Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Reviews - 06/16/98


June 16, 1998

Essen, Germany

Thanks to Sandra Goertz for the following review:

Well, this was my first Bob Dylan-concert after five looong years - I
don't know how much longer I could have waited.... About 5 or 6 thousand
people attended this show which was realllly great. For me, it was Bob
Dylan at his best!
He started with Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - not one of my favorites but
a good intro into the show. Senor was to come next - I loved this
version. It's a great song anyway, but Bob put so much power, so much
feeling into it, sometimes it gave me a chill. Cold Irons Bound - it was
an intersting experience to hear the songs from TOOM live, having a look
at Dylan performing it. I had a place in the 5th row in the middle of
the stage so that I could follow Dylan's movements and mimics very well.
Under the red Sky was a great performance again - Bob seemed to enjoy
himself very much tonight. Here and there a smile for the crowd and a
lot of fun for him playing his songs - dancing and passionately going
into the solos. Peopled loved Silvio, but the following acoustic part of
the show was even more appreciated. To Ramona was very emotional, and
The Ballad of Hollis Brown and The lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll were
very touching. Bob played and sang these songs as if he was experiencing
their stories right at this moment. Wonderful! Well, Tangled up in Blue
speaks for itself.
Can't Wait and She belongs to me were very well done, but Blind Willie
McTell was absolutely great - this song goes under ones skin. He
finished the regular part with Till I fell in Love with you, but we
could see that he himself wasn't willing to stop playing there. He
enjoyed being on stage this evening, and soon he came back to play It
ain't me, Babe with a fantastic harp solo, it seemed as if he never
would stop and I enjoyed this song very much; I had been waiting for him
to take his harp all the time, finally, there it was - and my greatest
expectations had been far exceeded. Love Sick was another song, Dylan
ejoyed to play, interpreting it right at the moment of singing. Rainy
Day Women # 12 & 35 and Blowin' in the wind were, of course, enjoyed by
the crowd. It was great to see how Dylan loved to do these songs and to
give us all he could....Thank you (also for the 4 "Thanx everybody"s he
gave us).


Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review:

Well, as I mentioned in last night's review, I had high hopes for this  
show, most of all becuase it was only the second time Bob played my  
hometown. Essen is Germany's 6th biggest city, but hardly anybody knows it  
(Americans like to make fun of it cause Essen meaning eating... they think  
it's dead funny, but really it it's not) and most of the shows we get are  
like CCR, Deep Purple, the oldie circuit in other words. Bob's first  
appearance here, almost on this day seven years agon (June 18, 1991) was  
my first ever Dylan show and I wasn't prepared for what was to come AT  
ALL, so I left bitterly disappointed and couldn't even be bothered to see  
Bob for another three years. Looking back now, I have to admit that the  
1991 setlist was quite excellent, so good even, that I wouldn't dare to  
think that he could top it tonight. Of course I was wrong. I arrived at  
the venue (which unfortunately had chairs on the floor as well - as  
requested by the artist, as the local paper put it - I guess they didn't  
sell enough tickets) I met up with Christoph and Uta, who really wanted to  
hear "Blind Willie McTell" more than anything. I pointed out that "Blind  
Willie" would be a very unlikely choice, since he only had played it in  
Copenhagen last week. Of course I was wrong again, more of which later.  
Dylan came out very late, at 8.40 looking very concentrated all evening,  
as did his band. As a consequence, Dylan hardly ever switched to goofy  
mode, he rarely smiled but delivered a killer show, that I personally rank  
among the best in Europe so far. He opened, as expected, with:

>         Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat

Better version than both Bremen and Rotterdam, now with a new start that  
makes the song sound more powerful right from the beginning. All in all  
the arrangement doesn't differ all that much from the hardrocking Blues  
the old band played in 1996.

>         Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)

Wonderful choice, one of my alltime favourite Dylan songs of course. I  
would've loved it even more if I wouldn't have seen the cuesheet after the  
show, which called for - and I'm not kidding - "License To Kill"!!!!! Wow!
Would somebody please tell Bob and Tony that I desperately want to hear  
this song in Brussels please :-)

>         Cold Irons Bound

Wasn't the best version, but was still greeted with the biggest cheer of  
the night so far by the pretty lively audience.

>         Under The Red Sky

Solid performance of this so-so song, that could've been replaced by  
Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Supposed To Care" which was on the cuesheet.

