August 8, 2018
Review by Sean Tanner
DYLAN THROUGH THE AUSTRALIAN AGES
Prior to this evenings show, I once again reflected on the previous Australian
shows I had seen through the years. Hopefully my rambling allows me to put
tonight's performance in extra context.
1992 Perth Entertainment Centre
One of the most amazing performances I've seen. Did Dylan really play the
Hendrix song "Dolly Dagger!@ This was my first Dylan show and made a
lasting impression. He was captivating and when it was just him and his guitar
I was transported to the intimacy of those early club shows in the 1960s.
1998 Australian Tour Melbourne x2, Sydney x 2 + Wollongong
This was Dylan at his best. Each show was unique but the first Sydney show
was the best concert I've been to as I secured front row centre stage a few
feet from my idol. Listening to the band through the stage speakers/stacks
instead of the house PA was one of the greatest aural experiences of my
life. This was a great tour and well worth the expense of seeing and
travelling to 5 shows!
2001 Perth Entertainment Centre POSTING ON EXPECTING RAIN
"All in All, a great start to the Oz tour especially as there was no front
of stage standing allowed. Highlights: MR TAMBOURINE MAN, JUST LIKE A
WOMAN, STANDING IN THE DOORWAY,WICKED MESSENGER,
ROLLING STONE and HIGHWAY 61".
The 2003 Australian Tour featured Bill Burnette on guitar and a consistent
set list which seemed to be structured to suit him (he seem to struggle
badly). Bob himself was on piano and overall it was disappointing even
though the venue meant I could get nice and close (I did get to see Ray
Charles perform on that day so that was the memory that stayed with me).
2007 Burswood Dome, Perth POSTING ON EXPECTING RAIN
"Dylan has once more my friends taken me to another level. The depth and
the complexity of the performance by his band and himself was something I
cant recall witnessing before. But it is interesting that this was more
evident when he went on keyboards".
2011 Fremantle Blues & Roots Festival POSTING ON EXPECTING RAIN
"Sorry Guys, but it was a disappointment. I had marvelled at the
complexity, depth and beauty of the 2007 show but the Fremantle 2011
contained few standouts and " I hope that this was just an off night but
as said just found this show as being the most disappointing Dylan show
I've been too".
2014 - Riverside Theatre Perth Convention Centre
This was the best Dylan performance I've seen period, matching that special
night in Sydney 2008 - the band is just so tight and imaginative
I've not really enjoyed Dylan being solely on keyboards during past tours
but this time the experience was different. What was different? I think
its because I heard a change in his keyboard playing, those lovely guitar
runs that he did during the tours of the 90 seem to be now replicated on
keyboard and how I love it!
Bobs voice is seemed to be back to the strength it showed during 98 and
01 Australian tours in particular.
So how does Bob visited Perth in 2018 stack?
Jaw dropping to be honest. Is there any other artist that can just keep
being so inventive and imaginative- even discounting he is 77 years of age?
Although the set was the same as Singapore it just sounded so fresh - I can
say listening to You Tube clips doesn't do justice to the quality of this
current set in terms of playing, arrangement, texture and delivery.
Bobs voice sounded so fresh (best I've heard him to be honest!) and I love
his keyboard playing. He literally sings and plays over the band to great
effect with an occasional bum note which merely adds to the experience.
His piano licks remind me of his guitar doodling's in the late 90s/early 00's sets.
There is so much freshness in this set - this tour we have lost the crooning
numbers but there is the odd throwback to know its still there - Soon After
Midnight comes to mind. The arrangement although faithful to the studio
release seemed to have extra texture more fitting to a studio take than you
would expect at a live show.
What were the standouts - well I love the current arrangement of It Ain't
Me Babe and the very heartfelt lament that is Don't think Twice. Also up
there is Sun Studio sound on Duquesne Whistle (this had a big band swing
sound hat reminded me of benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey etc), Thunder
in the Mountain and a radical re working of Honest With Me (took me at
least 20 secs to pick the song so radical did it sound).
Major standout is the Peter Gun inspired reworking of Gotta Serve Somebody
a fitting nod to the Trouble No More Box Set that was a release I've yearned
for years (Love that Gospel era).
But wait there's more - Love Sick is taken to another level with an intensity
that King Crimson would be proud of (Bet im only person who will think that
but these are my ears!)
And the encore - one of my fave songs Ballad of a Thin Man - for me its
the song with Like a Rolling Stone that sums up that 1965-66 period.
Down side? - To the bloke behind me who seriously said after To Make You
Feel My Love - Wow he just covered Adele! Grrrrrrrrrrr and a dirty look cast
by me over my shoulder.
To the rest of Australia, enjoy Bob and the Band they are sounding amazing.
Don't You Miss it!
Review by George Christos
The concert was held at Perth Arena, which is a fantastic venue. I was
surprised it held so many people. Someone said there were 15,500 people
there, which may be close to the mark as even though 2 sections in the
stands were not used and the capacity is something like !4.800, they had
people on the floor in front of the stage.
