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Review by Annie White
What can I say!! What a concert! Starting at around 7.45 with
'Hallelujah I'm Ready To Go' - through to the final 'Blowin' In The
Wind' - it was just superb. Where did two hours go? By the time it had
finished I was just ready for it to start all over again.
Cardiff CIA is a really nice venue - not too big- we had seats on the side
but with a good view - even without binoculars. And there also seemed to
be plenty of room for those standing to move around without being hemmed
The absolute highlight for me was the harp solo on 'Don't Think Twice' -
sooooo emotional - also the slow, studied 'Tryin' To Get To Heaven'. And
whilst I do love 'It's Alright Ma' I was so hoping for 'Desolation Row' -
and there it was! (Whilst driving across the Downs in Bristol prior to
going to Cardiff for the concert I couldn't help but notice the Moscow
State Circus was in town - was this an omen - the circus *was* in town -
yes it was!)
A friend of mine (Hi, there Phil!) said just before the concert that it
would be really nice if Bob did 'Blind Willie McTell' - can you think of a
more obscure choice - but there it was at number 8!!
I had thought that I could well live without 'Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat'
but it was brilliant when it came.......'Watching The River Flow',
'Forever Young' & 'Tombstone Blues' also highlights. Shame about no 'Mr
Tambourine Man' or 'Times' but I guess he can't do it all in one show. I'm
kind of glad that I'm not so over-Bobbed/jaded that I didn't enjoy TUIB &
would also have loved to hear RDW.
Having followed the progress of this tour via rmd & Bill Pagel's site, the
concert had a strangely deja vu feel - it was like experiencing something
that I had read about - only with subtle differences.
Bob's band was superb (loved Tony's purple suit and his ever watchful eye
- for UK readers - do you remember the Hofmeister ad's for 'Follow The
Bear', that's just what Tony reminded me of - and Larry's cool- and Bob's
boots (those on his feet, ok) get a special commendation - as of course
does the Main Man himself - looking and sounding great. To those of you
who still have concerts to enjoy - enjoy!! My only regret is that I only
booked the one concert...I now understand why people are prepared to spend
weeks of their life following Bob around!
Finally, based on the very remote possibility that Bob might actually read
this - thanks for everything - for brilliant concerts and brilliant
recordings and just for being everything that you've ever meant to
anybody.......may God bless and keep you always!!
Review by Peter Wembley
"Where do I begin . . . on the heels of Rimbaud moving like a dancing bullet
thru the secret streets of a hot New Jersey night … "
Words from the liner notes of the "Desire" album. Where do I begin indeed
with this review. Having seen Dylan in Birmingham only three days ago and
now at Cardiff I feel emotionally overloaded but here I my thoughts.
I do think that he still manages to sing each song afresh although when he
picked up his harp for the second time in "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"
I did think, perhaps twice? That he seemed a bit tired. I would not like to
see him continue to tour if he got past it. Perhaps, however, I've had too
much of a good thing?
The Cardiff show had the same number of songs as the previous seven shows
since Vicar Street in Dublin. Once Dylan had sung "Bowin' in the Wind" I
knew the show had ended despite the guy next to me in his sing song Welsh
accent insisting that his cheers would bring the maestro back once more.
Again I was standing, this time only nine or ten rows back and I had a clear
and uninterrupted view of the whole stage, only slightly impaired, when a
chap with a Dylan imitation haircut decided to move in front of me, when
the electric set started with "Country Pie" - song seven. Perhaps this chap
was nervous of security, because two of the security staff had just walked
away a man who was recording the show. I don't know how security had spotted
this man in the crowd, but the two security men had confronted him. The only
thing I could see about him at first, was the fact that he was looking at the
stage through binoculars, which I thought was a bit strange as we were so
close to the front, but once security frisked him, I saw his little tape deck
and the other damning evidence. I think the security pointed to the back of
the hall and I think the guy's punishment was then to see the rest of the
show from a distance.
Although the sets are obviously very well rehearsed and planned in advance
it is nice that he varies the songs a bit. At Birmingham he had opened with
"I Am The Man, Thomas" but last night at Cardiff the first number was
"Hallelujah, I'm Ready To Go"; and we were. The crowd responded right through
the entire set.
Dylan seemed to be particularly concerned with someone or a small group, to
the right of the stage, the audience's right, Dylan's left. He seemed almost
to bow, to dance, to sway. He would bend his left leg, then his right then
both, almost kneeling on the stage, waving his guitar down then up as he
twanged incredible notes.
As in Birmingham he was very animated, dancing as only Dylan can dance and
playing in a very relaxed and laid-back way. At 59 this man is still one
of the coolest guys on this planet.
