page by Bill Pagel
Review by Giuseppe Gazerro
Dylan is a revelation all the time.
Right or wrong, good or bad the experience might be, there's always
something different you can smell in the air.
Yesterday it was revelation.
Because I finally understood three things I had never realized so clearly
1.. Live Concerts (especially big ones) are not my cup of tea
2.. Dylan is an artist, not a rock singer/performer/entertainer
3.. Bands are important as couches in soccer (nought, that is)
Stra (no accent/stress on the only wowel, american friends, no Strà,
simply Stra) was quite indifferent to the event.
The streets were crowded with the same people of an ordinary crowded
Friday Evening, at least further on up to Villa Pisani entrance.
Lots of people there, yes, but still a tidy queue.
................*Maria Sharapova is in Wimbledon finals, how old is
she?........................*.I don't know exactly, sure she's such a
cutie*....................... *I got my *patentino* finally, yesterday the
police almost caught me hands in the cake.*.....................
These people look really young, sure younger than me,
hey, where's my generation?
Well, on the other hand, if one happened to be 40 when Blowin' In The Wind
was released, now he has good chance of being knock knock knockin' on
heaven 's door.
Life sometimes must get lonely even though somewhere in this universe
there' s always a place you can call home. But Stra's no home today for
us, it seems.
The weather has been inclement for the whole day and it doesn't look it
feels like making exceptions for BobDylan.
So the people start gather round the place before the flood, the gig kicks
off in a hard rain, it gets halfway in the drizzling rain and when the
night comes falling from the sky we go home soaked wet and starving, to
boot, unless one had felt so naive to get a sandwich and a beer for 20
euro, as if we were in a Danieli Hotel Room
We used to say that Stra is a little Venice, we knew we know better!
Well, the usual.
Some *nashville skyline* tired numbers, some *time out of mind* ordinarily
displayed numbers, some *i
-want-to-choose-the-worst-song-out-of-that-masterpiece-album* numbers like
*most likely* and *seeing the real you* and some scattered good things
like *I Believe In You*, in spite of the chorus in which Dylan is replaced
by Leonard Cohen, the acoustic moving rendition of *Girl of the North
Country* and the honestly unchanged L&T songs and some bad things as *If
Dogs Run Free* where it's really difficult to understand what Dylan finds
so attractive in this bored faked-jazz arrangement.
The first sign of oncoming revelation comes in with *Summer Days*
Stu Kimball has revitalized the stage, I know
Freddie Koella did not groove with this band, i know i know.
But I know also a bad solo from a good solo and the solos I heard in Stra
were mostly of the first type, both when played by Campbell and when
played by the new guitarist *in person*.
And the band had already lost the pace several times, during *honest with
me*, and *cold irons bound*, for instance; and before the end of the show
they'd do even worse on *forever young* and *watchtower* with some real
*outtimes* badly masked by Campbell_Garnier_Dylan winkings.
I'll tell you what: Kimball's solo in *Summer Days* was one of the
greatest I ever heard.
Hope the bootleg won't let me down, but I'm postive it won't.
Ok , I said a great solo, what's the fuss?
I don't know exactly, but I feel there's something different in *this*
But at the moment I still didn't know exactly.
Ok, let's move on: a pleasantly unexpected *forever young* before the
*lars/watchtower* closing number and then we fold our soaked rain jackets
and walk away.
We're still in the playfield when one of my friends asks me:
*How comes he did LARS that awful way? I couldn't singalong to it!*
*That's why Dylan is not Vasco Rossi* (awful italian rocker)
And here came the ultimate revelation.
That is exactly the point, how could I possibly have not realized it
before? Dylan is no Vasco Rossi, Dylan is not *a* performer, otherwise he
would know *how* to perform his songs to make them *enjoyable*
Dylan is not a *great* singer, otherwise he couldn't accept to sing *I
Believe in You* one octave lower than it is.
Dylan is an artist, period!
And a real artist is much more than a performer, much more than a painter
or a sculptor or a singer.
An artist doesn't even know what kind of an artist he is and what he's
doing, most of the times.
Like Leonardo drawing his *Uomo Vetruviano* or Joyce writing *Ulysses*
Is Ulysses a novel, Uomo Vetruviano a picture, Dylan a poet?
Artists are not even aware of the greatness of what they do, like
Beethoven or Maradona.
So why should I demand *awareness* from Bob Dylan?
