Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 06/14/98


June 14, 1998

Bremen, Germany

Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review:

Well, I guess we all had high hopes for this show, especially since  
friday's performance in Hamburg was so plain baaaad. Fortunately saturday  
was a day off, a chance not only for us, but also for Bob to relax and  
watch Nigeria beat Spain 3:2 in the soccer world championships. Well, to  
make it short, tonight Bob definitely delivered the goods. This was  
without the doubt one of the most exciting shows in Europe so far, even  
coming close to Leipzig and Rostock. Bob didn't smile much all night, but  
his singing was mazingly good and the song selection was quite excellent  
as well. He still manged to find a nummber of new mini-riffs to add to  
various songs, and also did plenty of knee-bending, which made Lary and  
Tony smile alot. He and the band came out at precisely 8.30pm to igonore  
the cuesheet's alternates "Watchtower" and "Everything's Broken" to lauch  

>         Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat

Average version actually, with Bob's vocals being buried deep in the mix.  
Nice to see that he keeps changing the songs in the #1 slot. After the  
horrid "Watchtower" in Hamburg it was clearly time for a change, too.

>         Man In the Long Black Coat

"Peggy-O" was on the cuesheet but went unplayed (sorry, Gunter :-)), and  
neither was "Lay Lady Lay" played (sorry, Uta :-)), but this version was a  
million times better than the one he did in Sweden a few days back, mostly  
due to his very concentrated singing, very passionate, very sweet.

>         Cold Irons Bound

Made a return to the number 3 slot as expected and sounded even more  
powerful than usual with Larry finding some interesting new bits in his  
guitar part. The feedback intro was looooong today, cause David wanted to  
have some fun... he simply started the song very late. Bob looked kinda  
puzzled, but Tony was cracking up. Larry took all the solos on this song  
tonight and did a great job.

>         You're A Big Girl Now

Back to sweet and sensitive mode for this song, not one of my favourites,  
but as long as it's done as nicely as this, I surely won't complain. Bob  
messed up his guitar solo, but that was the only minor fuckup.

>         Silvio

So much better than Hamburg, in fact one of the best versions of the whole  
tour. Really cooking with lots of great Larry/Bob interplay.

>         John Brown (acoustic)

Wow!!! Words fail me to describe the greatness of this version. Basically  
the arrangement Bob played in New York in January, but whereas five months  
ago the band seems unsure what the hell they were doing, the delivered  
what has to be the definitive version of this song. The first verse was  
Bob alone with his acoustic guitar, no Larry, no Tony, no Bucky, no David,  
no nothing. Halfway through Bob had this funny expression on his face as  
if he was going to say: "Oh my goodness this is sooooo good and we're  
doing it in friggin' BREMEN. You people simply don't deserve this..." And  
of course he was right. This was definitely a version I'll tell people  
about in years to come.

>         Girl Of The North Country (acoustic)

Sounded very similar to friday's "Boots" of course, but was very nicely  
done. Bob on harp at the end, even though it was a rather flat solo.

>         Don't Think Twice It's All Right (acoustic)

Kind of a surprise to hear this one so early in the set. Bob nearly forgot  
the lyrics to the first verse, but got better closer to the end. Huge  
crowdpleaser of course. The band had tons of fun playing it as well.

>         Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

Yet another new verse instead of "lucky just to be employed", even though  
I couldn't figure it out (will leave that to Ben T.). Very interesting/ 
strange phrasing. Bob stressed the middle of every line for the first  
half, then changing to Caruso mode and singing the song like an  
operasinger, well, he attempted it anyways. Tony nearly fell over cause he  
was laughing so hard!!!

>         Can't Wait

Average version, with lots of minor mistakes, but the song (and especially  
the live arrangment) is so strong it hardly did matter. Still a highlight  
for most people.

>         Make You Feel My Love

Well, it's the only song in the set that sounds *exactly* the same every  
night, so please refer to my previous reviews for more detailed comments.

>         Watching The River Flow

I don't remember it very clearly, but I think Bob said "The next one is  
for our special friend Josh Nelson. I'm sure you'll enjoy it"....  
seriously, I know Josh hates this song, but to most people it's still fun  
to hear. Not as good as at "Rock am Ring" though. After the song, Bob  
quickly introduced the band and then launched into:

>         'Til I Fell In Love With You

YES! First show without "Highway 61" since the New York City run in  
January, if my memory serves me well. Nice to hear this one again, and it  
was every bit as good as friday's performance. Then they were gone.
>         (encores)
>         Knockin' On Heaven's Door (acoustic)

It's so funny to see Larry and Bucky to the "female backing vocals" to  
this song and after the nice "oooo" intro a pretty nice version of this  
song followed. The interesting bit was the end (and improved or rather:  
improvised?) ending: the band got quieter and quieter while Bob repeatedly  
sang "just like so many times before", similar to the Boston 1/24/98 with  
Van Morrison. After they ended Bob turned to Tony and bursted into  
laughter. I guess it was more improvised than improved anyways.  
Interesting to see it go back to acoustic after the electric version from  
"Rock Am Ring". Two different arrangements during the same tour, a rarity.

