MAY 05, 2009




1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat

2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

3. Lonesome Day Blues

4. Just Like A Woman

5. Rollin' and Tumblin'

6. John Brown

7. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again

8. Under the Red Sky

9. Honest With Me

10. Masters of War

11. Highway 61 Revisited

12. Ain't Talkin'

13. Thunder On The Mountain

14. Like A Rolling Stone

15. All Along the Watchtower

16. If You Ever Go To Houston

17. Blowin' in the Wind

Exactly 43 years to the day after his first two concerts on the Emerald Isle
(May 5th 1966 in Belfast and May 6th 1966 in Dublin) Bob Dylan ended his
European spring tour of 2009 in Dublin with his 24th and his 25th Irish gig,
two sold out shows at "The O2" (which was built inside the remaining walls of
what used to be "The Point"). It was Dylan's first appearance in the Irish
capital since he had ended the European fall tour of 2005 within these same
walls three and a half years ago with two excellent shows, which were the
last ones before he switched his keyboard from piano to organ sound, (one day
after those shows he went into a Dublin studio to record "Can't Escape From
You",released last year on "Tell Tale Signs").

The first Dublin show on May 5th was also the first Irish performance since
his memorable appearance down here in Cork in June 2006, which means it was
the first Irish show since the release of "Modern Times", his now second to
last album. However he performed only three songs from "Modern Times" during
the first show, the best of these three being the fantastic "Ain't Talkin'",
as song number twelve in the set, which generally leaned heavily toward the
hard rocking blues songs of the "pillbox hat lonesome day blues rollin' and
tumblin' honest with me highway 61 thunder on the mountain" variety, which
are all somehow the musical equivalent to driving a long freight train through
a large brick wall, sort of, extremely fun to watch every time, but quite
similar. And it is not that I had never seen them or other regulars before.

In fact I saw 16 of the 17 songs of the first show before, but some of them
not since London 2002 (like the fine closer "Blowing In The Wind") or even
longer. One of the finer moments of the show was seeing Bob on guitar for my
first "Under The Red Sky" since Aberdeen 2000. The obligatory Tuesday songs
"John Brown" and "Masters Of War" I saw last year already in Spain, but I did
not mind at all hearing those two again, especially "John Brown", which was
extremely well sung. I also enjoyed "Stuck Inside Of Mobile" with four harp
solos (on the second night he would play none during this song). Overall Bob
was very lively during the first concert, he danced around and smiled a lot,
and he and the band obviously had a lot of fun playing those faster songs,
and the audience seemed to love the show very much.

The peak of the concert for me however was the only song of the night I had
not seen before, and in fact nobody else in the audience for that matter. It
was the first live performance of any song from Bob Dylan's new chart topping
album "Together Through Life", as the surprising penultimate song of the concert,
"If You Ever Go To Houston", which was delivered word perfect and well rehearsed,
and which works much better in concert than I ever would have expected, with the
organ replacing the accordion played on the album. For 62 Bob dates since 1981
I had to wait to witness my first live debut by Bob Dylan. I had seen one US
debut before, and several European debuts, but to be a part of the audience
during the actual live premiere of a newly recorded Dylan song is one kind of
special concert experience I never had before, and which is all the more
enjoyable when a song is nailed like that the first time around, and you are
standing close to the stage, mere four steps away from the rail.