Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 06/04/98


June 4, 1998

Rostock, Germany

Thanks to Christian Zeiser for the following review:

Well well. It's sometimes hard to find words for something incredible you
have just experienced. The show in Rostock yesterday evening was beyond
every dream I have dared to have. Take a look at the setlist first:

All Along The Watchtower
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
Cold Irons Bound
What Good Am I?

acoustic set:
Girl From The North Country
Masters Of War
Tangled Up In Blue

Tears Of Rage
You Ainīt Goinī Nowhere
Highway 61 Revisited

My Back Pages
Love Sick
Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
It Ainīt Me, Babe

Doesn't it look nice? Five different openers for the latest six shows, 30
different songs performed during the latest three shows, but all this is
only statistics. Let's go song by song:

Wow. I was second row, a bit to Bob's right, with only a short woman in
front of me, terrific view. Nothing could go wrong.

Of course we made our bets again about which song Bob will be opening with,
and he had us all surprised again. Watchtower, the old war horse, was back,
warmly welcome, I know Carsten was close to fainting on the spot. The new
arrangement is very cool, the same he did in Miami recently, but now
perfectly worked-out. Bob was warmed-up and relaxed even now, not standing
behind the mike like a statue, like he often does during the opener, but
walking around the stage a bit already. I knew this was going to be a
special night right then.

Brilliant applause, his first 'thanks ev'rybody of the evening, it wasn't
to be the last one, in fact he was very talkative last night.

Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You was sweet, Bob in very fine voice,
smooth but powerful, and of course it was a nice song to sing to the
audience, and they surely appreciated it. Bob now dancing around a bit
more, doing his weird poses, grinning, totally relaxed.

'Alright, thanks everybody. That was one of my old numbers, now one from my
new album' or something similar. Hey Bob, old chatterbox! :-)

Cold Irons Bound rocked even more than the nights before, it really blew
you against the rear wall. He sharply focussed some of the audience members
during this one, and at one time he looked straight at me, the only problem
was that it was during the 'I thought some of them were friends of mine, I
was wrong about them all' part. Now what was *that* about? :-) Bob's voice
was incredibly strong, he had no trouble at all with barking the words out.
Pure joy. I looked at the audience, and all you could see was grinning
faces. I can say the East German audiences are great, warm, enthusiastic.

For me, there was nothing that could go wrong with What Good Am I anyway, I
love that song, and he delivered it soft and sweet, with a few new lines I
haven't heard before: '... if I just look away while you bid good-bye', and
'if I just turn away like I'm asleep'.

After this, there was some discussion with Tony, then he finally came back
to the mike and said, 'and now... [pause] ... I don't know'. Cute grin,
then he made up his mind and launched into Silvio. Indeed the cue sheet had
an alternative listed, Like A Rolling Stone, but I guess he knew the show
was going on great, the audience loved it, and he knows Silvio is always a
crowd pleaser so he thought he's better not take the risk of trying
something else. Fine with me, Silvio rocked like hell, and even the
long-time followers who were there bopped around, joining in on the chorus.

Girl From The North Country. Very very sweet, his voice (I'll say it again,
warm and smooth, unlike on recent tapes). He has a new acoustic that has a
bit harsher sound, by the way. I've heard voices say that they lked the old
one better, and I agree, the new one doesn't seem to fit the quiet songs
that well, but it was not really disturbing to me, just new, and maybe I'll
just need a show or two to get used to it, that's all.

Masters Of War. Very strong delivery, way better than on the recent US
dates, as powerful as in Berlin the night before. Gooseflesh.

Tangled Up In Blue is a song that many people would like to see
disappearing from the sets, and though I understand their view, I have no
problem with hearing this again and again live. I sometimes skip it on the
tapes, but seeing him do it on stage, allowing himself one verse for
getting into it, and then lifting off, just letting the words flow and
stream, stretching, bending certain syllables, is pure fun, and the
audience always loves it. He does this song, to say it in Carsten's words,
on autopilot, it's a sure winner that keeps the show going.

Tears Of Rage was beautiful, featuring the first harp solo of the evening -
the first during in electric song since quite a few weeks at least, am I

Before the next song, Bob had a brief discussion with Tony again, and when
Tony finally laughed out we knew we were in for a surprise. You Ainīt Goinī
Nowhere! Now this one had us grinning up to both ears, a completely
unexpected choice, enthusiastic audience response, and none of the people
around me, including me, could keep their mouths shut during the chorusses.
The final acapella chorus saw Tony grinning broadly, clapping the rhythm to
the audience, which of course joined in immediately. This song, really, was
one big celebration.

