Thursday, 17 November 2011

Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler - In Concert 2011

I bloody love going out I do. Staying in gives me cabin fever, because I always feel like I am missing out on stuff. It's pretty sad given my age. Really, I should be sitting on the sofa in my comfy slippers, watching the 'Antiques Roadshow', drinking cups of tea and moaning that the youth of today don't know they're born.

But because doing that would result in crap blog posts, I try to inject a bit of tenacity into the proceedings. It spices things up a bit you see - a bit like dusting your morning breakfast cereal with chilli powder, but not so minging, and it doesn't dissolve your stomach lining.

"Stop banging on, and tell us what you have been up to," I hear you cry.  

Well, I have been to see none other than BOB DYLAN AND MARK KOPFLER in concert. Huzzar!

Yep, me and three chums had tickets to see those two icons performing at the MEN Arena in Manchester.

As I drove up North on the night of the concert, I was shaking like a Scouser in a sport's shop. Yep, I was properly excited. 

Ok, so I wasn't so much a fan of Mark Knopfler, but hell, Bob Dylan had been a constant theme whilst I was at University; his sounds had wound their way through my years there. At the time, I had wanted to look all windswept, interesting, and rebellious - all in one go. And the only way to do that was to (1) buy a powerful hairdryer; (2) listen to Bob Dylan and (3) wear Doc Marten boots, respectively. 

Anyway, I digress again ...... back to the concert ..... I have got pictures for you ..................

Pic.No.1 I have to say that I was a bit perturbed to discover that the average age of concert-goers was about 50 which made me feel like a foetus

Pic.No.2. This is a view of the stage. As you can see, I didn't have the best seats in the house. Even worse, I was sat apart from my chums because I was tardy in booking the ticket. It looked like I was a norman-no-mates

Finally everyone was seated, the couple next to me were arguing in hissy-whispers about the route they had taken to the arena, when the the stadium lights dimmed just as the stage lights burst into life ........... and before you could say 'he's skimped on the set', Mark Knopfler sounded his first cord.

So here are my opinions on the performances dahlink....................... because you know I have opinions on everything.


Pic.No.3 This is Mark Knopfler on stage with his band. He was obviously a good guitar player, but all his songs sounded the same. [What I just did there was probably the equivalent of someone visting the Tate fine art gallery and saying "I could paint that"]

Pic.No.4. Except for the two new songs that he played (which were pretty bloody good actually), I have never been to a concert before where I wanted them to play more of their new stuff

Vid.No.1 Mark Knopfler playing 'Brothers in Arms'

So how was Mark Knopfler? Well, you would never call him a showman. It was like he was rehearsing in his mate's living room - he just stood at the front of the stage playing his guitar in a minimalist way (i.e. you had to strain to see him moving).

And he had no engagement with the audience whatsoever (most of whom wanted him to play his old Dire Straits tracks, but he didn't).

But he did go a good bit where he did a 'play off' with a double bass and a violin. It was spectacular, and he g'eed everyone up by moving at least two feet to the left in as many minutes. 


So how did the great Bob Dylan (aged 71) fare? Well, he made the most rubbish entrance I have ever seen. Imagine a TV reality show called 'Rubbish Entrances' - Bob would have been crowned winner.

Get this: Whilst he was still back stage, he shouted the names of his band members down the microphone, and then sneaked onto the stage in total darkness, only to be already singing once the lights came on.

It took me a full five minutes to figure out where he was on the stage. Talk about lack of showmanship - Michael Jackson he was not.

During the interval, I suggested to my chums that maybe he should have dressed as a devil and 'flown' onto the stage using a zip-wire whilst simultaneously letting off fireworks. They said that I didn't 'get' Bob Dylan.

Anyway, back to Bob Dylan's performance ........................

Pic.No.5 It took me a while to realise that the dodgy-looking bloke in the hat was Bob Dylan (he's the one playing the keyboards)

Pic.No.2 Bob Dylan is the bloke to the right of the stage, standing on one leg

I have to say, that Bob was right when he said that a performer can become successful with an 'unconventional' (i.e. crap) voice. Do you know that film, Rawhide? Well Bob Dylan sounded exactly like the chap who sang 'Rolling Rolling Rolling' - you know the one that I mean.

He basically just growled out all the lyrics and you couldn't make out any of the words. Every song sounded like: rurrrrrrry bur burrrrrry, rurrrrrry lurrrrrrrry grrrrrrrrrrrry ....... I sey ...........rurrrrrryy wurrrrry lurrrrrrry meeeeeeeeee.

BUT, lack of diction aside, his music was kick-ass foot-tapping stuff. You can actually sample a bit of it in the video that I took below ...................... actually scrub that ................... this was a sub-standard version of like a rolling stone (one of my all-time fave songs).

Vid.No.2 This is Bob Dylan's modern interpretation of his classic 'Like a Rolling Stone'. Talk about shit

So that was the concert. And I really enjoyed it even though Bob sounded like Rawhide. His music was banging and I can now say that I have seen an icon perform, albeit it like a hermit on diazepam.

Pic.No.3 This is a rubbish picture of me outside the MEN Arena in Manchester. I hate this picture. What am I doing posting it?

P.S. Apparently Bob Dylan does not like audiences looking at him, which is why the audience was kept in dark throughout his whole set - so he couldn't see them

P.P.S Apparently, Bob Dylan once turned up to do a concert, only to find that he could actually see the audience. So he performed the entire set at the back of the stage, with his back to the punters. Nob

P.P.S. What is the best concert that you have been to?

P.P.P.S. I found out after the concert that photography was banned. That'll explain some of the dirty looks I endured.

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