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Bob Dylan 2000.03.28 Milano

Subject: Milan view
From: Duncanehume 
Date: 29 May 2000 18:02:56 GMT

Grey hair is starting to come thick and fast. Wait band a little tighter. Eyes
highlighted with few more lines. Black pants, boots, t shirt and loose fitting
jacket. Yesterday's late night drinking obvious. Another town, another show. I
looked in the mirror and wondered how Bob was doing. 

Actually he was doing fine last night. Desolation Row was focussed and
delivered with his new found vocal clarity. Baby Blue is always a joy and
tonight was no exception. Tangled got's it's ritual demolition. To Ramona was a
waltzing wonder. Such a thing of beauty. Country Pie served up an Appleberry.
Tell Me had me thinking we might get the whole of Skyline live tonight.
Watchtower was punchy. Not Dark Yet it's usual wonder. God it sounds so good.
Cold Irons Bound sucked a big one. It was so bad it was funny. Why mess with it
? Kempers crashing beat smashed in over the last word of each line. "I'm
beginning to hear" ..SMASH, "and there's no one"...SMASH.

Thin Man, Not Fade Away and Blowin' were all you could wish for. And One Too
Many Mornings has to be put on for the whole world to hear. 

Is Charlie Sexton really trying to look like Robbie Robertson ?

