Liverpool, England
King's Dock
July 12, 2001

[Nick Jordan], [Martin Garford], [David Reid], [Margot Crookshank], [Matt Reading], [Ian Blagbrough]

Review by Nick Jordan

The Circus Is In Town

The evening summer showers cleared on the drive over from Manchester -
heading for the Liverpool docks for a Dylan show that would be my 5th time
around - although my third show within a year, after two nights in a row
at Portsmouth last September. Travelling with my partner and three friends
- two of who had not seen Dylan before. We played the Gaslight Tapes as a
sort of contextual primer for the show.

The venue loomed against the grey Mersey river: a cartoon candy-coloured
striped circus/bedouin tent. Showtime was 8pm, so we filed into the venue
with the mixed crowd of Bobcats. We had good seats right down the front,
but at the side of the stage, on the first tiered bank - so we were
looking directly across the stage. Roadies tweaked the kit and the incense
was lit and the tent filled with the buzz of expectation. There was a
lengthy delay, allowing time to spot a few famous faces in the crowd:
writer Alan Bleasdale, local bad boy Derek Hatton, and somewhere behind
us, Elvis Costello, but I couldn't see him to be sure. Then the classical
music swelled, the lights dipped and "Columbia recording artist Bob Dylan"
ambled on stage through the darkness, and we were strait up and running

Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie

And a good version it was too. Loud and strong. Dylan, despite looking a
little frail and ragged as usual, struck an angled pose and nailed the
song. Crowd ecstatic. A few brief words with the band. I was hoping for
Song To Woody, as my friends are Woody Guthrie fans. Larry switches to
mandolin and we get:To Ramona

A good song for the number two slot. David Kemper played some load drums
which propelled the song along, and some nice phrasing from Dylan
suggested he was warming to the moment. Reading the setlists of this tour
I was hoping he would continue to regularly break out the harp. However, I
didn't expect it so soon. Not least on To Ramona. So it was great to hear
him blow a hard 3 note repetitive riff towards the end of the song, which
he pushed and developed as only Bob can. Crowd go wild at this and without
much of a pause we're into:

Desolation Row

And this is where Dylan is finally, truly, In The Zone. The singing was
very very good. Perhaps not as great as the version he did at Atlantic
City last November (which I think is one of Dylan's finest vocal
performances of recent times), but spectacular non-the-less. He really
stretched out the phrasing with his vocals and guitar, spinning the song
into uncharted grounds and mining the structure of the words for new
meaning. And that is what he does best - fragmenting and disentangling the
original context of these songs to build new ideas and references. And, on
a lighter note, it was apt to hear the lines "the circus is in town" in
this giant circus tent. Short break to slip on the electric guitars and

Maggie's Farm

Now I've heard a version from Ashville this year which has a great winding
guitar lick throughout from either Charlie or Larry. Tonight though was
most definitely Bob's night, and neither Larry nor Charlie would get a
look-in. This version was yet another new arrangement for the song. It's a
shuffling country-boogie beat that has a new stop start feature, similar
to Wicked Messenger or Drifter's Escape, where all the band stop playing
except the drums. Dylan again cranks out the blues harp, for an extensive
solo with plenty of knee bends and pointing the neck of his guitar at the
crowd. Now it seems this is going to be a special gig. Another quick
consultation on stage. Larry gets behind the steel guitar and I'm thinking
"Where Teardrops Fall" or "Shooting Star" please Bob, so I was a tiny bit
disappointed to hear the opening of:

Just Like A Woman

But it really developed into one of the best performances I've heard.
Dylan's guitar playing was really good throughout the night, and he played
some amazing sequences on this song. His guitar was mixed with nice
humming buzz to it, and he fired off some blazing notes over the melody of
the song. So I was really glad he played it after all. 