>         Silvio

Bob smiled for the first and pretty much only time halfway through this  
song. No idea what made him laugh though. Yet another solid performance  
that featured a finger-picking guitarsolo by Dylan (he had the guitar pick  
between his teeth while playing it, which looked hilarious).

>         To Ramona (acoustic)

As I've mentioned in a previous review already this song doesn't do  
anything for me, so all I can say is that it was a solid performnace,  
better than Copenhagen, with a nice Bob/Bucky twin solo.

>         The Ballad Of Hollis Brown (acoustic)

Wow! He always seems to bring out this song when I'm around. I don't think  
he's played it more than maybe 10 times over the last three years, and  
this was already the fourth time I got to hear it. Radically rearranged  
version though, that sounded alot like "John Brown". Bob started solo,  
singing the first verse with only minimal input from Larry. Tony, Bucky  
and David joined in very late... a pretty spooky version, that suited  
Dylan's voice perfectly (as I mentioned earlier, his singing was excellent  
all throughout the show). Damn cool ending as well.

>         The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (acoustic)

Yet another song from the "Times" album that hit me completely unexpected.  
Yet another of my alltime favourite Dylan songs too, I'm always close to  
tears when I hear it. Almost perfect version too, better than the one I've  
heard in New York City in January. Sung very gently, very concentrated and  
Bob only started soling after he'd finished all the lyrics. Grrrreat!

>         Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

Well, it's still a huge crowdpleaser, solid rendition yet again without  
the line " be employed" but somethig new that was impossible to  

>         Can't Wait

Slower than usual, you also could say Bob sounded tired, but you just  
can't do any wrong with a great song like this. Even though I thought  
"this version is pretty flat" at the beginning, Bob found some interested  
phrasings here and there, thus saving the song. After the song he said  
something along the lines of: "This was song from my new album, now here's  
one from a while ago". Make that 33 years, Bob!

>         She Belongs To Me

Josh's alltime favourite Dylan song - NOT! Done the usual way, the more  
casual fans liked it, the hardcore fanbase was bored to death. The song  
was given a fair treatment, that's all I can say about it. After it was  
finished Larry went for his other electric guitar, the one he only plays  
on "Feel My Love", which would've been the song everybody was expecting.  
After a short discussion between Tony and Bob, though, he grabbed his  
Bouzouki. I turned to Uta and Christoph, saying: "I guess you'll be very  
happy soon"... I don't think they knew what I meant until Bob sang the  
first line, but it was quite a sight to see the two of them go "YESSSSS"  
:-) It was of course...

>         Blind Willie Mc Tell

This time without the technical difficulties they had in Copenhagen. He  
was supposed to play "Feel My Love", quite possibly his worst song ever  
and skipped it for arguably his best song ever. What more can you say?

>         'Til I Fell In Love With You

Followed the band introduction and rocked a usual. Listening to the  
recorded version, you'd never think that it makes for a good "Highway 61"  
substitute, but in the hard-rocking live version, it actually does.
>         (encores)
>         It Ain't Me Babe (acoustic) (with harp)

Well, my least favourite choice for the acoustic encore, but oh well, it  
was nicely done and Bob played a rather long harp solo that got better and  
better closer to the end.

>         Love Sick

Was among the highlights of the show (the others being "Hollis Brown" and  
"Hattie"), because Bob and the band rarely play it so carefully and with  
so much emotions. It usually is the glad-we-gonna-be-outt-here-soon second  
to last song, this time it was much more than that.

>         Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

Short discussion between Bob, Tony and David before the song. Dunno what  
they were talking about, maybe David wanted to do "Alabama Getaway", your  
guess is as good as mine. Maybe it was "Let's make this sound even more  
horrid than usual". If it was really that, they succeeded.

>         Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

Bob looked very fragile and tired when he came back for this one, as a  
conseuqnce he kept the soloing to a minimum, giving us the three verses  
and an extra chorus and then he was gone.

All in all a very, very strong show again, after Bob decided not to give  
us 100% in Rotterdam the night before (maybe due to Van). If Brussels  
tomorrow is only half as good - and will feature "License To Kill", I'll  
be very happy. See you in Belgium! Thanks for reading and good night!

carsten wohlfeld
"you better stop and smell the roses now, they might end up on you"
(hüsker dü)

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