May 9: Bob Dylan – Blind Willie McTell, Manchester 2002 (Video)


bob dylan manchester 2002

I Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To New Jerusalem”
Well I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
I can tell you one thing
nobody can sing
the-blues-like-Blind-Willie-McTell

Great version of this masterpiece from the 2002 Europe spring tour.

“Blind Willie McTell” was the most interesting performance of the night.
It used to be like that:

“No-one can sing the blues …
like Blind Willie McTell”

but tonight it went like this:

“I’ll tell you one thing …
nobody can sing …
the-blues-like-Blind-Willie-McTell”

The more astute amongst you will have noticed that the third line of this new version is quite long and doesn’t fit too well. Several times I thought the line wouldn’t fit but Bob managed to squeeze it in, just in time.
~Andy Jenkins (from the archives over @ boblinks.com)

Manchester Evening News Arena
Manchester, England
9 May 2002

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Charlie Sexton (guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Jim Keltner (drums & percussion)

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Was his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
I can tell you one thing
nobody can sing
the-blues-like-Blind-Willie-McTell

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
You can hear them rebels yell
I can tell you one thing
nobody can sing
the-blues-like-Blind-Willie-McTell

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s His
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I’m gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
I can tell you one thing
nobody can sing
the-blues-like-Blind-Willie-McTell

bob dylan manchester 2002

Check out:

-Egil

 

9 thoughts on “May 9: Bob Dylan – Blind Willie McTell, Manchester 2002 (Video)”

  1. Was at this fantastic gig and have been trying to get a copy of this DVD for years, no luck though.
    Ah well this will have to do for now, thank you.

  2. I wrote a review of this show which somehow ended up printed on the inside the sleeve of this CD. In it I raved about this version of Blind Willie McTell. Watching and listening to this 12 years later I didn’t rave enough. It’s a sublime version of a terrific song. His delivery of the lyric is simply stunning and is backed by Charlie and Larry at the top of their game. Wonderful.

  3. A subtle yet smokin’ version of the song I place # 3 on my list of the greatest Bob Dylan songs (Every Grain of Sand #1, Visions of Johanna #2) ….

    1. Carl, my top ten changes quite often, but the three songs you mentioned never leave it. Blind Willie, Every Grain and Visions sounds about as good as any top three I can think of. (yikes, ending with preposition) We have to give Visions an extra point or two just for the awesome website on which we can exchange opinions. My top three sites, not in any particular order: Johanna’s Visions, Expecting Rain and bobdylan.com.

  4. I’ve heard BWM at least a thousand times and I still get chills when I listen, especially when he sings of “ghost on slavery ships.” Another astounding version here. Love your website. Keep up the great work.

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