Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 07/06/98

Reviews

July 6, 1998

Lucca, Italy
Piazza Napoleone



Thanks to Francesco Ciuffi for the following review:

The show was scheduled for 21.00 in one of the most beatiful squares of Lucca, but 
the band took the stage only at 21.40, when about 3-4000 persons had been waiting 
since 20.00 to hear this long awaited show. Whitout any further delay they launched 
immediatly into a smokin version of "Serve somedbody". The band sounds tight and 
Bob's voice is in pretty fine form. From my point of view, (front row, slightly on the 
right) the sound of the steel guitar is barely audible, but from the next song onwards 
everything will be fixed quite well in the mix.  "Senor" is a pure gem, this is my first 
live exposure to a song i've always hoped to hear,.... sooner or later. "Cold iron bound" 
follows, vocally otrageous, but a major treat is the next tune: "Silvio"; i gotta say i've 
never loved this song that much but this version is by far and away one of the very 
best, jammed out a-la-Grateful Dead it stands out as one of the (many) higlights of 
the evenin'.  The crowd reaction during the jam seems to influence the playing and 
the result is outstanding.  After this monster version i thought they were goin to play 
an acoustic set but the band kept rockin with a fast version of"Cant wait"  from the 
last album and a mellow, touchin "What good am I", from the 1989 masterpiece 
"Oh Mercy". Again the playing is consistently fine all throught the tune and Bob's 
voice is magnificient, it's strong and sweet at the same time, easily conveing the 
mood of the song. Ok now, it's time for an acoustic set: Bob brings out his guitar, 
the boys grab madolins and acoustic bass and a fresh "Mr. tamburine " is born; 
slightly different than the original and better than other versions i've heard in other 
years. The already hot crowd cheers and the atmosphere is now gettin really hot.
When the first notes of "Hard rain" are digest by the crowd there's another eruption, 
waves of energy flows in and out of the stage; "Tanlged up in blue" is an old time fav 
and this version, if not longer as it used to be in the recent past, it's extremely tight 
and druing the jam Bob leaves his guitar and grab his harp for a crowd pleaser solo. 
"Forever young" ends the acoustic set, average version, nothing too special, in my 
opinion. The electric part starts again with a superb version of "She belongs to me", 
never heard Bob spittin out the words that way, just to underline the main passages 
of the text: a rendition for the history books, wish i had a tape!   Another surprise 
follows: my first "Blind Willie Mc Tell", no way to describe the goose bumps! But 
there is no time to think cause the following "Highway 61" runs like a steamroller, 
this hard rockin version of a classic song makes everybody jump and shout, the 
energy from the stage is contagious and the crowd go nuts.  

End of the set, waiting for the encore(s)
A predictable "Love sick" opens, some flaws here and there, but all in all a solid version, 
then another crowd pleaser "Rainy day women" seems to send evrybody home after an 
orgy of vintage rthym&blues performed at light speed, but it's not over yet. An acoustic 
"Blowin" ends the shows for the pleasure of all those who went just to hear this one, a 
good version of an "overplayed" classic.

Francesco Ciuffi


********************************************************************************

Thanks to Alberto Cuccu for the following review:


Really a great show here in Lucca for Bob Dylan, everyone was rocking here at the end of the
show. Let's  start with the soundcheck which was played without Dylan of course - Simple 
twist of fate - I believe in you - gotta serve somebody - I'll remember you - some country
acoustic song which I don't know.

During the soundcheck Garnier was learning Larry some accords about I believe in you  and
I'll remember you.

As I said the show was really great. Bob started to feel in the show during Silvio and then
played better and better and smiled more and more song by song. Let's go by order:

Gotta Serve Somebody: A good opener, which Bob likes very much I guess, well played but Bob
not yet warm.

Senor: one of my favorite songs, Bob sang Senor very sadly but great, Bob warming up but
still not warm enough.

Cold Irons Bound: Bucky didn't play during this song because he broke one string just at the
beginning of the song (or maybe during Senor). It was rocking and I liked it a lot, but Bob
was still trying to really get into the show, he started smiling at this time.

Can't Wait: I was looking forward to hear this song, it was very fast tempo and Bob and me
liked it a lot. 

Silvio: even  if it is not my favourite one I have to say that this song really get the
crowd and Bob into the show, everyone started jumping and rocking during this song.

Tambourine man: the highlight of the show, Bob sang it softly and put a lot of feeling into
it. Greatest version I have ever heard. Everyone was astonished about how good it was sang
and played.

Hard Rain: very slowed down but tender and sweet. Everyone was singing during the bridge.

Tangled up in blue: A very nice version much better than in 1996. I think this version with
drums is much better than the one without.

Forever Young: wonderfully sang by Bob and played by everyone.

She belongs to me: very nice, one of my favourite song by Dylan, I think he loves this song
too.

Blind Willie Mac Tell: second highlight after Tambourine Man, it was  really wonderful, much
better than the one on Not Dark yet cd

Highway 61: Got everyone rocking and Bob started smiling and pointing to everyone on the
first row, he enjoyed it a lot I guess.

encores..

Love sick: he sang it much better than at the Grammy.
Rainy Day Women:  a srýtandard
Blowin in thewind: a like this version and Bob too.

