MAY 10, 2002
1. MAGGIE'S FARM @
2. YOU'RE A BIG GIRL NOW @
3. IT'S ALRIGHT, MA (I'M ONLY BLEEDING) @
4. TOMORROW IS A LONG TIME @
5. JUST LIKE TOM THUMB'S BLUES
6. TWEEDLE DEE & TWEEDLE DUM
8. CRY A WHILE
9. FOURTH TIME AROUND @
10. MASTERS OF WAR @
11. TANGLED UP IN BLUE @
12. SUMMER DAYS
13. SUGAR BABY
14. THE WICKED MESSENGER
15. RAINY DAY WOMEN #12 & 35
16. LOVE SICK
17. LIKE A ROLLING STONE
18. FOREVER YOUNG @
19. HONEST WITH ME
20. BLOWIN' IN THE WIND @
Last night in Birmingham my concert experience
was much different than last time I visited the
NEC in 2000, when my wife and I ended up center
center at the rail. This time we were up in the
tiers more than half an arena away from the stage.
So it was not loud at all for us, and we had to
use binoculars to observe any details, which made
it all the harder to enjoy the songs played often,
or to cherish the few nuggets presented way down yonder.
Having seen my sixth show in a week, I could
choose to critizise the song selection (spoiled
as I am by now ;-), as I would have prefered
different choices in spots number 1, 3, 6, 7, 8,
10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20.
This is not to say that those songs were not good
or worth listening to, it is just that going to
several shows you long for the obscurer choices.
But Bob Dylan does not conduct his concerts for
those going to several shows. Last night he
conducted his show for another British audience
in another sold out huge arena.
And, looking at the setlist, I just have to ask
myself: How would I have experienced this show,
and how would I view this setlist now, if this
would have been my only Bob date this year? (like
last year's Kilkenny show for me, with its newest
song from 1973) I would have enjoyed all the 20
songs I have heard last night, without even
considering to worry about hearing the same songs
for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th time in a week.
Pretty pathetic trap, actually. ;-) I would have
been greatly pleased to hear six songs from "Love
& Theft", some nine crowd pleasing greatest hits,
and a handful of obscurer choices thrown in.
For that is exactly what we got to hear last night.
My personal favorites were the acoustic version
of "Big Girl" (with some new lines I did not get),
an incredible tender and soft "Tomorrow Is A Long Time",
including a nice harp intro by Bob and extremely
beautiful harminies by Larry (This version was even
more sublime than the one I saw in Vicar Street.),
my first "Tom Thumb" ever (first timers are always
enjoyable for me), and of course "Summer Days" with
its magnificent guitars. My 2nd "4th Time Around"
(I had seen it before in Portsmouth) was also quite
enjoyable, as were my 3rd "Moonlight" (with lyrics
more correct than the previous night) and my 2nd
"Sugar Baby" ("Look up, look up, seek your Maker").
"Cry A While" was also very good last night, and
I love to see Bob get into the lyrics of his newer
material. Speaking of lyrics, "12&35" is one of
those songs where I wouldn't care if Bob would sing
out of the yellow pages, so I simply try to enjoy
the jam sessions. Last night, right after the band
introduction, Bob surprised us with a nice harp solo
to finish off this my 19th version of this song in
twice as much shows I have seen. Wouldn't it be great
if Bob would replace the lyrics of this song with
harp playing throughout, permanently? (Rethorical
question, you do not have to reply. ;-)
Last night Bob repeated even the otherwise
alternating acoustic encore song, "FOREVER YOUNG",
and there were (only) 10 song changes to Manchester,
not 15, 17, 14, or 16 (see how spoiled you can get?),
but still we got four new songs for Britain,
making it 62 songs now in six shows. With two
London shows left, he might reach 70 songs yet.
The top of my imaginary wish list would be:
"Every Grain Of Sand", "In The Garden",
"I Believe In You", "Mississippi", "Po' Boy",
and "Cat's In The Well", to name just half a dozen.
But whatever we will get, I think I will not regret
having seen my first London shows, when we will head
back to Ireland next week, as I don't regret having
come here to see any of the previous six shows.
Bob Dylan concerts simply are extremely worth seeing
these days. So I am looking forward to another two
shows, less than four hours before the first one
will kick off with ... [???], followed by ... [???].