MAY 9, 2002
M.E.N. ARENA, MANCHESTER,
1. MAGGIE'S FARM @
2. SEŅOR (TALES OF YANKEE POWER) @
3. IT'S ALRIGHT, MA (I'M ONLY BLEEDING) @
4. ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS @
5. STUCK INSIDE OF MOBILE WITH THE MEMPHIS BLUES AGAIN
7. I DON'T BELIEVE YOU (SHE ACTS LIKE WE NEVER HAVE MET)
8. LONESOME DAY BLUES
9. MASTERS OF WAR @
10. VISIONS OF JOHANNA @
11. DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALL RIGHT @
12. BLIND WILLIE MCTELL
13. SUMMER DAYS
14. DRIFTER'S ESCAPE
15. RAINY DAY WOMEN #12 & 35
16. THINGS HAVE CHANGED
17. LIKE A ROLLING STONE
18. FOREVER YOUNG @
19. HONEST WITH ME
20. BLOWIN' IN THE WIND
21. ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
So what kind of news did Bob Dylan deliver
last evening at the Mancester Evening News Arena?
This oval bowl full of people was almost cooking
over by the time those spotlights illuminated
the place during the choruses of "Like A Rollin Stone".
It was quite a sight from our floor (Block A, Row Q)
seats. But not many people on the floor used their
seats during this exremely energetic and powerful show,
containing no cover song at all, but only Dylan's
News number one was: "I ain't gonna work on Maggie's
farm no more", sung with acoustic guitar (Charlie
on electric), as first song. For more than three
years now Bob Dylan has started his shows with
acoustic cover songs, so this choice was quite
a surprise. It was presented with the same steam as
some of the other openers, similar to "Duncan And Brady".
Next news item on the list was the second acoustic
version ever of "SEŅOR", a song which my wife and
I had seen five times already from 1995 to 1998.
But we both love this song very much, and last night
it was a mighty fine version we heard. First early
peak of the show.
"It's Alright Ma" was quite strong, and our third
"One Too Many Mornings" since 1994, starting with
a nice harp solo, sung softly and tender, was the
next highlight for me, finishing the first acoustic
set. The first electric set started with a powerful
"Memphis Blues", and I hardly could believe what
Jim Keltner did with this song on his drums. It
was quite amazing, and it was not the last time
that night that I stood in awe of this great musician.
I would not mind if Bob would ask him to stick
around longer than Sunday next.
Another version of "Moonlight" followed, with Bob
making up for some lyrical mistakes in the first
part by singing all the better in the second part
of the song. Next was the second appearance in
2002 of the rare "I Don't Believe You", in my
opinion prompted by Bob's presence in Manchester,
where he prefaced this song 36 years ago with
"It used to be like that, and now it goes like this."
(Maybe this had also been the reason for the
inclusion of "One Too Many Mornings", which he
prefaced in 1966 with "If you only just wouldn't
clap so hard" ;-) Last night's version was very
enjoyable, starting with harmonica, and featuring
very nice guitar playing.
"Lonesome Day Blues" was quite intense again,
with Bob belting out the lyrics. ("IIII'm gonna
taaaame the proud"). Back on acoustic guitar,
Bob scolded the "Masters Of War" one more time,
and Jim's drumming fascinated me once more.
Our fourth "Visions Of Johanna" within the last two years
was next, featuring the longest word in Dylan's lyric book
before another "Don't Think Twice" started with harmonica,
causing the most appreciative audience to break into
rounds of applause, an exercise they repeated after each
verse. And rightly so. Most people present do not see Bob
Dylan very often, so they want to hear some greatest hits.
And what they got last night was great indeed, as Bob
performed all his hits really well.
The second electric set started with another high point
for us, our third "BLIND WILLIE MCTELL",
a masterpiece sung masterfully; and featuring another
great guitar solo by Charlie, preceding the "God is in
His Heaven, and we all want what's His" line.
The next peak followed straight away, as "Summer Days"
gets more enjoyable each day. I know, I have mentioned
those guitars in every review, but last night I thought
the tin roof would lift off the arena. Amazing! Hot!
Music at its absolute finest !!!
The "Drifter's Escape" featured some interesting ever
changing shadows of the band members on the curtain,
and once more I have to mention those impressive drums.
I was hoping for "Cat's In The Well" to close the main set,
but it was not to be (yet ;-). But the crowd loved their
"12&35", as they did love the rocking encores,
"Rolling Stone", "Honest With Me", and "Watchtower"
(This band really rocks!). But they also loved the
slower acoustic hits, like the ever present "Blowing",
or another very nice "FOREVER YOUNG", which both featured
those strong harmonies by Larry and Charlie again. Very effective.
A great show; Manchester special. 5 more songs for Britain 2002,
that's 58 in 5 shows. The NEC in Birmingham is the next arena
we are going to revisit tonight. It will be packed, it will
be loud, and it will be good. And there will be more surprises.
Some tours are like a gold rush. Three hours to go.