Bob Thoughts

Bob Thoughts

Last month I moaned about the lack of Oz shows, then virtually all of them arrive at once. This means that I can now look again at these shows with greater subjectivity than I did before. While thatís the plan anyway. This has been taken a step further however as some of the US April shows have also arrived quite fast , giving me the unique opportunity to compare two tours at the same time. Add to this the change in personnel from one tour to the next and things are decidedly more interesting. So I guess I just have to do this donít I? Donít I? 

Itís amazing how things get so tangled up around here nowadays. This lot has arrived just before JG3 (John Green Day 3 to those less informed) and this brings with it a flurry of work. If you havenít guessed by now my enthusiasm at times needs a boost and lately more so than before.  Dear old JRS may worry and fret and generally annoy the hell out of me but he plods on regardless, testimony to why our little magazine has lasted so long already I have no doubt.  As you, dear reader know, I have had many troubles with this these days. The old ďwhy are we doing this?Ē plea you know. Recent times have seen me pushing further and further into other music and less and less inclined to spend so long on Bob alone, some would say that is good, others not. I made a very conscious move to cut back on all these peripheral activities, I have come to terms with my being a collector first and an article writer second, but I have often tried to reverse those goals as it was what seemed to be needed.  It has taken me  a lot of time to get around to being who I am and just letting others accept it as it is, and that means cutting down on the non collecting stuff.  Believe me that has been hard and pretty unpopular but itís starting to happen now.  Which hopefully will result in more quality time for things that I want to be more involved in. 

But, soul searching of my own aside, howís Bob doiní this year? Well not bad actually.  Based on what I have heard I canít see the year going down as a classic, but its no bummer either. Dylan sounds in fair voice, and the band are generally pretty solid too. The Oz shows seem to feature more prominent keyboards than the Novemebr 2002 shows, but I would say that whilst thereís more of it, itís not necessarily as good. Of course the loss of Sexton has resulted in a need to pull in the reins a bit, the band are less adventurous and the set lists are far more predictable. Probbaly to help break in the new guitarist. Or is that guitarist(s)?  Once again  Dylan would  appear to be rehearsing these people on stage. To my ears that is a rather unprofessional thing to do. 

Bob if you ever read this (perish the thought) then for Godís sake stop doing that. Your audience, and more importantly your music requires you to take better care of things. I like change, itís a healthy though sometimes painful thing, but the wrinkles should be resolved before you hit the road, not after. 

In Oz they got  Billy Burnette. Billy seemed to settle in quite quickly and after a very hesitant first night was playing some nice guitar. He lacked Charlieís fire but had a blues tinge to his playing that I thought would fit ok with Larry Campbell. But I guess it was not to be, by the time the tour got America again Billy has left to be replaced by the altogether different  Freddie Koella. Freddie is a much quieter player, almost regressing to rhythm guitar on some of the songs. This allows Larry to shine a lot more. I find this a two edged sword. Whilst missing the clash of heavy metal from their sound, Freddie is giving Larry the chance to play more mandolin as well as some more tasteful guitar playing. Like Billy he seems to have settled in pretty fast and by the end of April (I havenít heard any May shows yet) he has feels confident enough to take Larry on for some guitar duelling. This is all down at low volume level and I cannot see it being as obviously appealing as the pyrotechnics we got when Larry and Charlie jammed with each other. Time will tell who has fell. 

Of  course the lower volume brings Dylan more to the fore than usual and I think therefore the US shows have the edge on the Oz ones, but thatís not to say better, just different guitarists. 

But more on that later. 

Till Next Time