5. Konstanz, 3. Juli 1996: Dylan im Zirkuszelt, relativ nah und persönlich, sehr ausdrucksstark und intensiv seine Interpretationen, besonders von "I Want You", da glaubt man ihm jede Zeile. Dann droht das Ganze in (zwar guter, aber doch)Routine zu versinken, bis Dave Mathews (Gitarre) und Boyd Tinsley (Geige)sich so sehr um Action bemühen, dass Dylan, zunächst zögerlich und zurückhaltend, doch dann immer freier, beim ausgelassenen Treiben mitmacht. So werden "Everything Is Broken", "The Times They Are A-Changin'" und "Rainy Day Women" zu einer mitreissenden Performance.Alles in allem ein besonderes, intimes und intensives Konzert.
Subject: July 3, 1998 - Montreux, Switzerland - a review
From: Carsten Wohlfeld (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 08 Jul 1998 13:00:00 +0100
Montreux, Switzerland, July 3, 1998
Montreux Jazz Festival, Stravinski Auditorium
A Review by Carsten Wohlfeld
After the pretty good show in Dijon we spend the off-day in sunny
Lausanne, right next to the staggeringly beautiful Lac Leman. Montreux is
only 20 miles away from Lausanne, so it made much more sense to stay in a
budget hotel there rather than paying the ridiculously expensive Festival
prices in Montreux. Montreux is an amazing city though. The main street is
right next to the lake, and is was sunny throughout the day, except for a
short and heavy rainfall in the afternoon. It was my first time there and
it was pretty amazing, cause you don't expect a city in the south of
Switzerland to look a lot like Miami Beach, with all the palms and the
chrystal clear water... The Congress Centre is a huge building that not
only includes the Montreux Jazz Festival offices, but also the two venues,
the Miles Davis Hall and the Stravinski Auditorium, where Bob was going to
open the 32nd annual Montreux Jazz Festival and where he had played before
in 1994. We got our official T-Shirts for $18 (designed by Phil Collins,
but very nice looking nevertheless) and then started getting in line,
while enjoying the free internet services in the lobby and watching Italy
lose against France in the soccer worldcup.
The venue itself is a rather small theatre-like place, with standing room
on the floor and plush seats in the balcony. Very similar to the Alte Oper
in Frankfurt, where Bob played in 1996. It holds around 2,000 people and
it was the smallest venue of the whole tour. Boogie-Woogie-pianoman-weirdo
Al Copley opened and played for 45 minutes. Didn't like it at al, although
I have to say that his pianoplaying was impressive. After his set the TV
cameras were turned off and we were allowed to get up right to the very
low stage... some of us almost could've reached Bob's microphone. The band
didn't use their own PA-system and the stage-set (also designed by Phil
Collins) looked very different to the usual black curtain. Very nice. Bob
came out at 9.35 to open with:
Gotta Serve Somebody
At last! Obviously we all wanted to hear this song since we didn't had the
chance to hear Bob play it in England and even though his vocals were
hardly audible in the bad mix, we all very much enjoyed it and laughed at
the "female" backing vocals courtesy of Bucky and Larry... "seeeerve
The Man In Me
was next as expected. It had been on the cuesheet quite a few times
before, so it was just a matter of time till he'd play it. Solid
performance, nothing THAT special, but nice to hear nevertheless.
Cold Irons Bound
Bob and Tony had a long discussion before this song, no idea what they
were talking aout, maybe Bob wanted to remind Tony that the band better
get it right thistime since the last couple of versions weren't too
convincing? Solid version.
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
Gunter is right, I guess. This is the perfect evidence for the fact that
Bob doesn't care where he plays. I don't think that there's a song less
fitting for a Jazz Festival than this country-jangle that - to top it al -
was very badly performed as well. Around this song Bob mumbled something
like "Montreux jazz Festival..proud to be here", even though it might have
been ironic, since that's exactly what the somewaht overexcited support
act Al Copley had said an hour earlier. "I Believe In You" was on the
cuesheet, but wasn't played unfortunately.
The intro was messed up, but apart from that it was probably the strongest
song of the set so far, definitely Bob's best vocal performance so far.
The heat was almost unbearable by now, but Bob's bodygurad and the
security did a very good job, making sure nobody got crushed in the front
rows and handing out water. Nice.
rocked as usual and had a completely messed up ending, where Larry and
David totally lost it.
Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)
I hate to say it, but this was another highlight. Bob really seems to like
the song lately, he's always putting a lot of energy into it. Sounded very
The Times They Are A-Changin' (acoustic)
For people who like greatest hits this was the perfect choice of course,
for me it was just another - exceptionally flat - rendtion of a song I
don't have to hear again.
Desolation Row (acoustic)
Known from now on as "the goofy song". It is beyond me how you can smile
and dance and play around as much as Bob did on a song like this, but he
was obviiusly amused by a guy who fainted right in front of him and then
was carried out by the security. "Desolation" was given the usual nice
treatment and I think this time he got all the world right, even though I
don't think he sang more than six verses. After the song he said something
like: "it's so hot... so hot". And then, best joke all night we heard him
say: "Carry out more people". Larry almost dropped his guitar cause he was
laughing so hard!
Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
Okay, you probably will skip this one since he's doing it every night, but
you better read on. This was AMAZING! In 1196 we got the very slow
versions with harp that lasted around 11 minutes. When Bob started his
Euro tour "Tangled" was around 7 minutes and without harp. Tonight it was
veeeeeeeery slow again but featured some of the best and longest guitar
slos I've ever heard Bob play! And as if that wasn't enough he reached for
the harp at the end. Now Josh is right when he says that his harmonica
playing has been just a show effect lately, just 1 minute-and-out for the
audience (the solos haven't ben very loud either lately) but tonight
everything was gonna be different: This was by far the best harp solo I
ever heard Bob play in person and it took at least three minutes, but
probably four. I didn't check my watch but I wouldn't be surprised if this
song lasted well over 12 or 13 minutes. Bob was drenched in sweat
afterwards (despite the heat he was wearing his usual suit - the gray
"Grammy" one tonight - and his bow-tie) and looked as if he would've loved
to leave the stage right away. But he stayed of course, introduced the
band and launched into:
'Til I Fell In Love With You
Understandibly it was the greatest version, but better than the cuesheets
alternate of "River Flow" and "Highway" without a doubt. We all thought
that the strange set 6 electric-4 acoustic-1 electric was due to the heat,
but there were actually no more than 11 song-slots on the cuesheet for the
The cuesheet had "Ain't Me Baby" before this one and the roadies had put
up the acoustic instruments as well, but - probably due to the heat - Bob
skipped it and gave us a tired sounding version of "Love Sick" while
flirting with the girls in the first few rows.
Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35
Equally tired and of the "glad we're outta here soon" variety.
Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)
Crowdpleaser, a little bit out of place at a Jazz Festival, too, I think.
Bob wasn't as animated as he'd been at previous shows, even though he
obviously liked the low stage and the contact with the audience.
Robert wanted to catch the train to Verona right after the show and Gunter
and I wanted to get in the car to drive home. Somehow we just felt it
wouldn't be right to leave after a show like this, that was very good, 95
minutes song (despite the fact that it only had 14 songs) and somehow was
promising a lot more for the shows to come. So we decided to get gas
instead of a train ticket for Robert and went south instead of north. We
hit Italy at around 2.00 am, passed Milano at 4.00am and reached Verona at
8.00am. Found a very nice and reasonably cheap hotel and took a nap. More
from the show in Villafranca di Verona soon. Thanks for reading.
gleiche Band wie in Nürnberg
7. Zürich, 25. April 1999: Weihrauch kündet die Band an - schon wieder eine Kehrtwendung? frage ich mich etwas beunruhigt. Doch, dann ist er der, den wir über die verschlungenen Pfade schon angekündigt bekommen haben: der "klassische" 1966-er Dylan, mit einem ersten akustischen Set und dem zweiten elektrischen. Ein wirklich schönes, fast andächtiges Akustik-Konzert, bei dem Dylan ganz bei seinen Liedern ist, angefangen bei "Cocaine bis zu "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue". Vier Stücke der neuen Platte, darunter das abgründige "Not Dark Yet", Dylans "Selbstgeisselung". Eigentlich kann man keine Verbindung zum Tagesgeschehen und Aktualität ausmachen. So wirken zwar seine klassischen "Protestsongs" wie "Masters Of War" glaubwürdig, jedoch nicht auf Aktuelles bezogen. Ein sehr gutes, fast nicht mehr zu überbietendes Dylan-Konzert, wer hätte das von einem alternden Star noch erwartet?