It'd be like going to meet DaVinci and asking him *Excuse me, sir, could
you just draw a picture of me right now?*
*I don't do sketches from memory*, I hear someone suggesting me he would
It'd be like going to watch McEnroe playing an exhibition and complaining
because he hasn't played the very same point he scored in the glorious
tiebreak of Wimbledon '80.
Dylan has scored his glorious points already, he does not need to
reiterate them , because they aren't *ordinary* points; even if they
aren't played twice, it's alright!
The magic of *Like A Rolling Stone* cannot be reproduced, because it's
real art, full of roughness, inaccuracies and improvisations but real art.
Otherwise it wouldn't be *Like A Rolling Stone*, it would be *Tell Your
Ma Tell Your Pa Our Love Is Growing Strong Whoo Ah Whoo Ah*
So thank you for another ordinary concert, Dylan.
This time I won't tell my friends as I usually do: *good gig, but his
voice is not the same* This time I know better; I'll tell them. *You don't
have an opinion on Beethoven's Ninth when you listen to Muti directing the
Ninth, you can just ask me about Muti's direction. I went to see five guys
performing the work of one the greatest artist of this century; one of
them happened to be the very author*
And paraphrasing one of RMD reviewers, now I know why I don't go so often
to see Bob Dylan. .
Because Dylan doesn't need to be *seen*, he needs to be *got*
And I got it.
I already got it.
I got Desire, Hard Rain and Blood on The Tracks.
Desire is on the Cd player right now while Maria Sharapova is winning
Beauty and Art
I could go out and buy some yoghourt ice-cream to go with it, and then I
could die happy.
But I'm too lazy to go out, so I'll stick to Dylan and Sharapova and carry
on living 'till God knows.
Review by Marco Zoppas
In the beautiful scenario provided by Villa Pisani, after an heavy storm
came and went leaving us pretty wet, Dylan delivered an inspired
performance. It really gathered momentum in the central part of the show
and, in my opinion, the highlights were the interpretations of two seldom
played-live gems: ‘Standing in the Doorway’ and ‘I believe in you’. As far
as I remember, strictly religious songs had been missing in his most
recent Italian shows since performing ‘Solid Rock’ in Milan, April 2002. I
must say that ‘Slow Train Coming’ is one of my favourite albums. However,
there’s no doubt that the way he sang ‘I believe in you’ was deeply
moving, he even ended it with a slight variation from the original by
repeating the two initial verses ‘they ask me how I feel/and if my love is
real’ and then adding, almost in a whisper, ‘because I believe in you’ as
a final touch as the instruments faded away. The arrangement of ‘All along
the Watchtower’ hasn’t varied much and was as superb as in his last
concert in Milan, November 2003. If ever possible, it even manages to
increase the song’s epic proportions. It was mesmerising. While they were
playing the song I looked up at the sky – by now the clouds had almost
disappeared and you could see a starry night – and the sensation was one
of fulfilment and gratefulness for enjoying such a special live
Review by Borivoj Terek
Bob visited only two places in Italy this year: A small town Stra, which one
may find not so far from Padova, and a nice tourist resort Cernobbio situated
close to town and lake Como.
Unfortunately, this year again (and again!) we had no opportunity to see Bob in
Croatia. Bad Croatian promoters! Knowing that me and my friends did our plans
several months in advance with an idea in mind to visit both Italian concerts.
So we booked our tickets quite early - during May - and therefore all we had to
do was actually to travel not more then about 1500 km to and from Italy.
At the beginning me and two of my friends decided to go to Italy - one from
Croatia, and one from Ireland. The latter decided to go to Zagreb by plane first.
Then all three of us went to Italy by car together. But our decision intrigued
some of my other friends as well, so four of them decided to go to Stra too.
One of them was our friend, a woman who translated Bob's Tarantula in Croatian.
So in fact, it was a nice bunch of people from Croatia in Stra after all,
especially when we met several other guys who came there from Croatia as well.
It was my 7th Bob's concert in Stra and 8th in Cernobbio. Pretty fine for a distant
Croatian Dylan pooler. My Croatian friend, Cowboy Angel, Dylan pooler as well, said
my concert score attendance might be the best in Croatia! As he has an excellent
database of Bob's boots and some other great Bob's stuff I only can accept his
statement. Yet I am bashful now. !
We had a lot of fun during our trip. As I was late and was not able to join Dylan
pool for 2004 summer European tour, we had our little game - A Late Pool game -
but only for Stra and Cernobbio. Cowboy Angel won at the end, so we celebrated his
glorious victory having some kegs of beer !