Duncan Hume

Subject: Re: Milan view From: Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 20:53:07 +0200 I think you're wrong about Cold Iron Bounds - you say it was so bad it was funny. I think it wasn't bad at all. It was a new arrangement and the band and Bob had so much fun too playing it this way. A lot of people around me nearly started crying because it was so intensive!! Thanks for your review anyway.Bye Paddy
From: (Federico Boggio) To: Subject: 28.05.2000 - ...With The Milano Blues Again Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 10:16:03 +0200 Wow! Second time around and what a show! 19 songs and only 7 in common with the previous date in Modena which I was lucky enough to attend too (see my review of 27.05.2000). Dylan and his band as rocking as ever dispensed the audience of the Palavobis in Milano with a long string of musical pearls. Great show indeed! Roving Gambler (ac.) A very good opener. Though this song╩has╩never been among╩my favourite numbers to listen to on tape,╩I must say that live it works really fine and takes you by the hand into the show. The Times They Are A-Changin' (ac.) Well, Dylan blessed us all with╩an amazing rendition of this song in Milano. It looked like he was playing with the lyrics and went high and low with╩his striking and caressing voice. Marvellous. Desolation Row (ac.) It's always astonishing to listen a to a live rendition of this masterpiece.╩This time╩Dylan played it╩solid and╩classic, long and mellow as it should be, and the more the song went on, the more you felt like hypnotized during the progression of each verse, with╩just a moment of release╩at the end of each one when he sang "...desolation row". Good refinings of Dylan on the guitar. Among the highlights of the evening. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (ac.) Another classic. It was a pity the╩song was played immediately after "Desolation Row" and we were all still╩too concentrated on that╩to appreciate it the way this song should have deserved tonight. Tangled Up In Blue (ac.) Still less impressive than in Modena, my opinion is that time has come for Dylan to give it a break and put this beautiful song to a rest for a couple of months at least. Yes, I understand the╩audience wants to hear╩TUIB, I know that Dylan enjoys playing it too, but I╩see that lately this song╩sounds kind of "tired"╩and its live renditions are not particularly inspired. To Ramona (ac.) Hauntingly beautiful. This ballad in waltz time never fails to amaze me╩and I find that in the last performances the song╩has gained in terms of power united to an incredible tenderness. No harmonica coda this time. Country Pie This short song opened the electric set and sounded much better than in Modena. The band was tight and concentrated and everything worked fine with this joyful song. Tell Me That It Isn't True Beautiful surprise. This not often frequented song from "Nashville Skyline" was given in Milano a stunning rendition, moving and intense. Very interesting. All Along The Watchtower The audience went crazy at the first chords of this classic song, played with punch and determination in the old way (not the╩mid-tempo arrangement Dylan had accustomed us to in '98). Dylan sang╩the mysterious lyrics of this song very aggressively╩backed up by a resolute band. Not Dark Yet We all needed a little rest and there it is. NDY was treated slow and dark and Dylan's vocals reached abysses of mysterious depth. In Milano this song was really tremendous, poignant and haunting. Cold Irons Bound Big surprise! Not one of my favorites from TOOM, this song is now completely different, with a striking new arrangement that made it one of the highlights of the show. It's rock, rock, rock! Not the usual heavy "wall of sound" arrangement that made this song sound a little like a whole block of concrete. Now╩the song is extremely lively, with vocals well in front,╩lots of stops and starts, staccatos, and a jazzy and funky influence. Very very good. Apparently, Dylan is experimenting in new directions (see the╩re-working of "Can't Wait", "Drifter's Escape" and "Gotta Serve Somebody") and it will be of extreme interest to see where he's going to lead us to. Highway 61 Revisited A great╩stopper before the encores. Played with pluck╩and rocking as usual, great guitar work of Campbell and Sexton. Ballad Of A Thin Man This indeed was the top of the tops! BOATM was played subterranean and intimate, slow and precise with stunning vocals by Dylan capable as usual of creating a magic atmosphere and reaching to peaks of sublime╩poetry and feeling (the "..nobody has any respect" middle break, above all). Like A Rolling Stone This was a sort of a slowdown, in my opinion, even if the audience enjoyed this song a lot. Just an average rendition, not particularly inspired, Dylan sang three verses only and the rest was routine guitar work. One Too Many Mornings (ac.) Hey guys, what a thrill! Dylan's dreamy and narrating voice led us all into a tunnel of spellbound╩atmosphere. The song was treated beautifully, soft and slow, and we all felt wrapped up in a blanket of pure enchantment.╩Another highlight. Not Fade Away Always a pleasure to listen to this powerful song opening the last portion of the show. Played tasty and rocky, this song led us into the more relaxed atmosphere of the following Forever Young (ac.) Once again, Dylan gave another excellent╩vocal rendition of this classic of his, helped in the choruses by Larry and Charlie. Entrancing. Rainy Day Women #12&35 The last but one song, and we all expected it to be RDW. Dylan sang it a lot, like in Modena the night before, with irony and fun. Blowin' In The Wind (ac.) The last showdown. Everybody stood up and sang along in the choruses. The rendition of BITW was choral, as usual these times, and on my╩way home on the highway the bare and solo versions from '92 occurred to my mind... maybe better? In conclusion, a very good show with lots of highs and just a very few lows... what is left to say? I am happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I had the opportunity of attending two astounding concerts (Modena and Milano), sad because the next gig in Florence on May 30 is on my mind, but Florence is far, the journey is long and expensive, my job is waiting for me. So I'll have to wait, unwillingly, 'til the next European tour in the Fall, I hope. Thanks everybody for your attention Federico Boggio