Song five this tour has been really unpredictable. No idea what to expect.
Blind Willie McTell perhaps? We get a good solid version of:

This Wheel's On Fire

Good back-up vocals from Larry and Charlie. More buzzing, shattering notes
from Bob. Back onto acoustic for:

Visions Of Johanna

An equal performance to the one I saw in Portsmouth. More good singing
from Bob, alternating between his "rough" and "smooth" vocals. I thought
we might get harp again but he kept to an exploration on his guitar which
weaved in and out of the song. Didn't think we'd get this with Desolation
Row in the same set. Then intoFourth Time Around

Great to hear this again. Sung not as tenderly as Portsmouth last year,
but expertly done - a nod to the Beatles perhaps, being in Liverpool? As
the song ended, Dylan slides over to Larry, said a few words to him and
played him the guitar melody of the song really slow, as if he was
teaching Larry how it should go. Larry just shrugged and laughed. Next
song:Boots Of Spanish Leather

Which is one of my favourites and one I wanted to hear. And a long
extended version too, with stretched out improvisation. Thought the
harmonica would be appropriate on this too but it wasn't to be. Back onto
the electrics for:

Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

Very loudly played with lots of energy. More fired-up solos from Dylan,
who by now was clearly having a ball, and there was no way Charlie or
Larry would steal his thunder. First time I've heard harmonica on this
too, and it hammered home on the song. Big huddle on stage again and then
Tony and David kick off:

Positively 4th Street 

Opening with that great descending bass line. More excellent phrasing from
Dylan: "Why dooooon't you just come out once and screeeEEEEEEeam it." Next
I thought we'd get the final song of the main set, so when the rumble of
the next song started I was surprised:

Cold Irons Bound

Really wanted to this new arrangement live. I think it's one of the best
things this band has cooked up. Sounds like Tom Waits meets the Grateful
Dead down a darkened windblown Chicago alley. Crowd go mad again, security
men grab cameras, shots of "Go on Bobby!" and we're into 

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat 

Which was a blast. At one point Dylan struck upon this three or four note
riff which transformed the song into something else entirely - Tony was
cracking up as Larry stepped up right behind Dylan and started copying the
same riff. Cheeky, perhaps. No band intros. The band do not do a formation
at the front of the stage anymore - just stand for a few moments at their
spots. Show over. First encore:

Things Have Changed

Hard version. Vocals a little bit like the Oscar performance (oh dear),
except that Dylan was adding a loud "Yeeeaaaahh" before he says "Things
have changed", which rescued it. At the end he went to the back of the
stage and came back out with the little Oscar and comically held it up to
the crowd for a few seconds. Very funny Bob moment. And then all hell
broke loose, because it's time for:

Like A Rolling Stone

And the crowd are now all standing and going ape shit. How does it feel
indeed. And Dylan satisfied the crowd's desire for a familiar soundtrack
to their past, while at the same time performing something new and vital.
From our position we could see clearly the dynamics between the band.
Dylan these days communicates everything through Charlie, who is now
literally his right hand man. Bob gives the nod and Charlie, who watches
Dylan's face constantly, looks and gestures to the rest of the band. One
nod to Charlie and Charlie nods to David, who breaks down the song to
allow Dylan the opening for another wild fuzzy solo. And so it goes on. 

The encores are now a roll call of Big Songs That Made Him Famous, so next
we get

Knockin' On Heaven's Door

And it's sung with feeling - "wipe these tears from eyes" - like he really
means it. And it's on this song that Charlie is finally allowed a few runs
up his fretboard. Then Larry switches back to steel guitar for:

All Along The Watchtower

Thunderous version, with the deliberately hesitant start. More nods from
Bob to Charlie and more solos from the main man. Larry is virtually
ignored by Dylan. Back to acoustics:

I Shall Be Released

Good vocals all round, and nice to have two Basement Tape songs in the
set. Back on the axe for:

Highway 61 Revisited

I thought either Larry or Charlie would step out into the spotlight for
this, as on all the previous versions I've heard. But tonight was most
definitely Bob's night, and so he even soloed here too. This is rock n
roll and this is what it sounds like from the man who drew the map. Then