Journal der Unruhe
Bob Dylan gestern abend im Hallenstadion
7000 Zuhörer hat Bob Dylan gestern Sonntag ins Hallenstadion gezogen. Wer da war, erlebte einen Dylan von magischer Präsenz. 16 Lieder in 100 Minuten sang er und erfand jedes neu.
Bob Dylans Konzerte sind längst nicht mehr innert Stunden oder Tagen ausverkauft. Für seinen Auftritt gestern abend im Hallenstadion waren bis zum Schluss Karten erhältlich - ganz im Gegensatz zum Konzert von Bruce Springsteen heute abend. Dabei ist es erst der zweite Besuch, den der Meister Zürich abstattet. Nur 1991, am 28. Januar, ist er hier - ebenfalls im Hallenstadion - schon einmal aufgetreten. Damals hatte er die neue Platte «Under The Red Sky» im Gepäck, seine Darbietung gruppierte er aber gleichwohl um das inkommensurable, 1962 bis 1966 entstandene Frühwerk. Im Grunde war er damals schon seit Jahren auf der gleichen «Never Ending Tour», die er bis heute fortsetzt - auch wenn er in einem seiner spärlichen Selbstzeugnisse, 1993 in den Liner Notes zu «World Gone Wrong», geltend machte, jene Tournee sei mit dem Ausscheiden des Gitarristen G. E. Smith zum Ende gekommen und durch die «The Money Never Runs Out Tour», die «Why Do You Look At Me So Strangely Tour», die «Outburst Of Consciousness Tour» und andere Reisen abgelöst worden, die stets um die Welt wie in die eigene Seele führten.
Tatsache ist, dass Dylan sich in dem Mass, wie sein kompositorisches und dichterisches Schaffen versiegte, als «Performing Artist» nach aussen kehrte und als ruheloser Exeget seiner selbst dem eigenen Kanon stets neue Facetten abrang. Zwar ist das 1997 veröffentlichte Album «Time Out Of Mind» zu Recht als Meisterwerk gefeiert worden; dem Blick aus der Distanz zeigt es sich jedoch nicht als Überwindung der schöpferischen Krise, sondern als deren eindrückliches Symptom. Die Hälfte der Songs sind ausgeleierte Blues-Nummern, die Texte montieren - absichtlich? - Allerweltsmetaphern auch da, wo verzweifelte Liebesbeschwörungen den Grundton von Ekel und launiger Resignation durchbrechen. Nach dem Erscheinen des Werks versuchte Dylan, sich das Material anzuverwandeln, indem er es immer wieder spielte. Es gehört zu den stärksten Eindrücken des Zürcher Konzerts, wie diese Songs gewachsen sind. «Can't Wait», «Love Sick», «Not Dark Yet» und «To Make You Feel My Love» bilden Höhepunkte des begeisternden Auftritts.
Neu ist auf dem 99er Abschnitt der endlosen Tour vor allem eines: Dylan beginnt mit einem langen akustischen Set. Das hat er seit Jahrzehnten nicht mehr getan. Vielmehr zeigte er sich stets als zupackender Rocker, der nur im Mittelteil der Vorstellung und für die letzte Zugabe zur akustischen Gitarre und Mundharmonika griff. Nun haben sich die Verhältnisse umgekehrt: In Zürich beginnt Dylan mit «Cocaine» und zieht dann «Mister Tambourine Man», «Masters Of War», «Hard Rain», «Tangled Up In Blue» und anderes aus seiner Wundertüte. Ausser den vier Stücken aus «Time Out Of Mind» ist kein Lied weniger als 25 Jahre alt. Doch Dylan interpretiert selbst das Material aus «Freewheelin'» und rockige Heuler wie «Highway 61 Revisited», als hätte er sie in diesem Augenblick erst entdeckt. Selbst die obligaten Aufräum- und Jubelbesänftigungsarbeiten bringen Überraschungen: Auf ein als launiger Country-Rock genommenes «To Be Alone With You» folgt der Buddy-Holly-Song «Not Fade Away», für den sogar Bruce Springsteens Gitarristen auf die Bühne kommen. Elvis Costello wurde schon früher am Bühnenrand gesichtet.
