Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 08/22/98


August 22, 1998

Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne Park

Thanks to Tricia Jungwirth for the following review:

Tonight's show was a blast! Some great changes to the setlist from last
night and - TA DA - did you notice something about that setlist? Right, NO
SILVIO! According to Carsten ("Mr Memory") this is the first full show since
March 1995 at which Silvio has not been played. The 'new order' with 'Can't
Wait' at #3 and 'Cold Irons Bound' at #6 worked wonderfully. My own theory
is that it's become obvious that the new songs off Time Out Of Mind are
getting such wonderful reactions that they can now be considered
"crowd-pleasers" and so 'Silvio' has moved out. Of course, if 'Silvio'
returns at the following shows that theory will be blown out of the water.

Right from the kick-off tonight, with Leopard-skin Pill-box Hat, Bob seemed
to be having a lot of fun and looked very pleased with himself. Lots of
smiles, lots of dancing and sensational playing and singing. He looked very
elegant tonight, in black suit with black embroidered leaf pattern, white
satin shirt with some very fancy cufflinks, small black bow tie, the same
black boots as the last two shows, and definitely not a bad hair day. 

 I have to mention that my family were all mightily pleased with ourselves
too - last night's "wishlist" for tonight's show, one song each that we
really wanted to hear, which could be within reasonable expectation (ie, no
'Sign On The Window' or 'Abandoned Love') came up with the following:

Robert - Friend Of The Devil
Chloe - Don't Think Twice
Tricia - Simple Twist of Fate

When each of these was duly played we were all, shall I say, rather happy
and very, very surprised!

Again tonight, the stage rush occurred as soon as the lights went down,
before anyone had even appeared on stage. I guess this is a pretty
encouraging sign for the performers.

After Pill Box Hat we got a very good-humoured 'Tonight I'll Be Staying Here
With You' with delightfully "dylanesque" phrasing and vowel-twisting.

Can't Wait at #3 was perhaps the best of the three performances we've seen
this week. A real funk groove and again a vocal of enormous charm and
humour, this song was a big hit with the crowd, and rightly so.

The next song was the first of the Jungwirth Triple Whammy - an unexpected
and gorgeous Simple Twist Of Fate. A quiet, beautifully modulated vocal and
wonderful phrasing, this was the outstanding highlight of the night for me.
Simply couldn't ask for more, this one had it all.

Watching The River Flow was a romp, I really liked the playing on this one,
and pardon me for being boring, but the vocal was once again full of charm
and great good humour. Irresistable.

Cold Irons Bound at #6 and what a wonderful song this is to hear live. The
band shines on this, great bass riff and those choppy rhythms and sinuous
melody, everything meshing together perfectly, Dylan riding the momentum of
this dynamic song, spitting out what would seem to be the words of a soul in
torment with relish and verve belying the darkness of the subject. Simply great.

The acoustic set began with Robert's choice, Friend Of The Devil (who was
that man whooping and hollering? : } ), unfortunately no violin, but
nevetheless a treat, all the sweeter for being so unexpected. Can you guess
what the vocal was full of? Yep, charm and humour, a constant tonight.

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right was next, completing our trifecta. Despite
a little lyrical mix-up, seemingly compensated for by an extended guitar
jam, this was most enjoyable, very upbeat. Chloe was one very happy little

What can I say about Tangled Up In Blue? Except that I could happily see it
every night, complete with over the top guitar duels and plenty of
opportunities for strutting and mugging. Strong word-perfect vocal too. If
you're not taken in by this one, perhaps you take life too seriously? 

Okay, if you want serious the next song delivered in spades. My Back Pages
was another pleasant surprise, again a quiet and beautifully modulated vocal
performance of great subtlety and passion. Stately tempo, and the only
harmonica we got tonight, a lengthier outing than last night's two rather
cursory solos, providing a nice climax to this very well-performed,
heartfelt song which seemed most appropriate tonight.

The acoustic set ended with another gracious offering of Forever Young,
performed at least as well as the one given on Wednesday night. Beautiful.

A very funky 'Til I Fell In Love With You followed, ending the main set on a
triumphant note. 