Blowin' In The Wind

A rather sentimental way to send us home methinks. Wish he would drop it,
despite a good performance. But then I think we can all drop the hope that
he'll finish off with a solo rendition of Up To Me or something. But wait,
they're back:

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

And yes, he played some mean blues harp on this like his life depended on
it. A great silly song to round things up. Good fun. Still no band intros.
In fact, not a word to the crowd all night. But he twitched and waved and
stood swaying like the Chaplinesque puppet that he is. And then they were
gone. Onto the next show, the next circus for this spellbinding troupe of
wandering beat minstrels.



Review by Martin Gayford

I was really disappointed he played Oh babe it ain't no lie, To ramona and
Desolation row instead of Duncan & brady, Hollis brown and Baby blue but
that's just me.  He didn't seem to lift the performances to the level of
Desolation row at Wembly, Wicked messenger or Frankie Lee & judas priest
at Portsmouth last year (for example), but the show did have a strange
quality that I rather liked, even though Bob's singing could have been
better.  I really needed the toilet as Stuck inside of mobile started, and
went thinking that I probably wouldn't be missing much but got back to
find him playing a great harmonica break to end the song.  Maggies farm
had a good newish arrangement with Bob kind of rapping the verses to the
drums, Heaven's door also had a nice arrangement and even Rainy day women
had great harmonica and strangely considered singing.  I would have loved
to hear Tell me that it isn't true, We better talk it over, Song to woody
or Every grain of sand which we heard at the soundcheck, but we did get
good performances of Visions of johanna, 4th time around and Boots of
spanish leather, and I got a great view for the last 30 mins by standing
on the stairs and managed to get some nice pictures.  After the show I
felt that he could have put more into it, but that he did enough to remind
me that he's still with it (or not, depending on your preference).  And it
was nice to see him again.  


Review by David Reid

Bob, Liverpool and me, 36 years of connections.  It was good to be back
there on the riverıs edge with its  sense of space underneath a huge sky,
memories of childhood and youth - memories of Bob shows at the Odeon
Cinema in 65 and 66.  Bob and Liverpool, both share the burden of a past
almost too heavy to bear.  Both have gone through periods of stagnation
and then have been busy being born again.  Last nightıs show  was held in
a carnival tent but there was no sign of Blind Willie Mctell, hardly any
sign in terms of the set list of this being other than 1966.  Bob saw he
was at The Liverpool Pops Festival and give us his Œpopuları songs set. 
What a drag it is to see him do this I felt, what a drag it was for him to
be before us - or so it seemed as he feigned utter boredom during Pill
Box.   His voice was mostly harsh, but it was not that harshness shot
through with dark beauty that can be so thrilling to hear, it was often
just ugly sounding.  There were moments in the old songs when sparks began
to fly, both harsh and gentle, during Visions, Just Like a Woman and
Fourth Time.  What was most obvious was the intense energy and conviction
that became evident during the performances of Cold Irons Bound and Things
Have Changed.  These are Bobıs now songs, He sings them so well, phrasing
and sound of voice a perfect match for the desperation of these songs  -
the beauty in harshness is to the fore here,  a man singing for all his
worth and finding some celebration in still being alive in times when it
is difficult to know what oneıs worth is - heartbreaking songs about
trying to love and protect what one has treasured, trying to protect those
one has loved in times that have so many sides it is difficult to know
what should be cared about.  This sort of music making is why I am here
this night - thank you Bob.  But the rest of the show is no match for
these songs, and  the last few songs of the encore bore me to yawns and
taking a look around me I see the yawns are catching. It is an older
audience tonight, mostly 40, 50 plus.  The £10 hike in ticket cost
probably being inhibitive for much younger people. It is also the first
show since 1990 that I have known people remind seated for most of the
performance, but, as usual the crowd seems happy enough as they depart. 
The entertainer has pulled it off again.

