Prague, Czech Republic
Sazka Arena
November 7, 2005

[Petr Bogart], [Jarro], [René Voncken], [Ivan Herold]

Review by Petr Bogart

I must apologise to all my friends who were with me last night at Sazka
Arena, I was saying to them, that this will be a night to remember. It
wasn't. Was it some kind of joke or something? Poor sound, low volume,
very weak Dylan's performance. I was there - 2 years ago at the T-Mobile
Arena, which acoustically is much better than the new Arena, and Mr. Dylan
performed well, with good voice.  Although I didn't like the (Stu Kimball??)
solos, there was still Larry Cambell, who is in the group no more.
So - we got the usual Bob setlist.  Bob started at 20:05 or something, some
of 2000 people were still at the gates of arena.  Something wrong with
organisation.  We know local stories about Sazka Arena and it's amateaur
management. So - a lot of people are behind the gates and Bob starts to play.
Something wrong with the sound, too poor, thin... And Zorro - man - it was
not good.  This man isn't Tom Waits, this man isn't Neil Young, this man
became absolutely out of everything - he cannot sing anymore, he cannot
play a plain harmonica solo, he cannot play a stage piano. This is not art.
This is  You know - I was a big fan of Bob. I know almost all
his songs, many of them I play myself.  But last night's show - oh - it was
decapitation of music genius. He is here no more, I must say sadly.

Sorry for english, not native speaker.
Petr Bogart


Review by Jarro

I donīt know who is Petr Bogart. Of course, he has right to his opinion
but I think the visitors of this site should know that not Bob but Petr is
"absolutely out of everything". Yes, the magic nights with Larry and
Charlie are over. Yes, Freddieīs unexpected surrealistic solos are over.
The current band is nothing special, at least for me. BUT - it is still
rather good band and it is still Bob Dylan show with everything the man
can expect. It was my 16th show altogether, after Berlin, Hannover and
Erfurt the 4th of this leg. The sound in Sazka Arena was surprisingly
good. Iīve seen Van Morrison and Elton John in the past there and after
this experience I expected nothing special - and was nicely surprised.
Bobīs voice was much better than two weeks ago in Berlin, together with
Erfurt show the sharpest and clearest voice Iīve heard during this yearīs
shows (I mean the whole year not only the European leg). After rather
unstriking first five songs we get very good I Donīt Believe You,
excellent Man In The Long Black Coat, excellent jazzy Moonlight and
extraordinary Visons of Johanna accompanying with standard versions of
other songs. Could we expect more? I think we couldnīt.



Review by René Voncken

We arrived at the Sazka Arena at about 19:00 h. Not a big crowd in the
isles; Hall looked huge. After waiting in line for a few minutes, showed
our tickets, got a huge security check (when I came back to the
Netherlands some days later, learned that there had been riots and
bommings at the same time in other parts of Europe), we got in. It was
quite a nice venue; it was clean, lots of toilets (which is a good idea
considering the great Czech beer), food-stands and the such.

As for the concert; We had a good standing spot, not too far from stage.
Well, sound wasnīt too bad, but not great either; more or less mediocre.
Mediocre as were Bobīs first few songs. "Maggieīs" wasnīt too bad. "Tell
me that it isnīt true" has really never been one of my favourites and I
didnīt really like it in Prague too much either. "Baby tonight" and "Lay,
lady, lay" were not spectacular, but more or less well...average. I went
to the bar with my friend to get a beer and a smoke. We ran back at the
first few tones of "Man in the long black coat"; it was a splendid version
and from that song on, the show (and Dylan!!) shifted gear. I really loved
all the songs until an ill-inspired "Summer days". "Donīt think twice" was
very well done and my dad particularly liked "All along the Watchtower".

All in all it was a good show; it was my second show this year (first
being Oberhausen) and I liked it. I think the setlist was great, donīt
mind the first few mediocre songs.

I really donīt understand this "Petr" guy. First of all, itīs just not
possible that there were still some 2000 people waiting in the isles when
Bob kicked in. The hall was practically stuffed when Bob did. Secondly, I
really donīt think Petr saw Dylan in Prague two years ago. Two my best
knowledge, it was the first time in ten years.

Anyway, Prague must be one of the best places, standing at Charlesī Bridge
at night, to "Watch the river flow".

René Voncken


Review by Ivan Herold

I had decided even before the concert not to react immediately and to take
a week to consider and to let fresh impressions to settle down a little
bit. Besides my very positive instant reactions to the concert, I felt
that the only (negative) review of the concert published until now was
completely wrong.  This concert was at least the 10th in a row I have
attended personally - all the former concerts in Prague, Brussels in 1995
(Forrest National), Bobīs 59th birthday in Dresden and the one in the Fest
Halle in Vienna. Now, we in Prague were lucky with a special promotion of
the Martin Sorscese movie announced to be on TV Channel 2 only a week
after the concert and many very positive comments were published in
several Czech newspapers and magazines. Last but not least (and
unexpected), the English-Czech bilingual version of the Dylan Lyrics
1962-2001 was issued on the eve of Bobīs Prague concert together with
Bobīs Chronicles I (in Czech) and was actually sold at he subway exits
next to the Sazka Arena – the venue of the Prague concert. Just imagine
the concert was advertised with huge posters on Prague City Trams with the
date of the concert – November the 7th - once commemorated as the
anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1917, a really unique Kafkaīs and
Havelīs world. For those who were not there, the SAZKA arena is one of the
most controversial modern buildings in Prague (both  criticised/condemned 
by some and praised by others) – definitely more suitable for ice-hockey
matches than for musical events. It actually resembles the Montreal
Canadians Ice Hockey Stadium rather than a concert hall.  I did not mind
Pavarotti having his last Prague concert there, but for Bob I can imagine
better venues than that.  Unexpectedly, I was lucky enough to get to one
of his previous concerts on this tour in Berlin (actually a fortnight
earlier) in the Berliner Arena, so I feel compelled to compare these
concerts. Venues like the Berliner Arena or the Brussels Forrest National
are definitely more suitable for his audience than the huge and modern
facilities. For the sake of truth I have to admit the acoustics might
better here in Prague though. The biggest difference due to the logistics
behind the SAZKA Arena (meaning Lottery in Czech and misspelled on the
posters as Sasska – probably for better pronunciation in English) were
very tough security checks at the entry to the arena – the real reason for
the half–emptiness in the hall at the concert’s beginning.  Arriving
early, I was rewarded (thanks to the Berlin experience) by spotting 3 or 4
white trucks and a black one in a remote corner of the huge parking lot
(one with BOB in small letters in the left upper corner). So I was sure
that the Master was already on the spot.
I was among the first visitors (sitting this time) who were let in at 7
p.m. My aim was to see again Tony in his knickers preparing and tuning in
advance the guitars for Stue and Denny and sticking paper sheets with the
scheduled songs on each musician’s stand. But tonight Tony was dressed in
long trousers and did his routine guitar overhaul rather fast. It was
probably all done already. The concert started 10 minutes later –
probably also because people were still coming in. I did not like the set
of the stage that much - changes in the illumination of the stage
background from red to night sky with stars (which made me expect A
Shooting Star to be performed) - I have to repeat the informal atmosphere
of smaller venues like the Berliner Arena or the Brussels Forrest
National is better suited to BD performances. 
Compared to Berlin the musicians only changed the colour of their hats
from grey to black and skipped the clouds of smoke during the
introduction. Bob resembled Zorro with his outfit.
Maggieīs Farm at the begining was no surprise as it was actually the most
frequent opening song during the tour. For the expected Nashville Skyline
part of the concert Bob chose Tell Me That It Is Not True, which showed
that his voice condition was a little bit better than in Berlin (using
less upsingings). The harmonica solo at the end came with some unpleasant
high-pitched sounds probably related to technical problems associated with
the mikes and feedback rather than Bobīs failure. After standard current
versions of Lay Lady Lay (beautifully sung) and Iīll Be Your Baby Tonight
– which are of course the gems of Nashville Skyline - came a fresh and
brand-new very rock version of I Donīt Believe You. Then one of the
eveningīs highlights followed – an excellent version of Man in the Long
Black Coat (only played for the second time on this tour) and a nice
version of Moonlight (for the first time). For the first time I
appreciated the hall acoustics. It was probably during Stuck Inside of
Miobile when Don Herron stood up and started an introduction on the
violin. Before the concert I had prayed to hear something very special –
the most valued and expected were Desolation Row and Visions of Johanna.
As Bob played Desolation Row in France a few days ago, I was almost sure
there was no chance for it again so I was grateful for an absolutely
unique acoustic version of Vision of Johanna.  As always he made some
small and funny changes in the lyrics - like “Lisa Mona” or continuously
exchanging the pronouns in Simple Twist of Fate from he to she and vice
versa. I am not sure if he did it on purpose or not. I continuously have a
problem to recognise Watching the River Flow soon enough, but the more
frequently I hear it, the more I like it. The Highway 61 was a standard
rock version. The basic set was concluded with Summer Days – at this point
some people from the audience started to leave (probably not informed to
wait for the encore). I was pretty sure that for the encore Bob would
chose his standard final double set – Like a Rolling Stone and All Along
the Watchtower. Thus I was surprised (positively) by another acoustic
version of his classic Donīt Think Twice Itīs All Right. He was not in a
hurry and he enjoyed the song and the singing - as we did.  Bob seemed to
be in a very good shape during the concert, sweating less than in the
Berliner Arena and laughing and joking more during the concert - mostly
with Tony Garnier. He actually danced several times from his piano to
Garnier and back to his small tables with harps.  I do not mind the
members of his current band as others sometimes do, on the contrary I
think they did a marvellous job.  With the final intro of the members of
the band, Bob repeated  the original town of each member – like Boston or
New Orleans -  he only had some difficulties with the intro of Don Herron,
such as not being able to remember his name, but he finally laughed at
that. During the last minute of ovations he seemed not to pay any
attention to the audience, talking and laughing with Tony Garnier only. As
during previous concerts, he was holding his harps in both hands
suggesting that he might consider throwing them to the audience - so the
hands of the people in the first rows went up in expectation. But no
miracle happened this time. When the lights went off I knew the show was
over and immediately headed for the exit with my wife. When leaving the
arena only a few minutes later, all four trucks were already leaving the
parking lot exit for their next Munich mission.  Driving back home I
listened to his Seven Curses and realised again it is not just his music
and performance but mostly his profound contribution to poetry for which
we love & and admire him.


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