Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Reviews - 06/17/98


June 17, 1998

Brussels, Belgium
Forrest National

Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review:

Well, I hate to say it, cause it'll make me look bad, but I have to  
mention it anyways: Yes, for the first time since June 21, 1995, he did  
"License To Kill", I was there you you were not. That's the funny  
punchline. Anyways, we arrived very late at the venue, right around the  
time they opened the doors, so I'll have to leave the details from the  
queue to Christian. We still managed to get resonably good seats (fifth or  
sixth row), but it didn't really matter anyways, because the stage-rsuhed  
happened even before a single note was played and I ended up with a nice  
3rd row spot almost center-stage. The same thing happened when Bob last  
played this venue two years ago, so I was kinda expecting it. All the  
people in the first few rows seemed to be pretty friendly though and there  
was not much pushing and stuff. Nice. 8.30 was given as the showtime on  
the tickets, but it was shortly after 9.00pm when Bob and the band finally  
emerged from the backstage area. While the band, with the exception of  
Larry "Smiley" Campbell, looked a bit tired, but Bob was having a fun time  
all throughout the night. He was much more animated than last night in  
Essen, smiled a lot, played songs directly to the people in the front row  
and solo-ed more than usual.
>         Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat

Opened the show as expected. It actually gets better an better each night,  
even though it'll never be a real favourite of mine. It has a nice opening  
with a heavy drumroll now, is very bluesy and rocks like hell. Couldn't  
hear Bob's voice at all, but maybe that was just because I was so close to  
the stage and only got the sound from the monitors. After the song Tony  
stepped over to Bob and asked "License To Kill"? Bob nodded and repeated  
"License To Kill"! YESSSSSSSSS!

>         License To Kill

Now you have to know that this song is a special favourite of mine (along  
with "I&I") and I never got to hear it live. As I mentioned before, as far  
as I know, it was last played three years ago and not in my wildest dreams  
I would've expected to hear it ever again. It was on last night's cuesheet  
so I knew there was a chance that they would play it eventually, but I  
thought they probably would do it once in the UK (where I won't be) and  
then drop it for another three years. But no, they played it tonight and I  
was standing just a few feet away from Bob! Wow! It had a nice long intro  
and even though Bob didn't know the lyrics (or at least parts of them), I  
enjoyed the performance to the max. I think that the band did a pretty  
good job, the arrangement is pretty simple and slow, but it fit in  
perfectly with Bob's laidback vocal delivery. Despite the minor mistakes  
definitely the highlight of the show. For me anyways.

>         Cold Irons Bound

was "Cold Irons Bound", solid performance that was slightly better than  
last nights. Bob seemed to pour more emotions into his singing tonight.

>         Tears Of Rage

Another song Bob's seems to like quite a bit these days. At least he plays  
it more often than he used to and it's always one of the show's highlights  
as well. His singing was very concentrated, very sweet and smooth.

>         Silvio

was "Silvio". Sounded slightly different cause Bob soloed right through  
the first drum break... David looked slightly puzzled :-)

>         Mama You Been On My Mind (acoustic)

was a very pleasant surprise, especially since it now finally has it's own  
arrangement and is not "Don't Think Twice" with a different set of lyrics.  
Bob had trouble remembering the words at one point, but he had tons of fun  
during his very long solos during the acoustic set and smiled quite a bit,  
too. Bucky sang along for the first chorus only. Not sure if he was  
supposed to sing there or if he just got carried away.

>         The Ballad Of Hollis Brown (acoustic)

I thought it was pretty funny to hear this again, especially when you  
remember what I said about it in last night's review. He always seems to  
bring it out when I see him alot, then play it on three consecutive nights  
and then wait another two years till he plays it again. I saw it three  
times within a week in 1996 and now I got to hear it two nights in a row  
in 1998 as well. I'm not complaining though, cause I really like the song  
and the new and improved arrangement sounds very dramatic and it gives the  
song a very spooky edge.

>         Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)

Yup, he did this one as well and I couldn't care less. He *tried* to play  
a harp solo at the end, but it was going nowhere and ended before it  
really began. The shortest harmonica solo I ever heard from Bob. And quite  
possible the least inspired, too.

>         Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

He tried blowing the harp again on his song and with much better results.  
The solo ended a fair version of "Tangled" that is now a little bit slower  
than in Scandinavia. Today, the "lucky to be imployed" verse was in its  
place...I wonder what he does with it in Belfast... Larry really enjoyed  
the song, singing along to various lines. For some reason he had to laugh  
out loud when Bob sang "...became withdrawn".

>         To Make You Feel My Love

was given the usual fair treatment. The intro was either new or messed up.  
Probably the latter. Interestingly enough, this song always gets a huge  
cheer, something I don't really understand.

>         Can't Wait

Solid version, with a gorgeous "Oh honey". Interesting to hear it in  
reversed order now. For all of last week he played it *before* "Feel My  
Love", which I thought made more sense (right after "Tangled"). Then  
again, that's just me.

>         I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)

Was verrrrry funky. First time that I heard the new band play this song  
again. Funnily enough Bob did it the last time he visited Brussels as  
well. The Belgian people must think he does it every night :-)  
Unfortunately both "You Go Your Way" and "Born In Time" were on the  
cuesheet but went unplayed. Bob checked his watch (!) before the song, as  
if he was going to say, okay, if we've played for 60 mins aleady, maybe we  
can skip a song?" Honestly, it was a very weird situation. Did he ever do  
that before? Band intros followed, the only time he talked all night,  
apart from two "thanks Ev'rybodys".

>         Highway 61 Revisited

Was done instead of "Til I Fell In Love With You" and rocked as usual. Bob  
found this little riff that he repeated endlessly. He was having tons of  
fun and he crcaked up Tony as well. Bucky even echoed the riff on the  
pedal-steel which I thought sounded quite cool.
>         (encores)
>         Forever Young (acoustic)

Another huge crowdpleaser with Bucky and Larry on backing vocals. Nicely  
done, even though Bob's first solo siunded a little out of tune.

>         Love Sick

Was very nice, very carefully done. Normally the intro is quite rushed  
these days, but today (and last night too) it was long and performed with  
a lot of care. It seems as if Bob rediscovered this song and now sings it  
as the song deserves it. For a while it was just #15, now it#s one of the  
highlights on "TOOM" in the even better live version again. (If you know  
that I mean).

>         Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

Lots of smiles from all five on stage, house lights on, the usual.

>         Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

Tony came running back on stage with his (bass)guitarcase in his hand as  
if he was going to say: "Hey, nice job, we were on our way home already  
when you made us come back." Very funny. "Blowin'" was given a fair  
treatment and it started out a little bit different, with a long Bob  
guitar solo.

All in all yet another very strong show, I liked Essen's setlist better,  
but I'm sure that some people will prefer this show to last nights. After  
I've seen 11 of the 14 shows in Europe so far it's time for me to descend  
to the real world for a while. I'll be back with a review from paris  
though, don't you worry. Thanks for reading and having the patience to  
ignore all my typos. Goodnight.

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

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