Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Heineken Music Hall

October 30, 2013

[LC Barnard], [Harm Peter Smilde], [Steve Haynes]

Review by LC Barnard

It is always good when you can cycle to a concert :-) I arrived just after
7.30 pm, and was able to walk straight in and found one of the last
available seats and got ready for my 34th concert (first was Cologne,
1994). The Heineken Music Hall was packed with a good mix of young and
older people.

At just after 8 pm Bob and the band came on stage. Very, very dimly lit,
but with interesting use of lights sitting on top of large tripods. Also
much more innovative use of lighting against the back curtain compared to
previous years. And no organ, but a piano. Bob kicked things off center
stage with a solid Things Have Changed, followed by a fantastic
arrangement of She Belongs to Me, which was to be the last song from the
1960's till the encore. For the remainder, he focused on songs from
Tempest and other recent albums, which to me was just fine. I enjoyed the
concert much more than those of the last couple of years, where the organ
and blues/rock shuffle (if you know what I mean) has become a bit
repetitive and all songs squashed to the same tempo and sound. In
Amsterdam, the mix was excellent, with Bob's vocals very prominent and
used to great effect in Love Sick, Spirit on the Water, and Long and
Wasted Years. To me, the crowd was also very hushed during songs -- clear
testimony that he was hitting the spot. In the past the Dutch crowd tended
to engage in loud conversations during some songs.

All in all one of the best shows I've seen in several years -- can't wait
for tomorrow night!


Review by Harm Peter Smilde

I attended a Bob Dylan concert for, I think, the 20th time. Next to me was a 
guy who saw Dylan for the first time since 1984. Well things have certainly 
changed. The show started at eight o' clock sharp - well sharpish anyway. 
Dylan started with Things Have Changed, standing on centre stage behind his 
microphone. Although I have seen him like that before, he looked a little 
naked.  On the other hand: maybe he found his final destination, a song and 
dance man with a great band behind him. Sometimes I think it's a good idea 
when His Royal Bobness doesn't touch any instruments. But it's not that 
simple. Nothing is simple with Bob Dylan. Beforehand I was a little bit 
disappointed that the setlists of this European tour are almost exactly the 
same each night. This didn't turn out to be a problem at all.

Dylan's face was dimly lit, probably to discourage taking photographs and 
videos. The band announced that they wanted people not to enjoy the show 
from a small screen, but live and in person. Frankly, I think that's a great idea. 
And there's lots going on. The sound in the HMH was impeccable. All 
instruments blended together very well, with all subtleties and details really 
clear. On top of that Dylan's growling voice. There are people who find that
he should stop because he can't sing anymore. Well, Dylan has never been a 
great singer, but in his good moments with his diction he lures the audience 
in the realms of his tales about love and loss. And there were quiet a few of 
those moments. Pay In Blood was sharp as a razor, Duquesne Whistle 
deceitfully jolly and Love Sick a haunting staccato growl. I sometimes think 
that Dylan feels more at ease with his latest songs, well, that is, his songs 
since 1997.

Dylan tries to revive his older songs with simple, repeating licks on the piano. 
Sometimes that doesn't work to well, like in What Good Am I, that sometimes 
sounded like Bob just completed his Klavarskribo course. In others it gives a 
nice, new twist on well known songs, like in Tangled Up in Blue, All Along The 
Watchtower and even Blowin' in the Wind.

I find it amazing that from time to time, Dylan puts up an exciting show. He 
has a bunch of people that are really creating and interpreting music on stage. 
And sometimes he creates a good feeling of tension. All in all, I think this was 
a very good performance, with a cracker version of Long and Wasted Years
to conclude the set before the encores. This song stirred the crowd, who 
were cheering and clapping. Which 72-year old does that nowadays?


Comments by Steve Haynes

Quite simply magnificent! My first Dylan concert was in 1978 and I feel
I've seen good bad and indifferent, but this was a really great gig. I've
been a bit suspicious of reviewers dating his voice was better but it
really is and standout performances of simple twist of fate, long and
wasted years and a gorgeous forgetful heart were evidence of an artist
teaching another peak, thank you Bob. 

Steve Haynes


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