Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 09/04/98


September 4,, 1998

Sydney, Australia
Sydney Entertainment Centre

Thanks to Carsten Wohlfeld for the following review:

Well, there's just three words that I need to describe Patti's set tonight:
Absolutely fucking amazing! Actually Townsville was even better (mainly
because she did her "Visions Of Johanna", "Horses"), but Smith and her band
were ON FIRE tonight. After opening with "Wicked Messenger" (always a good
sign), she did "Dancing Barefoot" (First time she didn't take off her boots
during this song, I guess she was still a lil sick), a couple of songs from
her new album, including a rare "Spell", before dedicating the new song
"Wild Leaves" to the families of the planecrash victims. Very moving moment
and a beautiful song as well. She also had some nice conversations with the
audience, who were yelling for "Pissing In The River" and "Because The
Night". She declined to play the former, but did play the latter even
though it wasn't on her cuesheet. Storming renditions all night with a very
emotional "Beneath The Southern Cross" thrown in for good measure. The
ended the set with a punkrocking "Rock And Roll Nigger" which gave James
the chance to sing along with Patti. I think he liked that :-) During the
break we were all discussing whether Bob would be able to top this splendid
show or not. If he would play the same boring set he did the night before,
he'd clearly lose. So we were all hoping for some nice surprises. Showtime
was 9.15 again and they started, not very surprisingly, with

 Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat

Which was solid. Bob didn't move an inch during the first three songs,
which was kind of unusual, but I guess he was determined to deliver the
good today.

 I Threw It All Away

Now THAT was a nice surprise! First rendition of this song since 1978
(that's twenty long years) and it was nicely sung at least. That the band
butchered up the intro badly and their playing was less than impressive
throughout did hardly matter. Everybody was happy to hear this very nice
song again. You just can hope it wasn't a one-off! Sounded a lot like the
other "Nashville Skyline" songs in the #2 slot, too. The arrangement is
basically a "Tonight I'll Be Staying…" spinoff.

 Cold Irons Bound

A little slower than usual and that was nice to hear, band made a couple of
mistakes but all in all it was a pretty good performance.

 Just Like A Woman

Not as good as the version from the Nuerburgring in late May, but pretty
impressive nevertheless. Very fine guitar solo at the end.

 Can't Wait

Well, I told you about my "oh honey" theory the other night and tonight
that line was fantastic. Even though they got the intro wrong they hit the
perfect groove on this one and for me it was one of the night's highlights.


Great version. Usually Kemper misses one of the breaks (I don't blame him,
there are so many different parts in this song), but today everything went
as planned and Bob finally started to relax a little more, making eye
contact with the people in the first few rows and he started to move around
a little more as well.  A black haired woman rushed to the rail during that
song, standing just a meter or so away from me, right next to Andrea
actually. Guess who it was? Patti Smith! 

 Stone Walls And Steel Bars (acoustic)

Hmmm, again? Same as it ever was: solid.

 Love Minus Zero/No Limit (acoustic)

Even though I'd still prefer a full band electric arrangement or an
acoustic renditions sans drums I have to say that this was the highlight of
the night by a million miles. Bob's singing was just heartbreakingly
beautiful. Pretty slow version as well. Just very, very nice.

 Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

Again, pretty good version with a lot of guitar soling going on at the end.
Bob let Larry play a little more tonight, which was nice to see cause
Campbell is obviously the better guitarist.

 My Back Pages (acoustic)

Was another highlight for me even though Bob seemed to have forgotten the
words at one point. Ended with a harmonica solo that was better than most
of the others in Oz so far. An unexpected singalong as well.

 She Belongs To Me

Not one of my favourite songs, but the slightly slower arrangement that
they debuted the other night suits the song just fine. Crowd loved it as
usual and that made Bob smile quite a bit. After the band intros it was
time again for:

 "Til I Fell In Love With You

which was a solid. Nice way to end a show. Bob unplugged his guitar approx.
30 seconds before the song ended, took a few bows and then turned to David
as the song ended, pointed at his drummer Elvis-style and siad something
like: "good one". Maybe it was "well done", I can't remember but it was
something along those lines. 

 Love Sick

The guitar solo was not as godd as the night before, but it was yet another
beautiful rendition nevertheless. 

 Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

Yup, that one as well. 

 Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

Was okay, but has seen better days before. At least most of the 11,000
people in the venue were happy. A cute girl managed to jump on stage during
this song (she wanted to hand hima poem, apparently) but she almost knocked
over Bob (I guess she was pretty excited) so Bob just smiled and backed off
before Tommy came and took the girl back to the side of the stage.

 Highway 61 Revisted 

Was very, very intense. One of the best version on this tour actually but
to me it doesn't make sense to play "Rainy"/"Blowin'" and the come back for
"Highway"/"Forever Young". The latter two instead of "Rainy" and "Blowin'"
from time to time would be just fine I think. Would mean a change that was
would be nice as well. 

 Forever Young (acoustic)

Pretty tired version, much loved by the crowd though. The show was a little
shorter than the first one in Sydney, around 105 minutes. It was one of the
best of the tour as well, maybe even coming close to Darwin. I guess we can
hope for some more surprises for the rest of the show as well now. Cheers
to Brett for getting me the ticket! Thanks for reading, see you in

Carsten Wohlfeld
please reply to:
"what once was your home is now a minefield" (damon & naomi)


Thanks to Stephen Crump for the following review:

In Sydney on Friday 4th, the sound was a better, though not perfect. We sat
closer (without the kids this time, unfortuneately for them) and had a good
view of his face and.. believe it or not, dancing feet! Dylan was in top
form and enjoying it to the hilt... maybe because there were very few
tourists in this smaller but absolutely rocking crowd... who knew most of
the songs and cheered for gems like "My Back Pages"... even the teenagers
sitting around us.

"Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat" was Ok for an opener. It set the mood for a good
night out and sounded pretty much straight off Blonde on Blonde. Dylan then
did another number off Nashville Skyline as the 2nd song - "I Threw It All
Away" - that was tender-bitter, country-rock at its best. I could've gone
home right then a happy man.

"Cold Irons Bound" didn't open as well as on Thursday night but built up to
a thumping finish, the band finding a groove and the audience starting to
realise that Dylan was giving a bit more tonight.

A very slow "Just Like A Woman" followed. The best electric guitar work I'd
heard yet (not drowning Dylan's voice) with some great vocals and
instrumentals. The audience didn't really cheer this one 'til the first
chorus which was strange given the instant recognition to most other songs.

"Can't Wait" was much better too. Dylan by now was moving his feet
everywhere, couldn't seem to find a place to put them, but this
restlessness showed in his voice to great effect. Many of us would've liked
a slower one from "TOOM" - this band would be perfect for "Not Dark Yet",
but Can't Wait works well in this set.

Not much more left to say about "Silvio"... nor "Stone Walls". Good songs
done well, and he kept the audience with him ... "Stone Walls" getting a
loud cheer - or was that for the acoustic guitar?!

Then he nearly brought the world to a stop with "Love-O". It's hard to
describe how powerful, sharp, tragic, soulful, heart-renchingly well he
sang this and how well the band fell into place. If you liked this on
"Unplugged", then multiple by 500%.

He then got the first verse right on "Tangled Up in Blue" (didn't have a
clue on Thursday 3rd).. and seemed pretty pleased with himself (an ironic
smile showing he knew he had to do better). The guitars were in better
synch and the audience was jumping. I can't remember when, but I think it
was here he said one of his extra "thank yous" this night... with a few
extra half bows. It was pretty clear he was pulling out all stops ...
really long ending and playing his heart out doing acoustic solos.... he
just had to know that 90% of people there were going beserk.

When he started "My Back Pages" I was ecstatic but wondered whether he'd
loose the crowd just built up into a frenzy. Not at all! Another
deep-voiced well-paced, brilliantly sung and band-under-control song that
he finished with what seemed like an endless harp solo.

People were cheering like crazy when they saw him walk to the back and
start to fumble for something!! He played harp without his guitar, harp and
microphone held to his mouth as he wandered around the stage building up
the song bar by bar to a great finish. I half expected him to give someone
a 'high five'!

On the strength of that he dropped into a funky "She Belongs To Me",
getting good audience recognition yet again, and, though not the same
intensity as the previous songs, played really well and brought to an end
just about right (no endless messy instrumentals like those that spoilt
Thursdays songs).