Die Ausstattung ist auch an diesem Abend spartanisch: Keine Screens für Videoprojektionen, kein High-Tech-Erlebnis fürs Auge, keine vorgegaukelte Nähe. Eine schmächtige Gestalt am Bildrand, die Züge zerfurcht und doch seltsam alterslos. Die Montur: schwarzer Anzug, Smokinghose, Manschetten. Man sieht Dylan nur von den vorderen Reihen aus - doch die Stimme, in deren brüchiger Textur alle Farben des Herzens irisieren, ist von magischer Präsenz. Sie zieht die 7000 Zuschauer in ihren Bann. Rauschebärte wie Teenager spüren, dass sie einem schöpferischen Prozess beiwohnen. Dylan spielt auf jede Gefahr hin. Man sieht eine rasch und fahrig mit Herzblut beschriebene Seite im uferlosen Journal dieses rastlosen Künstlers: nicht mehr, nicht weniger.
Bob Dylan war immer ein limitierter, wo nicht prekärer Instrumentalist; er verstand es aber, im Dienst des künstlerischen Ausdrucks mit seinem Pfund zu wuchern. Auch seine wetterfeste Rabaukenband fügt sich ins Konzept der Momentaufnahme, der flüchtigen Skizze ohne Federlesens ein. Die Musiker wissen, dass ihre Aufgabe sich vor allem auf eines beschränkt: der Stimme, die sich wie kaum eine andere preisgibt und damit zur Chiffre der Authentizität wird, den Weg in die Stadionnacht zu bereiten.
Manfred Papst, Zürich, Hallenstadion, 25. April.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung ZÜRCHER KULTUR Montag, 26.04.1999 Nr. 95 34
Vgl.Jean-Martin Büttner, "Lieder, bei Anbruch der Dämmerung zu singen", in: "Parking Meter", Heft 8, Juli 1999
8. Zürich, 6. Mai 2000 : Ein Jahr danach: Was kann Dylan noch Besseres bieten als letztes Jahr. Er wird uns doch wohl kaum eine exakte Kopie des letztjährigen Konzertes liefern? Diese Gedanken trübten die Vorfreude auf eine weitere Begegnung im Zürcher Hallenstadion. Doch leider waren die Gedanken nicht nur berechtigt, sondern sie schienen auch Dylan etwas zu quälen, denn er kam auf weiten Strecken nicht ganz an seine letztjährige Leistung heran. Zu abwesend oder verkrampft wirkte er zeitweise, zu aufgesetzt seine Posen. Und zu ähnlich war das Set. Dabei war der Auftakt vielversprechend: ein mitreissendes "Roving Gambler", ein wunderschönes "My Back Pages" und ein überraschend frisches "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), allerdings ohne das bekannte "Ho,ho,ho", mit dem sich Dylan zeitweilen von der blutigen Aussage distanzierte. "Delia" war die eigentliche Sensation des Abends, doch wirkte es musikalisch nicht so mitreissend, wie wir es von anderen Aufnahmen her kennen, dafür war der Gesang echt und ganz bei der Sache. Mitreissend jedoch war das swingige "Country Pie". "Can't Wait": die neue Version gefällt mir besser als die vom letzten Jahr, doch vielleicht nur, weil sie anders ist? Langweilig fand ich eigentlich nur "Stuck Inside Of Mobile" und das abschliessende "Rainy Day Women", doch das hat mit zu häufigem Tape-Hören zu tun. Besonders gefallen hat mir das ebenfalls schon abgenutzte "Don't Think Twice": die Gitarrenakkorde sind einfach immer noch sehr schön. Dylan immer noch meisterhaft. Für mich war das Set jedoch zu wenig frisch: es fehlte mir das neue "Things Have Changed", die verbesserte Version von "Dignity" oder "Highlands".Musikalisch verbessert hat sich für mich der Sound durch Charlie Sextons Geradlinigkeit, verglichen mit dem süsslichen Country-Flavour von Bucky Baxter.
From: email@example.com (carsten wohlfeld)
Date: Sun, 07 May 2000 13:58:16 +0200
Subject: zurich review
Zürich, Switzerland, May 06, 2000
A review by Carsten Wohlfeld
Here we go again: Yet another European tour starting at Tim &
Regine's place in Überlingen and then on to Zurich, one year and
one week after his last show at the same venue. This time around
they sold even less tickets and even though the Hallenstadion
didn't look empty, it was far from being sold out. One
interesting detail was apparent even before the band hit the
stage: They had all new equipment: A new (black instead of gold)
drumset for David, new amp and bass for Tony, new amps and
guitars for Charlie, a couple of new guitars for Larry. After
being treated to classical and indian music for two hours Bob and
the gang took to the stage at 8.15pm to open with:
Roving Gambler (acoustic)
Nice start, without being extraordinary. The sound seemed to be
really bad on stage, as both David and Charlie looked as if they
couldn't hear them at all. Further proof for that theory is Larry
acually started the song while Al was still saying "Ladies and
gentlemen..." - strange! Bob's singing was clear and quite good
though. For one he didn't try to play around with the phrasing
too much, which allowed Larry and Charlie to follow him quite
easily, when they joined him for the chorus.
