Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dylan in Dublin

Recovering from two Dylan concerts in O2 Dublin. My first visit to the venue. A great improvement on The Point, good view of the stage from most areas, pity about no parking at the venue. We used the Luas both nights and there are plans to extend it to the O2. That will make a difference.

Picture above by Greg from the first Dublin concert, thanks! Good company each night, friends first night, relations second.

But Dylan? Great both nights. Why go to two concerts one after the other? He played 17 songs the Tuesday night, 18 the Wednesday and between the two night i heard 28 different songs. Great set lists both night. First night highlights included Masters of War, Ain't Talking, John Brown and Stuck Inside of Mobile. The big news from Dublin was that Dylan played the first live version of a track from his new album - If You Ever Go to Houston - on Tuesday and repeated it on Wednesday. Second night we heard a powerful Desolation Row, Blind Willie McTell, Girl of the North Country and Man in the Long Black Coat.

He finished each night with a new arrangement of Blowing in the Wind. One of the teases of attending a Dylan concert is recognising the familiar songs because they certainly don't sound like they do on the albums or even like they did the last time you saw him.

Bob said nothing either night, no "Hello", no "Thanks" and no band introductions. The rumour is that he and his band had a falling out at the Edinburgh gig and since then he hasn't introduced them. He did do the introductions at Liverpool. Having said that the band sounded terrific.

Is that his real Oscar which perched on an amplifier each night? He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in a movie for "Things Have Changed" for the movie Wonder Boys in 2000.

Full setlists from Dublin and fan reviews here. A terrible review in today's Irish Times. Terrible because the critic doesn't seem to have been at the same concert. The worst part is the accusation of Dylan's "dismaying lack of engagement". This apparently because Dylan doesn't address the audience. It's the songs stupid! As Dylan himself said in his Ballad of a Thin Man, addressed to a critic, which he played last night:
Something is happening
But you don't know what it is
Do you Mr Jones?

Irish Independent review here. The Wednesday night was the last night of his current European tour. He starts an American tour on 1 July. His new album, Together through Life, has reached number one in the charts.


Unknown said...

Written by a fervant fan - it sounds terrific. I had a friend over in London when I used to work over there in the early 90s. When Dylan came to town she went to every single gig on in that week.

I didn't get it back then. I do now :)

Anonymous said...

I was there both nights too. Michael has described it perfectly!

Ken said...

I enjoyed your Dylan reviews and your blog in general. I was at all the UK / Irish shows, and also at the Walker and Maritime Museums in Liverpool, as described in your blog.
Best shows - Dublin (x2), Glasgow, Sheffield. Best moments - 'Something' in Liverpool and 'If you ever go to Houston' in Dublin.
Reviews of most of my European 2009 Dylan shows plus the new album at

Sean McA said...

Nice review Michael.

Enjoyed some of the shows myself.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Michael. I was there the second night + posted a review at

eddie stack