>         Love Sick

While Bucky already started the spooky intro, Bob said a few sentences  
that were hard to understand, maybe it was "thanks ev'rybody, just like so  
many times before", which would've been ultra silly I guess, but maybe it  
was something completely different. The tapes will tell. "Love Sick" was  
okay, but nothing special.

>         Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

No surprise of course, but interesting to see it come back after just one  
night's rest. Pretty hot version too. Bob's first solo was what I  
regonized as the melody of "Spider And The Fly", a 1965 Rolling Stones b- 
side. I dunno if it was really that, or if maybe the Stones took it from  
an old Blues song themselves, but Bob certainly had fun playing the little  
melody, then turned to Tony and both smiled. I guess it must've been some  
kind of inside joke.

>         Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

Not the best version they've done on this tour, but still nice to hear  
with Larry and Bucky on backing vocals during the chorus.

As I said earlier, a very good show, a million times better than the  
dreadful show in Hamburg, lots of new songs, lots of changes to the  
setlist (he skipped "Bound", "Highway" and "Rainy Day" in just two  
nights!) and a show that makes you rush home to check the tour guide on  
Bill Pagel's page and then buy tickets for all the remaining shows... I'll  
be at tomorrow's double headlining show with Van the Man, so expect  
another review soon. Thanks for your time and good night.

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


Thanks to Siegfried Pisalla for the following review:

I`d like to comment on Carsten Wohlfeld`s review of the Bremen concert
June 14. Here`s what i`d like to say:

you wrote in your report on the concert in Bremen on june 14:

Halfway through Bob had this funny expression on his face as if he was
going to say: "Oh my goodness this is sooooo good and we're doing it in
friggin' BREMEN. You people simply don't deserve this..." And of course
he was right. This was definitely a version I'll tell people about in
years to come.

Well, this is not quite fair to the audience and this town and what
follows is a gentle hommage to the city of BREMEN, which i meanwhile
dare to call a home. The Concert here was not just by chance one of the
best of the whole tour so far. There is a simple explanation : there was
a huge impact on the "quality" of the BREMEN-concert by this city. I can
say so cause I live here for about 35 years now. This town rocks,
believe me, in a hidden way. I had the lucky chance to be part of the
"BEATCLUB" studio staff . This most famous tv-serie of the sixties,
seventies and eighties was "invented" by producer Michael Leckebusch
here in this town and gathered here in the studios over thirty years
evrything what had a name in Rockbusiness. The Who, Hendrix, Kinks,
Muddy Waters, Bowie and hundreds of other bands and artists recorded
there shows here. The "Beatclub" was exported from here into  every
continent on earth: Africa, Australia, Amerika even China, as the most
successful music-series of the pre-MTV aera. That’s what went from here
into the big  wide world - a mega-impact, which should not be
underestimated. So don`t you mess with BREMEN :-)

But there is another important reason, why the location was right for a
good concert: Bremen was the greatest emmigrant harbour of the European
continent between 1850 - 1930 - not Hamburg which dealt more with goods
than people. 35 Million people from all over Europe - especially from
eastern parts - were the Manchester capitalism of the last century
showed his most ugliest face- moved over Bremen to America -maybe  Bob`s
ancestors from Ukrania too. So this is an emmigrants-related-city, with
all cons and pros. The spot , where the concert took place - the
"Bürgerweide" -meadow of the citizens- is a most historical place in
this context. Until 1930 there were located vast , huge halls, like
aeroplane-hangars, spread over an area of half a square mile-  furnished
with field-beds in hundreds of rows, maybe looking alike the scene on
the front cover of Pink Floyds "Momentary lapse of reason" album-  where
the refuging emmigrants spent there last night in the old world, in
their old world. Millions of dreams of  roaming people, young and old,
might have been dreamed on this spot - decades ago- and to explain it
esoteric, moved into the soil of that place. So is it any wonder, that
Bob`s Song "John Brown", that deals with "someone on the move" and
"dreams of the big wide world"  became so emphasising in this place.
Maybe the ghosts of history, of hundred thousands of people dreaming
their dreams on the future in their new home in this place, decades
before, arose again and cast their spell. You - Carsten, mentioned it,
and i investigated the words of the song, as i could`nt remember what it
was about, and was surprised.