He seems to play lead guitar most of the time but occasionally gets a bit
lost which is when Larry Campbell comes to the rescue. Tony Garnier seems
to just look at him like a faithful old retainer and seems to genuinely
enjoy Dylan's performance.
The second song was "My Back Pages". Now if I was put on a desert island
etc etc and had to take just one Dylan song this would be it. Taken from
"Another Side of Bob Dylan" which every Dylan fan will know is his fourth
album, recorded in just one night on the 9th June 1964 with the aid of a
couple of bottles of Beaujolais and producer Tom Wilson, it tells of his
re-awaking youth after his time with the old folkies of Greenwich Village.
"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now". I hope this applies
to me. I love this song and to hear it live was stunning. When he returned
in the second part of the show and sang "Forever Young" I had similar
thoughts. Like in Birmingham he seemed to me to sing "Forever Young" with
real tenderness. I love the words and the hymn like quality of the song.
"May God bless and keep you always, May your wishes all come true" and
"May you have a strong foundation, When the winds of changes shift".
Dylan sand Desolation Row for his third song and then three other acoustic
numbers. The full set list appears on this web site.
I had the pleasure of attending the Cardiff show with the son of a friend,
a young student just about to start his second year at Oxford University.
He enjoyed the show. It was his knowledge of playing the guitar that helped
me to see Dylan's slight slips and Larry's help. He also wondered if Dylan
perms his hair!
Review by Markus Prieur
Now, this was a powerful show, last night in Wales. As the Welsh audience
was more responsive than the ones at the huge English venues before, the
energy was clearly flowing both ways. In front of the nice city centre
venue we met Monika and Ulrike, two of the most faithful continental
concert goers, who we had met at many a German show. They jumped on the
tour train last night, riding along until Paris. When they were spotted by
the maestro on stage, there was a most interesting reaction, including
smiles and guitar pointing. Very amusing. The show itself was one of the
finest on this tour yet, even though there were but three additions to the
(61 by now) song-list. Ten repetitions from the night before, but each one
was most powerful and special, as if he did not perform them often. His
voice was as good as it gets and standing in the fourth row facing Tony,
we could hear it very good. “MY BACK PAGES” included violin and harp in
harmony, and my third “DESOLATON ROW” six verses. The guitar-less
harp-dance at the end of “DON’T THINK TWICE” was priceless. The third
omission in a row of “RDW” just added to my enjoyment of the show. The
only song I had never seen before was an acoustic version of “THE BALLAD
OF FRANKIE LEE AND JUDAS PRIEST”, which was told in a manner, which simply
left me speechless. Outstanding is the only word for it. (“Don’t go
mistaking paradise for that home across the road.”) He could have sung 15
times “TANGLED” after that. But no, there was more to come, as he pulled
out one of his eighties-masterpieces, “BLIND WILLIE MC TELL”, in the
number eight surprise slot. (“God is in his heaven, and we all want what’s
his.”) Dylan the band leader beckoned Charlie to play some nice guitar
breaks on this one. (We had seen this gem before in Essen 1998. where it
had not even been on the cue sheet.) The third addition, “WATCHING THE
RIVER FLOW”, we witnessed already for the third time (after Nurburgring
and Bremen 1998). I always like to hear it, especially on a night like
this, although I do think that Bob has much to say these days. Which
brings me to some comments on my two favourite songs of this great Cardiff
setlist, “HALLELUJAH I’M READY TO GO” and “TRYIN’ TO GET TO HEAVEN”.
“HALLELUJAH” was performed for the second time on this tour, and this time
his voice took the chorus to places I had not heard before. Simply
amazing. The lyrics are as challenging as can be (see the relevant page on
my website “Not Dark Yet”), and the combination with the new and slow
“TRYING” made his confession all the more direct (those two songs appeared
last together on the Horsens-setlist). While performing “TRYING”, Bob
mixed up the lyrics, being “all around the world” already at the end of
verse three. He then continued with the last verse (which he omitted in
Dublin and B’ham), inserting however the buggy ride from verse four in it,
and ended with the “sugar town” line, which I never heard him perform on
stage before. No, I am not going to read a secret message out of it. I
just noticed it, that’s all. The third verse started with “People at the
station (sic), waiting for the train.” We all know, that the train-image
is an important one for Bob. I never saw last night’s opener in connection
with that, but in hindsight he sang “HALLELUJAH” like someone who just has
been handed a vital train ticket, someone who is “well dressed, waiting on
the last train” the slow train coming, which is picking up speed, as this
world can’t stand long. People get ready, there’s a train a-coming.
