October 25, 2011
Review by Joachim Richter
October 25, 2011, 2:30 p.m.: We arrive at the hotel in the inner city of
Mannheim where Dylan usually stays when touring there. By chance I get a
nice parking lot in front of the hotel with perfect view to the hotel
entrance. The busses who pick up Dylan and the band are expected to arrive
after 3 p.m. so we stay in the car, still quite relaxed, looking at the
hotel. Usually, a handful of Dylan's security people would then appear in
front of the hotel to safeguard the way between hotel entrance and bus.
And, usually, you won't see the boss before this ceremony is completed.
2:50 p.m.: No busses have arrived and no watchdogs are checking the
sidewalk. No Dylan fans waiting at the hotel except for us. We fear that
we are in the wrong place.
2:55 p.m.: SURPRISE. The hotel door opens, Dylan and his bodyguard come
out for a walk. I jump out of the car, in my hands my old vinyl longplayer
"Slow Train Coming" and a sharpie. As I approach Dylan quite swiftly, his
guard looks at me as if he wants to kill me or as if he wants to say "How
can you dare to come so close to my master". Dylan however stops and
looks at me. I look at him. Me (smiling friendly): "Pardon, Mr. Dylan,
would you sign that for me?" Dylan (very friendly but clear): "No, I don't
do that." Me: "I've heard about that... can't you make an exception?"
Dylan: "No. I CAN'T do that." Me: "Ok... thanks". I see that there is no
chance and I step back. The strange couple continues its walk. Dylan drops
a letter into a yellow mailbox of Deutsche Post. They turn off into a side
street. My sister who stayed in the car is now coming out. Obviously she
was struck by lightning but is quickly recovering. She goes behind the
couple, finding them some minutes later looking at the shop window of a
specialty store for violins. She asks the same question to get the same
Evening event: Obviously Dylan has lost some of his security paranoia (see
above as well). No security check at the entrance. Everyone who wanted
could have carried a gun to the interior of the venue.
Mark Knopfler: Not a good idea to put an opening act before a Dylan show.
Mark Knopfler and his band mates know how to play their instruments and
obviously they did some rehearsals before the tour which is good. "Sailing
in Philadelphia" and "Brothers in arms" were really beautiful. The other
songs sounded boring to me. I didn't like it and I felt that Mark
Knopfler's and Dylan's music don't fit anymore. It reminded me just a
little bit to Dylan's 1984 tour with Joan Baez.
Bob Dylan: To me this was a concert with 4 stars out of 5 which is rare.
Mostly you have either 5 stars or very few but not 3 or 4. Highlights were
refreshed performances of "Summer Days" and "Highway 61 Revisited".
"Forgetful Heart" and "Ballad of a Thin Man" were even better, both very
intense. "Desolation Row", not my favourite anyway, was bad as Dylan
didn't sing but just spit out the words while misusing his keyboard.
This was a jubilee as it was my 25th Dylan concert since 1978. Let's see
how much more there are still to come.
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