Dusseldorf, Germany

Mitsubishi Electric Halle

March 31, 2019

[Martin Altenbokum], [Ralph Gehrke], [Laurette Maillet][Jamie McKenna], [Paul M. Backert]

Review by Martin Altenbokum

A beautiful but fresh early spring evening in Düsseldorf, in the evening
the opening concert of this year's Never Ending Tour was scheduled. The
concert was well attended, the hall was packed. At 8 p.m. a tension
generating music sounded, then the stage lit up and Dylan sat behind his
grand piano, no hat, no fantasy uniform like sometimes and the familiar
band started playing. "Things have changed", you noticed something like
excitement in his voice, the sound wasn't the best yet and was fine-tuned
later. Not the most successful version to start with. "It Ain't Me Babe"
already better, "Highway 61" rather withdrawn and not as rocky as we may
know it from many earlier concerts. "Simple Twist of Fate", sung very
sensitively, you could see Dylan, how much he tried to really sing and not
to fall into the familiar Dylan singing. 

Here you could feel for the first time that the style of the concert
seemed to be very different from many others before despite a very similar
if not identical setlist compared to last year's one. Charlie Sexton's
guitar playing very much in the background, the piano clearly dominating,
the drums maybe a bit too much in the foreground. As the evening went on,
Dylan's voice got better and better, almost soft and many lyrics could be
understood, you already knew it differently. "When I Paint My Masterpiece"
succeeded, "Scarlet Town" also very sensitive and the only song in the
evening where Dylan showed himself in the middle of the stage. A very
defensively performed "Like A Rolling Stone", it lacked some drive. The
highlight of the evening for me was a beautiful and never heard version of
"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right", wonderful harmonica playing, in
hushed tones, almost as if he didn't dare to play the song anymore. We
listened to "Love Sick" in a kind of staccato modus, not as sad as usual.
"Soon After Midnight", another late highlight of the evening, Bob's voice
clear and with a pleasant range. "Blowin' in the Wind" seemed a bit
indifferent and came to spontaneous after the brief break when the band
disappeared for a few minutes.

After more than 50 concert visits you think easily, you already know it
all. All the more surprising this evening, we experienced the artist a bit
withdrawn, almost the entire time sitting at the piano, but he performed
his incredibly beautiful songs with a high presence, very focused and
concentrated, the voice soft and elastic. A very lovely evening and a bit
of a new experience. See you again on 21 June in Bergen, Norway.


Review by Ralph Gehrke

last night Bob Dylan kicked off the first leg of the European Tour 2019 in
Düsseldorf Germany.

And what a fantastic start it was …

Everybody on stage was in a good shape – even Bob. His voice strong and
sometimes even sharp and clear. The piano play has been very much improved
adding some special notes and nice kind of intimate tunes. Above all the
harp howls like a hammer.

For me “Simple twist of fate”, “Masterpiece” (played with so much
passion) and “Don´t think twice” seemed to be the highlights of a
stunning show.

If there is anybody to be in doubt whether Dylan and his bandmates are
still strong enough to headline a festival like Roskilde or British Summer
(Hyde Park), this concert proves the answer: Yes, they are!

A very enjoyable evening left the audience fully satisfied – you didn´t
hear any complains as some times before in the aftermath of a Bob Dylan
show in Germany. Whilst the roadies already busy with their job I saw many
people still remaining at their seats, eyes closed and just relaxing,
caught in their very own review …

Even the merchandise people where happy. I never saw them selling their
posters, shirts and stuff so quickly – big deal! Meanwhile the party got
started for a second time just outside the doors. I saw people laughing
and gathering around some Dylan-Doubles to celebrate the good old times of
Rolling Thunder …

About the Tour of 2013 you might say “Dylan promotes Tempest” and
about 2017 “Dylan presents Sinatra and the American Songbook”. This
time again it´s different. It´s far more about the real thing: “Dylan
plays Dylan” and you really can say he does it in a way to be described
as Dylan and Dylan only.

To keep a long comment short: It´s not dark yet and only the chief
commander himself will know when it´s getting there. So, if you can make
it you shouldn´t miss it, in Würzburg, Berlin or elsewhere.

God bless you all and Bob Dylan.

Ralph Gehrke


Review by Laurette Maillet

Spring Tour Europe will be interesting,  particularly the second leg in
Spain. I bought 2 Flixbus passes for less than 200 euros. That will allow
me 10 trips in Eastern Europe. Then I booked tickets with ALSA  bus
company for the Spain trip. All together a lot cheaper than Inter Rail. I
start from my home town and then a night bus from Paris. Arriving in
Dusseldorf a day before the first show of the tour. I didn’t sleep much
on that bus so I slept all day and all night.

