The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Three Songs No Flash

Sub Par Homesick Blues: Bob Dylan Live In Vietnam
Tim Russell , April 12th, 2011 12:03

As Bob Dylan plays Vietnam, Tim Russell finds that, without the hot air of the Western media to keep him up, Bob Dylan is a deeply mediocre performer

Add your comment »

So revered is Dylan by the baby boomer generation that, in the media at least, it seems dissent is not an option. Thanks to the Dylan paradigm, even now, in 2011, the solo acoustic singer-songwriter is inexplicably given more critical kudos than pretty much anyone else. He has become one of those few lucky artists whose every release garners almost unanimous praise, regardless of its quality – as Tim de Lisle observed in a recent piece for the Economist, “The people giving him raves are surely reviewing his reputation, his aura, rather than the actual work.” Even his 2009 Christmas album, which featured Bob mumbling his way through ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ et al, got the critical thumbs up.

But even if you happen to agree with this sentiment there’s a reason for going to see him play a concert if you live in Saigon. We are starved of live music here in Vietnam. Unless Filipino cover bands are your thing (which, as you’re reading The Quietus, they probably aren’t), Saigon’s live music scene is virtually non-existent. There’s no market for original CDs, no decent live venues or international standard sound equipment, and, thanks to decades of cultural isolation, the Vietnamese are only just becoming aware of foreign artists. While we were getting high, they were listening to Richard Clayderman, Leo Sayer and Celine Dion, and many of them still are – one of my employees, a male in his mid 20s, has Richard Marx’s ‘Right Here Waiting’ as his ringtone, which speaks volumes.

Things picked up in 2010, with excellent gigs from NY electro duo Ratatat, US-Khmer psychedelicists Dengue Fever, flamboyant Britpoppers Melodramas, German laptop electronica/post rock heroes Mouse on Mars (who played an astonishing free outdoor show in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral late last year), and best of all, a mad, intimate and totally unexpected 4-hour solo show from former Posies frontman Ken Stringfellow. But in 2011, normal service has resumed. Well, the Backstreet Boys were here last month, which merely reinforces my point, as does the fact that over 20,000 people turned out to see them.

Then there’s the subject that looms over anything remotely related to Vietnam – the Vietnam War or, as we call it in these parts, the American War. Rightly or wrongly (mostly wrongly), Dylan is frequently seen as a leading light in the US anti-Vietnam war movement, purely by dint of having been a 1960s protest singer. In fact, his one overtly anti-war song, 'Masters of War', was written before the US sent troops to Vietnam, he pretty much gave up the protest songs in 1965, and never once appeared at an anti-war rally or concert. But that hasn’t stopped much of the press coverage of tonight’s show stressing the war angle, as if thousands of Vietnamese are going to show up to personally thank Bob for helping them beat the Yanks. The truth is most Vietnamese, especially those who were alive during the war years, don’t even know who Bob Dylan is. Some of the younger generation do, but they don’t really care – they’d rather be watching Lady Gaga or Westlife, and it has to be said that tonight’s audience is at least 70% foreigners. But whether the war link is relevant or not, there’s no denying that, as far as Vietnam is concerned, this is an historic event all the same. Dylan is by far the biggest international artist ever to play here, and it is hoped that a successful show will open the floodgates and attract more well-known acts to the country.

So come on Bob – it’s a beautiful warm evening, in a beautifully organised venue (a miracle in Vietnam), I’m several beers to the good and am planning to consume several more – the situation is ideal.

But… it just doesn’t happen tonight. I came expecting a somewhat loose, ragged show, but Dylan and his band of well-drilled, competent and workmanlike session musos deliver a slick, professional and utterly soulless performance, honed in US arenas and exported to a worldwide audience who, like the journalists mentioned above, are so blinded by Dylan’s aura and reputation that they don’t realise they’re being cheated. To paraphrase the title of Todd Haynes’ 2007 Dylan biopic, he’s not there. He may be here in body but he could have stayed home and phoned it in, and we’d scarcely have been any the wiser. He barely looks at the audience, standing behind keyboards and facing the band. His voice, never the strongest instrument but at least always distinctive, is now reduced to an emotionless, half-arsed mumble, occasionally rising to a sneer, and whilst this works on the more vindictive songs in his set (‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ and ‘Love Sick’ are two rare highlights), it murders most of the rest. My favourite Dylan song – ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ – suffers particularly grievously. The band sound inspired rather than insipid for once, and with the audience finally primed for a mass sing-a-long, Dylan can barely be bothered to mutter the chorus, and you can literally feel the atmosphere deflate as he does so.