My Back Pages (acoustic)
Larry picked up the fiddle and starts this song with one of his
gorgeous violin solos. It could've been a real highlight of the
night, but apparently the sound on stage was still really bad (or
Bob didn't practise his guitarplaying at all while being off the
tour for the last few weeks, but after the great start with
Larry's solo and Bob's equally good delivery of the first couple
of verses he stopped playing guitar completely for 20 seconds or
so (much to the surprise of Larry and Charlie - a real "non-solo"
spot) and when he came back in he played some of the worst guitar
ever - way too loud and mostly unconnected to the tune. Charlie
noticed it too and his look seemed to say: "Oh my god, what the
fuck was that?" Another disappointment was that Bob got so upset
with his own performance, that he basically abandoned the song
halfway through, thus only singing four verses.
It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
More bad guitarplaying, but at least the vocal delivery was
really good (as good as on any versions late last year) and the
song became the first real treat of the show. Still love the
arrangements with the loud and quiet parts too. I think most of
Dylan's arrangement lacks that kinda change. The band sounds very
different from song to song, but once they hit a groove they
usually keep it for the duration of the song. Not on this one,
which is very nice.
Love Minus Zero/No Limit (acoustic)
Began with another great solo courtesy of Larry, this time on the
pedal steel. It quickly got really nasty though when Bob couldn't
remember the first verse at all and very little of the second and
third. To add to it, his guitarplaying (if he was playing at
all!) was as shambolic as on the first few numbers, which made
this - one of my fave Dylan songs - one of the worst performances
I've ever heard of this song. Tim pointed out that "there's no
success like failure and failure's no success at all" - it was
really appropriate, cause he must have known that this song was a
complete and utter failure.
Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
Save some nicely stretched lines, a pretty average version, with
some nice lighting effects to go with it.
A real surprise, as this was the first rendition of this
beautiful oddity since 1993?! Nicely done, with an interesting
drum part and great vocal delivery, despite some mixed up lyrics.
Tim also pointed out later that he paused after the second line
of each verse, which sounded much different compared to the
Supper Club rendition.
Bob obviously was happy that the sound problems and the acoustic
set were behind him now, as he got a lot more animated during the
electric set and this one was a real treat (yeah, I know it looks
unlikely on paper). Fast, loud, rocking, funny. Great dual solo
by Larry and Charlie (both playing Telecasters for this one song
only), nice new fake ending.
was done in a completely new, reworked arrangement. Slowed down
and played as a heavy blues it was actually much, much better
than the original faster arrangement that got a little boring
with time. They used some nice green, flickery lights to go with
this song, too.
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
As great as any version in recent times. Even though he still
skips a verse or two every nice, this is one one the few songs
which are very enjoyable almost every single night. The most
memorable change to last years versions was that Larry and
Charlie changed their roles. Larry is now playing acoustic rhythm
guitar and Charlie electric lead. There were some minor lyric
changes on a lot of songs tonight, and here it was "smoked my
eyeBALLS" instead of "eyelids" or the usual substitute "eyebrow".
Watching The River Flow
with Larry on steel guitar, business as usual. It rocked and
Bob's guitar solos were getting a bit better (he actually changed
back and forth between his two Stratocaster guitars for this
Not Dark Yet
Sung very well (as we've come to expect it by now) but still
somewhat different to last year's version, as Larry was playing an
old, beat-up Stratocaster and Charlie a nice looking red
Gretsch, which made the song sound quite different (and even
better, I might add.) Band intros followed. After that Tony asked
Bob if he wanted to do "Highway", but Bob shook his head, so we
Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat
instead. Compared to the recent live versions I've heard on tape
it seemed to be MUCH louder, harder and it featured some pretty
good soloing by Bob and Larry and Charlie as well. A few bows and
they were gone.
(encores) Love Sick
Featured some very welcome new lighting effects and was good
without being really excellent. The drums were much louder in the
mix than usual, maybe that was done on purpose or just due to the
sound problems they had all night.
