Sursee, Switzerland

Summer Sound

June 24, 2011

[Christian], [Basil Miller]

Review by Christian

Sursee was great! My expectacions were high after the milan conert, but the
wheater forecast said that it would be could and rainy. After 3 hours of work in
the morning, Alex a good friend of mine, who is not a great Dylan  fan,  but I
think the greatest George Michael Fan in Austria, was there to pick me up at my
work in Innsbruck and drive me to Sursee together with my friend Hans and his
partner Elfie from the Zillertal in Tirol. First we drove to Luzern, a really
nice city at Vierwaldstätter Lake. After a walk through the city, where we met
Charlie Sexton and George Recelie in front of the Beat the Street Tour Bus, we
were very happy, and against the wheater forecast the sky suddenly turned blue
from dark black. We drove to Sursee and eyerything seemed perfect. The wheather,
the people and after we entered we realised that it was really a great outdoor
venue. I think there were about 8.000 people and the mood was really good. Bob
startet with LSPPH, which I heard two days before in Milan. It was O.K., but i
dreamed of hearing Gonna change my way of thinking. Dont Think Twice was really
good, so I got relaxed. Things have changed followed and I can say this is
really a great live song nowadays. Ramona was a big surprise and really lovely
performed. Beyond here lies nothing is the ultimate live song from TTL, it was
fantstic. Then came one of my all time favorits, Make you feel my love. This is
one of Bobs best songs ever written, my emotions were near to explode and I was
able to enjoy the song to the fullest. TDTD was rocky, TAIB was very harmonic
and then a really funny Jolene followed. People of all ages around me were
dancing and this was really a fantastic moment. Then came Hollis Brown and there
was silence. Great performance from Bob. Highway was a crowd pleaser as usual,
Hard rain with a very good vocal performance. Thunder rocked and then came Thin
man, which is I think the strongest Bob Dylan and his 'Band performance in these
days. It made me breathless. The encores LARS, AATWT and BITW were fantastic,
and all people around me were really happy. 

Thank you Bob, now  I am hoping for a fall European Tour to see Bob in Austria,
Germany or Switzerland again, maybe in my hometown Innsbruck to come close to my
30 th Dylan show. ( I am at 27 shows) Thanks again for your fantastic work Bill,
I really hope for some more years with Bob on Tour and your unique web site.

Christian from Innsbruck 


Review by Basil Miller

This was the first Bob concert I had attended outdoors and in a non English
speaking country, having seen him perform in London (Earls Court, Wembley,
Brixton),  Blackbushe, Montreal and New Jersey over the last 30 years or so. 

It was a serene, summer's evening in the Swiss countryside.  With the precision
of a Swiss train, Bob nonchalantly sauntered onto stage as the clock struck the
advertised 9pm start, well before the evening shadows, as this was just after
the Summer Solstice.  He and his tightly knit band launched into a robust
version of LEOPARD SKIN PILL BOX HAT with his rasping voice sounding strong and
the words more audible than previous concerts. 

The Swiss couple (my age) sitting alongside me, commented that they were
surprised that he had not said anything - I told them not to hold their breath
as he had not said anything in the previous 25 concerts I had been to and it was
unlikely that he would do so in a country where English is option 4 on most
voicemails after German, French and Italian. Besides, the man has expressed
himself in over 600 original songs and it is a fair bet, I would say, that
Shakespeare did not pop down at intermission for a drink with the patrons at the
Globe Theatre, or that Keats hung around for a cup of tea to discuss his poetry
recital prior to his planned rendezvous with Fanny Brawne. Give the man a break.

However he was clearly enjoying himself.  Perhaps as is becoming a
Septuagenarian, Bob seemed to sermonise rather than sing his material and was
positively theatrical in his third person rendition of "TANGLED UP IN BLUE"
where he actually chuckled after the line "and Papas bankbook wasn't big
enough".  Although my position was good, it was not as intimate a venue as the
previous time I saw him at the Roundhouse in London, but I do think he ACTUALLY
smiled now and then and perhaps influenced by his Theme Time Radio series, he
even seemed to do the odd jig - similar to his performance at the Grammy's with
the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons. Clearly amused with and enjoying his vast
repertoire which he perpetually rearranges and reinvents, Bob reverted to his
standard tour set list and followed the opener with DON'T THINK TWICE and THINGS
HAVE CHANGED before my highlight of the evening.  As darkness threatened to
slowly descend the words

"Ramona, come closer
Shut softly your watery eyes
The pangs of your sadness 
Will pass as your senses will rise
The flowers of the city
Though breathlike, get deathlike at times 
And there's no use in trying'
To deal with the dyin'
Though I cannot express that in lines"

   radiated through the stadium. 

In my mind, one of the best ever songs of consolation, this was released on
Another Side of Bob Dylan in 1964, when Bob was rejecting his public
classification as a strictly political, protest singer - just prior to
eliminating his unplugged production style - and before going electric and
recording his epic trilogy of Folk Rock albums, much to the consternation of the
community of Folk Purists. 

With Bob playing harp and then keyboard, the song was superbly sung with a
feeling of richness to his gravel voice and it was given a Calypso, Reggae and
distinctly Budokanesque treatment.  This is the only time I have heard this
beautiful song live and believe it was the only rendition on the 2011 tour. 

"With the moon looking good mama, shining through the trees", the show proceeded
with three songs from the middle album of the brilliant trilogy referred to
above ( HIGHWAY 61, BALLAD OF A THIN MAN and  LIKE A ROLLING STONE (as encore). 
All got pulsating rocking treatment and this was complemented, after HARD RAIN
and HOLLIS BROWN with songs from the latest quartet of albums  (THUNDER ON THE
MOUNTAIN, TWEEDLE DEE AND TWEEDLE DUM - which caused me to glance at the Swiss
couple alongside  - BEYOND HERE LIES NOTHIN and an upbeat JOLENE - clearly a new
favourite of Bob's and preferable to Summer Days and Summer Nights. Also a
surprise inclusion of  "MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE" the song recently popularised by
Adele, with a minor change of words.  Instead of "You aint seen nothing like me
yet" Bob sang "you haven't found anyone to replace me yet".  Yes the man is
correct.  We haven't found anyone to replace him over the last 50 years. 

Evening ended with "ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER" and "BLOWIN IN THE WIND" and Bob
bowing with his customary uncomfortable shuffle, before I left to "walk through
the trees like a stranger that nobody sees" so that I could catch the 11.26 back
to Zurich which, needless to say, was right on the mark.  Just like Bob.

Basil Miller


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