Linz, Austria

Tips Arena

June 12, 2010

[Markus Atzmüller], [Trevor Townson], [Christian Lehner], [Sigrid Maria]

Review by Markus Atzmüller

As I drove the 200 kilometres from my home town (Landshut, Germany) to Linz, I
felt that something special will happen this evening. Maybe they'll play What
Good Am I? for the second time this year (last year in Munich I was lucky, as
they played One More Cup Of Coffee for the second and last time in 2009) or
they'll replace Ballad Of A Thin Man by Forever Young like the last evening in
Tokyo on March 29, 2010?

And it turned out to be a very special evening in Linz. I had a floor ticket in
row 4. But soon it was clear that the security accepted folks standing in front
of the stage. So I took the opportunity and found myself directly in front of
Stu when the show started at 8:05 pm. I never had a better place in a Bob
concert. Just great!

Here are my personal highlights of the excellent show:

# 1      Tangled Up In Blue (with Bob center stage on guitar)

            First performance in 2010 with a brilliant new mid-tempo

# 2      Forever Young (with Bob on keyboard and then center stage on harp)

            As they played the great Ballad Of A Thin Man (which I've never
            heard live till then) I thought, okay - again no Forever Young,
            which is one of my Bob-all-time-favourites (that I've never heard
            live till then, too)! In the encore break a guitar technician
            brought an acoustic guitar to Stu's place - a sure sign for Blowin'
            In The Wind as the final song of the night. But after the opening
            bars that followed Bob's band introduction I was sure, this is not
            Blowin' In The Wind. And when Bob started singing "May God bless and
            keep you always ." the biggest surprise of the show, Forever Young
            as final encore did happen. Great. Wonderful. Perfect. Thank you

# 3      What Good Am I? 

            It's always a pleasure to hear something new or seldom played. Nice
            and moving version!

# 4      The Man In Me (with Bob center stage on harp)

            At least since the cult-movie "The Big Lebowski" has come out, I
            like that tune very much. Solid version with Donnie on electric
            mandolin (not on trumpet).

# 5      Not Dark Yet (with Bob center stage on harp)

            Well performed und also very moving.

# 6      Ballad Of Hollies Brown (with Bob center stage)

            Last year in Munich, the keyboard version of this track was one of
            my highlights of the show. But with Bob center stage, the song is
            even more substantial. Funny side note on this one: Bob came with
            his harp center stage but missed to play it. At the end of the song
            he looked to Charlie, Donnie and Tony and it gave a short confusion
            between them four - if Bob starts playing the harp or not. Finally
            Bob nodded to them, which meant that they should close the song
            without his harp playing.

# 7      Honest With Me 

            The crowd felt that the whole band and especially Bob and Charlie
            had great fun on this one.

# 8      Ballad Of A Thin Man (with Bob center stage on harp)

            Powerful version. It was the first time for me that I saw Bob on
            this one without keyboard. An absolute crowd pleaser!


After Munich 2002 this was the second best Bob Dylan concert I've been up till
now. In my opinion, it's a real improvement that Charlie Sexton is back in the

My only sore points were that beside Jolene, nothing from Together Trough Life
was played and that I hoped for Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 and Can't Wait in their
new arrangements. But you can't always get what you want! Nevertheless a great
show in a nice venue with no real weak points and with Bob and his band in
excellent shape!

Markus Atzmüller
Landshut, Germany


Review by Trevor Townson

Fame, sometimes you can have too much and you would be far better off with 
less. A man who grew up in Linz and later in life considered the place his “
home  town“ gave the city a very unfortunate claim to fame so the city chose
to deal  with this man, the most famous son of Linz in the only way possible, by
 completely ignoring him.

Linz is famous for other people that it is possible to talk about as both 
Mozart and Bruckner composed in the city. Also the city sits on the “Blue” 
Danube river made famous by yet another popular classical composer from Austria 
“The Waltz King” himself Mr Johann Strauss Jr.

Linz is also famous for its churches being popularly known as the city of 
churches and the people of Linz are also said to be very music loving. 
Unfortunately people of Linz we are no longer able to attend and review a live 
concert by the famous man himself, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “in person”. It
was  however at Linz that Mozart gave his first public performance and his
Symphony  No 36 which is also known as the “Linz Symphony” was written
during the time of  a stopover he spent in the city.

