Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 07/12/98


July 12, 1998

Frauenfeld, Switzerland

Thanks to Christian Ter-Nedden for the following review:

I hate festivals but what can you do when Dylan finally comes within 
reach? (Montreux was too far away and too expensive for me).
The Out in the Green festival is one large stage and a lot of tents on 
a dusty, flat, and hot army training ground-cum-horse race track. A 
terrible venue.
Dylan was scheduled to appear on 1730, play until 7 and leave the 
stage to Joe Cocker and some huge TV screen for the World Cup final 
broadcast at 2100. 
Before Dylan, there's Joaquim Cortes, a Flamenco dancer with his huge 
band. After him, a few people wipe the stage clean - it must be very 
dusty up there and somebody in the audience reckons that Dylan's lungs 
wouldn't like that.

By the way, German Swiss tabloid SONNTAGSBLICK reported that Dylan 
wanted yoghurt, milk, and "Rice Dream", a drink made of rice extracts, 
water, oil and flavours (YUM-MY ;-) ) and no alcohol whatsoever.

Punctually at 1730, it's "Ladies & Gentlemen, please welcome Columbia 
Recording Artist Bob Dylan!" and they come on stage. 
Dylan wears white: White, rather tight pants with silver piping, a 
belt with a huge buckle, Western style. White shirt, half unbuttoned 
so that you can see his reddening chest. Over that, a white light 
blazer with Western-style ornaments. 
But the weirdest things are his huge black sunglasses which remind me 
of Bono's in his MacPhisto period. 
Everybody except Dylan and Campbell wears a hat. David Kemper's is 
white. Bucky has bleached blonde hair and a goatee.

Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat is spot on. Loud, hard rocking from the word 
go, with Dylan sneering and shouting the lyrics. The audience is 
enjoying it. Bob doesn't move much, his face beneath the huge glasses 
is expressionless.

Senor. I've been wanting to hear this live for a long time. It's a 
very nice rendition, with Dylan singing clearly and soulfully. He 
plays a nice solo, too.
I don't think many in the audience know this - there are a lot of 
teenagers around who haven't got a clue who Dylan is.

Cold Irons Bound. This is much more powerful and punchy than on the 
record. Dylan is visibly enjoying himself, soloing, prancing around a 
little bit. His guitar playing is really patchy tonight, sometimes 
he's just losing it totally and the band is grinning all the time 
while he's trying to get back in synch with them.

I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. Nice groove, Bob lightens up a bit and 
struts and prances some more. Not a very remarkable performance of a 
not very remarkable song.

Can't Wait. Spooky. Swampy jungley groove. Dylan sneers even more. So 
far there hasn't been a lot of tenderness in this show. This - as all 
the TOOM songs played tonight - is much better live than on the 
People have been shouting for Silvio even before Can't Wait, Larry 
grins, and here it comes.

Silvio. Bob really lets go on this one. He struts like a circus horse 
fresh out of retirement (sorry, but this is exactly what came to my 
mind when I saw this!). 

As expected, the acoustic set begins after this.

Don't Think Twice It's Alright. Flawed. Bob hardly ever gets his solo 
right but continues regardless. Everybody's grinning, particularly 
Tony Garnier.
Then Dylan picks up a harp and a holder, drops the guitar and plays a 
brief and not very inspired solo. It's a pity because the band is 
great on this song.
The audience loves it anyway.

Tangled up in Blue. Bob plays a whole lot better here. The Delacroix 
line is changed as has been noticed here before. Smiles all around, 
even Dylan grins from time to time. It occurs to me that it's amazing 
how much he seems to enjoy playing again (particularly compared to 
Zurich 1991, when I first saw him live) and considering that he must 
have had a terrible time rushing from Spain to northeastern 
Switzerland in this short time. 

Forever Young. Very beautiful with the background vocals. Best song 
tonight in terms of Bob's singing. Soulful and bittersweet. I loved 

Stuck Inside of Mobile. Never liked that song very much but it's great 
seeing Bob having fun performing it, strutting and posing as a rock 
star throughout. And I noticed some great phrasing, too. 

I Shall Be Released. Similar to Forever Young but not as well sung. 
Still very nice indeed. Bob stumbles in the last stanza. The intro by 
Larry is great, and so are the background vocals. 

Highway 61 Revisited. The audience really loves this rocker, and Bob 
is fully aware of it. His eyebrows move under the glasses (it's such a 
pity you can't see his eyes). He grins a lot now. Extended jamming and 
strutting. Suddenly, Bob seems almost as young to me as he was when he 
wrote it (mind you, that was six years before I was born). After this, 
he briefly introduces the band. Nothing spectacular.

Bob & band bow and leave. They return immediately for the encores:

Love Sick. Excellent. A lot better live than on TOOM or the tapes I've 
got. More punch, too. The groove is hypnotic, the lyrics are clearly 
intelligible. All in all, a very nice surprise - I didn't think this 
would be that fascinating.

Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35. The last opportunity tonight for 
Electric Bob to get into Guitar Hero mode. He does a lot of weird, 
Dylanoid moves with his head. Again, this is hard rock.

Blowin' in the Wind. Another very pleasant surprise in that I didn't 
think this would be so beautiful. A Montreux reviewer said about 
Blowin' that it sounded as if Bob had just written it. That's true. A 
new, haunting tune, and he sings the lyrics as though he had never 
sung them live and wanted to make sure everybody got it. 

All in all, a nice, solid show but I've seen better (Konstanz 1996 or 
the three concerts in France 1994 come to mind). He was probably a bit 
tired and deserves a break.

Thanks for reading.

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