Admittedly the band don’t help, reducing everything to either a polite rock & roll shuffle or plodding blues-rock – if you were booking a band for a victory party for the US Ryder Cup team, they’d be your guys, and I don’t mean this as a compliment. Their trudge through ‘All Along the Watchtower’ in particular just reminds you how great Hendrix was. A more spontaneous band – the swaggering majesty of the Bad Seeds, or the junkyard clang of Tom Waits’ band for example – would elevate the material to the point where Dylan’s indifferent muttering wouldn’t be an issue. But I guess Bob just doesn’t want to be upstaged.

No, it’s all very safe and inoffensive, musically and politically. As he did in China, Dylan bows to alleged political demands and omits his more anti-establishment songs; a waste of time, as if he had played them, the lyrics would’ve been unintelligible anyway, and should the revolution ever come to Vietnam, it’ll be inspired by Thomas Friedman or Mark Zuckerberg rather than by a 70-year old folkie. I’m not complaining that Dylan has settled comfortably into his dotage; what rankles is that his fans in the media continually claim that he still has fire in his belly, when he patently doesn’t. Instead of taking the Johnny Cash route, staring his mortality right in the eye and raging against the dying of the light, he’s happy just to plod through his repertoire a couple of hundred times a year to people who are too convinced of his genius to notice that this particular emperor shed his clothes a long, long time ago. You wonder why he does it really – he can’t need the money, and it can’t really be for fun, as he doesn’t seem to be having any.

But regardless of Dylan’s can’t-be-arsed attitude, this is a landmark event for Vietnam. Organisation and logistics are not the country’s strong point, but the Australian promoters do a great job in turning a university sports field into a superb outdoor venue that is every bit as good as any in the UK – complete with increasingly foul chemical toilets and long beer queues. Take away the scantily-clad beer promotion girls and the hot weather, and you could almost be in Finsbury Park. And although a lot of people drift away during Dylan’s disappointing set, those that remain have a good time regardless, especially the Vietnamese, despite a couple that I chat to being baffled as to why we weird Westerners have elevated a performer of such mediocrity to such revered status.

Vietnam proved that it can host international-standard live events last night – let’s hope that next time, it gets the performance it deserves.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.

daniel doherty
Apr 12, 2011 10:38am

I enjoyed your review and would attach my own experience of this gig that both agrees and differs in somerespects. Dylan in Vietnam was a surprise at every level. Surprising that it was happening at all given his stage in life, surprsing that he is still touring and would want to play in a place with no recognisable fan base. In vietnam his work along with most popular music was inaccesible here for many years. Todays sixty year olds have no folk memory of Dylan and no nostalgia fest to inflict on their children. And not least surprising and serindipitous that I should be here to witness his latest reincarnation at first hand.

