Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 02/09/97

Tokyo, Japan

February 9, 1997

Tokyo International Forum

Review provided by  Ken-ichiro Naganuma    From Tokyo,Japan 
1997.2.9  19:20- Tokyo International Forum
 We expected new song , but it was an usual starter with somewhat new taste.
 The sound was tight and stable. Without harps, regret to say.


 As usual, but vocal were with emotion and conviction.
 He sang and played guitar with joy apparently. 
 Obligatory ,but with somewhat different taste from 96*s (or with Winston)
 Played with country taste. He seemed to enjoy this song. 
 Very gloomy and effective. But a little bit long?
 He started this softly ,then it got very strongly. Perhaps one of the highlights of the night 
 ,although without harps!
 It sounded more "major like" than usual, and very enjoyable.
 Again, he started this softly ,then it got very strongly. 
 Obligatory but always enjoyable.
 Very, very powerful (especially the latter part)! Comparable with 1965.66*s!
 In a fast speed but very pleasant. The crowd rushed in to the stage and his vocal was interrupted 
 for a while. Shame!              
 Every body stand up and gave applause to the greatest performing artist ever!
 All in all great concert. He sang and played guitar with joy and conviction( without harps 
 entirely, regret to say ).He was in brown suits and moved so well. On the other hand, JJ was not 
 active and often sat on a chair (also was Tony).Was in a bad condition or something like that?
 Anyway ,extraordinary concert ,I think ,especially the fact that Bob really seemed to enjoy 
 himself. What else can we need?

Ken-ichiro Naganuma

The following was posted in by Matthew Zuckerman on Feb. 9, 1997: Tokyo International Forum Feb 9, 1997 1 Down in the Flood 2 I Want You 3 All Along the Watchtower 4 Just Like a Woman 5 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight 6 Silvio 7 Oh Baby, It Ain't No Lie @ 8 Masters of War @ 9 Don't Think Twice @ 10 Seeing the Real You At Last 11 Simple Twist of Fate 12 Highway 61 13 Like a Rolling Stone 14 It Ain't Me Babe @ 15 Rainy Day Women Before this, Dave Stewart did a short set with Terry Hall on vocals and (on the last 3 songs) a pianist whose name I didn't catch. They did: 1 Working Class Hero 2 Walk into the Wind 3 Cecille 4 Talk to Me Like Lovers Do 5 Psychokiller I don't know any except the first of these, so the titles are guesswork. Well, in the pub before the show we laid our opening song bets. I put 1000 yen on Absolutely Sweet Marie, Richard chose Rolling Stone and Mike said Union Sundown. At the hall Heinrich poo-pooed it all and said it would be Down in the Flood. He was right, but I think we had more fun. (I heard Heinrich muttering "Next time I think I'll go to a Johnny Cash show!" But, hey, I like Johnny Cash too.) The hall itself is a massive thing with a 5000-seater auditorium, conference halls and god knows what else. It's a nice hall though with good sound, although we were a little too near the bass speaker. No big surprises in the set list, but a big surprise as regards the musicians -- no changes! JJ, Bucky, Tony and DK, same as the last tour of last year. Here's a song-by-song breakdown. 1 Down in the Flood Disappointing, of course, that there wasn't something new. Also, a very leaden performance, a long way short of the 1995/96 ones I've heard. Fortunately, this was the only dud of the night. 2 I Want You Decent performance that really caught fire in the last verse. The whole band started to relax and Dylan's knees started to knock together, always a good sign. 3 All Along the Watchtower Well, ok, there's been lots of talk about this, but it really does work live. All the wrinkles have been sorted out in the first two numbers and this is the real start. A hot number, and it's here that Dylan's guitarwork really starts to impress. I heard people talking about this in October, but I just didn't expect him to play this well. Excellent lead work with a full, fluid tone, nothing at all like the grungy hit-and-miss style he's been pursuing these last few years. 4 Just Like a Woman The into to this is the only guitarwork he fluffed all evening. Other than that, a fine performance with a delightful last verse, dropping to the bottom of his range on the "just like a woman" lines. 5 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight Usually, live versions of this song don't impress me much, but this was one of the highpoints of the show. The vocals on the second verse and bridge really kick in and there's some more fine guitar playing. Also a little duck walk and a lot of mugging. I think there's a lady in the first row he's paying a lot of attention to. 6 Silvio Same arrangement as last year, but cooking all the same. Another highpoint with more duck walks and other assorted legwork. 7 Oh Baby, It Ain't No Lie @ The only surprise on the set list. A very nice version of the Elizabeth Cotton classic, with David Klemper staying on drums. 8 Masters of War @ Same as last year, but very intense, especially the last verse, which featured a lovely little guitar figure from Dylan that he will no doubt never play again. 9 Don't Think Twice @ Starts off softly, but really gets steaming, with some great dobro playing from Bucky and some more fine guitar from Dylan. 10 Seeing the Real You At Last A rather different arrangement of this one, with a new riff. It's more melodic than before and some of Dylan's best guitar playing of the night. 11 Simple Twist of Fate Probably the very best performance of the night. Nothing surprising, just very very good. He introduced the band here. Minimal intros. 12 Highway 61 Again, no surprises, but a real rocking version. 13 Like a Rolling Stone First encore, and a tremendous version. I'm looking forward to hearing a tape of the second verse. Some great phrasing. 14 It Ain't Me Babe @ A very up-tempo version of this, and then there's a big rush for the stage. This kind of thing might happen in the States, but in Japan, even getting someone standing up and dancing is a pretty far out sight. About a dozen people jump up on the stage and shake hands with Dylan. He's smiling as wide as I've ever seen and obviously enjoying it. The security people clear the stage, but to the end of this song and through the next one, the whole hall is on its feet. 15 Rainy Day Women Ok, ok, I usually skip this one when I'm listening to the tapes, but it IS a nice way to end a show. Everybody up and dancing. One more person gets up on stage to shake Dylan's hand. Two sung verses, lots of instrumental, then that's it. Disappointing then that the format is just a continuation of last year, but a fine show all the same. If I had been to a dozen or so shows last year, I might be bummed out, but on the other hand, if I hadn't heard any tapes since Dylan's last shows here in 1994 I would have been absolutely blown away. As it was, I'm somewhere in the middle, but more blown than bummed. More tomorrow! Matthew Zuckerman

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