Well, I really do envy you, on having the chance to follow Bob on his
concerts through Europe. By the way: what does Bob say on that,? Does he
recognize it and do you have the chance to meet him on an occasion
-maybe on an after-concert party? When i was in the area direct in front
of the stage here in Bremen after the concert, i recognized so many 
-excuse me- "strangers" - people, whose faces i did’nt know from the
local scene-  it seemed to me, that there were quite a lot, who seem to
travel as an "audience crew" from concert to concert. I found this
explanation not on the spot, but when i read your report on the Bremen
concert it seemed to me a probably explanation. It remembers me of what
i heard about the "Dead heads?

Your description of the concert and the songs was ok , besides your
„strokes for BREMEN", but i’m shure, you did’nt mean it like this?!!  I
can`t compare the concert on sunday to anything but Bob`s album`s. For
me, it was the first time i saw him live and  - i hope for another long
time- alive.
What i missed a bit in your report was the seriousness, that i kept in
me, when i went to that event. For me Bob had -as an exponated person of
a "peace and humanity movement" of the last three decades -a great
influence on my life, surely not only on mine or we would’nt be talkin’
here about him. But we are in the ninetees now - fin de siècle - times
out of mind - shure they are, more than ever, the "Bridges to Babylon"
are built and we are about to step into the next phase of history:
global information society. If this means getting in contact like this
via Internet on things we care about, it`s ok.
Carsten, the next time you travel to the north country fare, remember
the ones who live there and miss BREMEN do`nt you dare! I really did
enjoy your report. Thank you!

Siegfried Pisalla, Bremen, June 17


Thanks to Christian Zeiser for the following review:

After the somewhat strange Hamburg show (Carsten sums it up pretty well in
his review of that one, so I see no need to write my own), I talked to a
few people who didn't see the wonderful shows in Rostock and Leipzig before
- e.g. Viola, my girlfriend - , and they still said they liked the Hamburg
show, tho it was kinda weird. I told all these people, 'you just have to
come to Bremen, just to get the chance of seeing one more, maybe it's gonna
be as wonderful as the ones in eastern Germany, who knows'. So they all
came yesterday, and... bang! I was right!

Man, the trip from Hamburg to Bremen was hell! Four hours for not even 80
miles, complete traffic chaos in Hamburg due to a bikers' church service,
and many streets closed so the bikers can have their parade there. Also, a
construction site at Hamburg's most frequented tunnel made it all even
worse. I was close to getting real aggressive, and I don't have these
tendencies usually. But then, you ain't on your way to a Bob show every
day. Anyway, we luckily made it on time for the opening of the gates, so
Viola and me had a pretty good position in the crowd.

A quick abstract: Bremen was Rostock, part 2.

Bob and band came around 8:30, only half an hour late, which was good
compared to Hamburg. The audience was very cheerful from the beginning on,
and I have learned to know what that means for the show. The boys went
straight into...

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat. Cool little surprise, as if Bob himself wasn't
satisfied with his latest treatment of Watchtower. Bring back the Rostock
Watchtower, Bob, that one was perfect! Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat rocked
pretty good, Bob's voice a bit low in the mix during the first half, but
good and strong singig romthe beginning on, crowd bopping around. I think
you can tell by the first song what the show might be like, and it promised
to be special again. Bob seemed very relaxed, much more self-secure than in
Hamburg, and pretty satisfied.

Man In The Long Black Coat. Gorgeous pharsing, has Bob ever spoiled this
one, except for the 1991 performances? The band had it all right tonight,
providing a wonderfully flowing backbeat. I'd never heard this one live
before, so it was kin of a present, with more to come. First 'thanx
ev'rybody' followed.

Cold Irons Bound. The heavy blues rocker is back, I love it! People seemed
pretty impressed by the strength of Bob's voice, and yes, it was great, as
in Rostock etc. before.

You're A Big Girl Now. The second present to me, a personal debut, and one
of fave songs, so what can I say - it was warm and sweet, desperate and
beautiful, Bob caressing every word. He was in such great form yesterday,
so concentrated yet so relaxed.

Silvio. Rock'n'Roll at its best, as usual. Crowd going nuts (me being no
exception), hopping, dancing, shouting, it's always a pleasure. The
everyday songs make up a good framework for the show, I think, getting
people reliably crazy, keeping the show in its tracks. Good strategy.

The acoustic set:
John Brown. One of the highlights, maybe the one absolute highlight of the
evening. Close to the arrangement from the NYC shows in January, very very
carefully done, Bob sooo damn into it, taking great care of every syllable,
developing the song from a quiet ballad to an angry accustaion. What a
performance. What a performer. oh, and one more: Get a tape of this show,
then, when someone give you the ole 'Oh, Bob Dylan, man, you can't
understand a single word of what he sings, he always mumbles so badly"
speeck, play her/him this rendition. It'll shut her/him up forever.

