MAY 11, 2002
LONDON ARENA DOCKLANDS, LONDON,
1. I AM THE MAN, THOMAS @
2. THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' @
3. IT'S ALRIGHT, MA (I'M ONLY BLEEDING) @
4. IT'S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE @
5. SOLID ROCK
7. SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES
8. LONESOME DAY BLUES
9. MR. TAMBOURINE MAN @
10. VISIONS OF JOHANNA @
11. DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALL RIGHT @
12. BLIND WILLIE MCTELL
13. SUMMER DAYS
14. COLD IRONS BOUND
15. LEOPARD-SKIN PILL-BOX HAT
16. LIKE A ROLLING STONE
17. HONEST WITH ME
18. BLOWIN' IN THE WIND @
19. ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
Featuring only 19 songs, being the shortest show
on this tour so far, the first of the two concerts
by Bob Dylan in London was excellent, a faultless
performance! It had been the first appearance of
the world's best and most important artist in
Europe's largest city after September 11th, so
I for my part was very pleased that two of the
first five songs he sang were about Jesus Christ.
As in Brighton a week before, the show kicked off
with a strong and energetic "I AM THE MAN THOMAS",
being the seventh time during this tour this song
had been performed. "Times" ended with a harp solo,
and the fifth "Ma" in a row featured great drums.
"Baby Blue" started with harmonica, and as five
days before in Cardiff, it was followed by Bob
Dylan's confession that he still is "hanging on
to a SOLID ROCK"; and solid rock it was indeed,
this brilliant song, rocking the 15th European
venue on this tour. A true high point.
My personal concert experience however went downhill
from that hight point, not because of the performance
on stage, which remained strong throughout, but
because of "Gestapo like" security behaviour, for
they were starting to clear the aisles, which had
been filling up during an early stage run followed
by a continuous stage walk. Gradually we were moved
back to our original seats, which were on a corner
of a block on the right side on the floor (the first
5 songs I saw from the center behind the first block
of rows), so security remained our major obstacle
to enjoy this great show, as they constantly kept
clearing the aisles, asking everybody walking towards
the front for their tickets, in a futile attempt to
have everybody stand in front of their own seat only.
Most disturbing indeed.
All the 19 songs I had seen before during this
vacation in Britain, but some of them only once
or twice, so it was a pleasure to hear another
"Floater"; and the second appearance of
"BLIND WILLIE MCTELL" within 49 hours,
including another great guitar solo by Charlie,
did not bother me at all. "Summer Days" was a pure
invitation to dance, and the first London version
(including those great guitars which I believe
I had mentioned before ;-), was as good as it gets.
The most redeeming part of "Pillbox" for me is
always the band intro, especially when every
member gets to play a short solo (I'm still not
giving up hope to hear "Cat's In The Well" tonight ;-).
After a short break Bob cut short the encores by
two songs (not only by one song like the day before
in B'ham), but he did it in a very interesting way,
by cutting them at the front and in the middle,
thus leaving out the first acoustic encore,
and moving up the ever present "Rolling Stone"
to start this shorter part two of the show.
This was a most effective surprise to my ears
at least, as it was unexpected; and a powerful
version it was, very fitting in this spot,
making this 26th version I have seen in 39 shows
the most enjoyable version I can recall.
Following this "Rolling Stone" directly with
"Honest With Me" kept the energy flowing; and
another "Blowing" (starting with a harp intro
once more) preceded the final song of the night,
a smoking version of "Watchtower", which was one
for the history books. Rock at it should be,
with great drumming by Jim Keltner.
What more can you ask for?
One more show with this fine band in London tonight,
four hours ahead of us, hopefully with less
disturbances by security. I checked our seats already
last night, they will be in the fourth row, but all
the way to the left side, 70 and 71. I suspect it
will be another top performance, and it might even
include some more surprises. "Mississippi" would
be nice, wouldn't it?