April 5, 2007
Review by Joop Bekkema
The small venue in Münster (great acoustics but strange seating
arrangements where the crowd faces each other with Bob 90 degrees to their
left or right) opened the doors early so everybody could enter without a
problem and have a drink or something to eat first. Great hospitality
which I hope we will see in Amsterdam as well but I have my doubts. Dylan
was in excellent shape tonight with a voice I had not heard in years. Very
clear and very strong. The band (it must be the same that played in the
previous shows) was very very average. They produced a very good sound,
but without any brilliance. Tony and George are solid, Donny Herron is an
average steel player but Denny and Stu fail to convince. If Dylan calls
this the best band he ever played with, this may be true for the band
itself (good followers and very good for their wives) but certainly NOT in
the capability to play their instrument. That typical Dylan-remark goes in
the "lightbulb" category. (Dylan told a reporter that he is always
carrying a lightbulb)
The setlist was a little surprising with a truely wonderfull High Water,
a brilliant Till I Fell In Love With You and an also unexpected Hattie
Carroll and Simple Twist Of Fate. The rest was standard.
Dylan opened very strong with Cat's In The Well ( one of the best openers
after Down Along The Cove) and a Don't Think Twice, where not only the
audience failed to see where the band was going, but also the band itself
seemed to have no idea what was expected from them. A very weak
performance. Watching the river Flow was much better and really rocking,
followed by a very solid It's All Right Ma. During these four songs Dylan
played the guitar and it was like coming home. Please burn the organ!
The next was When The Deal Goes Down. For me one of the weakest songs
Dylan ever wrote and certainly not a pleasure to watch although Freeman
manages to produce a solo that matches the original. He fails to do the
same when playing Thunder On The Mountain by the way, while this solo is
nothing more than elementary. High Water was something special, Hattie
Caroll was unexpected but nice and Till I fell In love with You was
nothing more than brilliantly played. Simple twist Of fate was another
unexpected song beautifully performed . After this everything was routine
with the exception of a wonderfull Nettie Moore. Thunder On The Mountain
and especially Summer Days were songs where the absence of a truely great
guitarplayer was paramount. We used to have duels between Campbell and
Koella. Now these songs just end in a wall of sound without a brilliant
solo by ......... (fill in the names of all great guitarplayers in Dylan's
Despite the lack of brilliance in the band, I saw a very good show. The
sound is great and the people are happy and they are dancing. This means:
they liked it! To be complete I like to quote somebody who said: Even if
Dylan comes on stage and bakes an egg, the crowd will love it.
Review by Tobias Freimüller
Since this show sounded almost exactly like the scandinavian ones we’ve
heard from this tour, and since there were no surprises at all I won’t
write a song by song review this time – just a few remarks:
The information that they sold only half of the tickets was surely
wrong, in fact the place was packed.
Bob had his new white hat on and entered the stage right at 19:30h, he
played the first four songs on guitar again. Although the guitar was
very high in the mix, we did not hear much of it – he played just a
few notes here and there.
The bearded guy who played steelguitar in Sweden and Norway is gone.
Donny is back. cool Thank god his steelguitar was not as high in the mix
as it used to be.
One of the funniest Bob moments happened after the rather solid CATS IN
THE WELL: The Band started playing, problem was that they were playing
different songs! Bob was playing the chords of DON’T THINK TWICE
(well, sort of...), but all (or some?) of the others were obviously
prepared for another song. After a few bars of pure chaos they nearly
stopped playing – everybody was looking around very puzzled – Tony
gave his electric bass away and took the acoustic stand up bass instead.
Bob was simply playing on and on – and finally everyone joined him to
do DON’T THINK TWICE. I have never (!) seen Tony so surprised, very
When he slipped behind his keys after IT’S ALRIGHT MA, Bob indeed
looked much more comfortable than with the guitar strapped on, bounced
around, nodded and wiggled as always.
HIGH WATER was the best song of the night. While Bob was loosing a line
here and there on other songs, he was extremely focused here, the
arrangement works very well, his voice fits the song – perfect!
HATTIE CAROLL had a nice ending with harp, it was distracted by some
rough edges of the vocals though.
'TIL I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU was a nice semi-surprise, they played the
bang, bang, bang“ chords after the verses again as they did in late
2005, another good performance.
SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE was another great choice, sadly Bob has still not
found a way to sing it. His voice sounded shot into pieces on this one,
so he flew into the staccatto-style: „So he - - woke up - - the room -
- was bare - - he did not - - see her - - anywhere“ etc.
During this song – surprise, surprise! – Denny played the only solo
that was halfway decent. It actually fits to the song and was more than
the „doiiing, doiiing, doiiing“ he usually plays.
I still miss Larry & Charly. Remember when the instrumental parts of the
show were interesting? Those were the days...
To make up for his solo in SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE, Denny played something
during SPIRIT ON THE WATER what was so bad that people around us looked
to eachother scratching their heads.
ROLLIN‘ & TUMBLIN‘ and THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN are sounding the same
every night. Actually I’m bored with these songs (well: riffs) already
NETTIE MOORE was the usual showstopper, although Bobs voice was too shot
tonight to sing it as moving as he can on better days. Still a
ROLLING STONE and WATCHTOWER need a rest.
