Dylan cartoon

Australia 2003 / Good or Bad

Hello again 

Well the Oz shows have started to arrive. I would certainly be interested in knowing if any of you are getting more from them than me. 

First off  let me say that they are not exactly bad shows in my opinion. But they are certainly not very exciting either. At first I was not sure why, after all the piano still dominates and we are still getting things like that masterful “Its Alright Ma” but something, as the man said, has been lost. Is it the fact that we have a new guitarist to contend with?? Well that is a possibility I suppose, certainly on the very early shows he is barely stepping forward, and the band generally sound tense. Obviously this is one reason why the set lists are not as variable as I expect they poor guy got very little rehearsal and has had to  pick things up as he  goes along. On some of the later shows I have heard he is starting to have his own voice, somewhere between Mick Taylor and Steve Ripley to my ear. He could in fact add quite a nice new tone to their sound palette, when he settles in.

Of course it’s a major loss not having Charlie Sexton there. He brought some life and youthful enthusiasm into the group which is not there now. Certainly as this new guy is in fact almost Bob’s age anyways he can hardly be expected to bring youth in, can he? 

No to my ear the enthusiasm and fire that was there in Dylan’s voice at the end of last year has simply gone. To my ear Bob sounds rather tired. This may well be borne out by the fact that this year he seems to have really reduced is schedule (cancelling Japan is a prime example. Of course I have no idea if Japan was cancelled due to lack of interest on Bob’s part or on the peoples part. Maybe their just is not the demand for tickets there were a few years ago. 

Either way, Australia 2003 will go down as one of those “so-so” tours. You want to hear a few but you certainly have no burning need to collect them all. I think at this time this has hit home to me particularly as the arrival of these shows on audio coincides with a number of Nov 2002 shows turning up on video. He just seems so animated! Or rather he did seem so animated. But the visuals are not necessary to hear the difference in these two tours.

So once again Bob surprises us, or is that disappoints us?

Is he looking to stop touring soon?

Or maybe Bob you could just take a break of a year or two to rest up.