Much was made in local press of his music in the sixties being vietnam war inspired. i am not sure if i buy that narrative for reasons of chronology of for no other remise. I asked some in he crowd of a certain age who were priveliging this narrative to name me one of these songs directly relating to the American War. They couldnt. One Vet now living here did say that he did hang with Joan Byaz who did do protest so i guess he caught it by association or the virus was maybe airborne, just blowing in the wind.
The crowd were an interesting mix of young well heeled ex pats, many with glamorous Vietnamese girl friends and their friends, plus visiting fogies such as me. I did seek out some comapny to find like minded souls though stiking up conversation on the topic of Dylan's oeuvre was hard yakka. There seemed a generalised and highly sentimentalised view of his part in our individual and collective destinies rather than an appreciation that was located in time, place or song cycle.
In fact the best dylan specific conversations that i encountered were with younger generation French and Irish young women whose parents were devotees and who had infected then with an interest and passion for Dylan history and disography. One young french woman yearned for him to play that Mr Jones song. i said that from 600 songs it would be doubtful if he would choose that song but he did!! lucky woman lucky me lucky us.
The band were for me a total highlightand part io the surprise; cohrent, together blues inflected, stirring and well led by Bob on organ. this was driving rock that compelled and set the feet into spontaneous agitiation. The set was a mix of old and new though both were treated to changes in tempo and often key too, with Dylan using lyrics in a gestural way oft times repeating phrases in echoing way, reminiscent of later Van the Man treatment of his landmark songs. Tangled up in blue and Highway 61 were really stirring. I had personal resonance 'it Aint Me Babe it aint me your looking for babe' after a previous evening refusing offers of company that seemed to be less than altruistically based and wishing i had remembered that song line at the time.
Mid set the young french woman broke off from texting her papa re the 'ambience sympathetic' to ask me to dance. Delighted to oblige we soon between us created some kind of sacred space in the mosh pit - perhaps one of the politest mosh pits in recorded time - a space which stayed long after our gyrations to the endless treatment of the 'Levee gonna Break' had exhausted themselves. She disappeared to have the motor bike burns on her legs treated which made her need to dance in homage all the more heroic. She truly bore the vietnamese as well as the Dylan stigmata. as all young viet have scooters and most bear the scars.
Emboldened by the direct French approach a young American woman stepped into the sacred space and asked me to dance also. She could not match the french woman for any sense of swing but seemed happy to appropriate the space in a strutting Brittany sort of way. I asked her how she was enjoying the concert. She moaned 'okay but when is he gonna like play anything we all like know?' while offering me a post jive cigarette which in the moment and in the context was highly tempting, an involuntary transportation perhaps back to my sixteen year old rebelliousness stoked by listening to Blond on Blond while plotting my escape from suburban ennui, puffing away all the time as i did so. As Dylan had just been playing Hard Rain i didnt quite no how to respond to her lack of recognition, instead allowing another excellent number from Modern Times to roll over the assembled heads towards us. Her boyfriend returned to reclaim he, spilling some beer over me in passing, by way of salutation.
Many of the locals said they were sad that he had lost his voice which was sweet but they needed to know that he always sounds this way nowadays. And that even in his prime his voice was not the greatest but that was not the point. I do in fact feel fond of his newly found gruff cadence. One baseball capped good old boy shouted drunkenly into his neighbours hairy ear - 'well maybe he cant sing anymore but at least he can still play the harmonica'.
The mosh pit dwindled to almost nothing as the evening went on - no one was obeying or watching it seemed as we were encouraged to walk all along the watch tower. He finished with Forever Young which i have to admit it was a hard thing for me to feel with 50% of the population here under 30. Ahh when i was their age ... well when i was their age i was listening to Dylan and at 60 I still am which is no reason why they should do so. But part of me would wish them to catch the bug infecting the younger French and Irish generation who were reaching beyond refered parental nostalgia towards a musical appreciation that they are making all their own.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 12, 2011 1:24pm

Bob was a great poet, and I was going to see him until I read he is 70.

Reply to this Admin

Tony S
Apr 12, 2011 1:58pm

I was there. Yes Bob was as 'expected'. If you live in Saigon it’s the only live music available. Well done Saigon Sound System for arranging this landmark event for Saigon, Please get more bands to come to Vietnam!!!. The venue RMIT was great, Nice weather, open air venue, chilled out in the VIP area, free beers & whisky cokes, and several spliffs, it was good fun. And several gorgeous girls to ogle.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 12, 2011 3:54pm

You do realize the man is 69 years old don't you? What do you think you'll be doing when you're that age? Given that you think a live laptop show is 'astonishing' it's questionable what you're expectations are. Everyone knows Dylan live is hit and miss so I'm not sure what the point of this article is other than to generate hits. Lame.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 12, 2011 4:33pm

I wasn't even there and I know for a fact the person who wrote this is a dim witted bitter loser. With bobs timeless songs,thunderous voice and one of the best backing bands in the history of rock and roll even their most uninspired performance would be spine tinglingly untouchable by the standards of mere mortals. Grow some ears and stop writing about things you don't understand. It's childish.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 12, 2011 4:39pm

In reply to Ted:

My thoughts exactly. If you know anything about Dylan in the last couple of decades, you know he's distant at best and his engagement with the material varies dramatically. You got a bad one. That doesn't mean Dylan no longer has good performances or classic songs/albums left in him.

Reply to this Admin

The Intl
Apr 13, 2011 4:54am

In reply to Eric:

that's a stupid reason.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 13, 2011 5:09am

In reply to MCrown:

Dylan's been getting reviews like this for nearly 50 years so that journo wannabe's can get their 5 minutes of fame basking in his genius .The words and the sentiments are always the same, the lack of understanding of the man and his music pathetic

Reply to this Admin

Apr 13, 2011 7:21am

In reply to Ted:

Erm "live laptop shows" can actually BE amazing so I would argue "it's questionable what you're expectations are". Except I'd spell "your" correctly too xo

Reply to this Admin

Apr 13, 2011 10:17am


Reply to this Admin

Tim Russell
Apr 13, 2011 10:45am

In reply to Ted:

Ted, when I'm 69 I probably won't be doing much at all. But I won't be charging $40 a ticket for people to watch me not doing it.