All in all a solid and entertaining show. I’m looking forward to
Frankfurt later this tour!
Review by Ap Sreblaa
Many years after and after I've seen a lot and the most different performances by
our Bobness. The band on this tour - I mean the quitarplayers - are good followers
but nothing more then that. George and Tony are solid and bearing the band.
I'm missing the highlights in sound with solo's and subtilety that was played in the
shows with Larry and Charly. They also doing this with their voices in mixed-chorus.
George are a very well played drummer, fast and strong, but the shows with Jim
Kelner were full with feeling-touch and subtility with the quitarplayers Larry and
Now the show become routine and hears flatly with sometimes a highlight by
inspiration of Bob himself. Bob makes to much European tours in short times. I
hope he don't going back to the flatly and sometimes miserable tours from the
late eighties / begin nineties, that were shows in darkness without any inspiration.
Now I see - the last years - more and more young people mixed with mid-aged
and older fans, that's great! The venues are full and have now a magnificent
audience. Bob, keep and hold it! Make good choises/decisions in your travelin
bandmusicians on tour.
The setlist was surprised with a beautifull "Nettie Moore" For the rest see review
by Joop Bekkema, he wrote with his review the right things and gives the only
right opinion about this European Bob-tour.
Review by Joost Horsthuis
A solid show indeed, but - except for Tony and George - oh what a
crappy band this is. Nice to see Tony given a role somewhat more in the
spotlights though. In particular those two gentlemen holding the guitar
are so awfully boring and hopelessly average, that it must have been some
kind of joke to call thia the best band in the world. Most of the time
they seem to have absolutely not a clue what to play, and why they are
even there. Anyway, Bob, George and Tony had to do the hard working here,
which turned out, glad to say, pretty well. Staring at the ground from
under the new hat the first songs, but as usual getting more enthousiastic
later on, Bob seemed to have a good time, banging back and forth, left to
right, skeleton breakdancing and at one point seeming to almost be trying
to hammer the piano into the stage. Kind of average setlist, with a
beautiful Simple twist of fate, a breathtaking Til I fell in love with you
and an absolutely fine version of Nettie Moore. Highway 61 was nailed down
with force, as was High Water. But no outstanding guitar work AT ALL,
which is definetely sad, spoiled as we have become with Charlie, Larry and
the great great Freddy Koella. His bands always more than great, worth the
effort of watching them even if they would have performed without Bob.
Well, enough about this.
To be in a German crowd was for once actually a nice experience, people
dancing and screaming like hyenas, not as static as we see frequently at
Bob shows here in Holland. On the other hand, the security men climbing
from front row into the audience to grab peoples telephones or whatever
weapons of mass destruction they might have held, were ridiculously
overreacting. They seemed to have set their goals at spoiling the
second half of the show for the people in the first rows. Bob must
have seen this, as it was quite a small venue and all this shit
happened right under his nose.
Anyway, all in all nothing really special but a decent show, nice
venue, beautiful weather, we'll see what Eastern will bring in
Review by Stefan Flach
About some songs
"Cat's in the Well"
As soon as Dylan - looking very much like he did in Hamburg during the
"guitar songs": disgruntled, sullen and absent-minded - started singing it
was obvious that he "opposed" his mood by a far more appropriate means
than the day before: not by evading the mood but by acting it out. His
singing had a rougher edge to it and he continuously "punched" the words
at random, or wherever his subconsciousness guided him. The lyrics were
like sparring partners in a warm-up excercise. He didn't consider his
"blows" but just let things happen. Precision wasn't completely discarded,
though: The second "bum" in the repeated line "And the horse is going
bumpety-bum" matched perfectly with the first - a little, bone dry word
that pretty much defined the whole performance.
"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"
Even if I wouldn't have minded another "It Ain't Me, Babe" or "Man in the
Long Black Coat" in the song # 2 (the old hand "surprise") slot, I looked
forward to this old warhorse as soon as I recognized it. And Dylan,
flexing his vocal chords, swam like flotsam in the ocean of the song's
unmistakable, majestic harmonies. His guitar playing - edgy and
adventurous - added more to the "giving things a shot" (trial and error
included) momentum. If they had played a 15-minute version of the song I -
and probably many others - would have been completely satisfied.
"Watching the River Flow"
The song of the evening for me (sorry, but sometimes we unwrap the best
presents first). Never before had I heard an equally dry and hard-nosed
version. If Dashiell Hammett had ever sung a novel instead of writing it
his vocal approach would surely have been similar. Perhaps due to a
similarity between the narrator's way of feeling ("I don't have much to
say" etc.) and Dylan's momentary mood, his delivery (vocal + guitar)
offered all sorts of cross connections - without ever raising a "literal"
awareness of it. It's as if the performance consisted only of "behaviour
and actions" (like the best American westerns have done) and discarded all
conceptualities and notions of the same. The band seemed to fully
comprehend what was going on - and what there was to do. Towards the end
of the song I would not only have gladly accepted "another" 15-minute
version but have almost liked to claim it loudly. The final jam ranks
among the most exuberant Dylan concert experiences I've made so far.