Like A Rolling Stone
A great version very well sung by a very animated Bob who finally
seemed to adjust to being on stage after this month-long break as
well. Nice solos at the end.
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic)
a pretty average version, as Bob tried to experiment a bit with
the phrasing without actually getting anywhere.
Not Fade Away
Yet another fun rendition of this song, Bob could remember all
the lyrics (a rarity as you might know) and Larry's and Charlie's
solos were fun to see and hear as well, Larry and Charlie joined
in to sing along for the chorus. After this song it looked for a
second as if Bob wanted to leave for good (at least that's what
he seemed to say to Tommy), but then he changed his mind and
Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)
which was just your average (overplayed) version, save for the
harmonica solo at the end, which itself wasn't that amazing, but
quite long and Bob seemed to really enjoy it (and the crowd's
reaction to it). Larry and Charlie on backing vocals.
Rainy Day Women Nos. 12&35
Yeah, that one, too. Usual, raunchy version with Larry on steel
guitar, this time with more (improvised) verses than the usual
two he used to sing for ages. The house lights came on during
this song, a sure sign that the show was about to be over after
close to two hours.
All in all a very weird show, halfway between open rehearsal (not
unusual for a tour start) and exciting experiment ("Delia" and the
newly arranged "Can't Wait"). Don't know what to make of it
really. It definitely wasn't a good show, that's for sure. It was
more fun than last year's show at the same venue, which was
better quality-wise, but generally quite boring. Thanks to Gunter
(the next Michael Schumacher :-)) and our lovely hosts Tim,
Regine and Hannah. See ya next year ;-)
Carsten Wohlfeld (firstname.lastname@example.org)
wie 1999, doch mit Charlie Sexton anstelle von Bucky Baxter.
9. Montreux, 8. Juli 2001 : Alle Jahre wieder, und doch kann ich es nicht lassen, sogar nach Montreux zu reisen, um mein Live-Erlebnis dieses Jahres zu haben. Man findet ja immer wieder einen Grund, z.B. dass Dylan dieses Jahr seinen 60. Geburtstag feiert, oder dass man sich ernsthaft fragt: Wie lange noch? Es war ein gutes Konzert, zum Teil etwas Routine. Dafür übertraf die Songliste meine Erwartungen: Der (von mir) noch nie live gehörte "Song To Woody", dann das sehnlichst erwünschte "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue", der heiss geliebte "Blind Willie Mc Tell" und der Golden Globe Song "Things Have Changed". Auch die Ausdauer, mit der Dylan sich seinen Songs widmete, war beeindruckend. Wie wenn Dylan sich selbst und dem Publikum beweisen wollte: trotz meiner 60 Jahre habe ich meine Power noch voll!
The good (and the bad) thing about being on the road following around Bob
Dylan is that you talk way to much about Bob all day. You just can’t help
it. So Gunter, Robert and Tim discussed the setlists of the previous shows
at great length during our 3 hour drive south to beautiful Montreux. The
song I desperately wanted to hear was „Absolutely Sweet Marie“, always a
favourite of mine and a song I hadn’t heard in more than three years,
while Tim’s dream setlist included „Blind Willie McTell“ and since his
daughters are called Hannah and Louise, you could bet that he definitely
wanted to hear „Visions Of Johanna“ as well. The problem with that?
Despite the fact that Bob has played around 2,000 concerts, these three
songs NEVER made it on a setlist together. Now I’m really bad with maths,
but I know for sure that getting to hear all three songs was not very
likely AT ALL.
The queue, getting tickets and wristbands was a mess, but I won’t get into
that here, because it was basically the only frustrating thing about the
whole show. The Starvinski Hall is a great place to see Bob. Fairly small,
only a few years old, with a surprisingly low (and pretty small) stage,
but best of all there is no barrier at all, so you’re right at Bob‘s feet.
Despite the disorganised queue ,Tim and Gunter managed to get right to the
front while I settled for a spot a dead center in the third row. At around
8.40PM Bob and band came on stage to open with:
DUNCAN AND BRADY (acoustic)
Which was once more nice, yet unremarkable. It was after this song that
the three canadian cuties around me really began to annoy me, because
although they had discussed before the show that getting to hear
„Hurricane“ was less than likely, they yelled for the song repeatedly
RIGHT IN MY EAR and while Bob had already started the first solo verse of
SONG TO WOODY (acoustic)
By the time my poor ears had recovered, Bob was already halfway through
the song, it sounded alright, although I was actually thinking more about
strangling the girls than the song. Quite an impressive choice though.