Hallelujah, I’m ready to go. - Powerful indeed. As our car is rolling
through the English rain towards Portsmouth (we don’t have tickets for the
first show yet; it might be my 30th Bob date), I am grateful that the
greatest living artist keeps on using his greatest gift to tell his
audience once in a while: “Don’t wait, before it’s too late, he’s a
wonderful Saviour to know.”
Review by Brian Lewis
Dylan was on cracking form. This was a much better show than the 1995
and 1997 shows at Cardiff. The arrangements were new on a number of songs
and there were a few more unusual choices in the set list. I was
especially pleased to hear 'Blind Willie Mctell' and 'Watching the River
Flow'. There was a very good light show and the sound was excellent for
Cardiff Arena which is generally fairly abysmal. Dylan really seemed to
enjoy playing and the band were very tight. Any fans in any doubt should
get out and see this show.
Review by Stephen Smith
I got into Bob nearly 10 years ago while at college but Saturday night (on
my 30th Brithday) I finally got to see him live. What an amazing
experience ! I had expected him to be good but this was way beyond my
expectations. Even my wife, who was only there to humour me, was
Throughout the week before I had been hoping for three particular songs ;
Desolation Row, Don't Think Twice and a long shot Simple Twist of Fate. To
get two out of three was brilliant.
I am by no means a Dylanologist and I have nothing to compare the song
performances against but I was completely blown away by DTW, TUIB and
Blind Willie McTell.
Thanks Bob and come back soon !
Review by firstname.lastname@example.org
This may be bollox, and I can't be bothered with the grammar, but if this
is of any interest to you, I'll give you my thoughts. I love Bob Dylan,
from a time dating back to 1976 when I was a 'fag' at an Engish Public
School and I first heard 'Like a Rolling Stone' and 'Blowing in the Wind'
from the live album with the Band. Since then, I've seen him maybe 15-20
times. This was the second time I've seen him in Cardiff. My wife and
I arrived at 6pm, and started to queue for the 6.30pm opening. At 6.20pm
at the bequest of Dylan's own security, the Cardiff security admitted
about 150 people to the concert arena, 10 minutes before the main doors
opened. This obviously allowed us to take up key positions and my wife
and I were front row, centre stage. The Cardiff security people told us
that Dylan was hacked off with playing to the same faces in the front rows
for all his concerts and had instructed his security to pick out people
from the crowd to fill the first few rows. When Dylan came on, he was only
20 feet from us and one couldn't help but gaze straight up into his face.
This made me quite uncomfortable. I don't know whether he could see us
through the lights but it appeared to us, that he was looking back into
our eyes. This unsettled me and I felt uncomfortably voyeuristic. I
could see how a normal person presented with the constant stare of
thousands of strangers would feel oppressed and seek to avoid it. In a
word, I felt embarassed. Dylan looked old. On stage he tends to grimace
which, from afar I think is mistaken for a smile. I don't know if he
enjoys the concerts, but all the talk of his 'enjoying himself' and using
evidence of his 'jigs' is phoney. Close up he appeared the consummate
professional. He appeared fully aware of the response he would get, and I
felt he was simply indulging the audience. All power to him for that, but
to congratulate oneself that one has witnessed something 'special' would
be wide of the mark. Dylan's work requires no justification from me or
anyone else and I felt, perhaps for the first time, how my involvement was
eating at the man himself. Enough of the heavy stuff, the show was good.
The highlights included 'Halelluliah...', 'My Back Pages', a sublime
'Judas Priest and Frankie Lee', 'Trying to get to Heaven..., 'Don't Think
Twice' and 'Forever Young'.
Review by Neil Dunlea
Dylan Live and in person Tour 2000
I decided aftermuch deliberation and some trepidation to spend a week of
my hard won holidays on the trail of Bob Dylan in England. Little did I
realise that I was effectively entering another dimension soon to be
labelled the Dylan dimension. Took a ferry from Dublin port early in the
morning before the dawn had broken and drove furiously from Holyhead to
Newcastle. Correction - navigated while my compatriot (who shall
henceforth be known as Mr Kearns) drove. Met some Dylan people that night
in Newcastle and I have to say I was at first wary of them but also
initially surprised by the extent of their dedication to the Dylan trail.
Many tales of Dylan delights were recounted and a graph was drawn
describing the quality of Dylans' live performances over a period of ten
years. The graph bottomed out in 1992, had a high peak in 1995 and the
highest peak for most present was 1999 - 2000. There was consensus on the
overalldebate centring around a switch of peaks as in 1995 instead of 2000
being a peak. Armed with all this information, I was still not overly
excited though I could point to exhaustion as an excuse after the early
morning drive and the tasty Spitfire ale and ferry trip.
