page by Bill Pagel
Review by Dario Capra
So another time Bob's come and gone. This year the novelty was Stu Kimball
and some new arrangements, and I heard for the first time in a Bob's
concert the echo effect on his voice: yesterday in Stra on Cold Irons
Bound and tonight again on Watchtower (but not yesterday). Stu is a great
rocker, his guitar can be soft and keen and hard, and although I somewhat
miss Freddie Koella sensibility (expecially for the solos he used to make
last year on To Be Alone With You and Tom Thumb's), his guitar give to the
band a power that in the harder songs is most impressive. In these two
nights 12 out of 17 songs changed, so in Italy we could hear the band play
29 different songs, with a pretty good fiddle solo (Larry) on Floater and
other very hard and sublime solos and songs pulled ahead by a rhytmic
section that has few equals, to me, in the world. These two italian dates
leaves the impression that the band and Bob's are not only alive and well,
but even growing: so the so it's natural to say again "Bob, see you next
year". A wish to him, a hope for us.
Review by Sergio Castelberg
I live in Switzerland and therefore had to travel a bit to see Bob this
time. I departed for Italy at around 2 pm, which turned out to be way too
early. I arrived at Cernobbio at around 5 pm and spent about four hours
waiting, hoping it would be worth it. … It was.
Bob and the band came out at around 9:15 and opened with Maggie's Farm,
the opener I had been hoping for because I never heard them do this song
live so far. Bob looked fairly happy and his voice sounded as good or bad
(depending on one's taste) as ever.
I was hoping not to hear Baby Blue again in the number two slot, since I
heard that in Zurich last November. I was delighted to hear a nicely
delivered Times with Bob singing the refrain line with much more
conviction than I heard him sing it in 2002. It was on this song that Bob
delivered a very nice harmonica-solo (and for me the only one that really
I got treated to yet another song I had never heard him do before: Down
Along the Cove. Good performance again. I was also starting to realize
that Stu really fits into this band. Larry seemed to feel the same,
judging from his smiles in Stu's direction.
Just Like a Woman was next, and it was great. Bob seemed to like the fact
that people were singing along on the chorus.
Floater started out with Bob stumbling over some words. However, it went
down well. It was great to see Larry play violin on this. Last time I
heard them, he played guitar.
High Water was very good again. My first time to hear this arrangement of
it. Good singing by Bob.
I Don't Believe You was another first time for me. Bob sang it with fun
and conviction. Good solos from both Larry and Stu.
What followed was the highlight of the night for me: Boots of Spanish
Leather. Bob's singing was just BEAUTIFUL, and it was only slightly
spoiled by some guy trying to sing along and clapping practically after
Highway 61: Nice rocker. Bob seemed to be irritated with George at one
point. Obviously they had worked out a new arrangement and he (George)
forgot it at first. After that it rolled along just fine.
Ballad of Hollis Brown was another highlight, nicely sung and played.
Forever Young was a surprise. Not the song, but the way Bob sang it, which
is with conviction. Nice.
Honest With Me started off strange. To me, it looked as if Bob had
forgotten the beginning of the first verse. He was just standing there and
waiting, while the band waited too. then, all of a sudden he seemed to
remember the lyrics and started singing, however in the wrong place. The
band had to "turn things around" to adjust. Other than that it was a good
performance, although it will never be my favourite song.
Every Grain of sand was ok. I thought it sounded somewhat
another-day-on-the-job-like. Still, it was nice to hear it again, with the
exception of the harmonica-solo, which nearly ruined the song. Bob noticed
that too; he looked at the harp as if to ask, "What's wrong with you,
The well-known set-closer rocked. It was nice to hear Larry's jazzy solo
and Stu's rocking licks as a contrast. Bob seemed to have a ball, since he
let them play on and on, and they all smiled a lot during this one.
The encore started out with A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, a nice surprise.
Like a Rolling Stone and Watchtower rocked. I personally liked Larry's
pedal steel on those songs a lot. It adds a nice touch.
Bob's band introduction surprised me. He took the mic in his hand and
walked around on the stage. He said, "Thank you! Thank you indeed! Give
Larry Campbell a warm hand! On the steel guitar … pretty strong … Larry
Campbell! On the guitar, Stu Kimball! Stu Kimball! George Receli's on the
drums! He's the best drummer … on this stage! And Tony Garnier (laughs) is
playing on bassguitar tonight!" That's pretty long for Bob.
It is obvious to me that Bob is doing now what he wanted to do for years.
He's being a song and dance man. It is the Bob Dylan-Band, with Bob as
their bandleader. It works!
Glad I made this journey! Till next time Bob!
Review by Nina Hochstrasser
My fifth Dylan concert started in an unusual way: me and my family had expected the Villa Erba as a
concert hall with seats but were confronted with a lovely open air setting! What a nice surprise!
Bob and his band started almost on time, the crowd was already yelling for him. With me were my
sister and my boyfriend, both of them - not really listening to his music very often - had never
seen a Dylan concert before. So I had to play the recognising-the-songs-game all alone…
It wasn't that easy that night. As usual, most songs came along in heavily transformed versions, of
which I liked all the pieces from the "Times They Are A-Changin'" album best: "Hollis Brown", "Boots
Of Spanish Leather" and of course "Times" itself were really nice.