This was a song that nobody mentioned during our lengthy setlist
discussion, probably because nobody dared to mention this, the by far best
selection for the #2 slot.
IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE (acoustic)
Beautifully sung with Larry on pedal steel. I think it was on this song
that Bob got visibly upset with his sidemens guitar playing and he didn’t
recover all night, giving both Larry and Charlie angry looks and even a
few nasty comments allnight. During „Baby Blue“ he went so far to play his
guitar solo on top of Larry’s. Sounded pretty bad, but Bob wanted to prove
who‘s the boss, I suppose. The harp solo at the end made up for the mess
he made earlier though. So at the third show for me this year I managed to
get through the first acoustic set without thinking „Oh no, I really don’t
need to hear this song ever again.“ To be honest, I didn’t think Bob would
be able to keep the standard of song selection this high. My thoughts went
back to Braunschweig, where a fairly decent acoustic set was followed by a
boring „Tombstone“ and a horrid „Baby Tonight“. Montreux was different
CRASH ON THE LEVEE (DOWN IN THE FLOOD)
Is not the kind of song I usually would get excited about, but the
rocking arrangement worked quite well tonight. I still liked Bob’s
phrasing on the early 1995 versions better, but oh well, it was still tons
better compared to „Stuck Inside Of Mobile...“ as the electric opener.
After the song, Larry picked up the bouzouki and I had a big smile on my
face, because this either meant we’d get to hear a new song or indeed
„Blind Willie McTell“. So I spend the first few chords looking over to Tim
so see his reaction.
BLIND WILLIE MCTELL
Actually it took him a bloody long time to recognize it, but the smile on
his face soon after was just priceless, as was Bob‘s word-perfect
performance of this great, great song. It rarely sounded better and that
really says a lot given that the sound so close to the front is usually
pretty bad. The definite highlight, not only tonight, but on my personal
three date mini tour. Could it get any better? Well, having heard „Baby
Tonight“ and „River Flow“ as the third electric song at the previous
shows, I would have been happy to hear „Lay Lady Lay“ and since Larry sat
down at the pedal steel , for whatever reasons I was convinced that this
was the song we were about to hear. So I was COMPLETELY in shock when I
heard Charlie play one of my favourite riffs in a Bob Dylan song
ABSOLUTELY SWEET MARIE
Wow! This was GREAT. Actually I have heard better versions, as this
seemed not to have the driving power of the 1998 arrangement, but hey,
they only do it once every six months or so and with that in mind, it was
pretty good. After all, it was the thought that counts right? And in my
book an okay „Sweet Marie“ is still A LOT better than bascially anything.
MASTERS OF WAR (acoustic)
Was the first semi-letdown. Not only was it a repeat from the show a
couple of nights ago, it was also the first song in the set from the „I
think I’ve heard this song often enough even if i live to be 100 years
old“ category. Being so close to the front the vocals got kinda lost in
the mix and (because of that?) I found the song less impressive than in
Braunschweig. A lot of people in the audience were clapping along. That
often happens and I never figured out why anybody would want to clap
during this song. Oh well. Larry picked up a guitar with a capo afterwards
and this could only mean two things: We would either get one of my least
favourite songs or somebody in the crowd would be EXTREMELY happy very
soon. The first capo song obviously is „Tangled Up In Blue“, a song I
heard at over 95% of my dozens of Dylan shows. In fact I believe
Braunschweig and Schwäbisch-Gmünd were the first two shows I’ve seen EVER
where Dylan didn’t play the song two times in a row. To see a whole tour
(well, my three shows) without a single „Tangled“ still seemed
unthinkable. Like Neil Young (almost) said: „It‘s gone, but not
forgotten“. To make a long story short, we got the other capo song. BIG
smile on Tim’s face, big dumb grin on anybody‘s face really, because it
VISIONS OF JOHANNA (acoustic)
Okay, it’s not much as a sensation to hear it as it used to be in say,
1999, but obviously the fact that they play it more frequently means that
the performance improved a lot since the song returned to the set in early
1999. This version didn’t have a harp solo and I believe Bob mixed up a
couple of lines, but still this was probably the best version I’ve heard,
well, since the 1966 bootlegs really! Bob‘s vocal delivery was STUNNING
and made this a strong contender for the best song of the night together
with „Blind Willie“.