He wanted to start the band introduction after this, but the crowd just
wouldn't stop cheering, so he stood there behind the mike, 'Alright,
hehe!', obviously enjoying the moment, looking at Tony grinning, looking at
the audience again, patiently giving us time to quiet down again. Then the
band intros, as on the two shows before. Every single band member received
a warm applause.

Yeah, it was Highway 61 Revisited again, the cue sheet had an alternative,
but I guess he had the same resons for playing this one as for Silvio. And
it proved to be a good decision again, a fine fine rocker, the crowd
bopping around, nobody being able not to smile. Lots and lots of wild
rocker posing by Bob.

Then they were off, everyone including Bob giving the crowd a nice smile.
It took a while before they came out again, probably Bob wanted to have his
well-deserved smoke or so.

First encore: My Back Pages, very beautiful, but then he never spoils this
one, does he? People loved it. The woman in front of me threw a bunch of
flowers on the stage, which had Larry giving her a broad smile. Cute.

Love Sick. Very strong again, this one has finally become one of his
autopilot numbers, and he now manages to really toy around with his
phrasing, making it far more exciting to listen to than when he started
playing it last October.

Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35. Even this one was great. Okay, you probably now
think I'm completey stoned from luck, but that comment wasn't mine but (I
think) Rainer said that after the show. Even the people who have been to
the shows before with me were hopping, singing along on the chorus. Fine
jams with Larry, who was really great yesterday.

Some more deep bows, Bob pointing at us, and they left again, but most of
us were pretty sure he would come out again to give us another Blowing In
The Wind. This is Eastern Germany, remember. And he hadn't picked the
flowers up yet.

And they indeed came back, having most of the people (those who weren't at
the shows before, obviously) completely surprised, but it wasn't Blowing In
The Wind but It Ain't Me, Babe they launched into. I thought, now this is
weird, such a show, and he gives us It Ainīt Me, Babe, how will they react
to this? But my concerns were unnecessary, the crowd loved it. Beautiful
concentrated singing, and then he put his guitar away, the people of course
knew what was to come when he walked to the back of the stage. He clearly
enjoyed the enthusiasm, picked up his harp, turned around to us, and lifted
the hand that held the harp, showing it, like saying 'now this is what you
wanted, right?'. A nice moment followed, he just stood there for a minute
or so, harp in his hand, but just let the band play, giving Tony satisfied
looks, enjoying the moment, enjoying to see the crowd almost lose their
minds, until the first 'come on, man!' shouts appeared, then he launched
into a solo that was far longer than his recent harp solos usually are,
starting out smoothly and quiet again, and finally almost blowing his lungs
out with the finishing chords.

And now he finally picked the flowers up, gave us more bows, and left. That
was it. I looked around and saw people's eyes say 'I don't believe what I
have just experienced'. I have to admit that I was so stunned that when I
called Bill Pagel so speak the setlist on his answerphone, I got completely
confused. Man, what was it on slot #4?', so Stephen Scobie had to help me
out, dictating the list. Sorry Bill, if all I did was giving you chaotic
nonsense-mumbling, I was too happy to concentrate, and I know Josh phoned
in anyway.

A few more remarks: I caught a glimpse on the cuesheet, and it had options
beyond belief. Every song from the acoustic set on (but one) had an
acoustic alternative listed, and there were alternatives for Silvio,
Tangled, and Highway 61 aswell. They all went unplayed yesterday, but he
seems to be in a goofy mood, we'll see what happens in the near future.

I haven't talked to anyone after the show who didn't say it was brilliant
beyond belief, so I guess my comments here reflect not only my own
excitement. Only one lady walked by me and said 'and when will the second
part start?', as if she had paid for time, and anyway, the show was about
100 minutes or so long, which I can't say is short for recent standards, is

So now Bob's off to Scandinavia, I think you folks up there are up for
something good. I'll have to wait until next Friday to see him play in
Hamburg again. See you all there, and Bill, I promise to be more
concentrated next time. :-)

Goodbye! - Christian


Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review:

We arrived in Rostock rather late after last night's drinking shenanigans  
and didn't see much from the supposedly beautiful harbour. What we saw was  
east german architecture at it's worst, even the venue looked awful from  
the outside even though it was actually pretty nice inside - much smaller  
than I had told Bill as well, so instead of 10.000 people, there were only  
5.000 that still made the night a sellout show. Dylan (tonight without his  
"Pop" hat he wore the night before, still wearing a black, albeit  
different, lack suit) and the band took to the stage at 8.10pm and  
surprised us all...dramatic drum intro and straight into:

        All Along The Watchtower

The new arrangement, debuted at Miami Beach! Better performance that in  
Florida as well, much more rehearsed. I had such a great time hearing it!  
Not only it is my alltime favourite song by anybody, I also remeber that  
all the people I met in NYC made fun of me for thinking that "Watchtower"  
will return as the opener....hehehehe... Apparently only the band and I  
had heard this version before, all the others - including experts like  
Stephen and Josh - looked quite puzzled... "Maggie's" was on the cuesheet,  
but went unplayed. After a quick "thanks everybody" (repeated after at  
least six songs tonight!) they jumped straight into...

        Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You

The usual arrangement, but I think it was a bit faster (probably due to  
the fact that all five on stage were having A GREAT TIME (TM) tonight),  
with Bob's vocals high in the mix and delivered very convincingly. If I  
only would like the song more, this would've been a real highlight.

        Cold Irons Bound

Introduced by Bob with "that enough of the old stuff, now let's do  
something new" (or words to that effect). Great version, rocked more than  
usual and Bob put ALOT into the vocals. Band played very loud, Bob almost  
had to scream to get heard, but managed to still sound way cool! David  
Kemper especially had a great time, he was so into it, he even lost one of  
his drumsticks while going crazy on one of his short breaks.

        What Good Am I

I kinda expected this song in tonight's set, since it had been on the  
cuesheet for Berlin already. Another startling vocal performance by Bob,  
who sang very gentle while he band was playing slower than they did on  
past versions of this song. Quite perfect actually, bar the odd wrong note  
in the guitar solo. Next on the cuesheet: "Silvio" - and "Like A Rolling  
Stone"!!! Bob steps up the the mike..."thanks everybody... and now.... I  
dunno...turns to Tony - waits ages...says off-mike "Silvio"...


A one in a lifetime change for a "Silvio" retirement was gone :/ Great  
version though as if they wanted to show us: "hey, this one's better than  
'Rolling Stone' anyways!"

        Girl Of The North Country (acoustic)

Nice selction of course, even though Bob messed up a couple of solos and  
his guitar sounded very harsh and metallic. Got an overwhelming reaction  
from the crowd, though during the opening bars.

        Masters Of War (acoustic)

Different, not as good intro as last night, otherwise a flawless  
performance of a song that maybe never has sounded better than in this  
arrangement. It was so good, it's actually hard to put into words. After  
that a long discussion between Bob and Tony followed (I never saw them  
talking on stage that much before)... they obviously were thinking about  
playing "Don't Think Twice", the cuesheets alternate for:

        Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

Unfortunately they decided against it and rolled out yet another good, but  
not overwhelming version of this old warhorse. Before the song - but after  
their initial decision Bob went over to Tony again whispering something  
into his ear... most likely the addition to the set that was:

        Tears Of Rage

because "Every Grain Of Sand" was on the cuesheet in this slot!!! They  
obviously didn't know how much it would mean to me to hear this song live  
only once (and if you read this Bob & Tony, don't you dare playing it  
before I join the tour again in Copenhagen :-)). At least they were  
working really hard to make "Tears" sound special and indeed it did. All  
the smiling, laughing and dancing around that had dominated most the  
today's show was absent on this song, making it one of the best versions  
I've heard. The flat harp solo at the end was supposed to be a bonus, but  
it was better to watch than to hear I guess.

        You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

Interesting choice given that they played two "Basement Tapes" in a row!  
Bucky had a great time doing the backing vocals (saw him smile for the  
first time on this tour!) and the a-capella ending was just awesome!  
crowd: nuts! Interestingly enough the cuesheet's alternate on this song  
was "Don't Think Twice" (really!). Dunno what that was supposed to be:  
Unplugged Part II?
After the song Bob stepped up the the microphone to introduce the band,  
but had to cough first....*cough* "Oh man, I'm a loser!" (at least that's  
what I think I heard him say) and some other inaudible sentence with  
loser. All band members nearly dropped their instruments and bursted into  
laughter. Dunno what that was suppsed to be... he definitely had a great  
time though. Bob wanted to make the band intros longer, but couldn't think  
of any jokes, so he just pointed at David in a funny way and said  
something inaudible about Bucky. Big smiles from the guys for that.

        Highway 61 Revsited

followed as expected, but after a lengthy discussion on stage. The  
cuesheet caled out for "Fell In Love With You" and - would you belive it -  
"Forever Young". Why they put on the two acoustic songs there, probably  
will remain a mystery forever. Cooking version as usual, Bob having tons  
of fun.