David Reid


Review by Margot Crookshank

I have just read the 3 current reviews posted on the website for
Thursday's concert - what always strikes me when I look at Bob sites, they
 always seems to be from a male perspective, are there no women out there
with comments to make and feelings to be shared?

So here goes, my review of the concert from the female perspective which
is not just about the music but the WHOLE experience .

I fall into the 40 - ish category, my companion just past 50 (she first
saw Dylan on the IOW in 1969), so we were definitely amongst the 40s-50s
crowd one of the reviewers commented on making up the majority of the
audience. That's not surprising as Bob Ddylan has been with us all our
lives and he is a measure of our own mortality.  As long as he performs,
we will be there.

We live in Brighton on the south coast so we travelled all day to get to
Liverpool and were UP for it in every sense - my husband even said I could
f *** the great man if the opportunity arose.  And I guess that's what the
female perspective is all about for us die-hard girl fans.  No man has
ever written such great love songs/poems and looking at him/listening to
him when he finally came on stage just makes you want him so bad.

We arrived in time at the tent to drink some well-chilled champagne as
befitted the occasion. The atmosphere was one of great anticipation  and
the ongoing wait gave us the opportunity to talk about our shared passion
with the people around us including a girl (now 42) who was photographed
in 1966 with Bob Dylan in the streets of Liverpool.

At last, the great man came on and I think the delay and build-up added to
the charge of feeling in the tent and he could do no wrong. I went to
Wembly last October and thought I had died and gone to heaven but the
Liverpool show must be one of his finest.  I know he did not speak to us,
but does anyone else think he may have been just a little moved by the
roar of pleasure and appreciation that just grew and grew over the
evening? And he came back to perform a 21st number  when 20 is the usual

Until Thursday, I would never have imagined Desolation Row could be turned
into the sexiest dance rhythm, followed so soon by Visions of Johanna
given a Latin style.  I was knocked out by the contemporary delivery of
these two classics and that for me is his true genius as a live performer
- to give us the old songs we want to hear but at the same time give
something new and exciting.

And that's what he does, he GIVES.   A man of his years and wealth does
not need to carry on with such a gruelling schedule, so I hope he gets the
pleasure that he gives in equal measure.

Thank you Bob Dylan, you have enriched my life not just on Thursday but
for as long as I can remember and long may you continue to do the same for
countless others around the world and most importanly yourself.

>From a Brighton Girl.


Review by Matt Reading

The gig in Liverpool on Thursday was my 7th Dylan concert, and my 3rd this
year - following Gothenberg and Helsingborg the other week. Going into the
gig I was feeling slightly apprehensive. Gothenberg had been a fantastic
night, with Dylan in great spirits, but Helsingborg had been weird. A
couple of fantatsically angry performanced lifted that one, but Dylan
clearly didn't want to be there. I'd heard similar stories of Bob being in
a nasty mood in recent days, so it wasn't looking too good.

Anyway, this was my first all-seater concert, and it was nice to have a
couple of pints in the pub before the gig, with lots of Dylan t-shirts
milling round. The side effect of this was that, once seated, I began to
need the loo. They didn't let us in until half past eight, so I though I'd
be able to hold on 'till Dylan came on. I managed to hold out up to 8:20,
when I succumbed, and the resulting dash saw me back in my seat a good
10mins before Bob finally came on stage at about 8:45.

The first song, 'Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie', is one of my favourite openers
- and was pretty well done. The sound was very good and a lot louder than
usual. The crowd here was MUCH louder and more enthusiastic than the ones
in Sweden, giving Dylan a monumental reception. Bob didn't seem in that
good a mood, but he never does to begin with. The next song, 'To Ramona',
is not one I'm usually that fond of at the minute, and at Wembley last
year I was distictly underwhelmed by it, but Dylan sang it very well
tonight. The appearance of the harp at the end was very welcome, if the
solo itself was nothing special. Dylan seemed rather bored and annoyed
with his guitar the whole night, and his guitar playing on the whole was
pretty bad, I thought, especially when it came to the electric songs.

