Darling Harbour, Australia

Sydney Entertainment Centre

April 28, 2011

[Greg Brennan], [Paul Busch], [Lindsay Ditcham], [Craig Wainwright]

Review by Greg Brennan

I can't split last night and tonight. During Summer Days I thought you
could imagine the band playing at some army dance during WW2, like those
guys you see in movies in uniform with their hair slicked back. There were
a lot more smiles all round from the band tonight so they obviously had
fun, which must be hard to do night after night on the road. During Hwy
61, Stu was having some guitar problems which didn't seem to effect the
song at all, he even finished off with a nice solo. Watchtower was
different to last night. All the boys seemed to be concentrating on Bob
leading up to the coda, in which it must be said Bob Dylan is the king of
blues codas that bounce out of nowhere and hit you right in the face. The
crowd was cool. The ushers told us Bob likes the first two rows to stand
up against the stage barrier, which caused a bit of a backward domino
effect. I was in row three and stood along with most of my row, but behind
us most sat. The only thing I'd change is I'd give Stu and Charlie a vocal
mike during Forever Young . But you can't have it all. Dan Kelly who was
the guitarist for the support act(Paul Kelly) is worth a listen if you can
get hold of some of his music.  Paul Kelly is a Aussie legend. I learnt
more about Australian history from him than I did from any school teacher.


Review by Paul Busch

You think I'm over the hill 
You think I'm past my prime 
Let me see what you got 
We can have a whoppin' good time-Bob Dylan (Spirit On The Water)

10 songs into his second night in Sydney, Bob smiled as he sang these
lyrics and I laughed aloud. People have been saying Bob has been
finished, well, since he went electric. If you follow his career you are
well aware of the twists and the turns that take us down so many roads.
During some of those travels you sat comfortably on the passenger side,
humming along, and tapping on the dashboard. Other times, you held onto
the door tightly, stomping on the invisible brake pedal on the floor,
hoping whatever was going on would end in a painless fashion. Bob's
impact on you throughout his career can easily define what sort of
concert experience you have when you get to see him live.

Paul Kelly and Bob Dylan paired up was a good choice. Paul has written
some of the best Australian songs ever and he shared a few of these with
the Dylan gathering on this rainy Sydney night. Joined by his nephew Dan
Kelly, an admirable guitarist, Paul gave us a nice taste of Gravy,
Careless and ended with an acapella version of Meet Me In The Middle Of
The Air. Charming and sweet, Paul Kelly is a national treasure, and I
wonder if his singing clearly and succinctly was a tongue in cheek joke
at what we were about to get from Bob.

If you had been looking out the window over the past week or so,
watching the press and the commentary (critics and punters alike) from
Byron to Adelaide, it was like you had fallen asleep and nothing had
changed since you last paid attention. All of these words about no video
screens and his lack of vocal power have been heard before. Granted,
unless you knew the words, as most people would at a Dylan show,
listening to Dylan without sub-titles (like they used for the Blues
singers in Wim Wenders Soul Of A Man) can be an onerous task. For the
faithful who understand this Never Ending Tour, it was a chance to be
with Bob again and laugh and sing and listen.

Long standing co-pilot Tony Garnier was there on bass and Charlie
Sexton, Stu Kimball and Donnie Herron laid down the guitar parts. Bob
was even up on guitar and harp a number of times and was much more
animated than his last visit to Australia. Actually, last night for
their last show in Sydney, Bob seemed to be smiling quite a lot. With a
set list (below) that encompassed poetry  from Blood On The Tracks,
Modern Times, Highway 61 and others, it was an excellent opportunity to
see this band play. Some songs were brilliant, some were shambolic, but
that is what you expect. I did find this time around that Dylan seemed
to take back the band leading duties that Tony had handled in the past
and at times his minstrels  were looking for where to go with certain
songs or caught off guard by Bob giving someone the nod for a solo. Such
is life on the road, sometimes you have to improvise.

Bob Dylan, as he approaches 70, is doing what he has always done:
Playing music, confounding and entertaining his fans, and taking us
along for the ride. Long may he run!