Reply to this Admin

Kevin Mulqueen
Apr 13, 2011 1:32pm

Bob Dylan:
the Man and the Myth

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
RMIT University
Sports Grounds
April 10, 2011

1. Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking (Bob on keyboard)
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on guitar)
3. Beyond Here Lies Nothin' (Bob on guitar, Donnie on trumpet)
4. Tangled Up In Blue (Bob center stage on harp)
5. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
6. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on guitar)
7. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on guitar)
8. Love Sick (Bob on keyboard)
9. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
10. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob on keyboard)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard and harp)
13. My Wife's Home Town (Bob on keyboard)
14. Jolene (Bob on keyboard)
15. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob center stage on harp)
(1st encore)
16. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
17. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard then center stage on harp)
(2nd encore)
18. Forever Young (Bob on keyboard then center stage on harp)

Band Members
Bob Dylan - guitar, keyboard, harp
Tony Garnier - bass
George Recile - drums
Stu Kimball - rhythm guitar
Charlie Sexton - lead guitar
Donnie Herron - trumpet, electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel

Inevitably, there are two things going on in the minds of audiences when a musical superstar performs. Firstly, there is the performance itself. How good is it? How well is the singer singing? How well are the musicians playing? Secondly, there is the memory of how this music sounds in its original studio-recorded format. It is impossible to separate these two things.

When Dylan began to play Like A Rolling Stone as an encore in HCMC last night, there was jubilation among us diehards. Bob was playing his greatest song, officially the greatest rock’n’roll song of all time. Yippee! Then (for this listener at least) the reality set in. The soaring, lacerating voice of 1965 was now a guttural croak. The heavy guitar backing was no match for the original swirling keyboards. The song had a perfunctory feel to it, as if Bob and the boys were just going through the motions.

Worse was to follow. The final encore, Forever Young, almost parodied the 1974 original. Gone were the joyousness and lightness of touch; instead, Dylan’s cracked old voice competed in vain with the pounding guitars. Forever Young my foot – more like No Longer Young. This rendition testified to the ageing and deterioration of Bob’s vocal powers.

Worst of all had been the second song of the evening, It Ain’t Me Babe – one of the greatest things Bob ever wrote. The opening was unidentifiable – a series of weird mutterings – and then, when the the tune finally emerged, the beauty of the lyrics was obliterated by Bob’s incoherent voice and the strident guitars.

Today, at work, I talked to several people about the concert. My American teacher friend described Bob as “a folk rapper” - because he talked rather than sang. A musically astute and English-proficient Vietnamese student commented that he could not understand what Dylan was saying. Indeed, to the many Vietnamese present at the concert, many or most of whom had probably not heard Dylan before, he must have sounded like some sort of alien.

The first part of yesterday’s concert was dedicated to the famous Vietnamese song-writer, Trinh Cong Son, who died ten years ago. Like Dylan, he wrote a slew of lyrics that appealed to the national consciousness. Unlike Dylan, his songs were written to be performed by mellifluous singers and songstresses. This is what the Vietnamese like – good lyrics sung dramatically, or even melodramatically, very clearly and sweetly, by people with well-trained voices. In short, the antithesis of Bob Dylan.

I guess it’s wrong for me to invoke the opinions of Vietnamese, whose musical traditions are so different from Bob’s. However, I have to take seriously that comment about not being able to hear Bob’s lyrics. Time was when Bob’s lyrics were clear as a bell. Just listen to the original versions of It Ain’t Me Babe or Like A Rolling Stone. Not only was Dylan’s voice lucid, but he sang, as opposed to croaked, the words.

Now I will surprise you by stating that this was an extremely good concert, one that I shall never forget. Largely because of Dylan the Myth. Just to see the great man, in his 69th year, cranking out his old songs was enough. As I heard each song, I unconsciously genuflected before the original versions. I knew a lot of the lyrics, so Dylan’s unintelligible voice was not an obstacle, as it was for the uninitiated. And don’t get me wrong – not everything was bad. There was some really good driving music – notably Highway 61, Lovesick and Ballad Of A Thin Man. Most of the songs were good.

