NOVEMBER 27, 2005
THE POINT THEATRE
1. Drifter's Escape
2. Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
3. God Knows
4. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
5. Love Minus Zero/No Limit
6. Cry A While
7. Boots Of Spanish Leather
8. High Water (For Charley Patton)
9. Every Grain Of Sand
10. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
11. New Morning
12. 'Til I Fell In Love With You
13. Visions Of Johanna
14. Highway 61 Revisited
15. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
16. All Along The Watchtower
Going by Saturday's song selection, and the set lists
of the previous four European Sunday shows, two of
which (in Wetzlar and in Erfurt) we had the honor
to attend, I just knew that we would hear at least
ten to twelve songs we did not hear on Saturday.
It turned out that we would hear fourteen songs
(the record for the tour) not performed on the previous
night, and five of those fourteen new songs for Dublin
we also had not seen in Rotterdam, Oberhausen, Wetzlar,
or Erfurt. Only two of the last three Sunday songs in
Dublin, "Highway 61" and "Watchtower", would be songs
also performed on Saturday. But as I said already in
my review of that show, this I didn't know yet.
So during the six of the 31 European shows (one Friday,
two Saturdays, three Sundays) we had the pleasure to
be a part of the audience, we heard 51 of the 84 Dylan
songs presented on the tour (not counting the three
tribute covers, or parts thereof, which were performed
in London). Five of those 51 Dylan songs I had never
seen live in 47 shows from 1981 to 2004. Anyway, in
the second Dublin show Bob Dylan sang sixteen songs
from twelve albums (half of them, both songs and albums,
not from the 60s). No new song for the tour was
introduced during this last show, but that was not
necessary, as ten of the songs performed during that
last memorable night had only appeared three to five
times during the other 30 European shows.
Eleven of the songs we were privileged to hear again
at that Dublin rail we heard already before on that
tour, but we did not mind that at all, as Bob was
focused on each and every one of them. Nothing was
performed on autopilot, or going through the motions
(after 30 gigs within six weeks), no, not at all.
Dylan put everything he had into every single song he
sang that Sunday, wearing that black flat rim hat this
time, standing behind his piano, which was tilted more
diagonal toward the audience than on any other piano
show I had seen before. The strong opener, "Drifter's
Escape", which we saw already in Wetzlar, was the
first of five songs featuring Bob on harp, and another
fine "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" as the first
encore (we had seen one already in Oberhausen)
featured the last harp solo of Bob's touring year.
The two repetitions from Saturday, "Highway 61 Revisited"
and "All Along The Watchtower", were as good as they come
(it was great to see them fine musicians toy with "H61"
once more), and I enjoyed very much another strong version
of the new and fresh arrangement of "It's Alright Ma"
(with Donnie on fiddle and bow) which we saw already in
Oberhausen; as well as the new start stop arrangement
of "Cry A While" (again with Donnie playing banjo),
which we already had seen in Wetzlar. Also welcome was
another focused performance of "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum"
(my tenth), which I always love (and I mean love) to
see live. This time it was hard to decide whether to
watch Bob singing, or to behold George's incredible
drumming on this song.
Another song I simply loved to see again was my third
"New Morning" (the fourth of the tour, performed on all
Sunday shows but one, we had seen it already in Wetzlar).
I also had seen one of the 17 European performances
in 1991, but those four 2005 appearances were the first
in Europe since then. The Dublin performance of this
rare gem was extremely enjoyable for me, it was definitely
worth "comin' down the road for a country mile or two".
And I also did not mind at all hearing another very
focused vocal performance in the form of Bob's ninth
"High Water" of the tour (my second, after seeing it
already in Oberhausen). "Things are breakin' up out
there, high water everywhere." Amazing stuff.
Two of the finest songs from this tour, "Señor (Tales
Of Yankee Power)", this time with Bob on harp, and
"God Knows", were predictable choices, as they had
appeared as songs number two and three on all four
previous Sunday shows of the tour, but that was not a
bad thing. For as I agreed with Bob singing these
lyrics in Wetzlar and Erfurt, so I agreed with him
in Dublin. "Let's disconnect these cables, overturn
these tables. This place don't make sense to me no more.
Can you tell me what we're waiting for, SEÑOR?"
"God knows there's gonna be no more water but fire next
time. … God knows everything, God knows it could snap
apart right now just like putting scissors to a string."
Which leaves me to comment on the five songs I had not
yet seen during the other five shows. Three of them
were slow, old, and extremely beautiful. "Love Minus
Zero/No Limit", featuring nice harp by Bob and nice
guitar by Denny, appeared in a new arrangement
(performed for the fifth time on this tour), which I
think worked really well on stage. Amazing vocal
performance by Bob here, as well as during his fourth
"Boots Of Spanish Leather" of the tour, again with a
harp solo, featuring also Donnie on fiddle and bow.
My sixth "Visions Of Johanna" (my first since London 2002)
was the sixth of the tour, and it featured some more
nice guitar work by Denny, but most of all some more
really great singing by Bob. Another special treat for
this Dublin audience was the fourth appearance of the
new arrangement of "'Til I Fell In Love With You", very
well done by Dylan and his band. "I know God is my
shield and he won't lead me astray". I had seen this
song four times before, but not since I saw the only
version in 2000, performed for 900 people in Dublin's
Vicar Street club venue.
The peak however of this awesome Dublin Sunday concert
for me was a word perfect rendition of the most beautiful
song Bob Dylan ever wrote, his fifth "Every Grain Of Sand"
of this fine European tour. I had seen the fourth ever
live performance of this gem in Hamburg 1984, and then,
almost 20 years later, four of the 27 fine European
performances in the fall of 2003. In June 2004 I heard
him sing it Belfast. And on this 2005 tour of Europe
it was as fitting a choice for the last show as it was
for the first one. The Swedish, the Swiss, the Scottish,
the English, and the Irish got to hear this time around
those most meaningful lyrics of the entire tour, as
Bob Dylan confessed to his audience: "I can see the
Master's hand in every leaf that trembles, in every
grain of sand. … Then onward in my journey I come to
understand that every hair is numbered like every grain
of sand. … I am hanging in the balance of a perfect
finished plan, like every sparrow falling, like every
grain of sand."
53 times I have seen Bob Dylan perform since 1981, and
32 of those concerts I saw since Vicar Street 2000
(so this is my 32nd review here). This Bob Dylan concert
was as good as it gets these days. This performing
artist still got what it takes, that's for sure.
Who knows, maybe he will retire from touring next May,
after turning 65, and we will not see him again on our
European stages. Maybe he will stop coming to Europe
each and every year. Or maybe he will continue as he
did in recent years, ever reinventing his fine songs,
and presenting not only the greatest entertainment
available on any stage, but also more of his beautiful
and thought provoking lyrics. But whatever he will do
in the future, let me make it plain as day, I belong
to those who are immensely grateful for the great art
this finest living stage performer has so generously
shared with his manifold audiences over the years.
And as long as he performs concerts as awesome as those
two in Dublin, I'll be "comin' down the road for a
country mile or two", gladly standing in line again.