A rather lengthy break, with the audience going bonkers, then back for
another terrific performance of Lovesick, initially not one of my favourites
from Time Out Of Mind but gaining so much with each performance I hear that
it's in danger of entering the All Time Favourites territory. In fact, it
might already be there. I now can't imagine a set without it. 

The usual Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, but again it was actually quite
enjoyable, or maybe I'm getting soft?

The band retreated, but didn't leave the stage, coming back for the now
standard (it seems) two acoustic encores. First up, a delightful It Ain't
Me, Babe, minus the cursory harmonica of last night but certainly not
lacking in charms. Plenty of mugging to the crowd on this well-received
classic, which didn't really "end" but segued into the final song, Blowin'
In The Wind. No surprises here, but nevertheless an excellent performance
with some great singing.

Again tonight we got a little dancing bow, not quite as 'Fred Astaire' as
last night but charmingly goofy. This was another great show, perhaps even
more enjoyable than last night. The houselights seemed to take a little
longer to come on and some were even hopeful of a third encore, but it was
not to be. We've had a wonderful week, with three shows each extraordinary
in it's way. So, wishing Carsten and some of the other lucky ones, who are
going on to Adelaide, a fond farewell and wistfully considering the two-week
break till our next show in Sydney, I can only say that the Melbourne 98
shows fulfilled many a dream, and I hope we don't have to wait another six

"What will we do tomorrow night?" asked Robert, "there's no Dylan show to go
to!"  Well, at least we'll be able to get some sleep now!



Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review:

After spending the day at Hanging Rock (big thanks to the Jungwirth family
for taking me there!) it was time for the third and final show in Melbourne.
Almost a sell out with approx. 11,500 people attending. Deborah Conway
opened again with what I believe was the same set she did the night before.
Patti and her crew came out a couple of minutes earlier this time around and
I have to say she ruled the world :-) After opening with "Power Have The
Power" we got some comments on the recent US bombing and how she thought
Clinton was doing the completely wrong thing. Nice one. She Obviously had
thought about last night's comments ("what do you usually have in his
venue - kangaroo boxing" she had asked the first night) as well and
apologized for her behavior: "I've been pretty nervous last night". Nice one
again. "People Have The Power" was followed by a storming "Wicked
Messenger" - by that time lots of people were at the rail already. She did
surprisingly few greatest hits tonight, "Summer Cannibals" and "Dancing
Barefoot" were the exceptions, the latter saw Patti taking off her boots and
socks again). She only did three songs that she already had played the night
before: "Beneath The Southern Cross" (which she had opened with the first
night, not as I mentioned incorrectly, "Howl"), "Dead City" and the storming
"Rockin' In The Free World", which once again was better than any version
I've heard Neil Young do. A great, great 55 minute set!

Bob and his band came out at 9.20pm, to start a set which was slightly
shorter than last night's (around 100 minutes), with:

 Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat

Bad choice of song, but Bob was already having a great time. Tonight he
didn't need his usual four songs to warm up. It rocked.

 Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You

Yet another of his lesser songs... solid version with lotsa smiles. It
could've gone all horribly wrong from here, but it didn't cause they
followed it with:

 Can't Wait

Which was finally getting really funky again. Bob's delivery was very
energetic and he was putting a lot into the singing. Haven't heard him do
this song so well in quite a while. He was singing it directly to a girl in
the front row, maybe that's why?

 Simple Twist Of Fate

11,999 people loved it to death, I thought that he had to struggle with the
words a bit too much and that kinda weakened the performance as a whole. The
singing was very passionate and sweet at times, but when had to think about
the words too hard, he forgot about the delivery...

 Watching The River Flow

Another chance for the band to show that not only Bob, but all five on stage
were in fine form tonight. Wonderful Larry solo that saved the usually quite
dreadful song. Very country-ish, yet rocking.

 Cold Irons Bound

Way above average. Bob's singing was very strong, the phrasing was new and
at times funny. Tony smiled all the way through it. Maybe cause he knew that
they weren't gonna do the #6 "Silvio'? When they put away the electric
guitars after this song, that was actually the highlight of the night for
me. Just the plain fact that after more than three fucking long years they
finally had dropped "Silvio" made me very happy. But they made me even
happier a few seconds later with:

 Friend Of The Devil (acoustic)

No violin unfortunately, but a very nice version of this rarely performed
gem. Bob messed up the lyrics at one point I believe but it hardly mattered.
Larry and Bucky delivered some heartbreaking backing vocals.