Finally a great show I spoke with a friend of mine who was in Birmingham 24 and in Rome and
he told this show was the best for him, I think Bob can hardly show better than this. Don't
you dare miss it !!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao
Alberto Cuccu


*************************************************************************************


Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review:

There's only one phrase that can describe last night's show in Rome: Bob
Bylan was ON FIRE! If Lucca wouldn't have been on our way home back to
Germany anways I probably would've skipped the show. Yes, Rome was THAT
good. But as we travelled north we finally got a chance to enjoy the
beautiful italian landscape, made a quick sidestep to the Mediterrenean
Sea and visited Pisa as well. Lucca itself is a beautiful old city, lots
of tiny alleys, street cafes and the typical italian flavour. Piazza
Napoleone is a square situated in the middle of the town and by 5pm they
just tried to clear out all the people so the band could start the
soundcheck. We managed to 'hide' in a cafe and got to hear and see part of
the soundcheck. Afterwards they just blocked all the streets leading to
the square, so only people with tickets could see the event but everybody
outside could still *hear* it quite perfectly. Again tickets were only
around $25, so about 5,000 folks showed out. Lots of German and American
tourists, too. Lucca is one of the main sightseeing attractions in the
area. The square wasn't that big, so it was almost a sellout I guess.

The soundcheck included:

        Simple Twist Of Fate
        I'll Remember You (several times)
        You'e A Big Girl Now
        I Believe In You
        Gotta Serve Somebody

and others.

By the time we returned to the venue (we had a nice pizza and some gelati
inbetween) the place was pretty much filled up, but we still managed to
get a decent spot. Bob (different white jacket, black pants, white shoes)
and crew came out at 9.40pm (showtime was given as 9.30) and started with:

        Gotta Serve Somebody

Not quite as overwhelming as in Rome, as both Bob and Bucky didn't strike
any funny poses tonight, but still pretty good. One of the best openers Bob
had over the last few years.

        Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)

Again, one of my alltime favourite Dylan tracks, so I'm a bit biased. I'll
love it any day of the week. His singing wasn't as strong as I'd hoped for
though. Still better than the cuesheets alternate of "If Not For You".
Crowd: Nuts.

        Cold Irons Bound

Solid version, I didn't hear any of the mistakes that 'graced' the
previous renditions.

        What Good Am I?

Was played instead of the cuesheets alternatives "4th Street" and "Big
Girl Now". Nice surprise of course, second rendition this year after
Rostock and it would have been even better if Bob would've remembered ANY
of the words. As Gunter noted, Bob basically sang the same verse three
times!

        Can't Wait

Well, only a few people recognizes this one. There had been virtually no
reaction from the crowd to "What Good Am I" either. Too many first-timers
and tourists I guess. "Can't Wait" was solid and again didn't feature any
major mistakes as far as I could hear. Bob's singing was finally getting
stronger.

        Silvio

was "Silvio". Crowd loved it, as soon as they realized that the title of
this one was "Silvio". Hmmmm.

        Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)

One for the greatest hits crowd. Singing very strong, even though he
played the song a little too much on this tour... or did I just see too
many shows? ;-)

        A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (acoustic)

Got a better crowd response than I'd have imagined. Unfortunately Bob's
singing wasn't too strong here. It was a strange show, one song Bob's
singing was very strong, the next one he hardly could reemember the words.
Dunno what happened really.

        Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

Features a lengthy harp solo, but Bob totally messed up his first two
guitar solos. He just played one note and then stopped playing altogeher
as if he didn't know what he was supposed to do! Meanwhile Larry kept on
strumming his chords and after a few seconds Bob resumed singing! Weird.

        Forever Young (acoustic)

Put a smile on everybody's face. Nice rendition, mucho loved by the crowd.
"Love Minus Zero" went unplayed.

        She Belongs To Me

Bob virtually screamed his vocals into the microphone, he was VERY much
into this song for some reason. There was some feedback cause his singing
was too loud. Never heared that before! I think it was after this song
that he introduced the bad, so I thought the next one would probably be
the last, making it a total of 12 songs in the mainset, same the the
previous nights. But no, Bob and crew continued with...

        Blind Willie McTell

which was  a strange choice, since so many tourists have been in the
crowd. The band did a nice job, But Bob forgot the words at three points.
After the strong "Belongs" this was very weak again...

        Highway 61 Revisited

Now you won't believe me, but this song was by far and away the highlight
of the show. Before it started Bob went over to Tony and said something to
him that made Tony laugh all the way through the song. And, to further
prove my weak-strong-weak-strong singing theory Bob screamed the words to
"Highway", laughing inbetween lines and even addiing a hilarious line:

        "Louie the King said yes I think it can be easily done...
        YAY... and that's EXACTLY what he said"

He definitely had a good time. He wasn't as animated as the nights before
but still a million miles away from being stone faced... The ending to
this song was new and improved too. Rocked like hell!

        (encores)
        Love Sick

A better version than last night, even though the encores generally tend
to be Bob-by-numbers these days. There are always the same and so the band
esaily can switch to auto-pilot. Not the best way to end a show I don't
think.

        Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

Usual goofyness with Bob and the band soloing up and down. Even Bucky
played a longer solo than usual.

        Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

Much loved by the crowd, great singalong. Bob vocals delivery wasn't very
overwhelming, even though he really stresses the third verses in all the
recent renditions. The show lasted 105 minutes.

So there you got it, the end of my own little 18-date tour. Somehow I even
was glad when it was all over and if this review probably is the less
detailed of them all, that's because I even got sick of writing about the
shows ;-) But I surely won't complain, with a few exceptions all the shows
have been very, very good, I got to hear almost 80 different songs and
many inspired renditions of songs I thought I'd never want to hear again.

If you ask me, my personal top five of the ones I've seen in Europe is:

        1. Rome
        2. Rostock
        3. Bremen
        4. Leipzig
        5. Essen or maybe Copenhagen

Thanks for reading and trying to ignore my bad english and all the typos.
Bob and I will now take a five week rest before we're all back on tour in
Australia. Don't know when I'll have the chance to review those shows, but
I most certainly will get around to do it at some point. My thanks also to
all the people who let me stay at their places and all the folks I
travlled with. It's been a pleasure. See y'all in Melbourne!

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



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