        My Back Pages (acoustic)

For a long time it looked as if they would do an electric encore first  
("River Flow", predicted Josh), but while the band came back to the stage,  
the roadies made way for this one: Nice version, Bob's singing could've  
maybe been a little softer. I think he dropped a verse or two and the  
ending was rather abrupt. Bucky joined in for the chorus twice, but gave  
up after Larry apparently didn't have any interest in singing on this  
song, too.

        Love Sick

followed and was better than the night before, not so rushed, complete  
with a gorgous vocal delivery by Bob.

        Rainy Day Women

Was actually longer, different, better, with Kemper going berserk behind  
his drumkid. Bob picked up some flowers from the stage after the song (as  
he did in Leipzig, did he ever do that before) and then they were gone.

        It Ain't Me Babe (acoustic)

Not for long though, cause they hardly had left when they were on stage  
again to do, no not "Blowin'". Nice change, even though "Ain't Me babe" is  
rather predictable as well of course. A bit of a rushed version comeplete  
with a harp solothat started out rather uninspired, but go better during  
the long, slow ending. Bob took a bow and that was it.

All in all a great show, I personally would even consider it to be better  
than Leipzig, cause Bob was almost as animated as two days before but I  
simply liked the song selection better today. Great show, even though it  
could've been an absolute classic when he had dropped "Tangled, "Silvio"  
and "Highway" all in one show. Dunno if Bill Pagel would've believed us  
calling in a setlist like that anyways ;-) Well, maybe next time. At least  
he enjoys playing almost random sets (four different openers in just five  
shows) again. I won't see any shows till Copenhagen, so I hope they don't  
"waste" "Visions" or "I&I" on a festival audience this weekend. Thanks to  
Tom, Christian, Stephen and all the others who made this trip so  
enjoyable. See you next week!

carsten wohlfeld
"what once you called home is a minefield" (damon & naomi)


Thanks to Frank Reinel for the following review:

A friend of mine, who also attended the show, told me that he had met Bucky
and Tony in a cafe in town during the afternoon.  When he got to see them, he
went to the nearest record store and bought the bootleg Double CD
"The Never Ending Tour" . Now two things bout this. he bought it there for 
only21,- DM and he got the two of them to sign the CD as well. Have any of
you out there ever heard of such a thing ? A signed Bootleg ? Well, I haven't.
Although they were supposed to let us in at 6.oo pm the doors opened an hour
later.  Bob came out around 8.oo pm I guess. it's hard for me to look at the
watch while he's coming out. The same black clothing which we're used to by
now. And did NOT open with a rocker!  We got finally to hear a slow version of
Watchtower as an opener. Live premiere , I guess, of this.  Followed by
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You.  But I came for the new songs.
Seems that Cold Irons Bound has now the regular 3rd slot yet. I noticed, that 
he didn't sing the line that He's "... out of Control." Maybe he didn't feel that way. 
He seemed a bit bored during the first part of the show. But that was all gone by
Highway 61 at the end, where the crowd finally was rocking as well. The fourth
song was "What Good Am I?" which was the second highlight,
after Irons Bound, for me. He concentrated on the lyrics all throughout the song.
Silvio as always - a crowd pleasing rocker. The acoustic set didn't appear to me 
as good as the recent ones I heard him playing - but the big exception was 
Master of war, which was just came rolling of off the stage. It started out with
the first few lines only accompanied with Bob's Guitar (the band didn't seem
ready yet then) . When the Bass started playing the waves rolled towards the 
audience. A great version of an sooften played song. Best Version I ever heard
of this song -Get the Tape!!. I will also try to get hold of it. 
Second electric set started with Tears Of Rage which was great. At the end of it
there was a short harmonica solo.  Next to play was I'l Be Your Baby Tonight
- at least that was it the band started with. But it turned out to be You Aint 
Going Nowhere at the end. Tony smiled at us. Great singing on this one.  
Highway 61 as I mentioned above earlier, was as good rocking as ever. 
The encores were closed again not with Rainy day Women but with It Aint
Me Babe. A fine harmonica solo towards the end. When the solo was to begin, 
Bob snipped with his fingers to get in the groove of the song. he really seemed 
ready to play harmonica. So he we got to hear a, at first laid back and then
strong blowing harmonica.
In the end we got a really good show with, a nice, not routined played setlist
as well.  Now I'm hoping that the picture I took are as good as I hope them to be.

Bye from Frank (I'm going to catch the other German concerts as well. "
...So if you see me coming, you better run."  - Bye)     

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