Tel Aviv, Israel

Ramat Gan Stadium

June 20, 2011

[Shmuel Berger]. [Yoav Paz], [Yehoshuah], [Jonathan D.], [Arnon Zack]

Review by Shmuel Berger

"Legendary rocker Bob Dylan has played a much-awaited concert in Tel 
Aviv, reprising his famous hits but disappointing thousands of fans by 
not addressing them and refusing to perform encores."
TEL AVIV, Israel June 20, 2011 (AP)

For the record: Bob spent ninety minutes "addressing them" with his songs.
"Refusing to perform encores"? There were three encore songs, all iconic: "Like
a Rolling Stone", "All Along the Watchtower" and "Blowing in the Wind".

Idiot wind indeed.

I was at the opener in Cork, which had seven different songs from London/Tel
Aviv (the latter two shared the same set list identically). I would describe the
first three shows of this leg of the tour as hot, hotter and crying like a fire
in the sun.

I've seen "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" performed live a dozen or so times and
heard and seen scores of recorded versions, but I've never heard him sing the
lines "But I'll know my song well before I start singin'" more emphatically than
he did in Tel Aviv last night.

Boker tov, Israel. Bob talked to you last night, and intimately.

PS: In two dozen shows I've attended in over
 37 years on three continents and several venues, I have never heard Bob
 "address" the audience, with one exception: Seattle, Bob Dylan/The Band,
 February 1974: when Bob took the stage he said "Hello Seattle, home of JIMI

PPS: Here in the Holy Land he played "Highway 61 Revisited": "Oh God said to
Abraham, "Kill me a son"...". 

Isn't that "addressing them" in Israel?

Shmuel Berger
Tel Aviv


Review by Yoav Paz

Monday's night concert in Tel Aviv was the fourth time I saw Bob Dylan
live. I saw him in his previous visits to Israel, in 1987 and 1993, and
once in New York, in Novenmber 2002. I feel that I miss such an important
part of Dylan's art by not being able to see him more times, on a more
regular basis. It is quite difficult being a true Dylan fan in Israel, I
guess. Anyway, I went to the concert with mixed feelings. On one hand,
it's enough for me just to be anywhere near Dylan. Since the opportunity
to see him is so scarce for me, I really feel excited and anticipating. On
the other hand, I was warned by people who saw him in recent years, that
he was more or less finished, that he couldn't sing anymore, etc... When
Bob finally came on stage, after two short warm-up sets (one was pretty
bad and embarrassing  from Rickie Lee Jones), it was clear to me that I
was heading towards something special. Real special. Dylan's voice was
nothing short of superb and more important, convincing and truthful. Every
on of them words rang true, but not the words of the Italian poet, but
Dylan's words. I felt that he means and really cares, that it is important
for him to be on the stage and sing these songs, that he relates to the
songs, old and new alike. Highlights of the evening are too much to count,
and yet, there were some moments which stood above: A powerful and
mesmerizing A Hard Rain's a-gonna Fall, maybe the best version I've ever
heard. A beautiful, semi-acoustic version of Forgetful Heart, including a
heart stopping duet between Donnie Herron's violin and Dylan's harp. A
great arrangement of Simple Twist of Fate, with a simple twist of the
guitar riff at the end of every stance. An impressive reading of Blowin'
In The Wind, which I found so truthful and meaningful, even after all
these years. A sombre, almost frightening, Cold Irons Bound The only song
which didn't come out as good as the rest was All Along The Watchtower,
which, I felt, lacked focus and conviction. The bottom line is - it was a
great concert, powerful, meaningful, musically beautiful, sung and played
at the highest level I can imagine. I pity the poor Israeli, who wants to
see Dylan more often, who can't afford going abroad to Dylan's concerts,
who would be the happiest man if he ever gets the chance to attend such an
unforgettable concert again.


Comments by Yehoshuah

It seemed to me that one of the biggest complaints that I heard was that
he didn't address the audience with a "Shalom Israel" or something to that
sort.  To be honest this is one of the things that I appreciated while
seeing Grateful Dead shows.  You go for the musical experience. Period.
True musicians like Dylan and the Dead realize this and do just that. 
Play their hearts out and don't get you distracted with lame comments
before and after songs.  

