original ticket for Stormont Castle, before the show was relocated to the Odyssey Arena

JUNE 26, 2004



1. Maggie's Farm

2. Watching The River Flow

3. Seeing The Real You At Last

4. Moonlight

5. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum

6. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

7. Love Sick

8. Highway 61 Revisited

9. Tears Of Rage

10. Cold Irons Bound

11. Every Grain Of Sand

12. Honest With Me

13. Ballad Of Hollis Brown

14. Summer Days

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

16. Like A Rolling Stone

17. All Along The Watchtower

I was hoping for a European debut of "Saving
Grace", but it was not to be, during Bob Dylan's
first show in Belfast since 1998. It was also
the first show in the north of this beautiful
island since my wife and I have moved over from
Germany in 1999. Well, we live in County Cork,
some 300 miles south of Belfast, but Dylan shows
down there tend to get cancelled. When we bumped
into Tony Garnier at a record store some eight
hours before the Belfast show, and chatted for
five minutes or so, he asked me to remind him
why, as he forgot that it was Bob's viral
laryngitis. Friendly chap, this bass player
of the finest rock band around.

And this band rocked the Odyssey Arena allright,
at least for eleven of the usual seventeen songs.
The first rocker, "Maggie's Farm", which had
opened already last November's Dublin show, was
followed by "Watching The River Flow" (starting
with harp), which rolled along just fine. The
third one, "Seeing The Real You At Last", was
even stronger (we had not seen it since 1996).
Things slowed down with "Moonlight" (DOCTOR,
lawyer, indian chief), before "Tweedle" and
"Stuck" rocked on. Good stuff.

"Love Sick" was the first "surprise" of the
night, and the 50th song for this European
tour (not bad, considering that this was only
show number six). "H61" was its usual steam
roller, and Dylan seemed to be loosening up
a bit more toward its end. Then there was
this short conference mid stage, and I knew
some thing special was welling up. So we got
to witness a sublime "Tears Of Rage", beautifully
delivered, with harp, "Strawberry Fields",
"Penny Lane", and "Willow Garden"; for me the
high point of the concert, and the only song
of the night I had never seen live before in
my previous 45 Bob shows.

Then "Cold Irons" rocked again, as I knew by
then "Honest" would, and "Summer Days", and
"Rolling Stone", and "Watchtower", and they
did, every single one of them. But I also knew,
that songs 11, 13, and 15 were not yet fixed,
although song number 15, the first encore,
ended up as "Don't Think Twice" again, as it
did at both Glasgow shows. It was very nicely
done, and started and ended with harp; the
Belfast audience loved it, and sang along,
as they did to other greatest hits as well.

So the songs before "Honest" and before "Summer
Days" were to be the last two "surprises", the
first one was "Every Grain Of Sand", almost as
word perfect as some of the four versions I saw
last fall. But no complaints, as I always love
to hear a fine performance of Bob's most beautiful
song. Great stuff. The second one not fixed yet
was not "Saving Grace", as I had hoped, but a
very strong "Hollis Brown", which was another
high point of the show. One of the best vocal
performances of the night.

Bob was moving around a bit in Belfast, especially
during the second half of the set, for example
during the jam session of "Summer Days", which
seemed to be longer than normal. He interacted
a lot with his band, and almost cracked up laughing
during the intro, which he made from the mid stage
mike. His piano I could not hear too well somehow
from my far right position at the rail, as for
most of the time I could not see Larry, George,
and Tony, due to large monitors set up minutes
before the show, unfortunately blocking my view,
which was straight across the stage toward Dylan.

So I also had a good view toward Stu, the new guy,
who played his guitars very well, almost too well,
very slick and polished. As for me, I would have
preferred to see Freddy standing there, it would
have been more interesting, and less predictable,
more out on the limb. But hey, who wants to waste
his time on futile complaints on comparisions.
Freddy or not, Pearse Stadium, here I come.
Life is brief.


An interesting story taken from the Belfast Telegraph:

Legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan surprised staff and parents at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast when he dropped in for a impromptu visit. The folk/rock star, in the city for a show at the Odyssey Arena, spent time on three wards in the hospital on Friday afternoon. He played the harmonica for children and parents, before handing out little mouth-organs to patients. The private visit was organised by Dylan's management, who said the singer was keen to meet with sick children in the hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said the visit cheered up the young patients and brought a smile to the faces of many parents. "The first we heard about the visit was when Dylan's management called us and said he wanted to come to the hospital to visit the children," she said. "He spent time chatting to the children, played the harmonica for them and presented harmonicas to each of them. "I'm not sure if the children knew who he was, but because he was dressed in cowboy boots and stetson, they knew he was someone famous. "It was an unexpected surprise and the dads of some of the children were chuffed to bits. "He was very pleasant and friendly and staff were delighted to welcome him to the hospital."