Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 03/30/98

Review

Miami Beach, Florida

March 30, 1998

Cameo Theater



Review provided by Carsten Wohlfeld

It had been almost two years since I've last been to Miami Beach, but when  
I first saw the beautiful old Theater that is the Cameo on Washington Ave/ 
Espinola Way I instantly thought: 'Wow, this would be the perfect place  
for a Bob show'. I just had come back from what turned out to be Bob's  
last tour of Germany so far so my reaction was only understandable, I  
guess. Didn't help much, that my friends from the area kept telling me  
that they hardly ever have gigs there anymore.

So when I saw "Miami Beach/Cameo" on Bill Pagel's excellent site, my first  
thought was: 'hey, you gotta be there'. And why not? My last Bob show's  
been almost two months ago and Dylan isn't going to be in Europa for  
another seven weeks. Since I had time off from class anyways, could need a  
holiday in the sun, too and the money priting machine in our basement  
works so well (cheers Ray and Joy!), I booked a cheapo flight  
(unfortunately on a bad airline as well :-)), bothered some people to get  
me tickets (thanks Bill, Richard, Vic, Henry and everybody who responded,  
couldn't have done it without you!) and made the trip from Essen, Germany  
via Amsterdam to Miami. After a few days on the beach ("Chillin' like Bob  
Dylan", as the Beastie Boys once fittingly called it), it was time for the  
big show. There was a big buzz around town and just about everybody from  
the guys at Sbarro to the Hotel receptionist and cleaning woman seemed to  
talk about anything but Bob or listening to "Love Sick" (Live From The  
Grammies) which was on the local FM quite a bit. My Hotel was just one  
block away, which allowed me to leave the queue and use my 'own' bathroom,  
which was nice and actually I enjoyed the six hours or so in front of the  
Cameo that monday afternoon quite a bit. The queue got a bit disorganized  
when the will call people turned up, but I still managed to be among the  
first five to get into the venue at 8.10 (the posters said doors 8.30) and  
so I was lucky enough to secure an almost centre spot in the second right,  
right under Bob's nose.

It was a funny atmosphere backstage, cause the band had to walk across the  
stage to get to the second floor dressing room, so not only did we get to  
see Bucky tune his pedal steel as usual, but we also got a glimpse at  
Tony, Larry, David and even Bob as he rushed up the stairs dressed in a  
blue jeans jacket and black pants when he entered the building at around  
9.10.

Well, to cut a very long introduction short, a couple of minutes after  
9.30 it was time for us ladies and gentlemen to welcome the Columbia  
Recording Artist that we had been waiting for all day, some people as long  
as 12 hours...

Bob already seemed to be in a excellent the second he took the stage,  
smiling six times the whole night (Carla's been counting, not me), dancing  
and pulling faces as soon as the band - somewhat surprisingly - hit...

        To Be Alone With You

Nice to hear anything else apart from "Sweet Marie" in this slot of  
course, even though Bob's delivery wasn't really very convincing at all.  
He struggled through it without major accidents though and traded a few  
nice licks with Larry at the end. If they would play it more often, it  
probably would become the perfect opening song. Btw, Larry was wearing a  
white satin shirt, similiar to the ones Bob used to wear in '95, only that  
it wasn't tucked in and about three sizes too big! Looked like a  
dress...very funny.

        If You See Her Say Hello

Wow! You instalntly know that you're a a great Dylan show if he pulls out  
this one. Definitely one of my favourite Bob songs, delivered beautifully  
vocal-wise, with Bob's singing getting better as the song progressed. I  
still feel that the full-blown electric arrangement is a bit too loud and  
fast for this one, though.

        Can't Wait

Actually I had predicted earlier that "Cold Irons Bound" would make a  
return to the set after winning Bob a Grammy, but obviously I was wrong  
and this was a truely great version... so much better than the "TOOM"  
original due to that extra added little riff courtesy of Bucky. Great!

        Born In Time

Even before they did this I was pretty happy about the whole show, but  
this one nearly killed me! Cuesheet alternate "Not Dark Yet" went unplayed  
as they did a beautifully slow version of this terrific song. Much more  
powerful than I remember the NYC version in January to be as well. If you  
get goosebumps in Sunburn City aka Miami Beach, you know you're in for an  
awesome version of "Born In Time", that was even improved by the superb  
lights, half the band in yellow, the other in violet spotlights ("I  
dreamed of you in black in white" indeed)

        Silvio

Actually the cuesheet listed "Cold Irons Bound" as a second possibility in  
this slot, but without even discussing skipping this old warhorse, they  
played "Silvio" yet again. And they didn't do a very good job, either. It  
rocked as usual, but there was this weird incident in the middle, when the  
band slowed down for the quiet part, but Bob just kept on soloing, going  
to the quiet part later. The jam at the end was really smoking though.