A lively and very well done 'Desolation Row' followed - rather better than
the one I saw in Gothenberg. Dylan's voice tonight was rather
hoarse...definitely not up to the phenomenal standards of last year's UK
tour, but he sang this song with the passion it deserves. Maggie's Farm,
next, worked fantastically as the electric opener...I love the new
arrangement of this song, pleying around with the rythmn, and the band
thowing out some fantastic blues licks. Dylan sang it pretty well, and
closed it off with a kick-ass screeching harp solo that really added a lot
to it, Dylan lurching all over the stage with his 'dancing', for want of a
better word for it. He seems in an okay mood. I'm just slightly too far
back to be able to see his facial expressions, but he wasn't nearly as bad
as Helsingborg.

The intro to 'Just Like A Woman' was very welcome, and although Dylan sang
it enthusiastically, he didn't stay too true to the gorgeous original
melody, and his voice seemed like it sometimes wasn't up to the tasks he
was setting it. Following this was one of the highlights of the night for
me, a great reading of 'This Wheel's On Fire', with those lovely harmony
vocals ringing true. It lent a nice feel to the show, after the last three
mid-60s songs. One of my criticisms of this gig would be that there were
too many 65-66 songs. Not that they aren't great (his best, really) but
they have a definite feel to them which led to a one-dimensional showcase
of Dylans myriad songwriting talents. This Basement Tapes song was great

Next up was my first hearing of The Big V - 'Visions Of Johanna'. There
was a very short intro during which I said to my neighbouring friend Ed
'You know what this is...!'...he didn't seem  click 'till the first line,
when a huge roar from my left signalled that the penny had dropped. It was
a very good performane - not as good as some recent one's I've heard, but
not half bad, and hey I was just pleased to be seeing it. One moment took
the shine off when Larry got a good telling-off from Bob for some reason,
making Dylan lose his concentation and mumble a line or two. '4th Time
Around' was great..a song that Dylan has made fit his voice well, but it
paled rather in comparison to the following 'Boots Of Spanish Leather'.
This was a song that I saw him do to great effect in Gothenberg, bu he
certainly surpassed it here, creating exactly the right mix of regret and
anger for this song. Definitely the highlight of the night for me.

'Stuck Inside Of Mobile' made it a very 'Blonde On Blonde'-y night, and
this seemed slightly half-arsed to me. Again the harp came out which was
welcome. It was alright, but certainly nothing special. 'Positively 4th
Street' was one I really wanted to hear. It was louder and less laid-back
than normal. Like in a lot of songs, Dylan's vocal intentions and his
phrasing were very good and interesting, but his voice didn't seem able to
stretch very far, or at least to where he was trying to make it go. 'Cold
Irons Bound' was very LOUD, as were all the electric rockers tonight. Most
of all, it was nice to hear something written post-1967, to be honest. I
do wish Dylan wouldn't ignore the vast majority of his post-60s catalogue
so much, but hey.

Dylan didn't appear in the best of moods during 'Leopard Skin Pill Box
Hat', there being long gaps between verses while he wandered around
looking annoyed at his inability to play a decent guitar solo. Whether it
was this annoyance or he simply forgot about it, he didn't introduce the
band at all, or indeed say anything to the crowd the whole night.

The encores on the whole were unmemorable, if good, versions of familiar
songs. 'Things Have Changed' particularly engaged Dylan, and the hoarse
vocals weren't such a barrier on this narrow-range song. As a nice touch
at the end, he showed off his Oscar to the crowd, holding it aloft and
generally looking pleased. His mood was truly very up-and-down tonight.
The other standout of the encores was 'Knockin' On Heavens Door' first
performance of this song. The new arrangement worked beautifully, and Bob
sang it very well. This was one of the highlights of the night for me...a
great performance of a classic song.

