alicia_h: (Default)
Alicia ([personal profile] alicia_h) wrote in [community profile] folk_music2009-05-03 12:00 pm

Review: Bob Dylan at the Sheffield Arena - 24th April 2009

Setlist
# Cat's In The Well
# It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
# Things Have Changed
# Boots Of Spanish Leather
# The Levee's Gonna Break
# Sugar Baby
# Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
# Po' Boy
# It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
# Make You Feel My Love
# Highway 61 Revisited
# Love Sick
# Thunder On The Mountain
# Like A Rolling Stone
# All Along The Watchtower
# Spirit On The Water
# Blowin' In The Wind

I almost didn't get any pictures come out because it seemed too dark to have anything show up on the camera. Luckily, my stepmum is good with photo editing software and it turned out I'd got three decent shots of Bob's back.





This Dylan gig was the second concert I've seen at the Sheffield Arena. The first was Queen + Paul Rodgers last October. The two shows probably couldn't have been more different. For starters, I felt like I was miles away from Queen+PR when I saw them. Despite the big screens and fancy light show, there was no denying that Brian May was a tiny ant running around with a speck of a guitar. I was within yards of Dylan on Friday night.

Dylan doesn't go in for flashy lights every song. We had low, medium and bright depending on the mood of the songs and off between them. A few times we had simple patterns rendered in white light projected onto the black walls, such as the stars Bob swore to forsake one of the handful of times that he ventured to the front of the stage to play a raw and heartrending Boots of Spanish Leather. As he barks "How can, how can you ask me again?", I can feel the sound waves trembling through the floor and travel past my feet all the way to my head where they'll ring forevermore.

I'm not going to say Queen+PR were predictable when I saw them, but I did know more or less most of what they would do and that it would sound a lot like the album or previous live versions. Now Dylan, of course, is famous for reworking his songs and surprising people with his set list. I don't think there were that many people, if anyone at all, who expected Bob to walk on stage and jump straight in with Cat's in the Well and to follow it with It's All Over Now Baby Blue. Now, that song was so different from the familiar version that it took me most of the first vese of the song to clock which one it was, even though it's one of my favourites.

Before I went to the show, I was warned that the shows he'd done recently weren't very good, that he mumbles so much you can't identify the song, that he doesn't talk. He didn't mumble too much, in my opinion. It was only during Things Have Changed that it took me forever to spot the song, but that's probably because I'm not very familiar with it. He did lose a few words towards the end of It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), so we did get a couple of lines that came out "nuh ru-ru-ruh mu hu na guillotine!", but the fact that he played that one at all earns him the brownie points to get away with it.

The fact that he played some of my older favourites of course made me very happy. He can only ever play some favourites because he's written so many great songs over the years and not even he can cram them into just two hours. Then there were newer favourites like Love Sick, Make You Feel My Love and Spirit on the Water and the surprises in Cats in the Well and Highway 61 Revisited. I wouldn't trade this as a first time set-list with anyone. Unless we start getting into the possibilities of time travel, in which case that's a different story...

How could people complain about the sound? And how could people walk out before the end? I thought we'd left that sort of silliness to the mid-sixties when bereft folkies were weeping with frustration over Bob's nerve to start playing an electric guitar in public. The difference this time is that people mourn the fact that he doesn't play guitar at his show. It seems times really have changed.

I would never think of complaing that Bob only played guitar the one time in two hours, or his lack of mobility or the absence of big screens because he was on my side of the stage and I got to watch him dance about as he expertly went at the keyboard and sang in a mostly-understandable way. He seemed to be enjoying himself a lot and I think it showed in the quality of the music and the fantastic show that he gave us on Friday. And I honestly don't think I'm just saying that because it was my first time.