This funkiness was built on in "'Til I Fell in Love With You", that scored
good recognition yet again (you might recall I wrote that on Thurs. 3rd
only 2 old chesnuts got an opening clap) and brought the set to a fine

The encores were the same as Thursday but nobody minded and they sounded
better anyway! Dylan did long breaks between them, so it seemed like he
wasn't coming back on... especially after some woman got onto stage and
tried to press a bit of paper into his hands while he was playing
"Blowin..". He seemed a little shaken by that and it looked like he might
end it there. By the way, she just calmly walked to the side of the stage
just out of the lights where she was allowed to stay and dance... and.....

But no one was walking out yet! This audience wanted MORE, in capital
letters. Though less than half full, the place was roaring. "H/way 61" was
fast and furious... did he just want to get outa there or was he driven?
Who cares! It couldn't have sounded better.

Then the anthemic finale, "Forever Young" again. I'd hoped for "Knockin'.."
given reviews from early concerts in Australia but was happy enough to hear
this again, sung with such tenderness and hope. I didn't mention that, on
Thursday night, this was my 8 year old's favourite (after Love Sick!). And
deservedly so.

After many bows etc. he walked off raising his arms over his head and
putting them together like in a salute. I like to think he felt good. The
lights stayed out for ages, so we all hooted for more... still hardly a
soul leaving to grab the first cab... then came on.... then went out again
to cheers and roars... only to come back on again. Did he think about
another song? Maybe.. because the roadies were holding back too.. but that
was it.

Now if this sounds review sounds too much I tell you that walking out of
that venue was the happiest crowd I've ever been in. People seemed to
linger, smile at each other and dig deep for a last chance souvenir. Thanks
Bob, we all seemed to say. Just "thanks".

Steve Crump


Thanks to Tony Hunter for the following review:

I agree with Carsten's review of Patti Smith's show.The band really came on
with both guns blazing, full of energy and with something to prove it
seemed.After breaking a string on acoustic  guitar during Southern Cross
more strings got broken by her and the band .For the last song Patti was
deliberately busting them on electric.Watch your eyes Patti.

a top show.

Carsten's review covered the Dylan set list .I agree , a much more
interesting set list ( in my humble opinion ).

Sound seemed better  or maybe I was missing the echo as I was closer .Still
I reckon the size of the P.A. was undersize for the venue.

Silvio really rocked  and despite the pretty basic chorus the band like
playing it and it shows .Hot.

It was a delight to hear Love Minus Zero and She Belongs to me...oneof my
favourites.The harp in My Back Pages was welcome after Thursday's harp free
zone.Dylan cut a rather Chaplinesque figure as he played sans guitar , but
curiously preferred to play one handed.

Bob was less remote tonight and the crowd responded well.A slower version of
Lovesick set the encores up  and yep Highway 61 broke speed limits .hot too.

All in all a big improvement on the night before.  Not bad for a guy coming
off heart disease and into  the second half of his fifties.


Thanks to David Upham for the following review:

        Just another review from a thrilled fan..

        The cloak and dagger dangled in Sydney tonight as country dr. 
        dylan rambled through, with his band. We sat, expecting all the 
        gifts... we'd seen the set lists for Melbourne (the Mercury Mouth 
        in the Missionary Lounge), Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Townsville 
        and Brisbane; this fan was counting on Watching the River Flow or 
        The Man in Me (did he catch The Big Lebowski on his way down the 
        coast ?); maybe Matchbox or Nadine. During the first number, 
        Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, we noted that absurd bottle of wine was 
        tonight, a barrel: equally wry, but the mattress wasn't going to 
        hang quite the same, obviously.

        The garage door was still open though -- the band rocked, loud 
        and clear with few frills, making space for Dylan's guitar and 
        yeah, harmonica, down at the end of My Back Pages -- he laid his 
        guitar down and played two candescent choruses (pretty much in 
        the style of Tryin to Get to Heaven) with one hand hanging free, 
        dancing like quasimodo himself. Dylan plays harp the way Lonnie 
        Mack plays the guitar, like a hanged man: Lonnie's long dead, 
        with a downcast look from lighted eyes; Bob's still swinging -- 
        except there's no gallows step, just a crooked skip, a picture of 
        Chaplin in East Texas, or a dirt road through Notre Dame. I'd 
        like to meet his tailor.

