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Review by Carsten Wohlfeld
After spending the night off in Vienna we drove to Ljubljana via Graz and
even though the drive was a bit of a drag due to the amazing amount of
construction work going on we were all quite surprised (and pleasantly, too) how
nice and western-orientated Slovenia looks even though the traces of the
past are still sprinkled all over the place. I also thought it was quite funny
that close to the border they had painted „Slovenia" on the roads, so you
don’t take the wrong turn, but actually you could still see the „Yugoslavia"
Anyways, queueing up in front of the venue was a nightmare, the security
was completely disorganized and it’s a miracle nobody got badly crushed. The
venue itself was small, but pretty ugly, too. The crowd was the youngest -
and most enthusastic - I’v ever seen at a Dylan show (One assumes that is
has to be that way cause nobody who saw him here in ‘91 would’ve dared to come
back and see him again) Bob and crew took to the stage at 8.15pm and Dylan
looked as if he got up three minutes prior to that, his hair was a mess and
the rest of the band looked rather tired, too. Nevertheless the opening
Friend Of The Devil (acoustic)
was quite nice, apart from the end. They do this nice fading out on this
song and usually it works quite well, but tonight Kemper went „loud" again
and it sounded pretty messy. Bob turned around to David after the song and
said something that could’ve either been „That was awesome", „That was all
right" or „That was awful". I think it was the latter, judging from his facial
Mr Tambourine Man (acoustic)
Could’ve been a great choice, since it was an obvious crowdpleaser, but
Bob couldn’t even remember the first line and after mumbling a few lines he
sang one of the the last verses first and mixed up plenty of the others as
well. It was baaaad!
Masters Of War (acoustic)
Huge cheer from the crowd as expected and actually a version that was even
more intense than the ones we heard over the last few days. Bob seemed to
be even more determined to get it right and he did.
Mama You Been On My Mind (acoustic)
Was alright, but far from being perfect. Since he has played it allmost
every night on this tour you’d expected that they can play it better by now...
oh well. Close to the end Bob stopped playing guitar, went back to his amp
to pick a harp and give us a harmonica solo. But while he was still looking
for the harp David played the end part and the song was over! I’d give a
million bucks for a pic of Bob’s look when he turned around and fired some very
dirty looks at David. Tony kinda panicked too and Larry look *very*
confused. What followed was a long discussion between Bob and Tony and then they
made the mistake to decide on:
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (acoustic)
The first verse was alright but it all when downhill when they reached the
first chorus. As you might now, Larry and Bucky are supposed to join in on
the chorus, but Larry and Bucky both missed their cue and so Bob sang „It’s
a hard" alone, stopped, played a few more chords, sang „It’s a hard" a
second time, yet again without Larry and Bucky, got very angry and then finally
sang the whole chorus with his two guitar-players together. And just because
he didn’t want to admit that this was a baaaaaaad mistake he actually
repeated it every time he sang the chorus, often adding new lines halfway through
so that the whole thing sounded even more messed up.
Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
followed and made up for some of the bad performances earlier. It was
pretty good indeed and at the end Bob played the harp solo David „stole" at the
end of „Mama".
It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (acoustic)
Again a lovely performance, even though Bobs voice sounded a bit rusty at
times and so I probably would say that the „Baby Blues" in Zurich and Linz
were superior versions.
I’m still convinced that this is not a very good opener of the electric
set and tonight it was particularly bad cause David never found the right
groove and made the whole song sound very edgy. Bob noticed that too and turned
around to David a couple of times but he just couldn’t improve the
situation. After the song Tony aked Bob if he wanted to do „Not Dark Yet", but Bob
shook his head and they decided on something else.
Every Grain Of Sand
Was obviously a great choice, nicely done as well, only the last verse was
a bit shaky and the solo maybe could’ve been better if Bob would’ve left
the soloing to Larry. Still the first real highlight of the night.
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
This should’ve been the song that gets the band back on track, but it
actually was a very weak rendition as well. Bob tried hard but it just didn’t
work out. He tried to do the rare „debutante" verse, but only could remember
fragments of it.
Not Dark Yet
was „Not Dark Yet", just not as good as it usually is. Got one of the
biggest cheers of the whole night though. Bob introduced the band afterwards,
the only thing he said all night except a few thank yous here and there. There
was along discussion with Tony and Tony actually seemed to ask Bob
something like: „So you don’t wanna do ‘Highway’?" but either Bob changed his mind
or I’m just not very good at reading Tony’s lips...
Highway 61 Revisited
Was one of the night’s few highlights, sung very well and Larry also did a
*very* hot (and long) solo. Then they left.... but of course they came back
after the crowd went absolutely nuts (never have heard 3000 folks make so
very good version which made all the young cute girls (and there were tons
of them) rush to the stage. It was at this point that Bob really woke up
Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat
same as it ever was.
Blowin’ In The Wind (acoustic)
Obviously a song that meant a lot to the people here in Slovenia (and many
of the italians who made their way to this gig), so it was a big singalong
and Bob seemed to very much enjoy the reaction this song got.
Not Fade Away
Loud, rough and tons of fun. Bob and crew went back behind their amps, but
didn’t leave the stage. Bob asked Tony (!) „Do you wanna do one more" or
maybe it was „Do you think we should do one more" and they returned straight
away, guitars in hand. At that point I already knew they would do „Rolling
Stone" cause it was the only song to follow „Not Fade Away".