Dylan, these days, is a natty dresser – a real cool dude in his plush jacket, military-style trousers, crimson shirt, necktie and wide-brimmed hat. He has an excellent band – drums, keyboards, bass, two more guitars, as well as Dylan himself on guitar, keyboards and harmonica. The HCMC set was professional and slick – 18 songs in an unbroken two hours, with Dylan talking (introducing the band members) only at the very end. The chosen songs were much the same as for the concerts in Taipei, Beijing and Shanghai the previous week. I was disappointed Dylan did not do Cold Irons Bound (Taipei) or Blind Willie McTell (Shanghai). I was underwhelmed by Jolene and My Wife’s Home Town.

The venue, the weather and the atmosphere were pretty well perfect. It was a lovely warm cloudless evening on the grassy expanses of MRIT. The crowd was quite a mixture: young wealthy Vietnamese, lots of old expats, lots of young expats, older Vietnamese, people passing through on holiday. There were two kinds of ticket: VIP (2 million VND = $100) and Plebeian (900,000 VND). VIP status entitled you to parking facilities, a white plastic chair and superior food. We plebs had to sit on the ground and had nowhere to park a motorbike.

The grass was fringed by booths selling food and drink (cup of beer 50,000 VND), Bob t-shirts (125,000 VND), Trinh Cong Son t-shirts, mats to lie on.
Before the concert began, we were treated to piped music from Howlin’ Wolf. Very fine, I thought, but why not set the tone for the first set – the Trinh Cong Son tribute – by playing his music? This was not a blues concert, although Bob did play some blues.

After the one-hour Vietnamese first set, Bob’s entrance was heralded by the unfurling of a stage backdrop – a large sheet depicting an eye surmounted by a black crown. Very artistic but with no obvious connection to Bob. Just like a tattoo on some bloke’s brawny arm.

Then a potted biography of Bob – quite tongue-in-cheek – was relayed over the speakers. “The poet laureate of rock’n’roll” and a “has-been” (who came back to produce some of his best ever work) were the most memorable phrases. And then Bob and the band appeared and got off to a good start with the one born-again song of the evening, Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking.

Overall, a wonderful night. I will not go down the road of attributing percentages of enjoyment to Dylan the Myth and Dylan the Man. Let’s just say that the memory of two short hours with His Bobness in Saigon will stay with me for life!

Reply to this Admin

john desmond
Apr 13, 2011 5:16pm

you talk sheit. he's an older guy doing what he does. you media cunts have still not gotten it. you're a cunt. Sue me.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 13, 2011 8:23pm

Huh? Your favorite Dylan song is Like a Rolling Stone? You obviously havent explored his catalog much... this review makes some good points but is written by an amateur.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 13, 2011 9:50pm

Not a bad review, seems quite balanced. I do think Bob must have some fire in the belly though, seeing as he plays more than 100 shows a year at his age, and without just resorting a set of his greatest hits, plays a lot of his new stuff, and a few obscurities to boot (eg Blind Willie McTell). So not sure he is just going through the motions like you suggest.
Unfortunately I think Bob is terribly unsuited to these big venues he plays in. He would really be much better suited to venues of say 500-1000 people. Given his popularity of course this will rarely happen, so the best way to enjoy him is to be in the front 20 rows of a concert. Anything beyond that and the enjoyment diminishes markedly from personal experience.
Seeing him in Melbourne in a week so looking forward to it, but not with expectations sky high!
PS great review by daniel below, good to hear you were dancing with those hot chicks, i bet Bob got a smile out of seeing you

Reply to this Admin

Steven T.
Apr 14, 2011 2:31am

Yar, it's crazy how folks who have no affinity for Dylan like to write up trash like this. The one who was "not there" was Mr. Russell. What gall to say a 69 year old who writes and rocks like Bob has no fire in the belly. Mr. Mulqueen also seems to be listening not to the man on stage. True, it is difficult to untie Bob's knots. It's hard to think outside the id and the expectations of the past. BUT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE PERFORMER IS DOING, often to the consternation of those in the audience who are unable to do the same.

