Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Reviews - 06/15/98


June 15, 1998

The Netherlands

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


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
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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