I wonder what take both Mozart and Bruckner would have on the keyboard  
playing of fellow organist Bob. No doubt they would be far more critical of his 
 keyboard skills than I could be but at least they could not knock his 
fame. Bob  Dylan has more fame than any of us could imagine ever having. Mozart
was on the  road touring from the age of six and played gigs in London and gay
Paree but  even he could not possibly have been under anywhere near the same
scrutiny Bob  Dylan has been during his life due to Fame. 

Apart from keyboard playing another thing that Mozart had in common with  
Bob was doing a lot of travelling between concerts by coach and he spent a lot 
of his time composing whilst travelling. Not that he could write anything down 
as the roads made the ride much too rough for that so he had to compose in his 
head and write it down later. Is that not just pure genius or what, those 
classical guys really are “on a whole other level”.

Actually though I think that I read somewhere or may be it was said by Bob  or
then again maybe I had a dream about it or perhaps I am only imagining it now 
or even maybe I am just making it up or perhaps it was Ron Cornelius who said 
that Bob Dylan too also carries many hundreds of new tunes and songs around in 
his head at any one time. So there we have it if you ever had your doubts, 
absolutely conclusive proof that Bob Dylan too is also a genius.

Bob will also at times include a violin into his music which is surely  
another sign of  genius as Mozart did that trick a lot too. Where these two 
guys do differ greatly is that whilst with the music of Mozart the challenge is 
to play each piece note perfect and exactly the same every time, the clever 
trick with the music of Bob is completely the opposite as each piece must always
 be played in someway different. Now that has really got to be clever and why 
Bobs music is called mathematical music and we all know how complicated 
mathematical is to do. I guess the music of Mozart could be called repetitive 
music and we all know how easy repetition can become.

Mathematical can however give some fantastic unexpected results, take for 
example 111,111,111 x 111,111,111  =  12,345,678,987,654,321 

Quite often with the mathematical music of Bob you can also get some   
fantastic unexpected  results too. How boring it would be then to go to a 
Mozart concert if he was touring today as you would know exactly what you were 
going to get before turning up as the set list would be announced up front in 
 the programme and you would already know every note of the score having 
had the  benefit of listening already many times thanks to modern recording
technology.  Unlike listening to the repetitive music made by Mr Mozart
listening to the  mathematical music made by Mr Dylan is new and different every
time and you  never know what to expect or what will get performed or how.  

So who is the real genius, Mozart or Dylan. I am not sure that the  
arguments that I have made so far here for Bob would really stand up and I would
 probably crumble into pieces under expert debate. However, on seeing that all 
 the people in the corner of Mozart are very aged, weak and feeble 
professors of  music there would only be the one tactic left to use, “OK, so
lets have a fight  to decide it“. 

The day of the concert had been blisteringly hot, too hot really, well too  hot
for me at least. Coming out of my hotel at about 6.15pm with the usual 
intention of walking to the show it felt so hot and heavy and an electric storm 
was brewing overhead with the odd small flash of blue lightening already 
appearing high up in the heavens. It was clear that we were in for a full blown 
thunderstorm so I quickly returned to my room for my jacket and started walking 
just as the odd spots of rain started to fall. It was obvious that the impending
 downpour would be torrential and it was a fairly long walk so I quickly opted 
for a taxi to get me there instead.

The taxi got me to the arena right outside of the entrance doors just as  
the heavens opened. As is usual there was precious little shelter at the 
arena  and everyone there was lightly clothed with just the odd person here and
there  with a umbrella. The rain came down so heavily I am not sure that even a 
umbrella was totally effective to keep you dry in the end.

In view of the weather I feel sure that they opened the doors early in  
sympathy to us all, it must have been about 6.30pm by then and they dealt with 
the entry as quickly as they could. It was a bit of a mad panic to get everyone 
inside and I was just asked the one security question “Are you an anarchist 
intent of causing harm to Mr Dylan and his show” and I replied “Of course
not, I  just want Shelter From The Storm”. Grilling over I was quickly
admitted inside  from the rain and to get a beer thus saving me from getting any
wetter and thus  dripping onto the floor and consequently condensing into the
building fabric. 