"When the Deal Goes Down"
The song that marked the change of Dylan's mood that day. When the song
was static in Hamburg (cf. my comment on the show) Dylan didn't only find
and pick up one rose in Münster but a whole bouquet - he offered it to
himself as well as to the rest of us. Already his singing of the first
lines ("In the still of the night, in the world's ancient light")
displayed such a wealth of emotional turmoil that you could have thought
that the words wouldn't have enough room for it - whereas, of course, they
provoked it. Approaching the song "without helmet", faithful and candid
(mind you, the same was true for "Watching the River Flow", no matter how
different the two performances' feel might be), Dylan cherished and
shepherded the lines like a big bear might do with his offspring (or a
foundling). Even some gross accentuations ("we feel and we think") were
perfectly embedded in his delivey. An abundant performance. Dennie Freeman
played a ductile and smooth solo during the instrumental verse and was
"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll"
That Dylan plays the harp less on the current tour might be beneficial:
Whenever he does (approximately 3 x per show), he puts more effort and
care into it than in many recent years. For me, the two highlights of this
gentle yet poignant version were his two soli at the beginning (played on
the lower registers) and end. They seemed to comprise the empathy for the
tale's victim - which is still vivid after 44 years - as well the beauty
of casting himself to the song's unforgettable harmonies.
The way he growled and stretched "tears" in the second chorus rightfully
received a huge cheer from the audience.
"Simple Twist of Fate"
When live versions of "If You See Her, Say Hello" are often critized for
being too rocking and fast, something similar could be said about the way
Dylan sings "Twist of Fate" in recent years, which is nothing but
insistent and aggressive (when we disregard the notorious "up-singing",
which thankfully has become a thing of the past). In Münster he virtually
set up a statue for this approach. Being fully aware of his current vocal
characteristics (dark voice going from coarsemeshed to lacy and back
again), he's at his most flashy and eye- resp. ear-catching when diving
into the imagery of the tale. I was nothing but glad to be among the ones
whose attention was fully caught and absorbed by Mr. D's freestyle event
of the evening. During the second instrumental verse Dennie Freeman put
the final icing on the cake by playing the most lustfully "sentimental"
(he himself delivers the quotation marks) solo I've ever heard him do. Six
stars out of five for the "icing" alone.
"Rollin' and Tumblin'"
Unlike any other version of the song I know this one didn't only maintain
my attention from start to finish (usually it wanders off then the song's
on my player) - I was full of wrought-up anticipation for every new verse
and every "rematch" of the incessant riff. A befriended fan with whom I
spoke after the show fully confirmed that impression and seemed still so
excited about the song that I almost worried about him (63 years old).
Like on "Highway 61" the day before, Donnie Herron came up with an
impromptu pedal steel riff whose simplicity (four notes) perfectly matched
with the song's spirit and drive. Like Freeman, he's at times able to
perfectly "read" songs and transpose their melodic potential - that was
unfathomed before. It's a pity that they - and the whole current band -
aren't held in higher esteem by most fans.
"Thunder on the Mountain"
is a song that's hard to focus on; all the time it seems to slide off, if
only regarding the flow of the lyrics. When asked what the song's about or
what happens in it, you may face a problem like when trying to remember a
dream. No matter how simple (or over-simplified) we may find it, it's
general blurriness is so hard to see through that it almost seems a vivid
part of the song. As always, the verses flashed by, no one clung to the
other, but - they did so in a somewhat nastier, more villianous way,
which, like with "Rollin' and Tumblin'", aroused my interest like no other
version before. At one point Dylan raised his voice at the end of a line
("One sweet day I'll stand beside my king") which made for a thunderstroke
of sarcasm, but sadly he didn't "mirror" it with the next couplet ("I
wouldn't betray your love nor any other thing").
As a final proof that the show was pretty much as good as it gets these
days (my appraisal), the one song that's been so overplayed the last six
years that even die-hard haters of the song seem to be short of words
lately, came along as a subtle blast - well (joyfully) orchestrated and,
what is most important, well sung.
Interestingly, like with his generally acclaimed classics, it seems less
the song "itself" that's played meanwhile but an option of eventualities,
brought along by the fact that it's been so ... overplayed. It's as if all
the 500+ versions resonated in every new one and constituted its
"framework" - through which we might recognize the original song.
If asked to extract a single word that could examplify Dylan's art in the
spring of 2007 I'd pick one from this song - the one that offers itself
most as a vehicle to give Dylan's introspection a palpable form, a
gestalt. It's a word that consists of four letters, of which only three
are pronounced: the last one in the line "And that bad-luck women they
stick like glue". When Dylan sings it these days like he did in Münster
it's as if he lit a candle in a church with the word - for himself, for
Nettie Moore, and for the word. There's mutiny in his voice when he sings
it, there's compassion, there's a drive to proclaim. To proclaim what? The
word itself - And its utter possibilities. You figure them out.
| Click Here
to return to the
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists