Cardiff International Arena
Tuesday April 28
The buzz at the CIA moved up a couple of notches when Dylan sang a number, not from his latest album, but from his 2006 effort ‘Modern Times’, entitled ‘Thunder On The Mountain’. And when he segued straight into ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, you could feel the vibes in the air penetrating the skin.
The average age of the audience was nearer 60 than 50 – younger than Bob of course – and they probably expected him to sing numbers from his classic repertoire. In fact, he rasped away a lot of his early stuff and for those at the back of the vast arena, where you could hardly see him, it was a bit disappointing.
Old favourites like ‘Lay Lady Lay’ and ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’ were missing and when he gave us ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ his style should have been soulful but was, sadly, lacklustre. No sign of an acoustic guitar in the CIA, but his five-man band did an admirable job of keeping it tight. Mind you, he is Bob Dylan, and he can afford the best.
What did the younger fans think of it? Seventeen-year-old Sam Pogson, who’d travelled from Hereford, said: “Brilliant, but could have been better. He should sing, and not speak, the words”. Hey, Sam, this guy is 68. Trudi McBride and her son Alex, in his 20s and from Cardiff, praised Bob’s ‘…Rolling Stone’, and Trudi (a lawyer) used the word: “transgenerational”.
A smaller venue might have suited the greying fans, but then the 40 quid ticket would have been even more. In the Conway in Pontcanna, afterwards, I heard the comment: “Final world tour? He started that in ‘92. When is it going to end?”
All in all, marks out of 10? To be fair, 6.5. Am I being a little too hard? Well, now you’re gonna have get used to it.
Words: Garan Thomas