It came to pass that security was tight everywhere tonight as once inside  there
was absolutely no ticket checks so I just wandered to the front as I had a 
ticket for the third row. The thing here however was that everyone else was 
doing the same whether they had a front block ticket or not. OK so it is common 
at seated shows for people to mill around the front, lean against the rail etc 
and some people just like to wander up to see the stage and instruments close up
 and are happy with that before walking back to their seats but this was 
different, it was excessive. 

It was clear that there were more people at the front than seats and it was 
 also clear that this would need some serious input to straighten out. A 
few  attempts were made by the stewards to get people back but for all those who
did  move back more would later again stray forward. At one stage I could not
even  get to my third row seat or indeed anywhere near the third row due to the
amount  of people standing in the central aisle.

I used these “straightening out” periods by the stewards to firstly reach 
third row then later I moved further forward still. Time was marching on and 
they would have had to seriously delay the start of the show to sort things out 
properly so I just stood firm as everyone else was doing whilst the stewards 
yelled at people to get back.

A guy comes onto the stage from the side rushing to the front to then speak 
 to the stewards below him in the crowd only to cause a roar of cheering 
from the  tightly packed bunch of people facing the stage. He spoke in local
language so I  could not understand what was being said but from the reaction on
the faces of  the locals and the loud cheers that it caused it was obviously
something like  “too late, abort the mission, they are coming on”. The guy
then just had  time to get off the stage as the place plunged into darkness and
the band starts  to walk onto the stage to a further massive roar from the

This was an all seated show that had turned general admission at the front  and
the stewards would have had an easier job removing the seats rather than  trying
to move the people. By this time I was stood in the centre aisle and  level with
the front row of seats and there were a further eight people in front  of me.
Not bad for a third row seat but I had a great view and would not have  changed
a thing as the atmosphere in there was fantastic. 

People were stood up on the front row seats and one guy was even sat on  
some ones shoulders. This was as complete a reversal of a VIP front block as it 
gets as this had been created by 100% Bob fan power and if this was not going to
 make for a cracking show nothing will, but boy did it.

Talk about being lost in the moment, as soon as he had finished the opening 
 number if someone had asked me straight after what it had been I could not have
 told them, I would probably have said Rainy Day Women! 

I think there were a few disgruntled people however who had front row  
tickets and got blocked out by queue jumpers from row 40 plus but from the 
reaction of those people who did get up close not expecting to ever be in the 
presence of Bob like that I thought it a price worth paying. Basically if 
Carlsberg organised a Bob Dylan show it would probably be like that!

I thought the party atmosphere helped bring out the best in Bob and Band as 
 the crowd cheered through the opener and even more during the second song which
 was very unexpectedly The Man In Me. Yet more unexpected songs were still to 
come as who would have guessed to also have What Good Am I? and Not Dark Yet on 
the same tour let alone set list and it must be said all brilliantly  performed.

Tangled Up In Blue a song that you cannot fault in any guise and this was a 
 really slowed down version performed in a way that I had not heard before but 
very enjoyable. I always feel that when Bob takes what can be a really fast spit
 out lyric song and slows it down he puts himself at great risk of forgetting
the  words as it gives him far too much time to think about it or probably more
to  the point not and thereby drift onto other things. Anyway he got through but
I  think it must have been a few verses short of full length as slowed down like
 that if all the verses had been included it would probably have gone on too
long  anyway but as said I was lost in the moment so best check it out later to
see if  I am correct or not.

On reading the set list later I had a feeling that it had been a very  
carefully considered one for some reason. The Levee’s Gonna Break really
rocked  but then to have Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll and Ballad Of Hollis
Brown,  two of Bobs greatest songs for providing such vivid imagery in your mind
to the  point of almost watching a film about them, on the same set list. Hollis
Brown  was fantastic, Hattie Carroll was awful good.

One thing that needs mentioning is the band as you cannot have a really  
great show without having all the ingredients and I thought they were all 
included from the inputs of the band members tonight. Charlie got the breaks he 
 needed and took them well and everyone else did the necessary. Tony was 
seated  on a stool on every number even when playing his huge double bass.
Actually Tony  was great to watch during Jolene as you could really hear what
you could see him  playing and I have never noticed that before which was a new
and very  enjoyable experience for me as an added bonus on top of everything

Highway 61 rocked once more to what seemed to be a new back drop, well one  that
I had not picked up on before at any rate. It was white on black and looked 
like a Howitzer shell had been fired slap bang into the middle of the eye logo 
smashing it into a thousand fragments. 

