Bob Dylan Live: Cardiff International Arena

This show is from September 2000 when I went on the road in the UK to attend 5 shows by Colombia recording artist Bob Dylan who by that point was over 10 years into his Never Ending Tour.

It was 6.30 when the doors to the CIA were finally opened and after a brief delay due to some security mix up, which involved a lot of bulky Welsh bouncers shouting into their mobile phones, we were allowed inside. Just like at the NEC it was a case of trying to maintain a sense of dignity whilst half walking and half running across the wide open floor space in order to join the small crowd of people already congregated at the front of the stage. Of course the bouncers rudely shouted at everyone not to run and of course it was a massive temptation to just completely ignore the shitheads and break out into a full on sprint. All the same me and Huw covered the ground in not too much time at all and we soon proudly claimed prime standing positions right in the centre of the floor, not too close to the front so that we would lose the power of the sound from the PA stacks suspended from the ceiling above our heads, but not too far away either. All we had to do now was stand there and wait for show time!

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Bob Dylan Live: Sheffield Arena

This show is from September 2000 when I went on the road in the UK to attend 5 shows by Colombia recording artist Bob Dylan who by that point was over 10 years into his Never Ending Tour.

The second in my series of five Bob concerts for the year 2000 was the Sheffield Arena. The Birmingham NEC had been on the Wednesday and Sheffield was now on the Friday. There was a day of work in between at Wisdom Books, the small book distribution company I helped run and was now a co-director of, not that such a thing added up to that much, as the number of people employed at Wisdom was precisely six. I took the whole of the Friday off as I intended to drive to up Sheffield to see the show and then head back to London the same night. This time I would not be going solo as I was due to make the trip with Marc Murphy my old friend and colleague who had once also worked at Wisdom back in the early 90s but had to be let go due there not being enough business at the time for us to afford to keep him on. Marc was now working in a different kind of world as for a number of years he had been the right hand of a man called Klaus, a Danish entrepreneur down in Surrey who specialised in the buying of chemicals from countries like China and India and then selling them on to drug companies in the United States for a nice healthy profit.

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Bob Dylan Live: Birmingham NEC

This show is from September 2000 when I went on the road in the UK to attend 5 shows by Colombia recording artist Bob Dylan who by that point was over 10 years into his Never Ending Tour.

The doors to NEC finally opened at 6 pm, but all they led to was a carpeted area inside the arena with another set of doors at the end of it which were also still firmly closed. We all rushed to the marked off area where we once again had to queue and since it was a question of speed I was able to overtake quite a few people who up until a few seconds ago had been further up the original queue than me! It brought an idiotic smile to my face and made me think that Bob would probably have had a good laugh about it as well if he could have seen us scrambling around trying to manoeuvre ourselves into position just so we could get as close as possible to him. Everyone now faced a further 20 minute wait until the second set of doors were finally opened and people were allowed to stream through and into the main concert hall of the NEC. We handed in our tickets which we were told would be returned to us when the show was over if we wanted them as souvenirs and considering the kind of Dylan fan I was currently with there were a few panic stricken requests for confirmation from the security people that this would indeed be the case. After that was sorted it was now a simple sprint to the front of the arena to get the best spot possible standing position in front of the stage. Security people kept shouting at us all not to run which meant it was a kind of stop start fast jog which we all had to make under their watchful eyes. It was difficult not to smile, not to feel exceedingly stupid at being told off in such an abrupt manner by a bunch of mean looking shaven headed guys in yellow high visibility jackets talking into their phones and throwing their weight around. All the same, everyone was now in final sight of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and no one was going to stop us from reaching it, that coveted place at the front of the crowd with a direct line of sight to Bob Dylan when he came on stage.

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