Reviews
Bournemouth, England
Bournemouth International Centre

November 5, 2022

[Andy Smith], [Stephen Vallely], [Graham Cole], [Laurette Maillet]

Review by Andy Smith


It was a huge relief to me when my home town of Bournemouth was chosen 
as one of the extra dates on this tour, cost of travel on top of a 
ticket precluding me from any of the previously announced shows. It's 
always nice to be able to get the bus to see Bob.

The whole phone pouch thing seemed to be handled well, although I just 
left mine at home and they surprisingly just took my word for it. Joined
the long queue for a poster and manged to get served just before the 8pm
start, for which Bob arrived promptly.

I'd managed to nab a seat in the 5th row, somewhat stage left which I 
figured would give me a decent view of our man. In fact it didn't work 
out like that, the stage is so much higher than the floor that Bob was 
entirely obscured by his piano while seated. Thankfully he stood to sing
and it was close enough to make out his facial expressions which added a
bit of nuance to his singing.

Setlist was as expected with no surprises, clearly one for the fans 
rather than the casual greatest hits crowd, but I was pleased by the 
general sense that the audience were open to hearing the new songs. In 
fact the audience seemed really into the R&RW material, plenty of whoops
and cheers for them. I'm not the world's biggest fan of that album, I 
don't dislike it but many of the songs never really clicked for me. 
Tonight though, watching him convey them personally made them come alive
in a way the recorded versions rather don't (for me), and I really 
appreciated that. I've seen Bob about forty times since 1987 and much as
I enjoy hearing the "hits" and the more common album tracks this felt 
special, a carefully curated selection with the new and old given equal 
weight - a far cry from the "song roulette" shows of my youth (although 
I do miss those). A number of the old songs as we know have been 
reshaped musically and lyrically, such that they felt fresh too. I'm not
going to pick out any particular highlights, I enjoyed it all, but I 
must say watching him do My Own Version of You just a few minutes walk 
from Mary Shelley's grave was a bit special.

As usual he didn't say much, the band introductions (sans a Dad joke) 
and then telling us it was an honour and privilege to play for us and he
wished he could do so every night.

It has to be said it was a bittersweet experience, as Every Grain of 
Sand drew to a close the awareness that this may well be my goodbye to 
Bob hit home. Eyes got a little moist it must be said. No encore of 
course, although he and the band returned to the stage to take the rest 
of their standing ovation. We of course don't know what's going to 
happen when the tour finishes but the odds of Bob hitting up my town 
again during this tour are tiny, after that is anyone's guess. If it 
really is the last time then I can say he signed off quite marvelously -
I've seen shows that I enjoyed but have largely forgotten, but this will
certainly remain a cherished memory.

Andy Smith

[TOP]

Review by Stephen Vallely


We were 'Expecting Rain' as we traveled from Oxford to Bournemouth and
the 'Hard Rain' followed us all the way there.
Arriving to the South coast early afternoon I made my way to the
unassuming venue, then boarded a local bus to my hotel.
Hours later and the rain was still falling prior to the showtime.
I engaged in conversation with a young guy outside the venue about
concert going and life.

Just before 8pm the lights dimmed and cheers rang out in the small arena
as Dylan and his band walked onto the stage.
They moved quickly into a slightly revamped 'Watching The River Flow'
and then into a rollicking upbeat 'Most Likely You Go Your Way, And I'll Go
Mine'.

The beautiful intro to 'I Contain Multitudes' was met with applause by a
respectful crowd and Dylan produced a sublime vocal to take it to new
heights. 
The newer arrangement of 'False Prophet' was a fine highlight of the
night with great interaction between the band members.

A member of the audience close to me shouted out several times for "Lay
Lady Lay", but instead got the totally reinvented version of 'I'll  Be
Your Baby Tonight' with Dylan spontaneously leading the band into new musical
avenues.

'Key West' is the centrepiece of these great shows with a version that
superseded the stunning version at Oxford.
Time stopped in the arena as Dylan bounced his amazing word imagery off
the meditative beats of Charlie Drayton.

Dylan finally nailed the lyrics and ending on a playful but powerful
version of 'Old Black Magic' with Charlie Drayton again excelling on
drums hammering down the beats in the appropriate places.

'Goodbye Jimmy Reed' has morphed into a whole different song from the
album version.
Tony Garnier played stunning runs on bass guitar while Dylan invented
'on the spot' new phrasing which he just about managed to fit into this new
looser arrangement.

After introducing all of the band members Dylan led them into a
beautiful elegiac version of 'Every Grain Of Sand' in the hushed arena.
As the song started to wrap up it first appeared that Dylan was happy
enough to close it out with his ruminative piano playing.
Head down and studious he felt his way around the keyboard, discovering
new ways of expressing the outro to one of his most beautiful songs.

Then for the last time on the UK mainland he lifted the Harmonica from
the top of the piano and tentatively started to play.
And the sound exploded into the arena as Dylan then astonishingly leaned
in again and lifted the sound even higher and it soared around the roof of
the arena.
It was a moment worthy of the song and worthy of Dylan.
A moment of truth.

Dylan and his band stood in a line across the stage at the end soaking
up the applause of the crowd.
As they withdrew the sound levels increased and they walked out for a
second time.
And then it was over.
And as I walked out into the night fireworks were exploding into the sky
over the beach.
It seemed a fitting ending to what had been a great tour around the UK.