Review by Lindsay Ditcham

Gonna Change My Way of Thinking would go well at any time in Bob's show but as
an opener it's where it works best, kicking things into the right gear from the
outset. He started both shows with this one and I'll do some serious listening
to it on the  weekend.

Less people there tonight but still a healthy sized crowd and more active in
front of the stage than the previous night. Sitting, or standing, close to the
stage is of course the place to be. The atmosphere is more alive, you get to see
the gestures and subtle communications between Bob and the band as well as the
sweat which there's plenty of. The set list was a good one and he stays faithful
to playing that Tweedlie Dum Tweedlie Dee rather than throwing in one of the
better loved classics. He gestures when singing "Me I'm still on the road
heading for another joint", grins slightly for "You think I'm over the hill, you
think I'm past my prime?" and "Everyone is making love or else expecting rain"
and gets plenty of yelling and encouragement from those lines. The band works
well again and Charlie Sexton is Bob's right hand man it seems and puts a lot
into his performance. A three song encore again which feels like a bonus. Good
to hear Desolation Row and It's All Over Now Baby Blue.

After it all they line up on stage, Bob gives a subtle clenched fist gesture to
the audience and grins again. He nods to whoever it is that handles the lights
who dims them on cue. Another nod to the band that i'ts time to leave and off
they all go. You know that no amount of encouragement will bring them back on.
It will be too long before he's back.

Lindsay Ditcham


Review by Craig Wainwright

Unable to see Bob in Fremantle Western Australia because i was in Thailand at
the time i flew from Perth to Sydney to see Bobs 2nd concert at Darling Harbour
I was not dissapointed and can say it was a trip well worth taking even if it
was just for 'one day in Sydney to see Bob'

For a moment there i was a bit worried ..3 songs in....Bobs raspy machine gun
like delivery was threatening 'a dissapointing night' by Bobs standards...even
though i was still respectfully enjoying it
But then along came came Desolation Row...for me one of the highlights of the
night Bobs keyboards on this  and the bands playing of this was simply
magnificent Bob has a keyboard style all his own as he lounges over the
keyboards his hands flowing like a river with combinations of sometimes soft and
rapid movement...where his fingers ripple over the keyboards From this moment on
the night took on another dimension for me The rest of the songs were simply
stunning leaving one quietly smiling, laughing and thinking ....well well well
...the enigmatic Bob is weaving his magic again The highlights for me Tangled up
in Blue, a gentle and restrained Simple twist of Fate with beautiful ending A
joyous version of Summerdays that could have gone on all night if it
was that enjoyable A delightful spirited Spirit on the water...pretty close to
the perfect song...with a playful dotted  lighting effect adding to jazz club
the atmosphere A  rouring rousing Highway 61 that would have copped a speeding
fine out on highway 61 And then along came Ballad of a Thin dimmed
lights...Bob walked forward and delivered the best version of this song i have
ever heard in fact for me the best song i have heard from him either recorded or
sung live in all the years ive listened to Bob ..period it was so menacing and
amusing all at the same time... absolutey brilliant  ...mesmerising I said to
person sitting next to me ...''was that the best version of Ballad of a thin man
or what?'' which he agreed His encore included the classic Rolling Stone
which had the crowd singing along....All Along the Watchtower and a Beautiful
'Forever Young' my favourite Dylan song to end with ... a fitting finale for
what turned out for me to be a fantastic night Bobs band is brilliant it has to
be to keep pace and rythmn with Bobs unpredictable lyric delivery Charlie Sexton
was fantastic Bobs keyboard guitar and harmonica work left me respecting him
even more as a fantastic musician not just the brilliant lyricist he is The
night began with a tinge of doubt creeping in as this near 70 year old man voice
 rasped through his early songs But by nights end the Master had pulled it out
of the fire....and left one feeling nothing but admiration and respect for ths
near 70 yr old musical magician...While other musicians his age  have come out
of retirement to play to the blue rinse set in casino venues Dylan continues as
the master of reinvention to be compelling relevant and comical ...he leaves you
laughing and shaking your head at his brilliance and his abilty  entertain and
compel you to listen .....and  then listen once more may the never ending tour
roll on around.... to the Land down under again.....

Craig Wainwright


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