Dylan-A Fun Night In Christchurch, NZ

Review: Westpac Arena, Christchurch, Wednesday, August 8

The troubadour has started his tour down under. Well, a tour to New Zealand by Bob Dylan is not a common event. He’s had 12 concerts in New Zealand over the years – that’s it. And now there are five shows on this tour – three now and two theatre shows later after he does the Australian leg of the tour.

His NZ concerts sold out (except for a few empty seats in Christchurch). Wellington sold out in a day, and the much bigger arena in Auckland in a week or so.No promotion needed. No publicity. The word is out there beyond my understanding.

The audience is mixed, young and old. Maybe very close to 50/50 in gender these days. It’s great to be there with crowds who appreciate something special.

Me too. I went down to Christchurch on Wednesday and had a great seat for the concert – front row nearly centre. “The Frames” from Ireland rocked loud as the openers – enjoyable – though New Zealand has many fine local acts of similar or better quality. Bob’s previous two tours here had Patti Smith and Ani diFranco – “The Frames” are not quite the same. Not a complaint though – they are fine.

Bob and his band were further back on the stage when they performed – so a bit of neck stretching to see them because there was no standing allowed until the final couple of songs.

It was a very solid performance – rhythm and blues for two hours. Professional and usual Dylan non-communication – maybe because it was the first show of the down under tour there were no surprizes in song selection yet. See BobLinks for the setlist.

Bob did an interesting ‘nursery rhyme’ version of “Tangled Up in Blue” – best description I can give. It had changes of lyrics…. and changes of his vocal presentation. The concert recordings will be interesting to confirm the charm of the presentation. And a good emotive “Just Like a Woman”…..

Everyone around me was smiling through the whole concert which means something – it is great when people enjoy…. Each person in the audience is on their own journey – I am sometimes surprised that he seems to appeal to others. No one was complaining on leaving the concert.

I met some friends – which is a nice aspect of Dylan tours – from Christchurch, but also from other cities in New Zealand, and also the really dedicated over from Australia.

A fun night in Christchurch.

But, with Dylan enthusiasts…… it’s always the next Dylan concert that is the best Dylan concert – at least in the thought dreams ……. Long may that continue.

Later tonight in Wellington will be the night! Last show here was something special – show number 1500 of the Never Ending Tour in 2003. Now show number 1968.

But who’s counting?

From: Bill Hester.

For setlist see Bob Links.

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