So, for me a very good gig, not scaling the heights of Gothenberg and
rather sixties-heavy. Having said that, I wouldn't have swapped 'Visions'
or 'Boots' or 'Knockin' for anything, and there were a few other very good
performances. I was relieved that Dylan was not in a strop tonight, but
his voice in general (apart from the few songs I've mentioned) wasn't very
impressive, however enthusiastic he was. Anyway, then it was on to
Stirling the next day for my last gig of the tour


Review by Ian Blagbrough

So, another day, another dollar, another evening of the never ending tour.  
After reading other recent reviews, you need to know where this is going, 
it will end with a ringing endorsement, but it must start in a negative, 
ignored and abandoned mode.  Try to stay with it to the end, I am sure it 
will be worth it.  The venue for Liverpool Thursday 12th July is a huge 
marquee, a big top, large enough to be six tents all combined into one.  
The seating for 4200 sold out on the day ticket sales opened, there were 
many (probably 100) ticket touts for spares, and the inevitable (girl) 
seeker for a free ticket at the doors to the first tent.  We arrived at 
7.50 for the 8.00 start, lots of talk of NO PLASTIC for drinks, even of 
water, this later (not much) turned out to be completely bogus.  Two huge 
lines for the seating, these moved quickly and 1,000 arrivals were quickly 
seated, only a few to arrive at 7.55 pm.

The set is a large stage in this tent, the iron-works and tent supports 
lit in blue and green, it is all really tasteful.   A huge white triangle 
of cloth across the back of he stage, a suspended circle of cloth directly 
above the performers, much could be made of the lighting, but the key fact 
was the Dvorak New World symphony which I thought was a rather nice touch 
on the way in ... more of this later …  8.00 pm comes and goes, 8.10 nothing 
new there.  8.21 new or possibly original set lists are now put out for this 
8.00 concert, 8.28 final Fender guitar tune, are they really so bad that they 
need tuning every few minutes?  8.30 lots of folks leave for the toilets, a 
general loo break interrupts the slow hand-clap around the tent.  8.40 cries 
of "come-on Bob" replaced by the second round of slow hand-clap, lots of short 
snatches of Dvorak, it is the New World Symphony (later parts) and so much 
better than listening to some out-of-tune folk CD that you would not wish to 
have been given.

8.47 pm Columbia Recording Artists … banality again ... here we are, the 
troubadour checks his speed to arrive on stage a short interval after the 
band.  What has happened back-stage for 45 mins?  Are we going to see grumpy 
Bob, is this "arguing over the set-lists" Bob, is it "I do not like them and 
they do not deserve me" Bob, or is it that there is only one night in England 
and so many have come to pay homage in the VIP tent (note, as an aside, that 
in all the Dylan gigs I've been to, I've seen lots of beer outlets, smelled 
lots of illicit smells, but there was actually a champagne tent, for the 
over-60s?).  Perhaps a reconstructed folk-singer like Bob prefers Anton 
Dvorak and champagne?

Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie opens the acoustic set, we settle down for the 
4 x 3 acoustic-electric setting which the recent lists prepare us for.  
Note that (I believe) this is an Elizabeth Cotten song, arranged by Bob, 
and more importantly that the band are immediately into it.  This is not 
the usual rubbish (sorry) of the sound-check to which I am now accustomed, 
whether Duncan and Brady, or Roving Gambler, rather the band and the singer 
are all together and seem on-the-ball from the off.  Then into To Ramona a 
beautiful and unexpected number, Larry on mandolin and Dylan playing a 
great mouth organ, actually the first of many.  What a delight these opening 
two, the voice is clear, not exactly singing, but certainly clear.  The band 
are together, and here comes They're selling postcards of the hanging, 
Desolation Row with the first lines quickly spat out, so we all know where 
we stand (and it turns out to be quite a mid '60s evening).  This was a 
grump-free opening and it boded well for the night.