The songs he played were:
1. Things Have Changed (Bob on piano)
A super song to start with. Fabulous. Not as upbeat as the remastered
single but more lively than the performance he gave in Sydney 2000 when he
won an Oscar for this song and performed it live at the Academy Awards.
It was a treat. Just lovely.
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on piano)
It took me awhile to recognised this song. I am pretty sure he did a bit
of harmonica in it too. He has done better.
3. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on piano)
This was a very rocky version. Not one of my favourites songs but this was
really good tonight.
4. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on piano with harp)
This was a slightly sad rendition of the song. Super.
5. Duquesne Whistle (Bob on piano)
Nice upbeat version similar to single/album.
The band held together really well and were quite tight, not just for this
song but for the whole night.
6. When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob on piano)
I thought this was a relatively ordinary version of this great song. He
did a nice harmonica solo at end.
7. Honest With Me (Bob on piano)
Not as rocky as the song on the album that he won a Grammy for best rock
song of the year. I have heard Dylan do this better but nothing to
8. Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on piano with harp)
This is one of my many many favourite songs. It was a bit low-beat and a
bit slurred out for my liking but Bob waits to keep changing his songs and
produce new stuff with them. I get that.
9. Make You Feel My Love (Bob on piano with harp)
This was super although I thought the music was slightly too intense/loud
and competed with his voice. This included a beautiful harmonica solo by
Dylan. At this point I was feeling that Dylan was trying to use the voice
style he used in the 1980s when he played with Tom Petty and he recorded
Empire Burlesque. Interesting.
10. Pay In Blood (Bob on piano)
This was good. Loved it.
11. Tangled Up In Blue (Bob on piano)
This was a strange rendition. It was a very down-beat and slow version. It
sounded ok, but nothing like original. He almost spurtted out the words
“tangled up in blue”. I was still impressed with his band again. They
were really rocking.
12. Early Roman Kings (Bob on piano)
13. Desolation Row (Bob on piano with harp)
This was super, absolutely one of the highlights.
14. Love Sick (Bob on piano)
Very nice. Another highlight of his performance. He sang it as if he was
sorry for the person who made me love sick and now didn't really care any
more about the lost love he endured. Interesting.
15. Don't Think Twice, It's All Rights (Bob on piano)
I like this song but it would just squeeze into my top 100 or 200 of my
favourite songs, but this version was fantastic. Maybe the best song of
the night even. He really tried to lift his vocal pitch during the song.
This was very noticeable. I love the way he sometimes reinvents a song and
this was one of them tonight for me. Probably one of the best of the
night. Dylan seemed really confident in his voice which was great to see
as a huge Dylan fan. Incredible version.
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on piano)
This was okay. It was more of a pleasure watching the tight knit band
working together on this song and most songs during the night. Sometimes I
felt the music was too loud over Dylan voice though.
17. Soon After Midnight (Bob on piano)
18. Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on piano)
Another highlights of the night. Very powerful. Very rocky.
19. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on piano with harp)
Keyboard support player played violin, which was a nice touch. The
performance was very nice, quite different but not the greatest version I
have seen him do. Sorry Bob. Included a powerful harmonica solo. That was
20. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on piano)
This is my least favourite song on his Highway 61 Revisited album, mainly
because the other songs on this album are so good, but Dylan did a superb
version of this tonight, a version I really liked. Very rocky.
Dylan and his band really rocked tonight for almost 2 hours straight.
There were reflections of the master of 1966 during the night like he was
conducting or orchestrating the band which was great to see. Dylan seemed
very confident in his vocals. The music by his band was very sharp and
tight knit most of the night. A very rocky performance. At times, I felt
Dylan seemed to revert to his 1980s persona voice. Sometimes I could even
hear the MTV unplugged Dylan coming through a bit. But for a considerable
part of the night I felt like I was watching the creative master of the
1960s. An absolute treat. The lighting on the stage was too bright. It
made it hard to see Bob Dylan with all of the reflections off the
instruments in front of him and around him. I think they should have
dimmed the lighting at times, maybe even put the lights just on bob
especially when he played the harmonica solos and was absolute basking his
keyboards. I think Bob should have done a second encore and played "Like a
Rolling Stone". It would have bought the house down for sure, but was not
to be. Dylan vanished as Dylan does. As I am writing this, I can see he
basically did the same set-list as in Singapore, which is in hindsight a
bit disappointing. It would have been nice if Dylan played guitar on one
song but with the talented guitarists he has, why would he even compete.
Dylan played the harmonica quite a lot which is always a real treat for
his hardened fans, like me. Dylan really pounded the keyboards at time. He
looked so energetic for a man who is supposedly 77. Overall I would give
this a 9 out of 10. He should have changed his Singapore play-list and
come back for a second encore with “Like a Rolling Stone”. It would
have been nice if he spoke to the crowd. I know he rarely does this, but
most of us know this is probably the last time we would see him. It would
have been nice if he said something, anything.
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