Bob Dylan blues

 

Madam, - Like many admirers of Bob Dylan's art, I was annoyed to read Tony Clayton-Lea's review, and wondered if we had been at the same event.

His assertion of "non-existent stage presence" is nonsense. I was right beside the stage and saw a man totally engaged with his music, dancing at his keyboard, grinning with delight throughout, encouraging the audience to sing the chorus of Just Like a Woman.

The notion in this review - and others - that Dylan doesn't care about his fans, is infuriating. Leonard Cohen played exactly the same set at every gig on his tour, came out with the same audience banter every night. And fleeced people with exorbitant ticket prices.

Dylan's concerts are reasonably priced, he plays radically different sets each night, and constantly reworks his music to great effect. On the second night Girl of the North Countryfelt as fresh as a spring breeze, each word perfectly delivered with precision and feeling, not "a series of growls".

It's noticeable that Clayton-Lea's review praises versions of the greatest hits, and omits any mention of the apocalyptic talking blues of Ain't Talkin', regarded as a highlight by many of those at both Dublin concerts.

I'm more than a little weary of critics complaining that Dylan doesn't talk to his audiences. Who cares? I'm there to hear the songs, and to experience the alchemy of a stellar artist at work. The songs do the talking. - Yours, etc,

LIAM CARSON,

St Mary's Road North,

East Wall,

Dublin 3.

Madam, - On May 5th I attended my first concert in the arena formerly known as the Point and now reborn as the O2.

While the facility is far superior to what it was, I regret to say the quality of the sound delivered (presumably) by Bob Dylan's road crew was truly appalling. If a CD recording of the concert as it sounded from where I sat were to be released, not even the most ardent of Bob's fans would buy it, and Lord knows those fans have bought some pretty ropey productions over the years.

Why spend all that money redeveloping what is now a very well-designed venue only to permit the torture of concert-goers in this fashion? The sad part is that many of us "punters" don't seem to know how bad it is, or how much better it could be.

Is there anybody to stand up for us? - Yours, etc,

DAVID O'HIGGINS,

Stillorgan Wood,

Stillorgan,

Co Dublin.