NOVEMBER 17, 2003
POINT THEATRE, DUBLIN,
1. Maggie's Farm
2. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
3. Cry A While
4. Desolation Row
5. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
6. Girl Of The North Country
7. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
8. Man In The Long Black Coat
9. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
10. Highway 61 Revisited
11. Every Grain Of Sand
12. Honest With Me
13. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
14. Summer Days
15. Cat's In The Well
16. Like A Rolling Stone
17. All Along The Watchtower
On the way back from Dublin I was wondering
how I would have experienced "The Point" if
it would have been my first show this year;
if my wife and I would not have revisited
our native Germany (seeing the shows in
Frankfurt and Düsseldorf); or if we would
not have gone to Sweden for my 40th birthday
(seeing the shows in Stockholm and Karlstad).
Probably I would feel even stronger about
this magnificent concert we saw at the right
side of the rail, just below the speakers,
with another perfect view across the stage
floor toward Bob.
These two opening sentences of this review
I had just written down on a piece of paper,
while sitting on the ground, and leaning
against the entrance door of Millstreet’s
Green Glens Arena, hoping to get an even
better view for my last show for this year,
when the door opened and the two dozen people
already waiting were allowed inside to hear
the press release read: "Mr Dylan is ill.
He has severe viral laryngitis. After
consulting with doctors in Dublin and
Killarney, it was strongly recommended that
Bob Dylan not perform tonight’s show …."
By now I know that Bob had arrived by bus
in Killarney around four in the morning
after the Dublin show. So he must have
consulted said "doctors in Dublin" already
on the day of his concert at "The Point Depot".
He stayed at the Killarney Park Hotel,
consulted doctors there, and left by bus
for Sheffield around nine in the evening.
In Dublin his voice had been brilliant,
however upon Bob’s request his guitar
technician provided him with something
to drink during the show.
So the concert in Dublin was the fifth and
last one for me this year, and a strong
concert it was, very strong. Contrary to
the previous show I saw in Düsseldorf,
which had a slightly better set list for
my taste, I could see most band members
most of the time this time, as my vantage
point was a little further to the centre
than last time. But I did not know yet
that there would not be a next time for me,
well, not this year at least. The sound was
perfect for me, as I had the speakers right
above me, so this show at the rail was
As I said before, I would have even stronger
feelings, if I had not seen all but two songs
before in the previous weeks. Only the opener
"Maggie’s Farm", and "Most Likely You Go Your Way"
I had not yet seen on this tour, the latter rarer
one I had seen last in Glasgow 2000.
"Desolation Row" was performed very well in
Dublin, but I had experienced an even better
one in Karlstad. The Dublin version was shorter
as well, "only" seven verses plus three
instrumental ones: postcards / cinderella / moon /
dr filth / ophelia / (Koella) / einstein /
(harp solo) / letter / (instrumental).
The other fourteen songs I had even seen in
Frankfurt or Düsseldorf, and most of them also
in Sweden. But that by no means depreciates
any of them performances in Dublin, on the
contrary, most versions were the best I had
witnessed on this tour. "Baby Blue" was the
strongest I heard, and the new sublime
"Girl Of The North Country" was even more
beautiful than the one I had the honour to
hear in Düsseldorf. This new arrangement and
the way Bob Dylan delivers this song is simply
amazing. Also another fine version of
"Man In The Long Black Coat" was a
welcome addition to the set.
Not one song during the concert was even
remotely boring, every single one was performed
with real commitment on Bob’s part, and also on
the part of this finest band on planet earth.
I have nothing but respect for all five musicians
and what they have created on these European
stages during this tour, which I am tempted to
call the finest European tour since 1981.
And they had so much fun in Dublin, especially
during those numerous rocking songs, as they
performed to a most appreciative Irish audience,
which recognised songs fast, and often cheered
after opening words.
Freddie and Larry traded many a guitar solo,
and the rapport between them was very good,
as was the one between Bob and George. A great
Bob moment was during "Most Likely You Go Your Way",
as Bob sang "you say my kisses are not like his,
I’m not gonna tell you why that is", and
immediately afterwards threw in a very fast
"maybe I’ll tell you next time", laughing over
to George as if to say, I told you I could fit
it in before I would sing "I’m gonna let you pass".
All the rocking numbers during the show were as
good as they get. It was the first Bob Dylan
concert on the Emerald Isle since the release of
"Love and Theft", and I had the feeling that "Cry",
"Tweedle", "Honest", and "Summer Days" were
performed particularly well, as were the three
rocking encores. I did not mind at all hearing
them again, especially "Cat’s In The Well", and
the way it is followed seamlessly by "Like A
Rolling Stone". The band intro followed before
the final song, "All Along The Watchtower".
However, the finest songs of this Dublin concert
for me were the slower, more pensive songs
sandwiched between the fast ones. "Girl"
I had mentioned above already, but also
"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" was even
better than the already fine Düsseldorf version.
It is hard to describe, but to be present during
a performance like this is something very special
The finest of all Bob Dylan lyrics I got to hear
for the fourth time during this tour, as he chose
to perform yet another sublime word perfect
"Every Grain Of Sand", which surpassed even the
great versions I witnessed in Frankfurt and Stockholm.
Bob was really into that song in Dublin, very
committed to convey those beautiful confessions
contained therein. So there was only one Bob Dylan
concert in Ireland this year, but I am tempted to
say it was the finest he ever performed on this