Girl From The North Country. During the opening chords Gunter and I made
the bet again on whether it's Boots Of Spanish Leather or Girl From The
North Country. I won. :-)  Lovely version, as usual. Bob's acoustic guitar
might sound a tad harsh for a sweet ballad like this one, maybe.

Don´t Think Twice, It's Alright. A real crowd pleaser, Bob messing up the
first two lines, which was, I think, the only error he made that night.
Fine fine phrasing, which goes for the whole night, really.

Tangled Up In Blue. It must've been one of his best renditions of this song
ever, he completely took off, making the crowd go nuts. His singing was
like a good juggling artist throwing up the balls, letting one bounce to
the ground, throwing one up behind his back, performing all those fancy
tricks in a row. Tony couldn't help but grin, no actually laugh all the way
thru this song, looking at Bob, then looking at Kemper, who got infected by
Tony's laughter. Tony's great - I love the enthusiasm he has for Bob's
performances,  even after nine years.

Can't Wait. Before this tour, I was a bit sceptical about how the TOOM
songs would sound live. Yeah, I've heard tapes, but it's not like you're
there, is it? Anyway, my doubts proved silly. Can't Wait - it rolls, it
rocks, it flows, driven by the bassy backbeat Tony provides, and Larry's
the warrant for a lovely guitar carpet on which Bob can do his little
guitar improvisations. Can't Wait is a sure winner, it always seems to
work, and it even did in Hamburg.

To Make You Feel My Love. The same experience for me as in Leipzig: one
look around, and a look into all those eyes! I admit it, he's got me
envious. TMYFML is surely not one his strongest compositions, but the care
he gives it more than makes up for it. I enjoy this one.

Watching The River Flow.  Yet another present for me, never heard this one
live and always wanted to, because I really like the lovely flowing
arrangement. Bob's changed it a bit, I think, gave it a new intro, making
it sound a bit heavier, bluesier. It still is a guaranteed toe-tipper, with
nice jams by Bob and Larry, and a lovely drum rhythm by David all the way.

'Til I Fell In Love With You. A nice surprise - no Highway 61 Revisited! A
good rockin' version, Bob being completey cool. During one verse he
actaully stood one or two feet next to the mike and bent over to it for
each line, looking like he's having great fun doing this rocker posing.
Those Time Out Of Mind songs really come alive on stage.

The encores:
Knocking On Heaven´s Door. Looovely! The intro 'Oooohs' by Bucky and larry
made us cheer, and Bob gave the song a wonderful treatment, with a new
ending: bob repeated the last 'just like so many times before' lines over
and over, with the band becoming more and more quiet. It was a bit like a
Van Morrison rendition, he sometimes does right that, I almost expected
Dylan to begin name-dropping a la 'Just like Rimbaud, Babe! Just like Allen
Ginsberg, Babe! Just like....' etc. The crowd was completely quiet during
this ending, and after the very last, very quiet line, Bob turned to Tony
and broke into laughter, saying something to him, maybe 'Gee, have you seen
how thunderstruck those guys were?'. Wonderful.

Love Sick. Strong rendition again, back on the heights it was on before

Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35. Okay, we got it back, no constant Alabama
getaway, bt I expected just that. Even Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, as some
people agreed with me, was stronger than usual, rocking along marvellously.

Blowing In The Wind. Another beautiful rendition of this one, causing
singalongs that of course didn't quite fir Dylan's phrasing.

Bob took deep bows, came very close to the stage's front, giving a gesture
close to an army salute, Then they were off, leaving behind a cheering

Viola summed it up pretty well when she said 'Man, he really gave it all
tonight!' Everybody around me was completey satisfied, surprised with what
that guy is able to give. The unfortunate guy from a local radio station
who asked us if we like the show had me hardly being able to stop raving
about how great it was, I could have gone on about all these brilliant
shows in Leipzig, Rostock, and now that one.

A few last thoughts on the five shows I've seen in Germany: he's an indoors
type. His best shows have taken place in mid-size halls with a crowd of
around 5000 to 7000 people. The outdoor shows in Berlin (it was solid,
good, but nothing spectacular) and Hamburg (it was bumpy, with problems
like his off-mike singing, but it took off in the second half) were the
'weaker' ones.
He clearly reacts to the audience's behaviour. If they are warm, if they
are cheerful, he warms up quicker and is more relaxed.
He is in great form right now, see him if you get a chance. Hamburg was a
one-off, I don't blame him. Three of the five shows were absolutely
Meeting all these people, many of whom I've had lots of e-mail contact with
but never met them in person, was great. You folks made it all even more

Well, I gotta be on the road. Meet y'all again somewhere soon!


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