Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review: I guess we all knew that a double headlining show in a huge venue like the Ahoy (a sellout with close to 10.000 attending) would be sort of a letdown after the fantastic show in Bremen, but it was still a solid set. Van Morrison came out first at 8.00pm, fortunately without Brian Kennedy! We did a 85 minute set, well paced, started out with a few very jazzy songs, "That's Life", then a few of his own '90s song plus some well received classics like "Cleaning Windows", "Vanlose Stairway/Trans Euro Train", my personal favourite "Tupelo Honey" and a sweet "Summertime In England" as the only encore. Only twenty minutes after Van left, at 9.50pm, Bob took to the stage, starting again with: > Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat Better version than last night, much better sound right from the start and Larry discovered a fine little riff I never heard him do before as well. > You Ain't Goin' Nowhere A surprise so early in the set, nicely done, great singalong with the a- capella ending being the highlight - of course! > Cold Irons Bound Very hard and edgy, but very powerful too. Hasn't changed all that much during this tour. Always solid. > Just Like A Woman Well, it wasn't half as good as the "Rock Am Ring" version, even though Bob saved the song after a falt start with a killer last verse. The phrasing was just too cool! You'll love it once you get the tapes! > Silvio Rocked a usual. Still everybody in the venue was in their seats due to the very, very tight security on the floor. > Desolation Row (acoustic) Bob didn't plug in his guitar properly, which didn't improve the performance of this song. A great choice of course, even though this version was sort of a letdown because it only featured six verses as opposed to seven earlier this year ("Orphelia" was missing) and it didn't feature the "Neptune" verse either that had made it's comeback in Sweden last week. > The Times They Are A-Changin' (acoustic) Well, one more greatest hit for the Van crowd. Solid performance without any major high- or lowpoints. I expected him to play harp on this one, especially since Van had played more harp than usual during his set, but Bob didn't even came close to playing harmonica all evening. Bucky, who had played his hand-held steel guitar for "Desolation" moved back to the pedal steel for this song. I assume technical difficulties have bee the reason for that. > Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) Yet another new substitute for the "lucky just to be employed" line. When he first did it, I thought he just had forgotten the words, but now it seems to be his special joke of the evening to invent new lines... The usual jam-o-rama with Bob hopping around the stage (something he did at every European show I've seen this year). > Can't Wait Solid. Without the minor mistakes that had occured in Bremen, but still not reaching it's alltime high from the Miami Beach shows in March. > Make You Feel My Love Yet again. Nicely done, beautifully sung, with alot of emotion. Bob's singing was quite good all evening actually, only the lack of surprises in the setlist made this show a somewhat dull experience. Band intros followed. Bob sounded as if he was in a hurry, even only mentioned the mandolin for Bucky even though Mr. Baxter played pedal steel on about 12 songs as usual. Strange. > Highway 61 Revisited As I mentioned before, there was no stage rush during "Tangled" due to the tight security, but Bob wanted to have the people on the fllor right under his nose, so he took this songs, to heights it normally never reaches. He and Larry played som e very, very hot endless solos and the only stopped as everybody in the venue was basically standing on their seats. I can't believe I'm gonna say this, but "Highway" was by far the highlight of the show. Oh my god, I really said that! > (encores) > It Ain't Me Babe (acoustic) Another solid performance, much appreciated by the crowd. > Love Sick Was actually very nice, featured a somewhat drawn-out ending that I thought sounded pretty cool. Can't do much wrong with a song like this. > Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35 Yup, this one as well, and even though they tried hard, it's still no "Wiggle Wiggle". :-) 90 solid minutes, no surprises, no duets, no "Blowin'" - that was it. Thanks to Henk for getting me tickets. See you in Essen at my hopefully very special hometown show! Carsten Wohlfeld -- "what once you called home is a minefield" (damon & naomi) ************************************************************* Thanks to Rene Voncken for the following review: When I arrived at Ahoy Stadium, Rotterdam, Van Morrison had already started playing, because our train had a quarter of an hour-delay (stupid strikes!). Van "The Man" Morrison played for about 90 minutes and it was pretty good, especially "Tupelo Honey" and "On Burning Ground". As soon as I found a seat, it was obvious that 10000 people were anxiously awaiting Bob Dylan's first performance in Ahoy Stadium in eleven years. Suddenly, the lights went out and I heard a familiar voice saying "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Columbia recording artist: Bob Dylan!" The audience cheered