Monday, June 21, 2004

Cracking set from Dylan saves the day

Report from the Finsbury Park Fleadh 2004

Downpours, no big screens, tiresome American rehash acts, pasty-faced lager louts urinating where they stood in the crowd and then milling around in their own piss afterwards, tickets a rip-off - nearly £40 each and £12 added by Ticketmaster on ordering - fuck them, bastardos.

Counting Crows didn't go down very well with the parts of the crowd near to your reporter. "Counting Sheep" would be a better name for them, they thought. At one point the singer said "We're tired" and a proportion of the audience replied, "So are we." I thought they were not three bad, very lively towards the end.

The wonderful John Prine appeared on the smaller stage in a covered area, during a downpour, so the entire crowd tried to cram in. He said that Bush had forced him to revive his old protest songs, which he had put away in a drawer somewhere.

A fairly objective intro announced the mythic Bob Dylan, recapping his career including the doldrums. He was on keyboards for the whole session. All his effort was needed to get his croaky voice to perform. "Not Dark Yet" was perfectly timed to the setting sun, and sounded wonderful. I thought it was "Shooting Star" at first. I never rated "Not Dark Yet" till I heard this performance.

I heard somebody in the crowd say, "It's taken him forty years, but he finally got the voice right." The same person said, "He's done one of mine--Desolation Row." I hadn't realised that Dylan had stolen that song from somebody in Finsbury Park.

What I thought was some sort of homo-erotic foreplay, I was later informed was something called "blowback". A long-haired rent-boy looking debauchee put a joint, lighted side first, into his mouth and proferred the other end to his companion, a wrinkly, long-coated old rocker, who sucked on it. It's supposed to be "an amazing hit" due to some mystical turbo-charging process, but probably more to do with the recherché thrill of appearing to kiss some geezer.

It was worth suffering the indignities of the day for the session by the Maestro alone. His set list is up at Bob Ronnie Wood joined the band for the encore, appropriately "Like a Rolling Stone." Great 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m - shame about the dismal day leading up to it.

Feargal Mooney

1 comment:

Comments 2003-2004 said...


Great review, thanks. Shame you weren't there earlier, Billy Bragg did a great set in his usual no nonsense style. Songs about the behaviour and true motivation of English football fans in Portugal and of course a new anti-war song (45 mins...yaeh right!) interspersed with monolouges championing the 4 day week and other amusing stories. Christie Moore impressed aswell, as always.

Post by : Phil ( / )


Cheers. Missed Billy Bragg and just caught the end of Christy Moore (another frustration on the day - I'm a big fan of his).

Every bone in my body was aching or, more correctly, every joint after the day. I feel like doing what Bukowski said he had to do every now and then, to spend three days in bed in order to become myself again.

I walked into the Ticketmaster suckerpunch. There's probably some small print on their site, but I didn't notice it before I ordered a couple of tickets, thinking well they're expensive, but it's Bobby Dylan here so dig deep - and then the &*%^%s added another £12 on top without warning.

My pips are squeaking.

So are my hips.

Post by : Feargal ( / )