March 31th 2019.
The first show of that Tour.
I will meet with my friend I. for a cup of tea at noon then have a lunch
with S. We walk all the way to the Mitsubishi Electric halle. Arriving
just on time to meet with J. and see the black buses pulling inside the
parking lot. We see the 4 band members getting out for the sound check.
Bobby’s bus is well hidden but for sure the Master must be here. A large
group of Bobcats arrive and congratulate each other in front the doors
opening at 6.30pm. I easily find a ticket and get in with a nice couple
and their 2 daughters. First Bob Dylan show for them. The seat is not the
best, way too far from the stage but I am happy to be in. On time the
loudspeakers blow a sort of music ’cause  Stu is absent. Then Bob and
the Band take their positions. Same organisation and same first song.
Shortly before I had bet with J. that the setlist would be unchanged. That
show seems familiar to me. It could have been any of the USA. shows. It
sounds a bit of a rehearsal. The sound is not good from where I seat. I
don’t hear Charlie’s guitar too clearly. Bob is dressed as…usual
;black pants with white straps, white boots and white jacket. Black and
white again ? I saw him taking the stage with a hat in his hand. But the
hat will never be put on his head ! Only one song center stage and it is
« Scarlet town ». The public is polite. Reacting on « Like a rolling
stone ». But no fuss, not even front stage. I still realy like « When I
paint my masterpiece «  and Charlie’s guitar is more obvious on « The
early Roman kings ». Bob’s voice is clear and he is blowing his harp
alright. It is somehow a little bit boring. Even George's solo on  "
Thunder on the mountain" doesn’t move me so much. After the beautiful
Beacon theater, cosy and intimate, it is a deception.  That performance
doesn’t fit the 6000 capacity sport arena. I was happy to witness the
coming back, though. That was a nice experience. Thank you Bobby and the
Band and all the good friends. See you next in Wurzburg.


Review by Jamie McKenna

I last reviewed His Bobness after seeing him in Bielefeld where he played
a lot of Frank Banana rubbish. I said that myself and my Dad wouldn’t go
again if this continued after over 100 concerts seeing His Bobness play.
Hopefully Bob read my review and changed his set list in Japan. Dad flew
over from England on the Friday and we enjoyed a wonderful weekend in the
wonderful city of Düsseldorf. The alt beer is stunning, the altstadt is
stunning and the sun was shining. If you get a chance, one of the greatest
cities in Europe. We were joined by the son of one of my best friends who
I work with. Aidan is luckily enough to have been introduced to His
Bobness by myself and this was his seventh concert. The best he’d been
to. Bobby was back. Paint Your Masterpiece Don’t Think Twice Make You
Feel My Love Unbelievable We left the concert knowing Bobby was back.
I’d seen my hero again performing at his best, with my other hero my
daddy. We headed back into the Altstadt for more Alt and the third pork
roll of the weekend at Schweine Janes. Counting the days to Braunschweig
and then Hyde Park

Jamie McKenna


Review by Paul M. Backert

Already in the beginning it was clear, there is a big difference from last
years shows. For the first time I understood nearly every word of the long
time opener Things Have Changed. And that continued throughout the whole
show, a performance full of energy, really unbelievable for a soon 78
years old man. It Ain`t Me, Babe, as convincing as ever, and even more.
Simple Twist Of Fate, which also has been performed very often lately and
in a way that not seldom nearly made me sleep now functioned totally
different, mostly because of a harmonica solo flashing through the air,
John Mayall in his best time couldn`t have done that better. Cry A While,
always a tough blues, now even tougher, and for the first time every word
could be understood. Don`t Think Twice, in a nearly whispered mode,
"dressed" the song naked. The message of the song through the years maybe
had drowned a bit in the music, not now. It functioned a bit like Long And
Wasted Years had done before. But that one could easily also have had a
social, even political meaning, in contrary to Don`t Think Twice which
exclusively describes a personal relation or non relation between two
people. Like A Rolling Stone, in December performed nearly without music,
now filled again with more band participation, but without threatening the
words. And as always when there is a refrain, the refrain is the most
important part. We were used to hear How does it FEEL. Now we heard How
DOES it feel, to be without a home....and so forth. That means HOW DOES IT
REALLY FEEL. What is the question about at all, the song is asking now. To
have It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry as the finishing
song of the concert with that beautifully performed bluesarrangement was a
masterpiece in itself. And so When I Paint My Masterpiece, again with a
gorgeous harmonica solo pointed not only, hopefully, towards the future,
but towards the here and now of Düsseldorf 31. of march 2019. The only
string Band arrangement of the evening, Scarlett Town, must not be
forgotten. And many other songs. 

Paul M. Backert


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