Postscript :

This was a fine tour overall.
Dylan was in great voice.
His energy levels seemed precise and good.
The band were right on the ball following him right down the line.
It was as great as it gets.

The tour caused me a fair bit of anxiety due to the traveling logistics
what with the train strikes etc.
Overall I'm certainly glad I pushed it out as it has been a truly
beautiful and emotional ride.
"Thanks" to everyone I met along the way.
Every little moment of interaction counted.
I hope everybody enjoyed the tour.

[TOP]

Review by Graham Cole


Glory, glory, glory,
Somebody touched me,
Must have been the hand of the Lord.

One morning in September 2000, I bunked off school for the only time in 
my life at the good old age of 49!  From which fact you may well deduce 
I was a teacher rather than student at the time, which may make the 
crime a little worse than a schoolboy matter!  Of course, I had a perfectly 
good reason in my head, not wanting to miss tickets for Bob's two shows 
at the Portsmouth Guildhall, where I headed and duly joined the queue 
early to buy tickets for Loraine and myself.  Many fans will know the joy 
to be had from chatting to fellow queuers about past shows, hopes for 
future ones, and generally comparing Bobnotes of all kinds.  And so it 
was I met Paul Middleton, back on his home turf and presumably also 
skiving that particular morning, and our friendship, borne out of our 
mutual love of Mr. D, started then and has endured very happily since 
(Paul and Alison even have twin teenage sons named Dylan and Dillon).

So it is entirely appropriate that last night, travelling in the opposite direction 
from Southampton, Paul joined us for the final UK show of what has been
an outstanding RARW tour. Paul had seen all four London shows, whereas 
we saw the Bob Britt-less Thursday show, which along with other ISIS 
subscribers, we enjoyed so much.

Tonight was always going to be good, sort of the icing on the cake of 
seeing the second Palladium show, and the long days of catching up with 
recordings from various venues on the tour, and reading reviews, almost all 
of which have been seriously more than favourable.  There have been times 
when I have wondered if I, maybe along with others, suggested Bob was 
on great form on this or that show back in the day - "oh, the best he has 
sung in ages" type of comment, when in reality we were fooling ourselves 
by forgetting even greater times past.  But tonight, as pretty well 
throughout the entire tour, with the sound folk doing their job brilliantly, 
Bob's voice really did shine through with great clarity and his purposeful 
lyrics, and all aided by such great and sympathetic accompaniment from 
Bob B, Doug, the wonderful Charley, and Bob's greatest stalwarts, 
Donnie and Tony.

As usual these nights past, we had no changes to the setlist, but I am sure 
there were subtle lyric changes where Bob wanted them, maybe even a 
few flubs, but if so, they didn't matter.  For me, at last the highlight was 
I've Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You (just the title is wonderful), 
but Black Rider shone again, and I was teary-eyed on the closing beauty 
of Every Grain of Sand, above all anxious like many that we may not see 
Bob on these shores again.  I hope we are wrong, but at least throughout
all these years, we feel privileged to have walked on the planet at the 
same time as Bob, and to have been in the same room as him to enjoy 
his music.

So, having listened to his music since the early sixties, and over forty years
since our very first Bob Dylan show, twenty-two years on from that first 
Portsmouth show with Loraine, Paul, and Bokkie, the show which began 
with that beautiful old hymn, we came together for another wonderful 
RARW show, and tonight, Glory, glory, glory, somebody touched us, 
must have been the hand of our Bob. 

Graham Cole

[TOP]

Review by Laurette Maillet


Bournemouth.
I remember Bournemouth from few years ago.
And I remember well the pier and the "fish and chips". I promised myself 
to get some.
But history doesn't strike twice the same.
This time the weather is not friendly. The clouds are weeping their sorrow.
It's dump and windy.
But this is not to discourage me to have my "fish and chips".
Walking the streets to my hotel I bump into the 'Beat the street' bus 
parked at the Hilton. 
So, here is Bob Dylan :)
Warm and dry, I hope. Not taking a walk on the board walk as he did few 
years ago :)
I take an over warm shower and prepare my trip to Dublin.
It's time to walk back into the rain.
There is already a line and I pull my sign out;
' I need a ticket '.
Someone has an extra but when I say I don't have much money to pay....that 
someone almost spits on me...and walks inside with the wasted ticket.
I could never understand that attitude....but this is it!
There is a good Samaritan...somewhere.
A man with a cowboy hat comes to me. 
He has an extra. When I say I don't have much money he asks how much I'm
willing to pay. I pull out my last 5 bill. I explain it's all the British money I have
left since I'll fly to Dublin next day.
He's ok with 5.
Great! I don't feel being in the rain for two hours.
I walk in.
Security is really relaxed :)
My seat is first balcony.
I can see the stage alright.
Bob starts on time...maybe even before time :)
The sound will be fine after a while.
Bob sounds tired. Or maybe it's me, after being under the rain all day. :(
The show is globally average.
Nothing wrong but nothing exceptional.
Even at time....boring.
I also feel the folks around me loosing interest after ...." Rubicon". ???
The piano is dominant.
The audience will react on "I'll be your baby tonight" but nothing more.
I'm extremely tired and lose the focus on "mother of muses"....
I walk rapidly back to my room.
I need to warm up and sleep.
I decided to make it to Dublin, though nothing was easy....bus/train, flight, 
more bus and accomodations.
But the first and last show are always important.
See you in Dublin.

[TOP]

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