Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 08/19/98


August 19, 1998

Melbourne, Australia
Crown Casino
Mercury Lounge

Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review:

Okay, I've done many crazy things during my admittedly rather short life,
but going to Australia, travel 19.000 km and spend 27 hours on a plane /
train is even bezond the insane stuff I usuall find quite normal. It's been a
lifelong dream for me to go to Australiaa and this was the opportunity I
couldn't let go. Thanks to Tricia, her family and my lovely host Stephen I spend
a very nice day here in Melbourne before it was time for the big event -
Bob's warm-up show at the tiny Mercury Lounge at the huge Crown Casino. We
started lining up at around 2pm, which wasn't too bad cause you actually could
wait  inside the Casino. Once the doors were opened at 7.30, we couldn't
believe our luck. The place was tiny! Actually it was so small, it gives the
word tiny a whole new meaning. They have a balcony and so there were only
aabouy 500 people on the floor. Actually I don't think they could've fitted 800
in there, it was mst likely only 650 or 700. The stage was very low (about
80 cms high, I'd say) amd it was so tiny that they couldn't put the gear too
far in the back. We eended up with front row spots (!) and if I had wanted
to, I could've touched Larry Campbell from where I was staanding. Bob was
less than 2 meters away!

There were no cuesheets tonight, Bob and Tony just made up the list on the
spot. The came out at 8.55pm and after a quick "ladies and gentlemen, would
you please welcome..." they launched into:

> Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat

My least favourite choice of course, and it was only an average version,
but I didn't care cause we were so close!

> Pretty Peggy-O

Huge grin on my face... Gunter is gonna hate me :-) Perfect version, very
laid back, Bob's singing was great and Larry was laying some pretty hot

> Can't Wait

Usually one of the highlights for me, but this version was pretty flat.
Thee band never got into the right groove and Bob's singing wasn't full-on. A

> Shelter From The Storm

Kinda started off as if it ws going to be "Simple Twist Of Fate". Lovely
version of a song I usually don't like that much. If they would play it every
night like this, I'd love it to death. I think it's getting faster every
time they play it this year, but I really like that. I think to myself: Robert
is gonna hate me... So far it was a very good, but hardly surprising
setlist. Things took a weird turn with:

> Tough Mama

Which was given the usual horrid treatent. Actually Bob looked as if he
regretted that he chose this one from Tony's shortlist about ten second in. He
just didn't like what the baand did with the song. I hated it too :-) A
long discussion between Bob and Tony followed... Were they gonna drop
"Silvio"??? YES!

> You're A Big Girl Now

Lovely version. Bob seemed to lighten up a little bit at this point,
started to move around the stage more, even smiling briefly. Yet another song I
rarely enjoy live but the band treated it very carefully and Bob'ssinging was
as good as on most songs tonight. 

> Cold Irons Bound

Yet another electric song and a great version too. Gave Tony the chaance
to show us his weird little dance. Garnier seemed  to be really into it,
dancing all night, fiering up the other guys. After the song the roadies brought
out the acoustic instruments, but Bob briefly left the stage. Goes to show
that it was a really laid back affair all evening.

> Cocaine (acoustic)

Baaad version. They got it right on the chorus with Bucky and Larry
joining in, but some of the later verses featured hardly any guitar playing cause
neither Bob nor Larry could figure out what to do with this song. Most
people around me still loved it.

> Mr Tambourine Man (acoustic)

Obviously the biggest crowdpleaser so far, but anybody could sing along
(and it was several people who tried to!!!) cause Bob coouldn't remember the
bloody words! Bastard! Honestly he only got one and a half verses right and
gave us a wild mix of the others. Pretty sad sight.

> Masters Of War (acoustic)

Made up for the bad performaance before that. Great singing, great
soloing, very impressive as always.

> Roving Gambler (acoustic)

I believe Tricia called it the best version ever and I tend to agree. The
band and Bob just got the start/stop-parts perfectly right and it was the
highlight of the show so far!

> Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

What can you say? It was there, the band enjoyed it to the max, we got
some great interaction between Bob and the people in the first few rows, big
smiles from all the guys in the band. Long guitar solo, but no harp.

> Dark As A Dungeon (acoustic)

When I called Bill Pagel laater that night he went: "Really?". I couldn't
believe it either. I can't remember if he did it at some point in the 90s or
if this reaally was the first outing for the song since the Rolling Thunder
Revue in 1976, but judging from the way the played it, you'd guess they do
it every single night. Bob was putting *alot* into the lyrics, which I
believe were delivered word-perfect. Haven't heard him sing with so much passion
and energy in a while! Bucky was having a great time doing back-up vocals.
Larry was supposed to join in too, but didn't do it for the first chorus. He
seemed to have trouble remembering his  chords and the words. Hmm,
interesting. After that we got the only Bob speech apart from "thanks everybody" all
night. "This was an old one, now one of my own". Or words to that effect.

> Forever Young (acoustic)

Uta's gonna hate me... Great version of this crowdpleaser that just seem
to come off perfectly. Sung very gently... I guess that's what usually
meeses up the song: his voice is normally too loud and  rusty, but not tonight.
Very nice.

> Highway 61 Revisited

Back to electric without any band intros. And let me tell you it was a
cooking version. Standing only and arm length away from Bob and Larry playing a
twin guitar solo might obsccure my view on things, but esspeciaally Larry's
playing was absolutely amazing. This song alone, which didn't seem to end
*at all* was worth the admisssion price several times over. After that they
took a well deserved short break.  
> (encore)
> Love Sick

It was one of those nights again where Bucky would start the song way too
early. Bob actually wasn"t even on stage yet! So he had to stop and then the
launched into what was actually very well paced, mighty fine version of
this terrific  song. Fortunately Bob wasn't flirting around with the front row
girls and pulling faces too much yet.

> Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

But on this song he did connect quite well with the people in the front,
having a great time as usual. Not that I liked the performance of the song
anz  better because of it...

> Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

Bob wanted to add a little solo to the  intro and messed it up badly. He
kinda made up for it with some terrific singing later on in the song though.
Actually a quite enjoyable version. The second to last chorus just featured
Larry and Bucky as Bob had pusshed over his microphone  stand with his
guitar while turning around. Yes, the stage was that small! After the song they
left and everybody knew that was it... but hey, they are coming back... After
more than 110 minutes on stage there's gonna be more!

> Til I Fell In Love With You

Staggeringly good version, showcasing  Larry's amazing guitar playing once
more. We got this wonderful wave/wall of sound that Larry was solelz
responsible for. You couldn't reaally hear Bob's  guitar at all which didn't do
the performance anny harm. Bob's strong singing was an added bonus. Then
they left aagain only to turn around...

> Silvio

Actually it was a major disappoitent when I say Tony say "Silvio" to
David. I reaally would've liked to get at least one how without it afterhearing
it at more than 35 consecutive shows. Anyways, they did a ddecent  job on it
and since mmosst of the Australians attending hadn't hear it live it was
fair enough to play it. But hey, there's more still!

> I Shall Be Relesed

Intros was messed up, but I actually enjoyed the rest of it quite a bit.
Stephen pointed out that he really hasn't got the right voice to sing this
song properly anymore and thatt's most definitely true, but hey, I think it's 
one of his best tunes, and if he isn't allowed to sing it anymore, then who
is? Larry and Bucky on backing vocals, which was lovely as well.

So there you have  it, Bob and crew at a tiny little place, no harp, but 2
hours and 10 minutes of high energy music, lots of smiles and the biggest
number of songs (21!!!) since Toad's Place eight and a half years ago. I forr
one feel very priviliged that I had the chaance to be there. Kinda made up
for all the trouble and financial rollercaster ride alreaady. Now I'm
terribly excited about Patti Smith's performance on friday at FlindersPark. Oh
yeah, Bob's gonna be there too (and so will I) and a report on that is to
follow shortly. Thanks for reading and I hope I didn't write too much rubbish at
5.45am in the morning.   

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

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