Thunder On The Mountain really rocked as did Ballad Of A Thin Man with Bob 
taking the microphone from its stand which really got the crowds approval as did
 the unexpected closer Forever Young which got some in the crowd raising
lighters  in the air. One guy on the front rail even got an acknowledgement from
Bob I  believe and a couple of words too I think as Bob was opening the song but
I  could not make out what was said.

Mention needs to be made here however of something really  quite startling which
is almost at the point of being forgotten if not  logged down. Back in 2002 I
attended the show in Brighton, England with my then  girlfriend who later became
my wife and soul mate who even later then became not  my wife and then was not
even my friend never mind soul mate, however, she did  comment that she thought
Bob was so totally under stated during that performance  and she immediately
fell in love with the enigma that is Bob Dylan. I on  the other hand was a bit
uncertain how to differentiate between being totally 
 under stated and being totally bloody miserable but there again I was 
common and  not very clever.

At that concert Bob hardly looked up and there was no noticeable  
connection with his audience at all. This was however a good time to see Bob 
because at least he was standing facing his audience and still playing guitar. 
Even if Bob was not looking at his audience at that time an even darker  period
was looming as Bob soon after decides to play a keyboard totally across  the
audience so that he does not even have to face them either. Did they  complain,
did they stop going, were the shows not enjoyable. Some of us still  even
travelled around the world to see him perform.

If you relate that to what we are getting now on occasions from Bob we  
should be aghast with amazement as we are probably getting some of the most open
 to us Bob Dylan that there has ever been since stardom struck. To end the show 
Bob stands at first apart and well in front of the band members facing and 
looking at the audience to take his metaphoric bow whilst raising up his arms 
acknowledging the crowd. Then totally unprecedented he strolls forward to 
further acknowledge what I took to be a section of the crowd rather than an 
individual but I cannot be clear on that.

It was not noticeably the individual recognition you may have seen on The  Last
Waltz footage but like that it was speechless too but in any case by recent 
years standards it was a Million Miles in the right direction. Individual 
recognition or not it certainly made the night and possibly life for some of 
those in the vicinity of his gaze all of whom would no doubt believe that  it
was just for them. I am not at all sure if Bob realises just how much he gave 
with that gesture whatever the reason for it was but it is a blessing and a 
gift that so few people have to give like that which is due not only to talent, 
but Fame.

In terms of what can be got from Bob this show was totally under priced as  you
got far too much value for money even if he did not look in your direction.  I
have not got a chance of paying the mortgage off at this rate if this is going 
to be the quality of performance you have a chance of getting. No matter I will 
let the bankers wait a bit longer, anyway as the banks have got all of our money
 now it is only fair that I hold onto a bit of theirs for as long as necessary. 

Like that most famous son of Linz Mozart now too also lies in an unknown  
grave. It rained heavily during and after his service so consequently most of 
 his few “fans” that attended his funeral fled quickly from the church
afterwards  so no one recorded where he was eventually laid to rest in the
common  area.

Would I travel to Linz to see a performance by Mozart himself even if it  
was somehow possible today? Probably not, whatever the experts say or 
conclude  from debate Bob and his mathematical music has always been more than
enough  genius for me which is why I made the trip to Linz to see a performance
by him. 

It is however never too late to try something new so to all the other  dyed in
the wool Dylan fans, after reading this (should anyone get this far),  please go
and have a listen on You Tube to fellow genius Mozart. Unlike Bob,  Mozart is
still on You Tube and amongst his stuff you will find Symphony No 36  for Linz.

To listen to either Mozart or Dylan on You Tube is in most cases sacrilege  to
the works of both as the quality is so poor but I do miss that Bob Dylan Fans 
On Stage clip. Where did that come from? No matter, maybe best not to be quite 
so open as that again Bob and certainly not among the music lovers of Linz from 
what I witnessed.  

Coincidently, I bet Mozart was a mathematical musician as well just like  
Bob and equally able to transform his tunes and have fun with them too. What do 
those so called experts know anyway as they do not even know where he was laid 
to rest so what do they really know or understand about him or his music or 
indeed how accurate his reviews and reviewers really were.  