I haven't heard the Saigon "Forever Young," yet but I've listened to the Beijing take and if it was similar at all (no guarantee there for a constantly original and often moody performer) the reviewer does not realize he was blessed. It's not a song Dylan brings out every night. The Beijing version is the quiet, poignant word of an older man, issued sincerely. Can you hear and feel the irony of this delivery within the "pounding guitars?" Is Dylan really supposed to soar like a fellow in his thirties? While it is possible Bob was not on top of his game this night in Vietnam and was not having the best time, anyone who has seen him more than a few times in recent years has often seen an animated, smiling and energized OLDER man. One of the most brilliant and REAL elders we have. If he won't fit in your box, feel free to ignore him. But please don't write such crap.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 14, 2011 2:10pm

Strange review in my opinion. When I last saw Bob a year ago, I thought to myself how amazing it is that he is THE ONE SINGLE artist from the 60's who has NOT become a parody of himself. He simply does what he always did, and he does it because it is his life. I simply don't agree with the idea that the above writer is alone in seeing the emperor without clothes and everyone else is under a spell. Personally I have seen Bob many times starting in the early 90's, and have found some of his 00's gigs among the best I ever saw. That doesn't mean that he doesn't have slumps every now and then. But, that is also the difference between Dylan and e.g. the Stones. Dylan can be utterly embarrassing one night and stellar the next, whereas the Stones are at exactly the same level everytime - but only because the show has been manufactured to death (effectively killing every feeling in the body).

Reply to this Admin

Rod Quinton
Apr 14, 2011 2:11pm

Dear Tim, I am glad that you and the several repliers have put some thought in to this. I am also happy that you list previous Saigon Sound System gigs such as Ratatat, Dengue Fever and the wonderful Ken Stringfellow amongst the highlights of the Saigon music scene in last years. But I certainly don't share your view on the quality of the perfomance. As the promoter, using this event as a launching pad for Saigon Sound System, and our international music platform, I found myself waking up in a cold sweat many times in the weeks before the palpable fear centered around visions of Bob croaking away discordantly to a booing crowd. How relieved I was that he put on what I would rate as a great show. So many happy fans, me included, basking in a warm after glow. I am amazed how the international press have focussed on the size of crowd or lack thereof ( we had 5600 people against a hoped for 8000 and the venue atmosphere was great), the censorship of his music ( in reality there was none) and the price of a ticket ( I challenge anyone to try and put on something like this and keep a ticket under 50 bucks) .....but there again the press never were one to let the truth get in the way of a good story. Anyway....that which does not kill us makes us stronger...and Saigon Sound System is still alive....but sorry mate....the Cure are going to have to wait until after the Pop or Rock band targeted at VN 18-24 year olds that we will put on next. Just can't afford another round like "Bob who?" matter how much cultural and historical significance the event might have.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 14, 2011 2:57pm

Fine piece of writing.Been a fan for years but really don't understand why he keeps playing the never ending shows.For the Bobcats I think its mainly a social thing...meeting up with friends and a connection with our youth.
Perhaps its worth going just to see the look of horror on first time concert goers who have never experienced the current shows. Will always be a fan but now would only listen to recordings or go to small venues.

Reply to this Admin

Tim Russell
Apr 14, 2011 3:04pm

In reply to Rod Quinton:

Rod - "the Pop or Rock band targeted at VN 18-24 year olds" - Celine Dion then? ;)

Reply to this Admin

Dominique RABY
Apr 19, 2011 1:11pm

Saigon Sound System made a great event.its not easy to make a big event like Bob Dylan show with international standar request in Saigon.Thanks to everybody who have belevied on this event.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 24, 2011 5:05am

This might be a bit weird, but for me, listening to Bob Dylan has always been a very private thing. I don't love his work unconditionally - the only albums of his that I absolutely embrace as masterpieces are Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde - and he has certainly made some bad music. I just associate listening to him with being 15 years old, lying on my bedroom floor and searching for truth in the words that he was singing. I had absolutely no interest in hearing this music live before I read this review, and afterwards have even less.

Reply to this Admin

May 10, 2012 11:29am

You're probably spot on and, as I aim to see and here the great man next month I suppose I should be troubled. Thing is last time I saw him was 1969, the Summer of Love, and the whole thing was just magical, I'd been a fan since '65 atthe age of 13 and my first single was 'Times they are a Changin' and mumbling or not I thinkk he'll probably be worth seeing just to look back. If anyone's interested try and catch The Dylan Project, I don't favour cover bands as a rule but they are his generation and passionate about the older songs. Overall as I say you are probably right, I saw led Zeppelin in the early 70's and they were rubbish (although you'd never have guessed by the crowd reaction), drug addled, out of tune but I guess sometimes it's just the experience and to say 'I was there'. Additionally the last comment puzzles me, I'm 60 now and have very clear memories of his folk past and also of seeing him perform with Joan Baez when Country Joe and the Fish were actively dissing the war and Dylan was using songs written prior to the war that had a new resonance so maybe you shoulda smoked a little less and sat up class son.

Reply to this Admin