Its hard to put in words but I feel that you can have a much higher
experience (no drugs intended) when 100% music is delivered.  Music in its
truest sense can take you to a very high level.  It's much more powerful
than just the spoke word.  Any words spoken even simply a "Welcome" or
"Shalom" brings down the level a few notches.

Lastly you stated below:

PPS: Here in the Holy Land he played "Highway 61 Revisited": "Oh God said
to Abraham, "Kill me a son"...". 

Unfortunately he left out this verse in Israel.  That was the only bummer
for me!



Review by Jonathan D.

It was a done deal that the level of sophistication of most Israeli reviewers of
the show was going to be quite low. If the same people who didn't appreciate the
shows here in 1987 and 1993 thought they were gonna enjoy this one , well I just
said good luck...Now for the good news , friends this was a killer show. If you
can get past the idea that he repeated the set list from London song for song
and listen to the performance you will appreciate how wonderful this tour is .
Now for the tunes 1. Gonna Change My Way of Thinking  The crowd is in a frenzy ,
the vocals deliver and the sound man has done his homework, Bob sounds loud and
clear. For those begging to read into the performance what is not there, chew on
this ,the " Jesus is comin' to take back his jewels" phrase was not repeated( my
guess is he just missed the beat).. 2.Baby Blue   Solid , clear and decent!
3.Things Have Changed   Every word and turn of a phrase came out loud and clear,
song seemed to last a long time considering there were no extended musical
interludes. 4.Tangled Up In Blue   A crowd pleaser, even casual Israeli Dylan
fans knew all the words... 5. Summer Days  The song cooks and it is a shame that
it is virtually unknown to the crowd. 6.Cold Irons Bound   Oh just listen to the
recording the tension in the phrasing says it all,first highlight of the show!!!
7. Hard Rain  This is a song which is well known in Hebrew translation.Yonathan
Geffen translated it years ago and his son Aviv Geffen who worships Bob has
recorded it and sung it in concert for years. O.K. I don't want to go overboard
here but having listened to this song thousands of times over the last 40 years
I can honestly say Bob sang this tune like it was written yesterday. Oh a bit of
the staccato phrasing but mostly straightforward soulful crooning and ofcourse
there are going to be reviewers who said they couldn't recognize the song..
8.Highway 61  I have seen better versions , I am not sure why the previous
reviewer says the first verse was omitted , it was sung! 9.Forgetful Heart THE
BEST SONG OF THE NIGHT!!!Like whispering a secret to 25,000 people and then
blowing that harp, oh just listen to it!!! 10.Thunder On The Mountain Well
played but somewhere along the way I lost my concentration and then the song
ended.. 11. Thin Man I saw him open with this at my last show Lake Elsinore a
couple of summers' back. It was hot then it is hot now!!! 12.LARS  Crowd pleaser
, not he best version , you sorta feel the end of the show creeping up.. 13.
Watchtower I think this version is still being worked out , the vocals are great
but the music is tentative. 14.Blowing In the Wind We got this in Tel Aviv in
1993 and now .Not much I can say , crowd tried to sing along and then it was all
over. I wish Israeli reviewers were not so critical. It seemed more important to
them and to  many in the crowd that Bob should say Hello , Shalom, or
acknowledge where he was , well I can tell you that wasn't gonna happen.

Jonathan D.


Review by Arnon Zack

this was my 8th bob dylan concert, and one of the best i've seen

there were quite a few nice versions of TUIB or Hard rain but two songs in
the evening shone above others.

Cold Irons Bound - that version blew my mind away. a haunted voice for a
haunted song. the band was also in a great form.

the highlight of the concert, for me, was Forgeful Heart. he sang it as if
that woman he wrote the song about is in the audience. so passionate, so
powerful. a sublime version. everything was amazing in that song....donnie's
viola, tony's double bass, bob's the first time bob blew the
harmonica in this song he went to donnie and it looked like they are dueting.

i expected nothing from this concert. that is why i left it with a smile on my

Arnon Zack


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