        White Dove (acoustic)

Bob started this by himself, even before the others had a chance to change  
instruments. I don't care for the song that much, but Bob definitely  
enjoyed it to the max. One of the most heartfelt songs all night. You  
literally could feel that he really missed his Mum and Dad.Bucky and Larry  
sang along to the chorus and I prefered this acoustic version to the late  
'97 electric ones, I have to say.

        It's All Over Now Baby Blue (acoustic)

Another one of those songs I never get tired of hearing. Not as  
staggeringly good as let's say Cradiff '97 or NYC '98, but it a very fine  
rendition, with Bob making fun of us all by just singing "It's all over  
now Baby!" on the first refrain! Hey man, it's supposed to be "Baby BLUE!"  
Please rehearse your old songs better next time ;-)

        Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

Best version I've heard in a while with really playful phrasing and a  
never ending jam at the end. Close to the end Larry looked over to Tony,  
nodding at Bob and raising his eyebrows - then they were both cracking up:  
"Is he ever gonna stop soloing oe what?" After that the band switched back  
to electric instruments and Kemper started what many people around me  
thought to be the "Series Of Dreams". Larry got a bit confused, and  
switched guitars again while the other guys were already playing so he  
joined in a little later with those three chords I love so damn much. The  
drums were just amazing, like a Tornado coming closer or like driving to  
the Mojave desert without anybody in sight and then you hear a thunder  
storm rolling. Amazing! I didn't know for sure what song it was (Larry's  
chords were very quiet), but it was absolutely terrific nvertheless. Then  
Bob steps up to the mic, mumbling: "There must be some kinda way outta  
here..."

        All Along The Watchtower

OH MY GOD... Some of you already know that this is my alltime favourite  
song by anybody and hearing it again at a Bob show was one thing, but in  
such a strange, but neverthless amazing version was a completely different  
story! This was by far and away the most unusual "Watchtower" I ever  
heard. They just what I thing was a weird time-signiture, so Bob had to  
repeat the first half of almost every line to make the lyrics fit in with  
the music. In a way this deconstruction of the song was similar to "John  
Brown" in L.A. '97 and NYC '98. Really dramatic, truely excellent.

        Queen Jane Approx.

Hardly any song could've followed this (for me anyways), but "Queen Jane"  
was a very welcome choice. He messed up the lyrics a bit, singing the same  
verse twice and he obviously was pretty angry at himself for doing so. I  
for one didn't mind it. Still liked the rendition very much. Standard band  
intros with no jokes at all followed, Bob's only words apart from a couple  
of "thanks everybodys".

        'Til I Fell In Love With You

Closed the main set. For me it's one of the songs who either come across  
very, very well live or just die. Tonight it was really rocking.

        (encore)
        Highway 61 Revisited

Another endless solo jam that made the whole band mile and tap their feet.  
Where I was standing it sounded a little bit too distorted, but I'm sure  
in was fine everywhere else. Btw, some people gave me a hrad time after my  
January reviews when I said I wouldn't mind not hearing "Highway" ever  
again. I do not pretty damn well that Bob 'has' to play a few of his  
greatest hits for the once-every-five-years-customer, but why not do "I  
Shall Be Released" or "4th Street" in this slot from time to time instead.  
Would be just a crowd-pleasing, but would keep the regulars of getting  
sick of great songs like this too soon.

        It Ain't Me Babe (acoustic)

I thought I heard this one more than enough to last several lifetimes as  
well, but I actually liked this version quite a bit. It had a different  
ending, very long and slow, reminding me of the way they almost closed  
every song in '94. I have to say that I really missed Bob's harp on this  
one though.

        Love Sick

I just love this song to death, but this version sounded a bit too rushed  
and flat, pretty much in the way as the Boston 01/24/98 one. Maybe Bob  
felt that he already had delivered more than enough for one night and just  
wanted to get over with it?

        Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

Yes, that one was well with the houselights on and a funny expression on  
Bob's face: 'Hey, look guys, there's been people in front of the stage.  
Wonder if they have been there all night?" ;-)

The verdict: A ridiculously good show, maybe even the best I ever have  
seen in person. I need a tape of this one more than you'll ever know, so  
if you get a hold of one, pleeeeeze, get in touch with me at:  
happyjaq@confetti.ruhr.de  - thanks!

It's approcahing 2 am now, and I haven't slept in over 48 hours, so the  
March 31 review has to follow tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed this one despite  
the numerous misspellings. I'm just to tired to take care of that right  
now. Goodnight.

--
carsten wohlfeld
"i'm caught in a trap and i can't back out cause i love you so much, baby!"
(elvis presley)

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