May be in a few hundred years time from now Bob will be back on You Tube  
and someone may envy the fact that I was able to have the opportunity to  
see, hear and review a performance in Linz by  Bob Dylan “in  person“. So
eventually at last there I will have it, just a little bit  of posthumous Fame,

Trevor Townson 


Review by Christian Lehner

After the show in Prag I was more than excited to see the Band again in Linz. First row 
tickets for Prague made the stage run easy for me when the lights went out. In Linz 
they started gathering in front of the stage an hour before the concert. Too many 
people for the few securities to bring them back to their seats, so they decided to just 
leave it like that. People on their expensive numbered seats got crazy when they 
couldn´t see anything because almost everybody was standing. So all the numbered 
and reserved seats where meaningless right from the beginning. Funny to me. 
The show was different from Prague where he was playing guitar on 5 different songs 
and played 3 songs from "TTL" including "I feel a change comin´ on" and "Beyond here 
lies nothing" which are probably my two favourites on this album. "Jolene" had a 
distinctly different phrasing in Linz than in Prague. In Linz he pleased us with a nearly 
perfect version of "Tangled up in blue" on guitar and without harp. "What good am I?" 
was a powerful surprise since I never heard anything from "Oh Mercy" live. While he 
played "Cold Irons Bounds" in Prague, he played "Not Dark Yet" in Linz. Bob with harp 
on center stage with harp and both very strong and powerful versions. Nevertheless 
to me it seemed that he had the most fun on the rocking "Hones with me". And yes, 
it was more than rocking. Some cool rearrangements especially with his organ. Bob 
closed the set in Linz with "Forever Young"…the song I was looking forward to. A very 
soft yet so intense version. The crowd was thankful.

All in all my girlfriend and me had some great hours this weekend seeing Bob Dylan live 
as a song and dance man and taking the risk to deconstruct and rearrange his songs 
that are almost 50 years old in front of a few thousand people. Bob Dylan has never 
been anyone you can expect something from so I don´t get the people who insist on 
hearing a particular song live and just don´t stop yelling it the whole concert. 

It's all good.


Review by Sigrid Maria

I have never written a review about a (Dylan) concert, but this time, about
Linz, I do have the desire to share those precious memories of that fabulous

The show was supposed to be seated, but luckily people behaved like sheep,
following their instincts and flocking together at the meadow’s best
places, that is close to the stage. The local security was not amused.
Although they kept informing us in strong Austrian dialect and harsh voices
to “sit down because otherwise the concert will not start at all“ (-
hahahahaha - ), we held out patiently and stuck together – harmless sheep
surrounded by dutiful dogs. Luckily a tall guy from Dylan’s people came
across the stage and started calming one dog – “It’s alright“ – and it was
more than alright: the joyful crowd applauded, the lights went off, the
band and Dylan got onstage, kicking off with Leopard-Skin-Pill-Box Hat.
That concert was different. There was something in the air, right from the
beginning until the very end. To me, this atmosphere was also definitely
maintained by the great audience and setlist, which was completely
different to the night before (Prague). We were spoilt by fantastic
versions of songs such as The Man In Me, Tangled, Hattie Carroll, Hollis
Brown, What Good Am I?, Not Dark Yet – and very surprisingly for most of us
– Forever Young instead Watchtower. Obviously, it had been decided in the
course of the “working process“, at least it seemed so. Apropos, “Forever
Young“: Maybe I was only selective in my perception, yet to me it was
rather striking that there were lots of kids in the audience, and since I
was sharing the meadow with some of them, I asked them about their age.
They were between 13 and 15 years young and – except for one boy – they 
saw Dylan for the very first time.  Chubby, beautiful faces with rose cheeks
and huge smiles – so nice to watch, too.
Besides, Ballad of a Thin Man was definitely another highlight. I am sure,
Dylan’s way of singing has captivated the dead. Everything just “turned into“
the song, it was like “we don’t know what’s happening in here but...“
Another very nice and extremely hilarious scene took place at the end of the
concert: an amused Dylan got close to some first-row-people and pretended to
shake hands with them. Lots of hands were outstretched, stretching for the
carrot so damned close. Dylan, who had bent down, kept looking and smiling
at his fans in a kind of warmhearted way. Then he went back to have a short
chat with his band, turned around again to have a last look at his fans,
nodded, smiled, and left – afer having given a concert that has left us
coooooooooooooompletely stunned and perplex. Linz + June 11, 2010 – a date
and place to be remembered doubtlessly. Thank you, Bob.


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