Paris, France

Grand Rex

April 11, 2019

[Rene Baumont], [Laurette Maillet]

Review by Rene Baumont

A wonderful day in Paris

I took a day off in my busy professional agenda. I arrived in Paris at
noon and had a hotel very close to the Grand Rex. On this sunny afternoon,
I took the opportunity to go to the Picasso Museum 25 minutes walk from
the Grand Rex. The exhibition Picasso Calder is magnificent with many
masterpieces of the 2 artists and the rest of the museum with the
permanent collections of Picasso a real enchantment. This visit inspired
me to look for the commonalities between Dylan and Picasso. A priori no!
But in fact a lot! Two artists with a long and prolific career with
several periods and several distinct styles, the ability to revolutionize
their art, to constantly reinvent the way to practice their art,
creativity throughout life and even in old age. Their personality too, two
artists with great self-confidence, a certain sense of provocation ... but
especially two geniuses in their art!

The large Rex is a large cinema built in the 1930s, with 2700 seats, the
ideal size for a Dylan concert nowadays. The large Rex is a large cinema
built in the 1930s, with 2700 seats, the ideal size for a Dylan concert
nowadays. Dylan had already come in 2013 for 3 evenings like this year.
The acoustics are excellent. This time, I have a place in the balcony, far
enough from the stage, but with a bird's eye view that allows you to see
everything that goes on there.

What about the concert? No surprise with the fixed setlist, but I found
Dylan extremely skilled and committed to his singing and piano playing.
The band is excellent as usual. Somehow, it's moving to see this little
old man continue to make more than 50 concerts a year to deliver his songs
by renewing them perpetually. Joan is almost retired, Mick's health is not
what she was, Sir Paul counts his millions... 

The new interpretations since 2018 are quieter, more neat than before. My
opinion is that Dylan, having interpreted for a few years the American
standards sung by Sinatra, has changed his look on his own songs, as if he
had now realized that they are part of the songbook of humanity and that
he now interprets them as the standards they have become. These new
interpretations are for the most part successful, the pinnacle for me
having been the sequence "Do not think twice" played almost alone on the
piano followed by "Love sick". I had the feeling that it was better suited
to the French audience who really got into the show from Like A Rolling
Stone. The end of the concert was sublime, I loved the finale with the
bluesy reinvention of "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry"
which is really great. The way to finish inaugurated in Prague, with the
salute and the departure of Dylan, then the  musicians playing "Just Like
Tom Thumb's Blues" and leaving one after the other is simply great.

At the exit, I talked for a few moments with a lady very impressed by
Dylan, who had loved the concert and his voice! ... The first time I feel
that the whole crowd is happy to have passed a good time coming out of a
Dylan concert in Paris!

A very beautiful day and a magnificent evening! See you next time in Paris


Review by Laurette Maillet

Paris I. 
From Prague I took a night Flixbus. 
Unfortunately that bus was stopping in many cities in Germany, picking up
and downloading passengers. 
I could hardly sleep and broke my back in distorted position. 
In entering Paris at 7.30am,I am tired, cold and in low spirit, having
missed the last one of the Prague shows. 
I arrive at Dominique’s house with a bad feeling. 
But she offers me a lot of coffee and bread, butter and jam, the French
I relax until 5.15pm and we both take the metro towards the Grand Rex. She
wants to see Bob Dylan for the first time and I promised to help with a
The problem is….the show is sold Out. 
We ask at the box office but at 6.30pm, there is no ticket available. 
Scalpers are all over the place and aggressive. 
But Dominique and I are in a good mood. 
A security guy finally accepts to check again at the Box Office and by
some miracle 2 “Carré d’or” tickets had just been released. 
We decide against all reason to buy them, sharing between her and me the
high price. 
We then join some Bobcats in a café for a soda drink, and go to another
café to say hello to more…Bobcats. 
A lot of followers will be here tonight, plus the French club. 
We move inside at 7.30pm 
The theater is splendid, the ceiling is a sky full of stars. If only Bobby
could play “shooting star”! 
Right on time they play the Stravinsky and they all take their positions.
Bob is wearing a light colored jacket, black pants with the white stripes,
black shirt and white tie/scarf. 
Dominique brought her binoculars and I can see his face clearly. But I
don’t focus to long for his face is not the point. 
I prefer enjoying the perfect sound tonight. 
All the instruments are perfectly clear and Bob’s voice is at the top.
The public is respectful and reactive, applauding on “Like a rolling
stone” and standing up for “Thunder on the mountain”. The harmonica
solos are well appreciated. 
“Don’t think twice” is holding the breath of the entire audience. 
Dominique is impressed by Bob’s capacity of expressing himself with so
much sensitivity. 
This might be my highlight of tonight. 
Bob will finish “Scarlet town” at the piano. 
And as in Prague will leave the stage while the Band keeps on playing
their instruments. 
Maybe again a trick for Bob to escape the mob outside. 
For me, this was my favorite show. 
2 miracle tickets with seats so close to the stage (row H), a great show
in good company! 
That could not be better. 
My good star was back today. 
There will be 2 more shows in Paris. 
Don’t you dare miss them! 
Good night Bobby in the Gay Paris! 
See you tomorrow.


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