for a few minutes, the Band came on and started a heavy "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat". It has never been one of my personal favorites, but it was a pretty good version with awesome guitars and a good start altogether. Bob Dylan immediately made clear that he was in a good mood and that he wanted to play lead guitar. He kept dancing and swinging across the stage, his legs bent and sometimes shifting into the strangest positions. The second song was "You ain't going nowhere". It was quite a welcome surprise and everybody loved it. The third song was "Cold Irons Bound" and Dylan gave an awesome version, much better than the album version. In a low voice, softly shaking his head. The next song was quite a surprise; "Just Like a Woman" in an electrical version. His voice was quite understandable and after the first chorus everybody sang along, even a friend of mine who was not a Dylan-fan but came along anyway. Silvio was as good as ever, with the slight difference that it was Bob Dylan playing the electric lead guitar, running around the stage and with the loudest voice I've ever heard him sing. The acoustic set was good, but not brilliant. "Desolation row" was far to loud and fast, so Bob Dylan had to raise his voice into high-pitched phrases that weren't very understandable. "The Times They Are A-Changing" was a crowd-pleaser and the version was rather good; Bob Dylan regained his tempo and handled the loud background music professionally. "Tangled up in blue" was next; unfortunately, with the same problem as in "Desolation Row". I was afraid that this problem would continue, but fortunately it didn't. "Can't Wait" started and again, better than the album version. Dylan sang in a low and sinister way, his face like a wolf's growl; during the entire show, he looked very vital, dancing in his black suit with white shoes. "Make you feel my love" was fabulous and reminded me of "Sarah"; just as romantic, just as beautiful. Dylan then introduced the band and started "Highway 61". It was the best version I've ever had the pleasure to hear. The crowd went absolutely nuts and berserked the stage; Dylan loved it, raising the tempo and played his guitar like a madman. His solo-play lasted a few minutes, one foot on the drums-stage, one foot on the stage-floor below. Then, Dylan and the band left, but a few minutes later they emerged again and started a country-like "It ain't me Babe". "Love Sick" was very good and Dylan's voice almost crystal-clear (can you imagine?). The last song of the show was the inevitable "Rainy Day Woman", but it was a very good version, with sliding guitar-play and beautiful lasting Dylan-solo's. It was, however, strange that Dylan didn't touch his harps and that the show was almost entirely electrical. You won't hear me complain. Great!!!! René Voncken Rhwm.firstname.lastname@example.org ************************************************************************ Thanks to Joop van Veen for the following review: The only double bill with Van Morrison on the continent started poorly. Van was apparently told not to steal any thunder from Dylan, so his set was very laid back, not loud and basically boring. Van played for more than an hour, and I assume that it being a double bill meant that Dylan played less songs than the previous nights, which is borne out by the song list. He stared out ok with LSPH and You ain't going nowhere, he looked vital, sang clearly (and into the mike), but with little passion in the beginning. Things took off with Cold Irons Bound, not my favourite from TOOM but awesome just the same. Things took a turn for the worse with Just like a woman and Sylvio, although these songs were big crowd pleasers. Next into the accoustic set with Desolation Row. Although I was initially excited about this one, it didn't take off - Bob decided to imitate Michael Bloomfield's guitarwork on the original, but this obviously didn't work. He used just a three note solo that he repeated ad nauseam - it distracted from the song. Unfortunately he repeated this solo also in Times (and later also in TUIB and It ain't me babe). Why he did this is beyond me. TUIB was strong, if we forget the guitar solos. After this two tracks from TOOM, Can't wait and Feel my love. Can't wait was fabulous, it is like the band shifts into a higher gear, Dylan's vocal is sharp and concise - all perfect. Even feel my love - which is just an ok track - was a stand-out version. He closed with HW 61 which got the crowd on its feet, and Dylan obviously enjoyed this. The encores were It ain't me babe (ok, again Dylan's guitarsolos were boring), Lovesick (brilliant) and RDW (a throwaway song, but in the setting of the concert actually a good closer). I spoke to several people who had not been to a Dylan concert ever or not very recently and they all thought it was brilliant. So The Man delivered. I would prefer to hear tracks just from TOOM, Oh Mercy and Under the Red Skies and forget all that other stuff. The 4 songs from TOOM he did stood out so significantly compared to the rest of the set I wonder why he does not please himself and us at the same time by cutting out some of these golden oldies. Ah well, let's hope.
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