The electric set starts with an awesome Maggie's Farm, and simply excellent 
mouth organ.  A point to note is that the troubadour has made an excellent 
recovery from the heart and lung infection, so that real length, strength 
and power went into these harp solos.  Always a favourite in England, it 
seems to me, we get a complete verse for the introduction to Just Like A 
Woman, closing off this section with This Wheel's On Fire, a smash hit in 
the UK and a most popular theme for "Ab Fab", but then there were not many 
under 20s or under 30s present, so many will know it as Bob's, if your 
memory serves you well.

The acoustic set returns with a telling Visions Of Johanna, and I doubt if 
we will hear this done better.  Now if it is a tribute to the Beatles 
(several museums 200 yards away), or a nod towards George Harrison and his 
recent serious operation, but we clearly get the Norwegian Wood introduction 
to her bringing her Jamaican rum, Fourth Time Around.  A splendid love-song 
follows, hauntingly delivered, one of the highlights was Boots Of Spanish 
Leather.  Others reviewers have remarked about the clarity of the lyrics, 
great attention to detail was paid here, it was a delight to be present, 
great brush strokes, it was lovely.  Stuck Inside Of Mobile, some power, 
less than I would have liked here, but still excellent mouth organ work.  
I am never so comfortable with Positively 4th Street, I always wonder who 
is the current target.  It was a good rendition.  All change, lots of 
confusion in the instruments, we get that elusive extra number, away from 
the '60s, TOOM Cold Irons Bound, haunting introduction.  The first set 
closes with Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.  Probably more work-a-day stuff, 
as was Maggie's Farm, but there can be no complaints, the standard was 
still high.

2 mins break and at 10.17 they are back with Oscar for the encore set.  I 
used to care, but …  Although other reviewers have highlighted that not a 
word was spoken between us, the band were not (even) introduced, but the 
troubadour arrives now front centre stage and punches the air three times 
with Oscar.  It got a great roar, the crowd went wild, the band appear 
more than happy.  Into those best of hits section in the set-lists, which 
are somewhat predictable, but a joy to join in with, LARS and then the 
gospel singers are at the mike's for the backing vocals (well done boys), 
and an excellent rendition of Knockin' with no visible yawning where we 
were standing (throughout this concert).  Some power unleashed for 
Watchtower, but I thought Charlie was subdued all evening.  An excellent 
I shall be released at #18, H61 crashed around, and the truly anthemic 
BITW to close out.  Surely 20 was enough, RDW, everybody must get stoned, 
for a final true encore.  Lots of mouth organ, surely the entertainer was 
enjoying himself in the black suit with the white piping and the white 
boots, stark white house-lighting here, no cat's in the well, no Dogs, no 
TUIB, no Tambourine man.  An excellent mixed set, incorporating Ramona, 
Johanna and Desolation Row.  These were highlights, I was so delighted 
they were included.  It is almost impossible to spot the songs in #2-7 
slots, for those who like to play the predicting game.

If you have tickets for Germany or Italy later on, I suggest that some 
arrangements approach Budokan, and that a lot of the mouth organ work makes 
Real Live worth a long hard listen.  For those reviewers who want a little 
more critical aspect, this must be tempered with the fact that it all wound 
up at 11.03.  We certainly got an on-form band and there was no sign of 
Mr Grumpy.  I have seen him at Birmingham's NEC for just half this concert 
(65 mins).  No, there was lots of Dylan on lead-guitar, and not just the 
three or one note wonders, there was plenty of mouth organ.  TUIB has 
received its (well earned) rest, begged for here by some, but we also got 
some stark lighting, powerful electric guitars, the occasional three and 
even one four-Fender machine-heads party, generally I thought Charlie, 
stage right was learning his trade, watching and being obedient all night 
long.  Purple-suited Tony and David gave a great lead, often excellent 
brush-strokes, and there was lots of serious counting and getting it 
together at the back.  Enjoy the Italian job, sincere thanks again to 
Bill Pagel for all his work.

Ian S. Blagbrough 


page by Bill Pagel

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