob, kissed him in the head, almost
dropped his hat and made him look suprised at the beginning, than put him
laughing and looking to the band with a funny air. They almost have to
start the song all over again, and it was much better the second time
around. After the song was finish, Dylan asked to the band: "Who's that
girl? Where did the came from?",  smlling and relaxed.

Next came "Ain't Talking" and Bob surely talked his monologue, like he
was trying to get to heaven before they close the door and the water got
too high for him and Charlie Patton's . "Ain't Talking" was marvellous
and, in a way, it seems to make (together with "Love Sick") a perfect
counterpoint with the bitter-sweetness of "Spirit on the  Water"and "Deal
goes down". To finish the show, there comes an up tempo waltz-like
version of "Like a Rolling Stone" that FINALY took  people out of the
velvet chairs and champagne tables and a handfull of fans went very close
to the stage, and everyone sang together with the great master of revenge
songs. it was NOT a vomit. it was a celebration.

Bob and band went out for five minutes. They came back to make us  
listen the voice of God tumbling down from Sinai Mount, with the  
tables of law under his arm and a thundering voice. "Thunder in the 
Mountain" was an avalanche-like hymn, and hums and drums and rolled and
thunder....Till white doves and crashing mountains and cannon balls flied
and we listen to the wind, to the wind of our souls, whistling as we
marched, arm in arm, to overtook the White House of the Ministery of the
Existence, singing "Blowin in the Wind", that is written almost 50 years
ago and sounded as fresh and new as it was written yesterday. It is
enough, isn't it? So Bob and band stood like wax statues, frozen in
front of clapping people for three minutes or more, till Bob made his
oddly movements, kissed his own hand and sent the kiss blowin in the wind
for some girl in the front row, then pretend he was writting something in
a palm of his hand, pointed to the girl again... and left.

In 48 hours, he would be in the stage again, in nearby and mystical Rio
de Janeiro. The followers will be there! 

Eduardo Bueno


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