IT AIN’T ME BABE (acoustic)
Somebody threw some flowers on stage during this song (they were removed
by Dylan‘s roadie Tommy after the song had ended), but it wasn’t the
flowers that distracted Dylan during this song, it was what he thought to
be really bad guitarplaying courtesy of Charlie and Larry. Dylan even
paused during the closing harp solo to make some pretty harsh comments on
Charlie’s playing (off-mic, obviously). A so-so performance.
JUST LIKE TOM THUMB’S BLUES
Wow, another very welcome surprise. A pretty nice version, although I
don’t have much to compare, because I hardly ever heard him do this (in
person or on disc).
The usual hard-rocking blues version, this time with an extra guitar
solo by Bob before the expected harp solo to end the song.
RAINY DAY WOMEN Nos. 12 & 35
I told you how much I hate the song many times before, but tonight I was
actually pleasantly surprised, because this meant we wouldn’t get to hear
„Pillbox“ and with that, yet another 11 (!) new songs in the mainset
compared to the previous show. „Rainy Day“ included the band intros
halfway through the song (if I remember correctly – Bob didn’t say a word
all night apart from that though) and was the usual jamming arrangement
which gave Bob the chance to flirt with some of the women in the front. He
got every upset with somebody in the front row though, so much in fact
that he stepped to the front to tell the person in question „I don’t want
to see you ever again at one of my shows“ (or words to that effect). The
formation followed as did a short break.
THINGS HAVE CHANGED
A tiny bit slower than the previous night, I believe, but Bob‘s vocal
delivery was just as good as in Schwäbisch-Gmünd. I always thought the
renditions last fall lacked the passion that the kinda rough romps had
made the song so enjoyable last May, but this came pretty close to what I
would call a perfect version!
LIKE A ROLLING STONE
Again, a great performance, with the same engery that had fired up the
song the night before. More flirting, and now - at long last - some nice
guitar licks from Charlie. Larry broke a string and managed to change
guitars halfway through the song.
IF DOGS RUN FREE (acoustic)
Obviously a perfect choice for a JAZZ festival, I liked it better than in
Braunschweig. The highlight was an extended solo by Larry, who got his
first and only chance to shine on this song.
ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
Rocked, rocked, rocked! Again, the first verse was repeated after the solo
KNOCKIN‘ ON HEAVENS DOOR (acoustic)
With Charlie on electric guitar. I still love the new arrangement, even
though it wasn’t as well done as in Braunschweig. Charlie didn’t play his
Leslie „organ solo“ and he missed the cue for a couple of lines as well,
thus making this a bit of a confused version.
HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED
More of what you expect from this song.
BLOWIN‘ IN THE WIND (acoustic)
And still more of what we already knew... Then they stood in formation for
a few seconds as usual, Bob took a few bows, making some funny shadow
boxing moves and then they threatened us to leave. But in fact they didn’t
even leave the stage, as they turned around very soon to do another song.
With „Rainy Day“ used up in the mainset already, it was
CATS IN THE WELL
Again. It rocked, it was fun, it was a nice way to end a near perfect
Actually it still kinda left me confused, because I didn’t expect that Bob
could get so angry at his band of seemingly perfect musicians. The setlist
obviously was a killer, probably the best I’ve ever heard/saw in person,
and some of the performances were just too good to be true, but some songs
suffered from the surprisingly weak performances by the backing band. So
although an excellent show, I think it‘s safe to say that I’ve seen better
Bob shows already. In a way it was like the Tramps show in 1999.
So what are my thoughts after seeing three Bob shows in 2001? I never got
to hear so many different songs in the space of just three dates (well
over forty!). The mixed up setlists took away a bit from the perfection of
the performances I guess, at least there were a lot more things happening
on stage – some on purpose, some seemingly not on purpose – than late last
year. Where this will lead Bob is anybody‘s guess. Despite the fact that
over all I was quite impressed with the three shows, I sold the tickets to
the two remaining shows in Germany that I intended to see at first. Never
done that before. If that is an indication of burnout onh my part or an
indication that Bob needs to change things even more to keep it really
exciting is up to you. I’ll see Big Star instead which should be special
Thanks to the touring crew – Gunter, Robert, Tim (and Regine), Janice, Joe
and Ray – for the free rides, the funny stories, the place to stay and
generally a great time as usual. Hope I managed to get across the vibes of
the show(s) without making too many mistakes, I had to rush these reviews
a bit. See y’all next time!