Well, finally a few words regarding Bob Stra and Cernobbio renditions. Some people
accepts The Never Ending Tour just like a long lasting tour and nothing more. In
fact I have always accepted NET as an always changing tour rather then just long
lasting one. In spite of the fact the tour is long lasting, the tour also brings
something new all the time - new arrangements of the songs, new set lists, new
band members, even new lyrics sometimes. So NET is in fact constantly changing
tour always bringing something new to Bob's listeners. Italy 2004 NET was a real
example and a confirmation of such opinion.
Stra concert scheduled at 9 PM started with a delay of approximately 40 minutes
because of heavy rain. The rain was so heavy that we were afraid the show might be
cancelled. Three years ago I was at Bob's concert in Bad Reinchenhall. It was rain
there as well, but not so heavy. This time in Stra I had rain coats for all of us,
just for precautions. But when I asked my friend what Stra venue looks like, he
said it was a very nice place. So I realised concert would take place in a venue.
I was sure concert wouldn't be an open air concert. That's why I left my rain
coats in my car! Therefore before concert started we were wet to our bones. So
"Venue" was a nice place - but actually an open garden of Villa Pisani.
Opener in Sra was To Be Alone With You - very good opener for a cold crowd. It was
the first performance of the song on Europe 2004 NET. By my knowledge some other
songs Bob and the band played also for the first time in Europe this year - Make
You Feel My Love, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues and Standing In The Doorway. I have
listened to hundreds of boots in recent years, I was attended to six concerts
already, yet during Stra concert I got the chance to listen to eight songs I have
never heard live before! Including Forever Young! I felt a little bit strange
realising I was listening that song, which I had in my veins, for the first time
live! So my highlights were songs I have never heard live before: Forever Young,
Girl Of The North Country, Standing In The Doorway, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues,
Make You Feel My Love and Seeing The Real You At Last. But Cold Irons Bound was
the highlight of the show. My friend Cowboy thinks it was Most Likely You Go Your
Way (And I'll Go Mine) or If Dogs Run Free, but this is just a question of personal
The whole concert was very rocking. Songs like Cold Irons Bound (strong
and sharp, sound with an echo), Seeing The Real You At Last, Honest With
Me, Summer Days, Like A Rolling Stone, All Along The Watchtower, Most
Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) and To Be Alone With You
contributed the most to such a feel. However Girl Of The North Country,
Make You Feel My Love and I Believe In You were a good balance. It was
interesting to hear Like A Rolling Stone and All Along The Watchtower with
pedal steel guitar ! Because this is never ending - always changing tour
after all !
Bob's voice was very good. If my memory serves me well - better than last
year. He played lots of harp as well. And he was in a very good mood.
The new guy, Stu Kimball, fitted well in the band. However he will need
some time more in order to give his best. Larry, Tony and George are " the
best players on the stage" no doubt about it. Larry especially. They work
as a whole and they are able to follow every Bob's step or idea. I did not
like Freddie Koella so much. He was too rough for me, but sometimes even
he had a nice solos, I must admit. (In fact maybe I still miss Charlie
Sexton as I prefer softer sound.) But when Stu Kimball joined the band
sound of the band became much softer. So never ending changing Bob is in
action again !
By the end of the concert clouds have gone and some stars appeared on the
sky. So concert under rain and stars was over.
The next morning two friends of mine and me were heading toward Cernobbio,
about 400 km from Padova to the west. Unfortunately the rest of our
friends were on their way back to Croatia.
Review by Martin Schneider
I had expected a nice outdoor venue but the Villa Pisani was just
absolutely great. I even liked it more than the nice Alte Saline in Bad
Reichenhall where I enjoyed my first and so far best Bob Dylan concert
(until last weekend).
Great. I was not quite satisfied with the sound quality on all my previous
concerts but this time it was clear from the very first song that at least
as far as the sound is concerned it would be a great concert.
Oh my god!! I had spend quite a time looking at all the set list from the
previous concerts and I had some songs I really hoped to hear. Some of the
were realistic (Standing In The Doorway), others were more "speculative"
(Make You Feel My Love). But that night Bob could have played just about
anything, he was great on every single song. Nice clear vocals, great
backing from the band also (especially the guitar solos from Stu and
Larry). Highlights for me were the only accoustic song of the night, a
nice version of "Girl Of The North Country", "Make You Feel My Love",
"Standing In The Doorway", "If Dogs Run Free" (another nice surprise),
"Most Likely" and of course the encore (but also every other song). To
keep it short - that show just rocked (and that wasn't always the case
with Bob Dylan concerts)
A great show that made me look forward to Cernobbio with a big smile :)
page by Bill Pagel
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