page by Bill Pagel
Review by Michael Farry
No Bob show in Ireland this European tour so I decided to catch a show
elsewhere. A cheap flight to Paris for the April 30 show seemed like a
good idea - a little sightseeing as well. Even better when he added the 29
April show. Myself and my 20 year old son made the journey.
I had attended the surrealist art exhibition in Paris during Monday and
some of the events at the venue seemed surrealist. From the outside the
venue Zenith looked like a giant tent. Slow entry as everyone was frisked.
My first Dylan frisk! Inside the place looked good, very good seats but
show over half an hour late due to slow entry. A white screen slowly
descended from the roof and ads were projected onto it - including ads for
lipstick and a brand of tooth-rot mentioned in Masterpiece. It rolled up
again to loud cheering. Then the music, the announcement and there they
Bob seemed in good form, very focused. His phrasing was particularly
The audience was great - my kind of audience - very little noise during
the quiet songs, but rocking when necessary. One of the spine tingling
moments for me was that wonderful last verse of Hard Rain answering the
obvious question: OK so the world's gone wrong what are YOU going to do
about it? The quiet arrangement, the absolutely silent audience and
Dylan's phrasing and emphasis made it the high point of an excellent
The L&T songs, obviously heard for the first time live were excellent. The
worn weary voice made Moonlight full of menace and danger. On the other
hand the TOOM songs were poor, Make you Feel my Love was the weakest song
of the night - just doesn't suit Bob's voice and probably not a good song
anyway. Tangled up in blue which had impressed me in Pescara seemed to be
delivered without much involvement tonight. Subterranean Homesick Blues
was a delight. There were shouts for LARS and JLAW - I didn't want them
but then I thought most people here have not heard Bob often, do not
collect bootlegs, do not read rmd and he must cater for them. When I
pointed out to my youthful French neighbour with little English that the
Oscar was on stage he did not understand and said this was his first Bob
show. Blowing in the Wind and Forever Young were delivered as anthems with
the now familiar angelic chorus - I like both done like this. The second
encore was a bonus and a great version of All Along the Watchtower
especially as the first line is funny as a second encore "There must be
someway out of here".
OK back again the following night. I am the man Thomas - my favourite
opener, heard in Dublin in 2000 - I had seen a marvelous illustration of
the Gospel scene in Notre Dame Cathedral earlier in the day. "I Want You"
then - way back in the 60s this had been one of my favourite tracks. It
was a treat to her it live. "Because time was on his side" - a lifetime
separates the time he wrote that line and now but it still resonates even
though its meaning is turned around. Time indeed was the theme of the
night - Things have Changed, I hear the ticking of the clock, Not Dark
yet, etc etc. Simple Twist of Fate, in spite of a lyric mix up was a
highpoint. I watched his delivery of the last verse though binoculars,
spine chilling - I was born too late - time again!
Both Fourth time and Visions would be on my wish list for any Dylan
concert but both were disappointing, again a lack of the kind of
involvement noticed on Simple Twist. Floater was brilliant and hilarious.
There was this old man delivering a series of disjointed lines and verses
full of fun, subversion and even menace. As you listen ideas become
clearer associations you never noticed strike you - Up near the teacher -
Learn - Romeo and Juliet - Leaving on those rebel rivers.
Bob introduced the band members each night (He did not at my last show -
Pescara 2001). He spoke nothing else and the only acknowledgement of where
he was (if such it was) was a pause before and added emphasis on the word
Dame in Desolation row the second night. The crowd certainly regarded this
as a nod to Paris and responded. The other French references - gay Paree,
Napoleon, were cheered but without any encouragement from Bob. The
"allowed to be free" line from Blowin in the Wind got a loud reaction from
the crowd which may be a reaction to the current French Presidental
Thank you Bob, Thank you Paris. Now Bob what about an Irish date
in the autumn.
Review by Pádraig
In the main part of the show, only two songs (Summer
Days and Don't Think Twice) was repeated from the
previous night. Again the acoustics and lights were
first class and the venue was sold out.
I Am The Man, Thomas kicked things off at 8.30. A fine
version, with clear, distinct vocals. I Want You was
slow and gentle, with more an air of growling
resignation than celebration (though that may just be
my memory playing tricks). Desolation Row started off
powerfully, though Dylan goofed the last line of the
first verse by singing "Is Cinderella... Lady and I
look out tonight..." Seemingly determined to make up
for the error, he sang each verse after that with
increasing power. He also put special emphasis on the
words "Notre Dame", to the delight of the Paris crowd.
After that killer version, It Ain't Me, Babe was
almost an anticlimax.
Highway 61 Revisited was a surprise choice to open the
first electric set. It rocked as usual, but was
perhaps a bit overfamiliar. Simple Twist Of Faith,
with a harp intro, was excellent, with careful,
engaged vocals. Dylan then ripped into Lonesome Day
Blues. Floater was a disappointment; it's now similiar
to the "jazz" version of Trying To Get To Heaven, with
Sexton's guitar replacing the violin line. It's
pleasant enough, but not a patch on the album version.
Fourth Time Round got a big cheer from the crowd and
was a fine rendition. Another Blonde On Blonde song
followed, a sublime version of Visions Of Johanna.
Another Paris reference in this one, with Mona Lisa
and the way she smiles. At the start of Don't Think
Twice, Dylan abandoned the harp solo; this was
followed by impatient strumming on the guitar and
scowls at the band. The song didn't really recover
from the fraught start.
Summer Days lifted things again at the start of the
second electric set. Highlight of the night for me was
Not Dark Yet, with eerie lighting and word-perfect
vocals. Crowed loved the "I've been to gay Paris"
line. A possible reference to the Frech foreign
legion ("don't even remember what I came here to get
away from") also drew some cheers. Drifter's Escape
was awesome, complete with wild harp solo at the end.
Band intros came during a standard Leopard Skin
Encores started with a fiesty Things Have Changed and
then settled into a predictable routine. Some fine
harmonising on Knockin' On Heaven's Door. Highlight of
the encores was again All Along The Watchtower.
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists