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Review by Mattias Davidson
Got back from this evenings show, and hope I managed to pull myself
together enough to spell, to some extent, correct.
Met a collegue and Bob-cat on the bus to the "Sporthalle" who said that
the sound in the auditorium usually is quite bad. This evening he was
wrong, apart from the first 30 seconds of "I am the man Thomas" the sound
was crisp and clear. Dylans singing was focused, always in tune, and
really inspired. He bended the wovles, turned the words around, stopped
and started, paused, and delaied the phrasing and verses, over and over.
Just like we are used to. But this evening, I'll tell you, he did it no
less than great, and I'm sure the tape will say the same (not mine, but
someone elses). The venue vas not full, my guess is 5000 people, and those
who did not by the remaining tickets I can only feel sorry for.
A few notes on the songs this evening.
I am the man was a nice starter,
even though the first verse was screwed up since they simply did not turn
all the amps on.
MBP was great you could tell that Bob was in great form,
wearing his dark/black suite, I am to short to tell what shoes he was
It's alright Ma was probably the best I've heard. Focused great
playing and really inspired and expressive.
Love-0 was also just that.
Tangled featured some really cool (weird) guitarr playing from
Bob, and it was by far the best version of it I've heard. Bob used his
voice this evening in so many ways it was really amazing. From the depths
of the darkest oceans... all in one breath. A cool thing to note is that
the light technicians here used spot lights from fron/below casting huge
silhouette shadows of Bob and the band on the back of the stage. A picture
of that (which noone took I'm afraid) would be worth the ticket.
Searching, was nice with great singing from the three front row
Country pie rocked and coutrified major parts of Hamburg, and
after that came Standing in the doorway. Need I say
it was amazing, and I was not prepared for this one. A friend of
mine commented on the cool cymbal work that made me think of "sad
eyed lady". Guess that is since its in the same beat. Following that great
rendition (first live I've heard ever) came a simply splendid
Tombstone blues, which seemed to end up in quite a different
arrangement when it comes to the timing between instruments and vocals.
Bob just found something there, and he kept it. This is exactly the way it
would have sounded if it would have been on the q-sheets in 66.
Dignity was great, and I sure want to hear it on a recording.
My guess it will sound even better there.
Cold Irons... well, this was really
something, heard this version before, but this was by far better.
The best way to describe would be like driving a convertible in 150mph in
the middle of the night on a higway crashing into hells-ditch, over and
over again, SPOOKY.
Leopard Skin. Here it is time to say a few words of
praise to Charlie. That man is amazing when it comes to what he does best.
And we all know what that is. This version was the third different kind of
blues in the last four songs, and the word is HEAVY (perhaps even more so
when it comes to Tombstone).
This was the first set, and the applause was enormous. Bob and the band
stood in line, basically still, recieving them for more than a minute or
so. After a quick break they came back to give us a great
Things have changed, which had changed, only a tiny, but still a
bit, from this spring.
Like a rolling stone was, once again, the best live version I've
heard, and, I mean, it's not a bad song or anything...
4'th time around...... cannot come up with anything here, how
about "great" or "mindblowing". That will have to do. Bob's singing was
Perhaps the weakest part of the show (at least if you look at the
songs surrounding it) was Watchin the river. It was still by far the
greates version of it I've heard.
Now, I shall be released, and everybody sings along.
Highway 61, rocks harder than ever before (perhaps once againg the
best live version...)
Blowing in the wind, by far the best live version. There was one
passage where I just could not believe the way he sang it. I did not think
he could do that anymore, reaching down really low. Will be quite evident
on the tape, which I btw. would like to announce my interest in... have
lots of stuff you'd be interested in....
I just have to end by saying that next to me stood a 70+ year old lady
that Bobbed along with the rest of us. Her hair was grey, she was happy,
and man, was I happy to see her.
SUM = Mindblowing.
CONLUSION: What the hell is he going to give us next? Paradise city?
Review by Nils Eigenwald
As usual Dylan didn't waste a second and began the show at 8 sharp. For
those among us who were not used to his concert habits, this was quite
surprising and I saw some people running into the hall with their beers
and their snacks in their hands. Maybe they missed the first half of "I am
the man, Thomas" but this wasn't that bad anyway because the mixer only
had the monitors on. I think it was a good version, but I only one other
recording before. Then came "My back pages", one of my favorite songs. The
band was very concentrated and I especially enjoyed Larry's contribution
on the fiddle. First real highlight was "It's alright, Ma". The
arrangement was as pushing as it can be and Bob chose the phrasing of the
words with much care. Then came "Love minus zero". In my opinion, they
really messed that one up. This is perhaps one of the few tunes that
should be played without drums, because it loses its intensity. Compared
to the outstanding rendition from the "Unplugged" sessions this one was
very weak. Also "Tangled up in blue" was played better lots of times
before, I guess. It was just too slow (Davids fault?) to blow away our
minds, even though Bob obviously had fun singing it (which is just amazing
considering the fact that they play it every night). I was already
waiting for the next one to come, but then - by the end of the song - it
was like a late kick off, because suddenly they put so much energy in it
that I couldn't believe my ears. It was like someone had switched on some
switch behind the stage. Bob played a really good solo and saved this
performance. The next song was tune I had never heard before: "Searching
for a soldier's grave". I liked it mainly because they did a very good job
singing together all the time. This was the end of the acoustic part of
The electric part began (as it could be expected) with "Country Pie". For
all those who will never get used to Bob's guitar playing this was a great
opportunity to enjoy his music without the master disturbing the balance
of the performance, because he left the key parts of the guitar work to
his sidemen. Larry and Charlie proved once again that they are excellent
musiciens and made this rendition of the song a very special one.
"Standing in the doorway", in my opinion one the best tracks form "Time
out of mind", was also played very well (first time for me to hear it
live). The following song was for me the absolute highlight of the whole
concert: "Tombstone blues". It reminded of the unplugged version which I
like very much anyway but this performance was even better. Not a single
mistake from the band, and Bob did a terrific job. I've never heard a
better version of this song. It was just too cool to be true. A nearly
60-year-old man rocking the house away, swinging and dancing as if he just
wrote it the night before. The second disappointment of the evening was
"Dignity". Don't get me wrong, I really admire David's playing, but he is
just not the right drummer for this song. There are lots of tunes which
have improved thanks to his filigrane work behind the kit, but this song
just doesn't groove like it did before. Again I have refer to the
"Unplugged" album and to the way Winston Watson used to play it. "Cold
irons bound" was good, but I prefer the original arrangement. The last
song of the main set list was "Leopard-skin-pillbox-hat", business as
usual. After this one they stayed on the stage to receive the ovations
from the audience. And I wondered what Bob feels in moments like this and
if it is still something special for him after all these years.
They came back with "Things have changed". I'd bought the maxi-CD a few
days before and I think it's just incredible that someone who has written
so many wonderful songs during his career, is still able to write such a
song. Noone in the world can use words like he does, he is and will always
be the greatest songwriter of all times. "Like a rolling stone" was good,
but again they should have played it a little bit faster. The third encore
was "4th time around", which sounded absolutely brilliant to me. "Watching
the river flow" was a little boring, I think the way they played it in
spring (Hannover) was much more like it should be played. "I shall be
released" might be a crowd pleaser, but it's just good song with beautiful
lyrics and a nice melody. The audience really appreciated that one. Even
though I'd heard the last two songs of the show many, many times I didn't
mind hearing them once again. "Highway 61 revisited" rocked and "Blowin'
in the wind" touched our hearts like it always does, especially when the
chorus is so well sung like it was this evening.
All in all it was a very good show with a few weak performances so I have
to say that it was not one of the most brilliant ones of all times (sorry
but I'm not one those who admire everything he does just because he is Bob
Nils Eigenwald, Hamburg
Review by Reinald Purmann
by Reinald Purmann / Started to be written onboard a-train to Hamburg in
search for the "terrible feeling of deja vus" -which this man will
neverever give you...Like a satellite Dylan today returns to germany to
cover his fans in the western parts and to complete his orbit 2000 .
Highest expectations in my heart from the tremendous Berlin-Concert, 4
month ago. (Which would be fullfilled later this evening...) -It starts
with a neat security-work, who fingered through pockets and bags and
shelved all the video-equipment, tape-decks and all kind of cameras to
real media-exhibition. The Sportshalle is the biggest venue in Hamburg,
but more like a high-school-sport-center, with a field for basket-ball and
some rows on three sides. The stage is the fourth. 4000 peoble mostly
standing in the infield, a very mixed crowd, 3 generations alltogether,
short hair, long hair, grey hair, no hair... Ligths dimmed out some
minutes before time and without our trade-brand "Columbia recording
artist" anouncement, the Man & his band jumped in the show with
"Thomas"!. Little sound-problems where immediately solved and it all
starts very well. Smoke over the stage, on wich Dylan appeared in black
suit, white shirt, black tie. Trousers with blue&silver embroidered
stripes and black/white cowboy-boots. Kemper with a white stetson, Garnier
with some stripes on his jacket-arns. Thats for the eye. They start very
concentrated, Dylan in a very good voice, intense phrasing, special in
"it's allright Ma". Than it goes a little more relaxed with a knee bending
Man for "Love Minus Zero". "Tangled ..." - heard so often, - and in
exactly the same row for nr. 3 to 5 four month ago in Berlin - brings no
deja vus, because intense singing and a somewhat fresh performance,
enriched with a nice effect of the bands silhouette strobo-projected on
the grey curtain on the back at every "tangled up in blues". Keep on
keeping on over to the -for me - unknown "Searching for a Grave", the
electric part opens with a hot, sweet and energy-filled "Country Pie",
served by the man with some smiles on his Buster Keaton-style-expression.
Very good singing, intense phrasing for "Doorway" wich led to a real
crowd-pleaser - "Tombstone Blues". Some changes in phrasing, some smiles
from the stage and the crowd was really in it. Followed from my personal
high-light "Dignity" ("purman looking through painted glas...). The
message was delivered with every word and line, and all on the stage
seemed to be relaxed and happy about their art. A rocking "Cold Iron",
with a changed arrangement that I prefer, pleased the crowd and than our
used "Leopard Skin Pill Box..", some smiles and the "formation" of the
band, keeping their applause. "Things have Changed" seems not so well
known. All songs now with high quality in every aspect, real good singing
an a perfect band. Big highlight was "I shall be released", Dylan dancing
in unique style and than I get a little deja-vus fróm his 1978 "Ballad of
a Thin Man" in the Deutschlandhalle... Back to reality it closed with
"Blowing...", crowd a little pity of the missing ofc the harp, which was
longed for. It ends at 21.55 with a very satisfied and animated Hamburg
audience. For me is important to say, that set-lists - so welcome ever
might be - will not give us a real picture what is happening around this
man. His songs have strength from past to future, but he changes things,
handled them in different ways you expected and so renewed their message
and impression. Use your chance to see the Man and his cool band. Good
wishes for us all, that the neverending tour will meet their name.
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