 Don't Think Twice It's All Right (acoustic)

Before the Jungwirth family had told everybody which songs they would love
to hear tonight. Eight songs in, all three of them actually got their dream
song, which I thought was pretty amazing. Yet another song where Bob messed
up the lyrics, but he didn't seem to acre. He actually even smiled when he
sang the "... a child I'm told" line twice. Larry put in the great little
solo that I first heard him do in Dijon,

 Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

Staggeringly good version, very imaginative phrasing (most interesting
variations since the "storm-all-the-way-through-it" versions from New York
in early '98) and Bob even invented a little added guitar riff to start off
the solo. That little thing sounded to me like a church bell and was either
fitting in perfectly or totally outta place. Can't decide.

 My Back Pages (acoustic)

Solid version. The harp solo at the end was - as Tricia put it after the
show - 150,000 times better than the harmonica stuff the night before.

 Forever Young (acoustic)

Much better than on Friday night. Even the ending was better, even though
the band is struggling hard to get most of the endings right. Often reminds
me of Bob's famous line from Toad's Place - "we're working on the endings

Til I Fell In Love With You

Was solid. Bob introduced the band after this song, while the guys were
almost leaving the stage. Strange.

 Love Sick

Once again a very good version. Fortunately there's very little left of the
rushed versions from Europe and it's finally going back to reaching old

 Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

Was boring as ever. Only remarkable thing: Tony joined in on backing vocals,
attempting to sing into Bucky's mic. Just goes to show how much they all
enjoyed themselves tonight.

 It Ain't Me Babe (acoustic)

Solid. No harp solo tonight.

 Blowin" In The Wind (acoustic)

Okay version that somehow seems to be out of place after "Ain't Me Babe"
though. Oh well..

All in all the best of the three Melbourne shows... If he keeps up this
pace, we definitely have something to look forward to on this tour! Thanks
for reading and thanks once more to Stephen and Tricia and her family for
making my stay more than just enjoyable! See you in Adelaide!

Please reply to:
"we had to keep the stove on all night so the mice wouldn't freeze" (grant


Thanks to John McBride for the following review:

Sitting in the auditorium, an air of expectancy -- most people chatting, a
few standing to stretch their legs.... It becomes dark, figures seen moving
on to the stage: Then the announcement: "Ladies and Gentlemen, Would you
please Welcome... Columbia Recording Artist... Mr bob Dylan.

And it starts... Highly electric, long guitar riffs, good rocking version
of LEOPARD SKIN PILL BOX HAT, a strong rocking drum beat dominating the
song. Dylan is in a black suit, centre of a group of 5: three electric
guitars (including Dylan), drums, and keyboard.  Dylan is stock still,
leaning forward into the mike, holding his guitar.... On to TONIGHT I'LL BE
STAYING HERE WITH YOU...followed by CANT WAIT.  All good rocking versions. 
Dylan is still motionless.. the sound though is crisp, clear, impeccable..
the band and arrangements are tight and perfect.

On to TWIST OF FATE.  This is the highlight so far. Its still electric, but
the arrangement is simple and uncomplicated .. His voice is smooth and
strong, and every word is sung (not spoken) crisply and clearly..He is
wanting us to understand every word this time around.... He belts out, in
that strong voice:  "...for anything but a simple twist of fate"....

He looks awful though.  He stoops slightly.  He moves in slow jerky
movements around the stage.. That is the physical appearance..but the voice
is the opposite.  Its so strong, so clear.

Then into a fast moving, fast beat version of WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW.The
music and the voice charge along at 1000 miles per hour; but still Dylan is
still,. Now he stands in a slight semi squat.  he looks so small and
wizened.. But the voice,.... its going from strength to strength,.. each
song it comes through clearer and stronger than the song before....
fantastic; and then the end of this song.....he starts to move.  He squats,
he leans and then he and his guitar play a long electric riff to end this
song.  The crowd goes berserk.