Like A Rolling Stone
was fast and *tons* of fun cause a guy in the front row went absolutely
mad and was waving his arms, screaming things at Bob and signalling Dylan to
jump into the crowd... Dylan loved that and at one point Larry, Tony and Bob
were all standing right in front of him, laughing out loud. David also tried
to get a glimpse at what was going on, so he almost got up from his drum
stool so he could look over his drum kit - all this while they were playing
the song of course! I never ever have seen Bob laugh that much on stage, he
hardly could sing the last verse cause he was laughing so hard. He also came
to the edge of the stage to play his last solo directly to the guy in the
front row. Also, I never saw a crowd go nuts like THIS. When the song had ended
after about eight or nine minutes, he actually shook hands with the guy
before disappearing. What a sight!
The show not only had one more song than the others, it also was much
longer, and lasted for over two hours. It was still a rotten show though, and
I’m not sure if the amazing (and very funny) performance of „Like A Rolling
Stone" - easily the best I’ve ever heard in person - made up for the many fuck
ups earlier on. Then again, there always has to be one bad show per tour or
it wouldn’t be Bob. In ‘98 it was Hamburg for me, in ‘96 it was Mannheim
and now it was Ljubljana. It’ll be interesting to see how things go in Graz
tomorrow. See ya there!
carsten wohlfeld (firstname.lastname@example.org)
„i go to the bakery all day long cause there’s a lack of sweetness in my
life" (jonathan richman)
Review by Peter Dobaj
"GDEVNIN' LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, would you PLEASE welcome columbia
recording artist.....BOB DYLAN!"
It's 20:15 and we're still at the bar(he he), wanting to get some beer
and wait for another hour or so 'til the start of the show. Nobody could
believe he would get on the stage so quickly. We rush down into the
hall. About 2000 - 3000 people have gathered in the small Hala Tivoli;
there wasn't any free space left in the hall.
There wasn't much advertising for the concert outside of Ljubljana. I
live in Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia and I haven't seen
a single poster or anything regarding the concert. Besides, the posters
were awfull: black and white, no picture. Maybe because of the
disgracefull performance of the last concert here (according to Dino and
newspapers) the expectations weren't high.
We rushed down from the bar and Bob and the whole band were already on
the stage and playing "Friend of the devil". I knew this song would be
on first (from rmd, where else), but I never heard it yet, so I was
exited to hear it. As I looked at the stage I had to smile for a moment
because of the acoustic setup; in particular: the bass player with his
huge acoustic bass (I don't know what's it called in english -
contrabass?). Next up was "Mr. Tambourine man" the crowd went nuts. His
lead guitar was perfect in replacing the harp and he started doing his
little moves douring his solo. The crowd was very receptive and the
applause from the fist song was probobably still in his mind and he
almost smiled a little. Maybe just half of the Mona Lisa smile and maybe
just for a moment but it was there if you looked closely enough. He was
very confident when he started song no.3.... ...."Masters of war". It
was played very raw in my opinion, the drums were very strong. Everybody
liked it, the crowd showed much approval. Then came "Mama, you been on
my mind" a little less known song to the public (and me). It was done in
a very country coloured way and so was the next one "A-Hard rain is
a-gonna fall". The slide guitar was strong and the band backed him up at
the "it's a-hard, it's a-hard,..." part. The song came to the end and
the next one started almost overheard by the applause. Until the first
line I realized it was one of my favorites: "Tangled up in blue". The
beautiful lyrics almost came to the end, the band still playing and Bob
went a little to the back of the stage backing the crowd and turned
around with his harp in his mouth and started playing. It was beautiful
and it was during one of my favorites! Then came "Baby blue" with the
nice slide guitar sounding around the lyrics. And the lights went out
for the first time.
Something was going on on the stage, everybody was moving around, you
could see someone carrying the big acoustic bass down the stage... The
lights went on and the electric set could begin. The guitars had a
strong sound, the slide machine(?) doing it's effect on "can't wait". I
don't know for sure but I think he emphasized the line "I'm your man"
(isn't that a Cohen song?). Then came a beautiful song from Bob's first
album I bought: "Every grain of sand". Then came the rockin' "Memphis
blues" and everybody was dancing now. The band were backing him nicely
during the refrain ("agaaaaaaaain").
Next up was "Not dark yet", we recognized it at the first notes. Up to
now it was a great show, but the highlights were yet to come. It was
time for ROCK'N'ROLL. Where? Back on "Highway 61 (revisited)"!!!. I
can't put it in words and you can't imagine that (no, you really
can't)...And then the lights went out a second time.
"Bobby, Bobby" and "Dylan, Dylan" was everybody shouting in the dark,
there had to be an encore. After 5 minutes (that lasted like hours)
Dylan came back on with the paranoid "Love sick" After the song Bobby
and the band talked a little, seemed to me like Bobby was changing the
plan. And we went waaaaaaaay back to 66 with "Leopard skin pill box
hat", rockin' like H61R. I almost melted away during his harp-like
guitar solos. They changed their instrumens again and done a great
acoustic "Blowin' in the wind". Back on electric again the fabolous "not
fade away", his usual ending tune. 4 song were played in the encore
already and I thought "plase, please just one more". He was in a very
good mood, but the band were already putting away their instruments and
Bob walked up to them, said something, I was watching every single move
and then a miracle happened (beside the miracle of seing Bob for the
first time live ever): they put their guitars back on!!!!! And the third
miracle: The drummer cracks the snare like a rifle shot. The first two
drum hits and it's "Like a rolling stone"!!!!!!!!!!!! Bob was constantly
looking over to someone in the first row on the left and the fourth
miracle happened: he was smiling cheek to cheek singing to the first row
left almost forgetting to go over to the mic while singing. Perfect lead
guitar, perfect band...
After the song he walked over to the first row left and exchand a word
or two still with a big grin. Then he walked off the stage and the
lights went out a third time....
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