London, England

The Feis
Finsbury Parke

June 18, 2011

[Joe Neanor], [Martin Gayford], [Francesc Scott], [Trevor Townson], [Paul Carvajal], [Dave Treen], [Mr Jinx]

Review by Joe Neanor

An OK show from Bob tonight. For me it didn't really start until it got past an
unremarkable Gonna Change My Way of Thinking to Its All Over Now Baby Blue, with
Bob at the centre stage, delivering strong vocals and phrasing, especially liked
". Go start ahnooooooo .". Then came Things Have Changed, with a slightly
different arrangement, faster drumming between the verses. This was followed by
OK versions of Tangled Up in Blue and Summer Days leading to A Simple Twist of
Fate, nicely delivered,  atmospheric and timely - the evening sky was getting
dark in the park as Dylan sung. Next up Cold Irons Bound was powerful, bleak and
haunting. A Hard Rains Gonna Fall went down well with crowd and Dylan worked
hard at delivering the vocals but towards the end went for the staccato style of
delivery, which for me makes the songs performed in this way sound pretty much
alike. Bob was back behind the keyboard for a standard rendition of Highway 61
Revisted.  The next two songs were among the highlights of the show. Forgetful
Heart sounded new album fresh and was perhaps the stand out  performance of the
night and Thunder on the Mountain rocked. After that we didn't get past 1968
again with Ballad of a Thin Man, performed the way it always is, and then the
three song encore - Like A Rolling Stone, followed by a new arrangement of All
Along the Watch Tower - which lacked the gusto of the Hendrix influenced
previous version, and a crowd pleasing Blowing In The Wind, with Bob on guitar
centre stage.  

As we have come to expect Dylan was well supported by his musicians
throughout the show.  He sang well and played some great harmonica.  For an
outdoor performance the sound quality was good.  It had rained heavily off and
on all day in London but thankfully it mainly kept off during the show. 

From where I stood Bob was hard to see for many people.  For these festival
shows the long time fans bring along binoculars and know the stage positions. 
It is much tougher for those who do not know what to expect and such a shame
that many leave without getting a good look at him.  Several times I was called
upon to point out to bemused concert goers that Bob was the one wearing the
white hat.   On the train home a boy aged around 10 or 11 and his father were
not impressed by the  show.  "I used to idolise Bob Dylan", said the boy. After
a short pause he added, "I still do".

Joe Neanor


Review by Martin Gayford

I took whole family along again for Bob tonight at the Feis festival, and really
enjoyed It's All Over Now Baby Blue - one of those songs I'd been hoping to see
another really great version of one day - with a sweet vocal and fabulous
harmonica.  Cold Irons Bound and All Along The Watchtower complimented each
other tonight; both sung really well, and Watchtower with a very raw, kind of
jumbled, bluesy arrangement that sounded fresh.  Forgetful Heart was great too,
with some very raw and reedy harmonica.  I get the impression there was more
harp last night, but still enough tonight to keep me satisfied.  Hard Rain
almost took off for me, except that he used the arrangement where the chorus
lines are paced far apart, which I think slows down the momentum of the verses. 
Absolute highlight - again - was Ballad Of A Thin Man; Bob bit the ends off
words like 'professors', 'contacts' and 'facts' very effectively.  He sounded so
engaged with the song that it didn't really matter that Rolling Stone and a few
others sounded tossed off - the power of the words lost in the damp wind that
was blowing between us and the stage - I would have been delighted to have
turned up only to see that one song.  Oh, and Simple Twist Of Fate had some
crazy guitar fills that were very nice.


Review by Francesc Scott

Pedestrian. Competent but uninspired. Fleeting moments where the
arrangements transcended the ordinary (back end of both Tangled and Ballad
of a Thin Man) but way too much set to a one-two marching beat that felt
perfunctory throughout.

Simple Twist of Fate was probably the most interesting performance of the
night but Thunder on the Mountain and All Along the Watchtower were very
average indeed.


Review by Trevor Townson

"Goodnight"....... "Are you having a F'in laugh or takin the F'in p*ss, do I
look like I have had a F'in good night, if I could feel any F'in thing it would
not be that I have had a F'in good night, look at these shoes, my best F'in
pair, well my only pair actually, F'in best brogues, F'in expensive for me, F'in
ruined, just like a pair of clay clogs now, F'in suits me F'in well fine you
might think, me having to F'in drive all the way back to F'in Yorkshire in them
later, no bloody F'in fuel economy in line with the F'in company car policy
tonight in the mad dash that getting F'in home tonight in these F'in bloody clay
boots is going to be, well I say tonight but it's going to be the F'in morning
really isn't it, not sure who will be home first me or the F'in bats, bad enough
just getting here with a million F'in road works on the A406, are they never
going to get that F'in road improvement scheme finished, lazy bastards, some
F'in improvement in my book, half a bleeding hour to get through one set of F'in
lights, would have been quicker if I had walked it from there before my F'in
best brogues got ruined, how does Lord Sugar get away with using the F'in bus
lane, just because he has a F'in expensive black limo with F'in private plate,
went past me at F'in speed, F'in money doesn't talk it swears, well F' you, F'in
city,  waited in the queue in a F'in muddy field for twenty minutes before some
lazy bastard of a steward cares to walk by to inform us all that I am standing
in the 7.30pm entry line, he was having a F'in laugh too as it was already
8.10pm, twenty F'in minutes wasted for Christ sake when my ticket was for the
11.00am entry, I could have better spent that time waiting in line for a F'in
beer and not getting F'in served, who runs the hospitality at these F'in events,
why cannot some clever F'er tell them that quite a few people may turn up for a
F'in beer, bloody hell it is not F'in rocket science, would not even be queuing
for a F'in beer if it was possible to get some F'in food but the F'in lines for
food were even F'in longer, what are you F'in pushing me for, I am doing my F'in
best to get F'in served, I am not F'in standing here for the good of my F'in
health you know so why do you keep F'in pushing me, bloody hell now some F'er is
on his mobile phone asking his F'in bird somewhere in the crowd what she wanted
as he has F'in forgotten, guess F'in what, it is taking ages because he cannot
F'in hear her, funny that at a F'in music festival, would think they should be a
bit F'in quieter to cater for arseholes,  for F' sake, look you F'er, I know
what I F'in want and even have the F'in money to pay for it without having to
phone a F'in friend or phone F'in home so do you mind awfully if I go first,
look, to F'in push in is the accepted norm at these places now F' off, stop F'in
pushing, F' this I am not thirsty now, can I ask you something mate, how the F'
are you so drunk?, I could be here for a F'in week and not be so much as F'in
tipsy, how did you get F'in served so F'in much, boy you must really F'in know
how to F'in push in, are you a Dylan fan?, well why not just F' off home then,
that is what I would F'in do, even as a F'in Dylan fan I am thinking of F'in
off, bloody hell there is space at the F'in Vegan and Vegitarian food stand,
bloody hell arsehole for F' sake it says vegan on the notice so why are you
asking for F'in cheese in your F'in burger, just please let me get F'in served,
anything please, F'in anything, at least I now know why I am not F'in veggie, it
was F'in sh*t, time for me to push into the F'in crowd, past the F'ers in F'in
chairs, look this is a F'in music festival not F'in Margate beach, F', nearly
got more than my F'in brogues muddy then, do you have to sit on the F'in floor,
sorry but standing best part six feet F'in taller than you are by laying your
F'in self on the F'in ground you are not exactly in my line of F'in vision,
arsehole yourself, sticks and F'in stones, can I come past mate, I need to get
through, f' off, F' you, call this a F'in good view, put that F'in umbrella down
for F' sake, arseholes, no F'in way you coming past me mate, F'in hard enough
for me to F'in push my way this far, so you can F' off, my mother F'in mother
would not get F'in past so F' off, every F'er wants to be F'in nearer now F'
off......."Goodnight" is all that I replied in the end myself too, I guess we
English never really say what is on our minds, anyway it was probably the
politically correct answer as it was only the metropolitan policeman bidding us
farewell as we walked out of Finsbury Park at the end of Bobs latest visit
there. There is no virtue greater than patience and nothing harms us more than
anger. Visiting the Feis for me may be akin to visiting Bear Mountain for a
picnic but on reflection both can teach us valuable lessons on how easy it can
be to loose what little compassion, humanity and sense of sharing lies within
all of us. Was this a good Bob show, no it was absolute F'in S**t. But you know
that is only because of self cherishing and the thought that I am important and
my needs and desires come before those of everyone else. I left the tightly
bunched crowd about four or five songs in as I had already been so privileged to
see Bob so many times previously. Times when I could actually see him properly
too and I will fortunately be doing so again all being well later this week in
Milan. At this festival though I saw many people like me being frustrated,
uncomfortable for lots of reasons and even at times angry. I also saw many
people temporarily happy with drink although I am still trying to work out how
they pulled that one off. Some in the crowd would have enjoyed the show for
sure, Forgetful Heart was ticket paid for someone I hear, actually it was rather
good Bob even though I was by then in the wings with the sound from two other
stages to distort it. Wish I could have seen and heard Things Have Changed a bit
better as it looked like some great guitar work from Bob but I cannot judge as I
could not either see or hear properly from where I was at the time. Why the F'
does Bob do these shows? There are some people less self centred than myself and
some of the other people that I came across on the day. It was however only
later in the show that I came across these people. People less privileged than
those of us who think we are important enough to be frustrated, dissatisfied and
complain. These are the people within society with more right to be angry and
frustrated than the rest of us. I was standing beside the elevated disabled
enclosure, quite a way from Bob but you could see everything of the stage but
obviously not very clearly. It was encore time but all in the enclosure were
still enjoying every minute and even dancing as best they could. One lady in a
wheel chair was dancing just with her hands and you knew for sure that she had
been doing that same dance from the off. I am not too sure that the people that
I saw in that enclosure will be writing a review so humbly I will take that upon
myself and do it for them from what I saw. These people probably have no real
opportunity to travel to any great degree so I am sure that they are really glad
that Bob travelled to a place near to them to perform. Whatever the problems
were for a Yorkshire man, so what, F' him, they just want to say to you, Thanks
Bob. Brilliant!


