JÉREZ 2008

JULY 08, 2008



1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat

2. If You See Her, Say Hello

3. Rollin' And Tumblin'

4. Tangled Up In Blue

5. The Levee's Gonna Break

6. Mississippi

7. John Brown

8. Honest With Me

9. Girl Of The North Country

10. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

11. Beyond The Horizon

12. Highway 61 Revisited

13. Nettie Moore

14. Summer Days

15. Masters Of War

16. Thunder On The Mountain

17. Like A Rolling Stone

After witnessing Bob Dylan’s very fine show in Jaén on July 5th (see my
other review), my wife and I made our way further west to do some
sightseeing in Cordoba, and then spend a whole day in Arcos de la
Frontera, one beautiful whitewashed town on a cliff top, 20 miles east of
Jérez de la Frontera, where we planned to see another fine show, before
driving up to Mérida for three nights, to do some more sightseeing of some
extensive Roman ruins of this major Roman city of the Iberian peninsula;
oh, and to see a final third show of our trip to Spain.

Driving up here to Mérida today from Sevilla we listened to a recording of
Bob’s only other show in Mérida, which took place almost exactly 15 years
ago, on July 12th 1993, wondering what a treat it would be if Bob would
revisit some of the vintage songs from that era, like “I and I”, “Hard
Times”, or “Little Moses”. Wishful thinking, I know. We’ll see what I will
be able to report from our third show in Spain, but first a few thoughts
on last night’s show in Jérez de la Frontera. Bob never had played in
either Jaén or Jérez before, and Jérez probably is the most southwestern
show he ever played in Europe, so given the geographical proximity to
Tangier, I was not at all surprised to hear him sing “If You See Her, Say
Hello”. The last time we heard him sing it was in Galway in 2004, so I
enjoyed this one very much last night, including some nice harp.

In Jérez we stood on the other side of the stage than in Jaén, directly at
the rail this time, slightly left below the right speakers, with a good
view and a great sound. The main set included ten songs we had not seen in
Jaén, which only added to my enjoyment of the show, as did another stellar
rendition of “The Levee's Gonna Break”, which remains for me the most
outstanding rock song by far in Bob Dylan’s current concert repertoire. I
simply cannot describe adequately my appreciation of this song, I just
like it much more than any other rock song I heard since Bob’s better
versions of “Gotta Serve Somebody”. The other rock songs in Jérez took no
prisoners as well, and the extended jam session during “Summer Days” was
the best one I had seen since the 2002 hey day of that song. Danny Freeman
played many a fine solo during the whole show, and from the five able
supporting actors I liked his input the most (not meaning to depreciate
the contributions of the other lads).

The slower songs included a beautiful “Girl Of The North Country” with two
harp solos, the second of which was quite something. The new 2008 version
of “Tangled” was nice too, and also featured Bob on harp. “John Brown” I
had only seen twice in Germany, in 1996 and in 1998, so I was glad to see
it live again, especially since I liked it a lot in recent recordings I
had heard. “Masters Of War” was an interesting dark choice as “closing”
song, before the predetermined so-called encore. “Nettie Moore” was simply
the best one I had ever heard, and my first “Beyond The Horizon” was a
special treat for me, as it was the last of the Modern Times songs Bob
plays live so far which I had not yet seen live. Some of Bob’s lyric
changes in this song are ambiguous to my ears, one could hear “The sun has
risen on the whole human race, …” or “The Son has risen …”; a word play
which some have noticed before in “Not Dark Yet” where the singer “still
got the scars that the sun/Son didn’t heal”.

Which leaves me to mention at last another one of those never seen before
and hoping to see once moments, the one song which was the unmistakable
peak of the Jérez show for me, following right after “Levee”, my favorite
song from “Love & Theft”, the outstanding and fabulous “Mississippi”. And
what a great version of this masterpiece it was I got to witness last
night in Jérez. It was only the third ever performance of this gem outside
of North America, after London in November 2005 and Hoyos del Espino ten
days before Jérez. So, after Jaén’s “Workingman's Blues #2” and “Ain't
Talkin'” I got to cross off another two songs from the top of my imaginary
never seen live before wish list. Now I don’t want to get my hopes built
up for Mérida tomorrow, but to “This Wheel’s On Fire” or maybe the
European debut of “Saving Grace” I would not object at all. But like I
said, we’ll see. Vamos a ver.