JUNE 24, 2006




1. Maggie's Farm

2. She Belongs To Me

3. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum

4. Lay, Lady, Lay

5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

6. Love Sick

7. Watching The River Flow

8. Ballad Of A Thin Man

9. Absolutely Sweet Marie

10. Highway 61 Revisited

11. Masters Of War

12. Summer Days

13. Like A Rolling Stone

14. All Along The Watchtower

Not even seven months after Bob Dylan had finished his previous European
tour with two marvellous concerts in Dublin, he came back to the Emerald
Isle last weekend to start his next European tour with another two Irish
shows. The first one took place at Kilkenny's Nowlan Park, a large hurling
stadium, where Bob Dylan had already performed in the summer of 2001.

Back then my wife and I had bravely endured the many opening acts
customary at these festival gigs in order to be close to the stage, but
for various reasons we chose to sit on the grand stand this time, so we
came not too long before Bob took the stage, which was situated on the
other side of the pitch. So it was major binocular time for me, and sadly
the music was not as loud and clear as I am normally used to.

As I did not expect any big surprises for the opening show of the tour,
and as I do not mind at all seeing Bob perform songs like "Tweedle Dee &
Tweedle Dum", I had no problem with the fact that all 14 songs performed
in Kilkenny had been played numerous times during the spring tour, from
which many a recording had found its way onto my computer. I simply loved
the new "2006 organic treatment" of the songs, and also the rearrangement
of many songs, so I was looking forward to hear it live myself.

All of the songs performed in Kilkenny I had seen live before, most of
them many times, but as they are constantly reinvented and performed in a
fresh and different manner, it is always at least interesting to see them
performed again, and often more than that. Bob's voice was strong and
focused throughout the show, and the band was solid. Bob played a harp
solo several times, for example during "Lay, Lady, Lay" (which included an
interesting lyric change ". eat your cake and have it too"), during
"Memphis Blues", and most memorably at the end of the fine version of
"Ballad Of A Thin Man", one of the peaks of the evening.

Another peak was "Absolutely Sweet Marie" (performed for the first time
ever on the Emerald Isle), which was in the top section of my wish list of
songs to hear live on this tour, as on the recordings I heard I liked the
version performed this spring very much, and also since in my 53 previous
shows I only saw this song once before, in Bournemouth, in 2002. But this
Kilkenny 2006 version sure was a nice one, with Donnie playing on fiddle
and bow, and with Bob once more on harp.

My favorite performance however was the oldest song sung by Dylan that
night, a dark and focused rendition of "Masters Of War", with great and
fitting organ playing by Bob. It was the first appearance of this song on
this island since 1991; and it definitely was one of the better of the
fifteen versions I saw him sing since 1981. To be a part of the audience,
even at some distance from the stage, when he delivers as song like that,
is something very special for me, so it was definitely worth driving up to
Kilkenny from Cork, where Bob Dylan would perform the next day, and where
we would be so much closer to the finest performing art to be found on any
stage .

Cork, Ireland