Review by Paul Carvajal

I'm not sure what an average Dylan set would be.  I can't see how a  
man possessed by creative genius can be average.  He never seems to be  
average to me.  He can fail but he didn't last night.  Commitment  
throughout and music from a band so good that it makes a tired genre  
blaze with energy and creative fire.  Phrasing and vocal expression  
that packs worlds into a single word.  What has always been there was  
still there now endowed with the ravage of time shot through with  
beauty.  Every song a cultural work of the highest quality.  One after  
the other and then gone.  The tradesman's work done for the day.  And  
there were those moments which were like watching Leonardo paint-for  
me Forgetful Heart and Cold Irons Bound. 


Review by Dave Treen

Well maybe I was luckier than most. After 4 hours patiently standing and slowly
edging to the front I was about 20 yards out, everyone around me was listening
not chatting and the sound system was terrific. I thought the set was well
thought out as it was a festival with lots of Bob newbies and the versions of
the classics were not too wildly different from the originals but with some
unusual and new stuff for the old sweats. I was particularly thrilled to hear
“Things Have Changed”. Bob was well up for the gig and the band were in great
form, worth listening to in their own right. Rolling Stone got a great response,
really charged and where I was standing most people were singing it to the
rhythm Bob was playing – very impressive.  Blowin’ in the wind was a strong
finisher and it was nice to hear Watchtower with a feel subtly more JWH than JH!
I had a good night and it was reassuring to see that Bob plus 70 has not lost
his ability to thrill. Sorry if this review makes the Newport controversy seem

Dave Treen


Review by Mr Jinx

A wonderful show.  The
most nuanced singing I have heard from Bob in many years.  


Hard Rain: My god did he nail it.  Every line pounded home.  The sheer authority
in the voice  . . . goosebumps!

Forgetful Heart: 
Enough to make a grown man (and even an Islington traffic warden) weep. 
Introspection in excels.  The sound of a man in dialogue with his soul and with
the shadows of the past. Digging into the darkness.  Deeper . . .  deeper.

Tangled Up In Blue:  Bob
finding yet more new ways to twist the heads tell the tales of this multi-headed
fable.  A narrative floating on top of a gossamer-slinky groove.

This Bob Dylan is an extraordinary man.  He continues to cast his pearls.  It
was worth a sea of mud and several hours of Irish jigging just to witness this
set.  Dylan is on top of his game (again).  Catch him while you can.  Don’t you
dare miss it!

Mr Jinx


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