There was plenty of time before the concert, so we walked up Waterloo Quay to Chicago, where I normally have lunch on Friday, and which is also next door to the Queen's Wharf Events Centre where the man was playing. I had the cajun chicken burger, Viv had a chicken pizza. At the concert, Mr Dylan played excellently. A song by song analysis follows:
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
If I had listened carefully enough to his latest record, i would have been much better prepared for this concert. As it was, I had to put up with not recognising some of them. I knew from background reading that he would start with this. It was a great rock number, getting the arena alight from the very beginning.
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
A sixty-something singing IBYBT in a most un-babylike way. I couldn't help thinking that this was a very fine example of self-parody, and the extremely long and contrived harp solo just before the end did nothing to persuade me that this was not a parody.
Highway 61 Revisited
I wish the audience could recognise songs before the key line gives it away and they start to cheer. This song was very well put together and well received, of course.
Lay, Lady, Lay
Lay across my big brass beeeeeeeeeeeed. I think he screwed up one of the verses but nobody seemed to care. Listening to it at all was a pleasure, as the band played on.
Things Have Changed
Indeed. It used to be that I knew all the best songs all the way through, but this one has passed m by. Nevertheless, his most recent major success was well received.
Well, I'd like to say that hearing this old classic was a pleasure, but it wasn't exactly that. I didn't recognise it! When I saw the song listed on the web this morning, I could believe it, but I hadn't recognised it during the performance. Nor had Viv, nor Murray, a Dylan aficionado I had afternoon tea with today.
My Back Pages (acoustic)
Well, really, what can you say? MBP played live and played well. There was great enthusiasm from the crowd during this, as some of them went and stood at the front. The brutal approach of the bouncers undoubtedly distracted from my enjoyment of the song, as bouncers hit some of the people so hard that they almost fell over. In any other environment, they would be looking at assault charges. As for the song, excellent. I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. As for me, it occurs to me that it's almost 22 years since I first saw the man.
Desolation Row (acoustic)
Desolation Row, played live, not a misprint. This was the first time in the tour he played it, possibly the first time for a lot longer than that. Is there any evidence that the band actually knew the song? I suppose they must have rehearsed it. "They're selling WHAT???...oh no!" Although i was thrilled to hear it at all, I was disappointed that he didn't play all the verses. The Titanic didn't sail at all, at least not last night.
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic)
Can't complain, we're really on a roll now. This was reggae last time I heard it, but it was back to acoustic rock last night. I don't think anyone else was complaining, except possibly the woman I saw on the station this morning...it was really cold out, and although the music was good, he didn't play his hits. What on earth was she wanting him to play? BITW perhaps?
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic)
This song hasn't changed too much over the years. Presidents come and go, and sometimes they all have to stand naked. Not so much applause for this line this time, but there should have been.
Positively 4th Street
Well, I've not heard this played live before myself. Had the same impression on me as hearing Tomorrow is a Long Time played acoustically after a rock set. I suppose it wasn't the same impression, but exactly the opposite...still, excellent. Can someone tell me who he was singing about, either originally or last night?
Honest With Me / Floater (Too Much To Ask) / Summer Days
Three new songs which I didn't know. They forced me to look at the band, who looked just like the sleazy jazz band you imagine. It suggests that the album is the first jazz since New Morning. Listening to the album when I got home confirmed this view.
Like A Rolling Stone
He came back on stage and played this. No complaint, no further comment necessary. The drummer looked like he was going to fall over or at least knock over the drum kit.
All Along The Watchtower
There will always be debate as to whether this is better played by Dylan or by Hendrix. I'm bound to say that Dylan has the great advantage, because he can still adapt and change, whereas Hendrix is trapped on vinyl. A fine end to a joyful concert, though of course there was so much else he could have played.
Most of the fans seemed to miss Jokerman - but when did anyone last hear him play that?
After the concert, we had just missed the 11:05 so we went back to my office for a coffee and shelter before the 12:05. The only problem was the early start today, but the day ran pretty smoothly, I'm happy to say.
The monthly and weekly magazines have been collected and I have a birthday card and a couple of presents for Viv, not including the curry we had on Sunday.