Queued in the pissing rain and wind outside the venue but met some
interesting people. Time has dimmed my memory of the show but I
rememberbeing blown away by the white heat rock and roll of many songs
once the band found their groove. I found Dylan to be simply superbly
professional in Newcastle and in Birmingham and Sheffield. He rarely put a
foot wrong except perhaps when his guitar sounded a little out of tune on
Rolling Stone in Sheffield but even that sounded charming. I had a small
theory that Dylan was almost playing a greatest hits package in these
shows to keep his name in lights in England for his next album. Cardiff
was the real eye opener for me. Dylan was forceful and in total command
from the off. He sang with such assurance and authority and emotional
power that the combined effect was almost overwhelming and I now have a
strong inkling why people keep coming back again and again and again. They
believe in the man and the redemptive power of his songs. They adore his
ability to come back from the brink of despair and be reborn before there
very eyes on stage. A living breathing monument to self willed action.
Something very simple happened in Cardiff. A bunch of overexcited fans
caught Dylan's eye as he was romping his merry way through Country Pie.
They made him burst into laughter spontaneously and you could see him
doubling over as the band played on and a huge grin crossed his face. From
that point on the show seemed to explode into life as Larry and Charlie
sensed the rising energy levels of Bob. It was like a ripple of
inspiration emanating from Bob in reponse to the crowd spreading like
wildfire to the band and back to the crowd and Bob again in an ever more
active oscillating loop. His version of Frankie Lee was poised and
perfect. His voice like an archers arrow ready to be unleashed and hitting
the target with supreme precision. Tangled up in Blue was a pure adrenalin
rush of poetry and classic rock and roll. Watching the River Flow a
rythmic masterpiece. Harp playing of sublime expressive and unusually
melodic power on Dont Think Twice.
Man I want to hear it all again.
Neil Dunlea (Ireland)
Review by John James
Just got back from Cardiff seeing Bob Dylan while being there. The last
time I saw Bob was Minneapolis 1992. I thought that was brilliant but
WOW! this was the best gig I've ever been to.
I won't bore you with a set list, but as soon as the show opened I was
jiggin' in my seat. The highlights of the night were definately Leopard
Skin Pill Box Hat which no Dylan concert would be without, and Tombstone
Blues which I prayed for. Country Pie was played with the enthusiasm of a
young rock performer and Cold Irons Bound was chilling to hear live.
The encore consisted of seven songs beginning with Things Have Changed
which was my first time hearing it and won't be my last - brilliant! Don't
Think Twice is my fav Dylan track so I was over the moon to hear that one.
Forever Young was excellent and Highway 61 rocked the house...during this
a lot of attention was turned to an old man right at the back who was
dancing like crazy...good on ya mate whoever you are.
Blowin' In The Wind closed the show and my mind wanted more even if my
body was soooo tired. His band were the best, and Bob must be amazing to
remember all those lyrics when he's changing set lists every night. More
power to the guy, he still out rocks all competition without using
computers and mike filters.
One little piece of advice though...the official merchandise is a bit
naff...no programmes and poor t-shirts...the ones sold outside may be from
dodgy dealers but they are £10 cheaper and a lot better design.
Now onto London...CHEERS BOB!!!
Review by Peter Thwaites
Both the setting and audience in Cardiff are a welcome improvement on Sheffield
and Bob definitely notices! I am lucky enough to get about 3 places from the
front, albeit to the left of the stage but with an excellent view of Bob. Close
enough to see the sweat (at least I think it was sweat) dripping off the end of
THAT nose. At this distance you can also catch those almost imperceptible nods
to the drummer when he gives the signal to wind up a song.
The acoustic set carries some real delights in My Back Pages and Desolation Row,
not to mention Judas Priest - all concert firsts for me. The floor is really up
for this and tonight feels like one of those great occasions when artist and
audience really connect. Tryin' to Get to Heaven is a slowed down crooner's
ballad with almost a completely different tune. The lighting during TUIB throws
up the stage performers as kind of shadow puppets on the back projection.
One of the highlights for me is a storming version of Watching the River Flow
(Bob has obviously been for a stroll out to Cardiff Bay in the afternoon) when
I swear we made eye contact. I almost kind of thought we did when I gave him the
thumbs up at the end of Rolling Stone but I was certain this time. Tomorrow
night I will meet someone in the queue at Portsmouth who swears the same thing
happened to her!
Tonight's set contains no less than 10 changes to last night's and the crowd
roar Bob on throughout. I have read comments on the forum about how Charlie is
fitting in. During the acoustic numbers he restricts himself to strumming the
basic chord pattern (leaving Bob to wander, as he does) but once the tempo and
the noise picks up he really comes into his own. I think he is a great addition.
At nearly a full 2 hours the evening draws to a close and I wish it could have
gone on and on. I think the guys on stage know they connected tonight and were
given their due response.
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