        The core of his Grammy band was there: David Kemper on drums, 
        Tony Garnier on basses and Bucky Baxter on pedal steel and 
        mandolin; then there was Larry Campbell behind a white Telecaster 
        and Bob of course, doin' his 'electric rhythm lead' thing, 
        grounding each of the songs in his blues. Stage right led the way 
        to the back curtain, past a stage-noir setpiece from Robert 
        Johnson's classic, Love in Vain: a dark path marked by one blue 
        light and one red. It was a way to peek into the songs... down a 
        rocky road under clouds of blood, or somewhere inside the rain. 

        Bob's Stratocaster drove Cold Irons Bound and I Can't Wait down 
        Highway 61 again, like thunder -- managed discreetly from the 
        sound desk, boosting all bass at chorus climaxes. That was nice: 
        it served the songs and stirred up some of the albums gumbo... 
        And no piano, leaving Bob with just his guitar to hit, hounding 
        each tune with flatted licks, cross-country chords and Mexican 
        changes, as ever, "just a little somethin' I picked up in 
        England!"'s chaos in a Cadillac. The band's played the new 
        songs since they were on paper and they understand the old ones, 
        but Dylan will dodge easy changes (they all fall there so 
        perfectly) so for all their rehearsal, the songs never get ripe.

        Dylan's acoustic songs were performed with the band -- a gorgeous 
        surprise; everyone changed guitars and stayed amplified, with 
        mandolin replacing pedal steel. They stole a sweet waltz on Stone 
        Walls and Steel Bars, then marched through Tangled Up in Blue. 
        Later there was Love Minus Zero, Forever Young and Blowin' in the 
        Wind, each of them crafted into a good rockin' stringband 
        ensemble over Kemper's drums.

        To the critics of the venue's acoustics I have to say that on 
        Friday you missed a great concert. The system pitched the sound 
        over the fan pit and into the house where most of us sat, looking 
        down on a funky upholstered stage lit by yellow spots ... The 
        dancing may have looked a little strange if you were watching his 
        eyes but from the terrace it was a ballet in a sharp suit, a 
        low-wire act, a bit like those moves on the Hawks tour. From 
        where we sat, all vocals were clear and the band roared around 
        Bucky Baxter's steel. Larry Campbell was a regular thrill. Tony 
        Garnier drove the band, a bonafide electric, acoustic and double 
        bassman. The harp solo was fantastic, fuck, it was amazing. 
        Riding a hit record, his black dog barking, Dylan performs!  

        Tell me, where do I get a tape? Where are you, Columbia?  Send a 
        crew out to California  and film that shadow that hes chasing. He 
        should be hot by the time he joins Van and Lucinda, after Hawaii. 
        If you do release the 1966 show this year, why not a bonus live 

        One of the best things about the True Confessions tour was Hard 
        to Handle, a video souvenir of Dylan's Sydney shows with the 
        Heartbreakers and Tom Petty (where are those other songs?). 
        Another souvenir of the tour in '86 was Band of the Hand, a 
        one-sided platter on HMV, recorded (backstage, so to speak) at 
        Festival Records' Pyrmont studios, near Sydney's wharves: so do 
        it Columbia, and I'll buy it. Think: Highway 61 as a hit single; 
        follow it with A Series of Dreams, then issue all the Basement 
        Tapes, and the early Topanga Canyon sessions too.

        Dylan's reached that spooky place again, 'where the willow don't 
        bend' --  gravity's not down; somebody got lucky. Time Out of 
        Mind was recorded waist deep, with great gravity 'standing in the 
        doorway as the last rays of daylight go down.' Well come on out, 
        Bob, the dark is just beginning!

        'You ain't seen nothing like me yet'  I used to think that line 
        meant no other had appeared; but the moral is, I think, that 
        (Blonde on Blonde!) Bob Dylan himself is about to make an 
        appearance. The songs have always been a parade, from the Phantom 
        of the Opera to Little Boy Lost; now with that line of Al 
        Jolson's (another short sharp dresser), Bob's Dixie bound, up 
        there 'in the second line.' Check the dates (before they close 
        the door). He did it in Australia and he can do it there.

Return to Current Tour Guide page
Return to Bob Links
Go to the Set Lists (by city) page
Go to the Set Lists (by date) page 1997 Tour, 1996 Tour , 1995 Tour, Pre 1995 Tours
Go to the Cue Sheet page