Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 05/14/98


Vancouver, British Columbia

May 14, 1998

General Motors Arena

Thanks to Baja for the following review: 

Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell were the opening acts tonight.  Van came out
on stage looking like on of the lost Blues Brothers.  If not for my
binoculars it could have been John Belushi up there returning from the
beyond.  Van had an eight piece band with him and stuck to a bluesy/jazzy
theme most of the night.  Sorry I cannot offer a set list as I did not know
all the tunes.  I recognized a few off his latest album and he did some
classics like Vanlose Stairway, Cleaning Windows, Tupelo Honey into Crazy
love and Saint Dominic's Preview.  Solid performance however there was alot
of distraction during his set as people were still finding their seats. 
Van is doing two shows tonight at a smaller theatre so his fans get another
shot at seeing him.  Apparently his last visit to Vancouver was 12 years
Next out of the starting gate was Joni Mitchell.  She performed on electric
guitar and was accompanied by  pedal steel guitar, electric bass and drums.
 Unfortunately I have not kept up with her recording output so I did not
know the songs she played. It was a very contemplative set.  She encored
with Big Yellow Taxi.
"Ladies and gentleman....." The set list is as follows:
Absolutely Sweet Marie, Senor, Cold Irons Bound, Big Girl Now, Silvio
Cocaine Blues, Mr. Tambourine Man, Tangled Up In Blue
Memphis Blues Again, I Shall Be Released, Highway 61
E. Forever Young, Love Sick, RDW
No harmonica as is usual these days. Let me start by saying that this was
an inspired and brilliant performance.  I had the great fortune of being
seated in Row 30 on the floor just to the right and in front of the sound
board.  This was a really sweet spot for the acoustics.  I walked around
abit and went behind the soundboard to dance and noticed that the sound was
muddled.  You have to be really lucky in these damn hockey arenas.  Of
course the sound was not as perfect as the show at The Rage last night but
for an arena it was very crisp and clear.  Bob's vocal performance was
strong and confident.  It was a very different show tonight.  Bob was not
hamming it up or mugging as much as the club show.  He also played more
hits tonight.  He received standing ovations after every song.  The
highlights are difficult to choose as the band was on tonight. As an aside,
my binocular closeups of Garnier suggested to my trained eye that the band
might have gotten its hands on B.C. finest export.  Anyone else notice
this?  The highlights were a sublime Mr. Tambourine Man and my first live
performance of Cocaine Blues.  Also, please note that Bob spoke to the
audience.  Besides the "thanks everybody" and introducing the band, before
playing Tangled Up In Blue he said "there is a story behind this song, but
I'm not going to tell you".  Has he ever introduced this song in this way? 
Don't miss Bob on this tour.
Peace. Baja. 

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