From: Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 08:45:06 +0200 Subject: review of Milan concert To: Milan That such a man walks the earth! Bob Dylan torched Milan, turning in a show that ran through every emotion, a show as rich and complex as Shakespeare, as sincere and touching as your first kiss. It was the most powerful, intricate and swinging rock 'n' roll I had heard since the Stones in their heyday in the '70. This is absolutely as good as it gets. What a contrast to the night before in the provincial town of Modena! Bob obviously saves himself for the big ones. And Milan, Italy's most important city, intellectually and industrially, was a big one. And there I was, in the pit six rows from the front with a perfect view of the perfect show. Roving Gambler I've seen Bob in '74, '78, '86 and '90 and heard endless bootlegs and he always needs four or five songs to warm up. Not tonight. A great opener, accompanying an instant stage rush. Such a rich sound with the three acoustic guitars. Dylan playful with his singing and Charlie especially providing gorgeous back up vocals in his cowboy voice. It really rocked. Times Changin' I think he should retire this song actually as he obviously knows it's not true. It is a period piece and a young man's song. Nevertheless he played it beautifully. He left out the line "and admit that the waters around you have grown", coming in on the following line. I thought it was a flub at the time but now I think he fooled us. A couple of songs later he paused in the middle of lines, to heighten the drama, but we all thought he had forgotten the words! Our hearts were in our mouths! I think he was just playing a practical joke. Desolation Row Sheer genius. Heavy meaning in every word. Larry played some tasty guitar licks in perfect counterpoint to Bob's picking. A real treat. Baby Blue Larry on steel. Bob continues to limber up, pausing in the middle of lines and working his guitar. Tangled up in blue Bob's playing from the hip now, lively and savouring the words of this classic. To Ramona A lovely Tex-Mex treatment with Larry on mandoline. Like a brand new song, almost a waltz. Bob sang it with freshness and tenderness, as if he were speaking the sentiments to a woman standing in front of him. How he can achieve such intimacy in front of 8 000 people is really the mark of the man. Country Pie Now the guitar work starts in earnest. The song ends with guitar runs from Larry, then jumps to Charlie for an explosive burst of speed picking - totally original. It is still ringing in my brain days later. That boy may not get a lot of solos but he saves up for them, that's for sure. Bob's in full voice now, not holding back in the least. And his voice sounds good. Better than on many bootlegs from the mid '90s. (As far as I undertand, he uses a special mic that adds a very slight reverb to his voice to buck it up a bit. Is that true?) Tell me it isn't true His singing is getting better and better. All along the watchtower A tour de force. Larry takes care of the famous opening Hendrix rift; he has the steel guitar screaming with urgency. On the rift goes to Bob in a seamless flow of music. Watchtower, with its "none of them along the line know what any of it is worth" and its conspiratorial "but you and I, we've been through that and that is not our fate", has always meant a lot to me. It's a song of existential decision. It's a song for anyone who has tried to march to his own drummer. Bob puts heavy emphasis on "BUSINESSMEN, they drink my wine; PLOWMEN dig my earth", singing hard and clear. I'm overwhelmed with emotion and in tears. A great moment in my personal rock history. Not dark yet Another highlight. He sings it with poise and dignity. Beautiful lyric guitars all around. Who would believe that "it's getting there". Cold Irons Bound An amazing new arrangement. He starts with a simple single guitar and bass accompaniment, almost speaking the words. Suddenly, the band hits it with everything, then stops. Another line, the band hits it again. The crowd is in an uproar. Again, and I think a fourth time. Then the traditional rocking arrangment to the end. Highway 61 Exceptional. Bob's firing on all cylinders, spitting out some of his best lyrics, obviously having a great time. In the middle of a roaring four-way jam at the end, Tony suddenly ups the tempo and they are off on an even higher plane. I haven't heard such intricate and just plain wonderful guitar interplay in a long, long time. Simply superb. Ballad of a Thin Man Another song I think he should retire since I don't think such sarcasm becomes him now. It is still well done. Rolling Stone A mid-tempo version and an obvious crowd pleaser. By this point, there is a real love-in going on in the pit. People turning to each other and smiling or with looks of amazement. There is an eight-year-old boy on his father's shoulders six rows from stage centre. That kid is going to be far out. Three generations are singing along to the song. One too many mornings Tony's got his huge wooden bass working again. Bob is singing tenderly and beautifully. Larry's steel is gorgeous. Not fade away In the excitement I had forgotten that he might play this. As the first chug-a-chug rifts sounded out, I thought to myself "my love is bigger than a Cadillac??" Yes! Dylan's having a ball and so is everyone else. Forever Young With so many young people in the crowd and Charlie Sexton standing beside him (is that guy even 25?), this song had a special poignacy. Again I was in tears with the wisdom and beauty of the lyrics, sung with so much heart. If I never get to see Bob again (perish the thought) this will remain his final benediction. RDW More great rock 'n' roll. Blowin' in the wind Beautiful. They put the concert to bed, Bob puts on his black cowboy hat and walks with straight-backed dignity off the stage to thunderous applause.
2000: March - April - May