Sound: So last night I saw Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler at the Palais Omnisports in Paris and I must say that the concert was most excellent. The sound was impressive and Dylan proved that he is not a washed up has been. The guitar sound was very solid featuring a lot more bluesy breakdowns than I expected. In fact their was almost no acoustic work done in the concert, instead all the songs had heavy blues remakes a la Hendrix. While this worked really well for some tracks like "All Along The Watchtower" (Which featured an epic final jam) other tracks seemed weaker because of it a notable one was "Like A Rolling Stone" which lost a lot to the new rendition. All in all the guitar sound was very solid but did not at all reflect the folksy origins of Dylan's older material. However the renditions of his newer material was very accurate and well done.
As for the rhythm section It was powerful and the double bass had lots of fun walking lines. While this did get a but repetitive after a while it gave the band a very classy old fashioned blues dance band type feel. Their where some rather excellent bass solos in some of the instrumental breaks and I was very impressed by the virtuosity of the bassist. The drums were solid and kept the classic blues vibe alive using fairly straightforward timing allowing the audience to clap along to the music. There was a small drum solo in on of the breaks and it was pretty impressive. In short Dylan's drummer really knows what he's doing and can get a crowd on its feet with his solid on point beats.
Then there are the keyboards, these were reasonably well done and Dylan did a great job on them. He is not a keyboard genius but he knows enough to get a good twelve bar blues chord progression going. Seeing as the majority of the songs were 12 bar blues this means his keyboard playing fit right in and helped to create a wall of sound that cocooned the listener in a magic evening of Bob Dylan. Admittedly the songs were a lot more keyboard heavy than on the records. For example "Tangled Up In Blues" had a vastly expanded and much heavier piano part mixed into it.
Then we get to his vocals, and frankly I'm not sure about them. Dylan's voice is no longer what it was in the 60s yet he can still belt out some really awesome tracks. Yet his vocals have changed a lot and are a lot more aggressive and growly than on any of his classic records. If you go to see Dylan you should not expect the angelic crooning typical of Blonde on Blonde. While his stuff is still amazing I am not sure if I can 100% accept them. Yet on the whole his vocals, while different, were still pretty good and featured a lot of nice melodies. In addition to that his harmonica was better than ever. It was honestly an aspect of the concert that blew me away. // 8
Perfomance: As a whole the performance was very good and Bob Dylan just reeked of cool. In all honesty Bob Dylan is probably the world's coolest 70 year old. Just the way he comported himself and danced across the stage shattered me. Bob Dylan may be a geriatric but he is still an icon and his every movement is beautiful and filled with the essence of rock and roll. As for the light show it was decent but not amazing. I honestly felt that they could have tried harder on the light show because I was left a bit disappointed by that. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall this concert was pretty amazing. The opener was Mark Knopfler and his set was already worth the 90 euros I paid for a seat. Then Bob Dylan made it all the better. My favorite moment of the show was in the last two songs "All Along The Watchtower" and "Like A Rolling Stone". There was an amazing jam on "All Along The Watchtower" and a great sing a long for "Like A Rolling Stone". My main problems with the show were with the vocals of Dylan which took me off guard and the fact that Dylan addressed the audience once. To finish this gig was one of the greatest I have ever seen with excellent musicianship and awesome vocals (For anybody who's curious the gig took place at Palais d'Omnisports in Paris on October 17).
If you like my stuff you can find more at my site: Twoguysmetalreviews.blogspot.com. // 9