Budapest, Hungary
Budapest Sportaréna
October 24, 2003

[Jim Scrivener], [Tim Rooney], [Borivoj Terek]

Review by Jim Scrivener

Dylan came to Budapest - but Budapest didn't come to Dylan. The number of
posters around town had been growing exponentially over the last few weeks
which suggested some shortfall in ticket sales.  The cavernous Flying
Saucer of the new Sports Arena was probably less than a sixth full. This
meant that, whatever the price of your ticket, you could choose where to
sit and getting a standing place near the front was no problem at all.
This made the whole event seem far more intimate than your standard arena

Dylan himself seemed oblivious to the empty room. In his usual manner he
appeared to cast hardly a glance at the audience. But he was in a very
good mood, smiling a lot, looking rather jolly even. I've rarely seen him
sing with so much attention to every word of the songs; there was more
clear articulation and fewer forgotten lyrics than I have seen in shows
last year and the year before. So a lot of decent enjoyable performances,
many with attention to meaning and feeling, though none seemed
outstanding. My personal favourites were a really on-form opener of
Tombstone Blues and a deeply felt "Love Minus Zero". It was also great to
hear "Every Grain of Sand" - first time I've heard it in concert. 

Unfortunately the sound system on rising to greater volume as the show
went on, became very distorted, especially on vocals. The last two songs
sounded awful to me - I've never heard a worse "Rolling Stone", not
because the singing was bad, but because the sound that got to the hall
was so distorted that it was painful to listen to.

I'm left at the end, grateful to have heard and seen Dylan again. Glad he
was trying so hard. Just still sad that it's never the concert of my
dreams - which would be him and his guitar - no band - just singing a
handful of folk songs and quieter pieces. Having made that defiant step
into electricity so long back, I yearn for him to now make the reverse
move. I guess if you want to pitch all concerts at the general public who
come along and shout for the two or three standards they have heard of -
then you end up with this kind of show. Brilliant band performances. Lots
of the louder, rockier songs. Croaky shouting-type singing for over half
the pieces. Just not the Dylan I most love and admire. 

Bob - Couldn't we see you alone on stage a little more, rather than hoping
for one restrained acoustic vocal per night? Wouldn't it be possible to
advertise one or two shows each tour as "quiet" shows? Then we'd know what
we were getting - and could travel to find that?

Anyway, thanks for tonight Bob; I don't mean to seem ungrateful. See you
in Vienna.  


Review by Tim Rooney

Jim Scrivener's review nicely captured the Budapest show, although I think
he overestimated the size of the crowd.  I doubt there were more than 2000
people in the cavernous Arena.

For me, the real highlight came early: an absolutely smokin' version of
"Tombstone Blues" which opened the show. For those who have yet to hear
this version, imagine the song had been recorded for LOVE AND THEFT, just
after "Honest With Me" and "Lonesome Day Blues."

In fact, all the up tempo numbers from L&T were well-played, as was "It's
Alright Ma" (best arrangement since '78 I think). George's drumming, and
Freddy's picking, were superb on these tracks.

However, the band didn't seem to gel as well on the slower numbers.  While
Bob's sloppy piano playing has a lot to do with this, I came away with the
impression that Larry didn't fit in as well with this version of the band.
Has anyone else commented on this?  It is not just a question of demeanor
(Freddy's animated style vs. Larry's laid back approach) but also style of
music.  This band is more R&B than C&W/swing, and the pedal steel in particular
just didn't sound right to me.

All in all, though, I like what Bob is doing here. It seems we are
witnessing nothing less than the reincarnation of Elston Gunn, 45 years
after he left Bobby Vee's band and picked up the guitar. I like the Jerry
Lee Lewis style at the piano (wish he'd practice a bit more though). I
like the little hand claps and dances.  And I like the way he is leading
the band from stage right.  You should have seen how focused the four were
on Bob when he started playing "Trying to Get to Heaven." It was a bit
rough around the edges, but a real eye-opener for how this guy can still
spring surprises after all these years.  Thanks Bob!


Review by Borivoj Terek

I am watching and listen Bob for almost  40 years,  yeah. I can clearly
imagine that period of my life, time of my childhood, back in elementary
school. Those were the days when I heard for Bob for the first time. I was
kid then, mostly interested in British rock, in Beatles, Kinks, Rolling
Stones etc. you know. Bob was somewhere far away across the Atlantic Ocean
at that time. But of course I knew Mr. Tambourine Man, Blowing in the
Wind, The Times They Are-A Changin', Like a Rolling Stone, and all of
these classics songs. I also knew all these famous covers made by The
Birds and by so many others .... I must admit I did not really understand
Bob during this period. 

Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now ! :-)

Time is like a jet plane: high school, university, marriage, children - so
many occupation all the time. I did not give careful attention to Bob
during all that time.

The spark that really lighted the fire back again was MTV Unplugged. I
suddenly realised that I missed a lot as the years passed by. So I decided
it's a high and right time to recover everything I have slipped.

First of all I have bought almost all of Bob official albums. I had only a
few vinyls till then. Internet helped much. I was surprised how many
information is available just a click away. Now I have a nice collection
of MP3s, I play just Bob's song on my guitar, I have new e-friends, like
Rank Strangers - Dylan Poolers, and some more. I have also met some new
people with the same interest in Bob, too.

I have heard about some guys who have visited twenty or more Bob's
concert. Impressive indeed. It is not the case with me, but I try to make
it up these days. 

I have attended six Bob's concerts including Graz yesterday, and it was
the best concert for me, that's for sure. Two days ago, in Budapest, I
enjoyed a lot, there were some brilliant songs, but also some songs I did
not like. And, by my opinion, there were some low points - To Ramona for
example, even Tryin' To Get To Heaven, although it was a newly introduced
song in the Euro 2003 Tour Set Lists. Maybe that was the reason way song
sounded a little bit strange to me. Song needs to be work on it a little
bit more, I think. In addition, Things Have Changed is fine song but
unexciting to me. More then that, Budapest set list did not differ much
compared to previous concerts in the Tour. Of course I had a pleasure to
hear some extraordinary songs: Love Minus Zero/No Limits, Cry A While,
Highway 61 Revisited, Honest With Me, Summer Days, It's Alright Ma, It's
All Over Now, Baby Blue, Every Grain of Sand ( rnging by this order I

I have an impression that Bob and the Band had similar feelings regarding
Budapest concert. Some changes should be made. 

And they did them in Graz!

Opener, To Be Alone With You was even better then Tombstone Blues (also
good one as an opener). Song sounds like some kind of boogie-woogie: do
you remember Status Quo? They play on that way. That is Freddy's touch, I
think. By the way, Freddy convinced me that he is very good guitar player
with a personal style and Bob knows how to underscore this.

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue was very nice, but tonight not so nice as it
was in Budapest, two days ago. The reason - there was not harp intro in

The first surprise was Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum on No. 3. Fine
performance, but I have lost my 14 points at DylanPool with no Cry A While
!  :-) Just kidding. Never mind, of course.

The second and the very big surprise was the next song: It Ain't Me, Babe.
This one was the best one from the beginning of the tonight show, my new
friend Cowboy Angel and me agreed. Excellent!

It's Alright Ma was the next one. Perfect! Cowboy Angel said this was the
best one. This comment made me laughing! But this was just  the beginning!

Bob took the guitar then. My favourite song Don't Think Twice was the next
one. I have heard the song several times live, but this time I was down.
Then I said this was the best one tonight !!

Watching The River Flow! Another surprise of the evening. You see -
totally reworked set list! Never heard live before. I was so excited, this
song is some kind of my personal and professional hymn - I work on rivers
lots of time! Can you imagine that? Great! And the performance was

Cold Irons Bound, the third one with Bob on electric guitar in the row!
And another one great performance. Reworked and strong, sharp as a knife!
One song better then another!

The next one was the ultimate surprise: Hattie Carroll - I am really,
really happy that I had a chance to hear this song live. Superb!

Stuck Inside .. another one great performance. By this time it was obvious
that it was not an ordinary show. Something was in the air .

Bye and Bye was fine, but not as fine as previous ones. That was a
preparation, a resting point, for a great finale.

Honest With Me - excellent, even slightly better then in Budapest (can it
be? I don't know, maybe I was in some kind of special mood !)

Every Grain of Sand - definitely better then in Budapest, and excellent. I
can listen this song for unlimited time, I think

Summer Days - Freddy proved he was great, as well during Honest, Stuck and
some more.

Any suspicion regarding his playing gone with the wind in these summer
days ! I liked Charlie a lot, now I like Freddy too.

It was the end of the first part of the show. 
At the beginning of the show crowd rushed to the rail, but security did
their "job", so everyone had to get back to seats. 
Now, the crowd again rushed to the rail, and security was helpless!
Cowboy Angel persuaded me to go down in front of stage. Thanks Angel for
that! I went to rail just on time - at the beginning of the encore. 
Can you imagine - I was just 3 to 4 meters away of Bob!!!
Cat's In the Well, Like a Rolling Stone and All Along the Watchtower - the
encore - standard closing pattern. You know, it must be perfect when you
are just 3 meters apart! 

With one word guys, I am still excited. 
I will wait for some time to be at a concert like this.

Borivoj Terek
Zagreb, Croatia


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