June 25, 2011
Review by Gerhard Reininger
Prospects were not too good at the beginning of the set in Mainz. Cloudy sky just about to start
raining, Bob nearly 15 minutes late which caused some boos in the crowd, the usual announcement
with this long “poet laureate”-intro spoken without any pronounciation in one long collection of
words….. what would happen during the next two hours? – And then: the band entered the stage,
Bob a little later, one short glance from one to an other, the music began – and within a second all
doubts where blown away!
They started into a well balanced “Rainy day woman”, turned to “Don´t think twice” and came to a
fantastic “Things have changed” with Bob at the mic, harp in one hand and the other hand waving
free. There was no gap between the songs, it took only seconds to change from one to another
and the band took the audience with them on a trip through decades of Dylan songs. Whenever
Bob acted without keybord or guitar, he seemed to turn directly to the front rows in the audience,
addressing them with glances and smiles – but that might only be my view from some rows behind.
All in all a thrilling performance which I am glad to have attended. However, it also was an example
of what I like to call the “Dylan-Tour-Machine”. Perfection in the performance, but also a little bit
cold and calculated. Not a word to the audience (as usual), not even an introduction of the band
members (not ususal), the tour-bus rolling behind the stage while the encore is still being
played – it gave me the feeling, that the performance would have been the same even if there
had not been any listeners. Throw in your bucks and the machine will run. You will get what you
pay for – and nothing else.
PS: there was no single drop of rain during the set. Even the clouds listened to the music….
Comments by Bas Bos
Bob and his band painted a Masterpiece last night, it was 'Things Have Changed'
this time. Ears fell off, jaws dropped, breath stopped. Afterwards Jan, Ton,
Klaas and me drove a few hours to get home (from Mainz to Steensel and Hapert in
Holland). I went straight to bed, got up in the morning, had a little breakfast,
went to the forrest and ran for about thirty minutes, trying to get my feet back
on the ground! Still in awe, things have changed since yesterday in Mainz. You
had to be there!
Go see Bob and his band, enjoy!
Comments by Francesca Chiarelli
Super!! My Dylan concert #22, was beyond my expectings.
"Things have changed" really brilliant! The best one for me.
Bob have a small funny beard, but always well looking.
Many songs with guitar or standing. Weather not raining, fortunatly.
Many people also in the park outside, with picnic and families.
He forgot to present his band. Maybe the emotion?
He looked in a very good mood. I hope it's true.
Thanks Bob! May you stay forever young!
Review by Bob Russell
I was in Darmstadt, Germany with my wife Ingrid, at a time where Dylan happened to be playing
an open air show in Mainz, on the banks of the Rhine. I had seen Bob nearly 100 times in the
states, but this was my first show in Europe. It was a very enjoyable day. We arrived early and
checked out a street fair in the streets of central Mainz. Had fun, ate schnitzel, drank beer, etc.
Made it over to the Volkspark a couple of hours before show time, where we joined a mob waiting
to rush in the general admission gates. Band was sound-checking Sugar Baby and endings to
Watchtower (haven't played it enough, I suppose). Withstanding some pushing and shoving
when the gates finally opened, we got a place directly in front of Bob's keyboard, about
10 rows of standees from the front.
We were under a cool cloudy gray sky, which luckily held off from raining throughout the show.
Time passes slowly when you're standing in a field waiting for the show, but at about 7:10 pm,
the usual announcement came on and the band walked out. For the fashion-conscious, the band
wore matching brown suits with dark shirts, and Bob was in black with the black Cordobés hat
(I want one of those, btw, maybe in white).
I see that the show is on Dime already, so many of you will have already listened to the concert.
Therefore, I will limit myself to a few highlights. First the crowd was great, very attentive and
knowledgeable, very much matching what I had heard of European audiences. Not much English
being spoken at all by the way in my area. Second, Dylan seemed to be having a great time,
especially interacting and once fist-bumping with Donnie. Charlie, still staying a bit on a leash, was
strong and easily heard (though I thought the volume was too low for the band overall). The
rhythm section was strong and Stu got his moment to shine on Watchtower. Also were no band
introductions at all this day (though why people feel they need their existence validated by words
from the artist, I never will understand).
For the music, some notable thoughts/moments were:
- The voice was relatively strong and powerful tonight, with decent range (some good low notes).
- A shaky Dylan guitar solo on Girl of the North Country was redeemed by his playing on Beyond
Here Lies Nothin', a highlight among the rockers.
- Hattie Carroll and Hollis Brown were highlights, though on the former, the rag was taken away
even on the last verse :.
- No Tweedle !!
- A lot of prominent Dylan keyboard, with all that entails, both good and bad. The great thing is,
he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it and having an interactive back and forth with the guitars
(though it is not Charlie and Larry and Bob playing guitars in, say, the year 2000. We can't go
back, but think of, oh, maybe Country Pie, with Charlie actually able to let go… But I digress).
- H61 and Thunder a bit different than previous years, but good.
- 3 solid, though commonplace, encores.
Following the show, we had a nice time chatting with an older couple (though, now that I think
of it, not that much older than us… damn!) from the Mainz area. I had a chance to use my high
school German on them. It was their first show and they loved it (they saw Joe Cocker in the
same park a few weeks earlier). By the time we did that and ate some more German goodies
from the stands, the T-shirts and posters were sold out, and it was time to head back to the
hotel. Hamburg was a bridge too far for us, so I will be content until next time, maybe in a
couple of weeks stateside.
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