Although grateful that they didn't play "Tweedle Dee" at this show, I enjoyed the "Love and Theft"
stuff quite a lot, the songs were most powerful and they rocked. My two companions were even dancing
"Forever Young" and "Every Grain of Sand" cooled the ambiance down a bit. But it was only to prepare
us for the encores. They again consisted of "Rolling Stone" and "Watchtower" which I had already loved
very very much in Zurich in november 2003. But before those Bob did something that I had never seen
before at one of his concerts. With his very special voice he presented his band to us and while he
did this, he even laughed a couple of times! In my opinion this was one of the highlights of this set,
Bobs talking to the people and his laughter.
But after that, it did even get better! "Hard Rain" was so incredibly touching, especially the last
verse that always seems to go on and on an, getting more and more intense and seems to never be
finished - incredible! And it was not only me feeling this, the crowd around me was very touched
Between "Hard Rain" and the next song - "Rolling Stone" - we didn't get any break, they just coninued
to play. It was the first song my sister knew well and when they were halfway through she said: "When
you know the songs, it's much better!" Everybody who knows Dylans concerts but not all of his songs
will agree with that statement. Although the band is really fantastic, it is much more interesting to
watch the songs develop in a completely new version.
"Rolling Stone" was great, too, nobody did expect anything else. But it did even get a little better
with "Watchtower". That was the highlight of the evening - I think it didn't rock that much in Zurich
last year, in Cernobbio it was simply marvellous! I would describe it as a cover version of Jimi
Hendrix's cover version, there was pure rock'n'roll in it! Great! And if my ears didn't trick me, they
started the song with a quote of some Ennio Morricone theme - maybe as a special greeting to Italy?
Review by Borivoj Terek
Monday, July 12, 2004 about 10 PM. I am back from Italy as well as from my
trip I had last week along the beautiful Croatian coast, and now it is a
high time to start my late review of the Italian part of Bob's 2004 NET.
Late review because of the time of the day I am writing this, because of
some other things you'll find later on while reading this review, J as
well as of the fact I was standing in front of the stage in Cernobbio
listening to Bob exactly ten days ago - so my review is a quite late. Yes
indeed! J However I believe it is worth to put some words just for the
Cernobbio is a very nice place situated on Como lake. Some ducks were
swimming on the lake that afternoon while some guys were playing
Desolation Row, Like A Rolling Stone, Shelter From The Storm and some
other songs by the lake. A local journalist interviewed them for a local
radio station J
It was Saturday, and a terrible hot day. Is it possible that Never ending
tour affects the weather as well? J The day before we were wet, today we
are hot and dry! Yesterday was cloudy, rainy day, today the sky is without
We were at Villa Erba, about 7 PM. Open air concert again. But this time I
had my rain coats - just in case J
Concert, scheduled at 9 PM, started with just a small, let's say, usual
delay. Opener - Maggie's Farm! It was nice to hear that song live after
three years again - having in mind that this song has some new meaning for
me these days. I expected some song from Stra might appear then, but Bob
had a different approach. He played ten songs in a row which he had not
played in Stra! The eleventh song on Cernobbio set list was Forever Young
and, in fact, the first song from Stra! During the Cernobbio concert Bob
played twelve new songs comparing to set list from Stra. Quite unusual,
but extraordinary in fact. So we got the opportunity to listen to 29
different songs in two different concerts - sometimes one have to attend
four or five concerts to pick such amount of different songs! It was
This time I've got five songs I have never heard live. Some of them were
my highlights as well: Boots Of Spanish Leather, Ballad Of Hollis Brown
and High Water (For Charley Patton). But A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall was
maybe the best. This song is one of my favourites and at the same time it
was the first performance of this song on Europe 2004 NET. We had an
opportunity to listen to Every Grain Of Sand, Just Like A Woman and The
Times They Are A-Changin'. I was also glad Highway 61 Revisited, Down
Along The Cove and I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
were on set list as well.
Comparing to Stra, this concert was much more softer. This feeling came
from so different set list comparing to Stra. But don't get me wrong - I
didn't say concert was bad - no, just contrary - it was great! Different
to the core! Cowboy Angel preferred Stra - I think I prefer Cernobbio to
Stra ! It was never ending-changing tour in action again. We were lucky we
had such opportunity to see two different concerts just in two days!
Bob was in a very good mood. Lot of laughing, and during band introducing
some funny comments. We saw his "drunk" walks across the the stage as well
J By my opinion he made only one mistake during playing Just Like A Woman
having harp solo while Larry was playing a main melody line, in fact a
guitar solo, as well. Usually two solos in the same time are not so
common. But for me, Bob compensated everything during extraordinary
rendition of A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall!
Band was good all the time. Larry always impresses me. This time Along
The Watchtower had the echo effects. Something new again!
By the end of Cernobbio concert I was totally dry, and when last
searchlight went off, I had a bottle of water as all beer has gone
already. So concert in the heat by the lake was over as well. See you next
year Bob ! Maybe in Croatia finaly as well !
Review by Martin Schneider
Also a nice setting for a Dylan concert. Maybe not as nice as Stra but how
could it get even better than Villa Pisani?
Again very good sound.
I spend quite a time thinking how many songs he would change from
yesterday's set in Stra and I promised my brother, who went with me, that
Bob would never play the same concert twice. And so we stood there and
waited for the first song repeatition. And we waited as long as song
number 10 (Forever Young, which had been the first encore in Stra).
Actually there were 12 new songs that night. And that was a really cool
surprise. Again all the songs were really good, so I just want to pick out
some highlights that come to mind: "Boots Of Spanish Leather", "Ballad Of
Hollis Brown", "Floater" (with a really cool violon solo by Larry, which
unfortunately didn't get applauded by the audience like it would have
deserved), "The Times They Are A-Changin'", "Just Like A Woman" and nearly
Another really great show.
page by Bill Pagel
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