Dark again.. pitch black.. we can't see anything, and the electric guitars
begin to wail and to howl... we pick up what it is..the opening bars of
COLD IRONS BOUND.  A tour de force... He is still motionless, but the
melody is so strong, the voice, the guitars... Its as if he has grown to
ten feet tall. The whole stadium of how many thousand people are transfixed
and in the palm of his hand.  Its like 1966 in Manchester or Melbourne all
over again... For a moment it seems that Rock and Roll will rule the world.

The audience? During this song they are a true Melbourne audience. They are
still and quiet, intense looks of concentration on all their faces as they
absorb every nuance, their eyes transfixed on Dylan....No moving rocking,
standing or bopping here... It is concentration all around as the man on
stage holds us in his spell.

The electric guitars are put away..Out comes a huge bass... Strong acoustic
strums of a familiar song and a familiar tune..FRIEND OF THE DEVIL... sweet. I can die now, a happy man..I've seen him sing "friend of
the devil.. Its just like on the bootlegs... wonderful/. 

Then more acoustic..DONT THINK TWICE ITS ALRIGHT. He looks good.  Strong,
masterful, upright and tall. The keyboard guy (Bucky Baxter) is playing an
electrified mandolin (I think) ... he is tall , in a red coat and a hat,
bopping around on the edge of the stage, and we all sway along to this
classic... Did I say "Sway", we are rocking actually. Then still acoustic,
TANGLED UP IN BLUE.  Now he is leaning and whispering... the words are
slurred, not clear...He is bringing out the tune, not the words this
time...long bars of acoustic to bring out the strong melody...not my
favourite version...I'm starting to drift and dream as I listen... but
slowly.. the song picks up.. the voice gets stronger, and stronger,..he
howls out the line "tangled blue".  Its similar to the voice and
wail on the  original Bootleg Volumes 1 to 3 version of Willie McTell....
its that strong a voice...Its incredible. he's rocking now.. the band rocks
along....they are one, with the audience.  can it get any better than this?

Still acoustic..a simple clear strong guitar playing the first line of MY
BACK PAGES. We all gasp in recognition. Then the voice comes in, "Crimson
flames tied through my ears..."Its solid, strong, sweet,tuneful.. we all
sway along in a dream.... its tuneful seems we are getting a
breather from our tense, hypnotic night...and then..towards the end of the
song, he picks up the harp.. he puts it on, and it begins to wail..the
harmonica sound is loud and clear as it plays a whole verse.  The crowd
goes berserk.. the second time tonight. I think we just watched
Michelangelo painting the ceiling.

Still acoustic, FOREVER YOUNG.   Tight professional... Dylan and his lead
guitar are playing some very fancy guitar work through this song. Back to
the electric.  TILL I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU. It seems very electric, very
loud. The voice stands out over it all.. a deep voice a smooth one.. we
haven't heard much of the nasal whine tonight. 

The band walks off...we clap we shout..they come back for the encore:

LOVE SICK. the live versions are fantastic. He is a skilled craftsman at
the height of his powers, and once more has us all spellbound.  That
introduction to this song sounds so sweet.  
The lights come on, the whole auditorium is lit up, and they launch into a
classical rollicky version of RAINY DAY WOMEN...It seems we are supposed to
stand up and dance..Don't they know we don't do that sort of thing? We are
all in our forties now...we are  Melburnians.. It goes on, a few of us
stand, a few of us dance.... we dance, we clap along, we swing and sway..
it builds up stronger and louder, we sway some more...the song ends, and we
go berserk once more... the third time tonight.. the stadium erupts in a
roar of applause and cries and "thanks bobbies", and cries of "more!".. The
lights go out, the stage is lit up and we have another acoustic set.. IT
AINT ME BABE...I'm in heaven..Its wonderful. Then on to BLOWIN IN THE
WIND... the voice is clear and strong once more, the band sings along to
the chorus... we are all spellbound, hypnotised, addicted still...This
can't finish.  its not allowed to finish... a concert like this should go
on forever.

And then...the song ends...the band walks off..he's gone..We shuffle out
into the street, and begin the walk along next to the river back to our
cars. Its over.  He's in his fifties now....Maybe thats the last time we'll
ever see him.  He may never come to Melbourne again....

Ah....what a night.


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