Review by Joop Bekkema
This could heve been a historical night. Dylan singing very, very good,
and a setlist that was (apart from the standard openers and the boaring
closers) a real dreamlist. Dylan all of a sudden starts singing really
good. This must have to do something with the position of his microphone,
which is now situated at a normal height above his piano. He used to have
this critical object a few centimeters above his piano, forcing him to
sing under a very strange angle, very different from singerd in choirs and
other singers who all stand as upright as possible while singing. Dylan
now also stands upright and we all benefit from that. We also saw a very
nice setlist, with (again) a very good Down along the Cove. Who would
furthermore have expected songs like Tangled up in blue, Ballad of a Thin
man(!!), Chimes of Freedom, Blind Willie Mc Tell, and LOVESICK!!!!! The
last song alone was worth the trip to Rotterdam. Shockingly good. Chimes
of freedom could have been the second hit if Mr Dylan himself would not
have ruined the song with his stupid and awfull upsinging. During the
rest of the concert Dylan was energetic with a remarkable good voice and
only three harmonicasolo's but the band did not cope. It is useless to
talk about the great way Koella end Campbell did their job, but this band
is very average, if not below. Donnie Herron seems to have a leading role,
resulting in a lot of steel and this turns every song into a country type
of song. Even Memphis Blues again was played in a country style. As a
matter of fact, every time Herron climbed his steel guitar the rest of the
band was degraded into a Rythmsection. The highlights (the rest) appeared
to happen with Herron NOT on his steelguitar Kimball only delivered a
couple of painfully average solo's and Freeman produced a suitable solo
near the end (Like a Rolling Stone) Things have changed, since some great
players left the band. Let's face it: Dylan is great, but he is surrounded
by a bunch of average players. As a result of that, the product is
slightly above average.
Review by Howard Weiner
I can’t help it, if I’m lucky. I decided to see Bob in Europe and being
that I’ve never been to Amsterdam, I built a mini vacation around the
Rotterdam show on 10-28. The Netherlands is an amazing country. You order
a cup of coffee and you get 3 ounces of coffee and 15 plates crammed with
wafers and chocolate. At about 8:20 Cowboy Bob took the stage, my homeboy,
Hibbing in the house.
I was prepared for the typical Amazon.com beginning (circa July 16th)
and I wasn’t disappointed. Bob has fallin’ in love with his four song
opening that begins with Maggie’s Farm and then transports us to three
songs he wrote in Woodstock between 1968-1970. On this night the trio
consisted of Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You/ Watching The River
Flow/ Lay Lady Lay. It’s a sensational beginning. Lay Lady Lay was
huge; Bob has turned that cute song into a six minute masterpiece.
Gazing out of my hotel window in Rotterdam, the sun is rising. I think
it’s 6 AM or so, they don’t keep track of time here. I like it round
here; it’s some kind of strange mix of Switzerland and Germany.
The American theme ran rampant at this performance. Bob sang Stuck
Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again with plenty of gusto. I
never bothered finding my seat as I shuffled the evening away on Bob’s
opposite side. Ahoy! is a great venue, there are no hallways; you can
score a beer without losing sight of Bob.
It moved. Blind Willie McTell was brilliant. “All the way from New
Orleans to Jerusalem” never sounded so good. I don’t need to tell you
how great this performance was. Just the fact he played this as the
sixth song of the evening tells you all you need to know. “The stars
beneath the barren trees were his only audience.” No song taps into
America’s spirit and history like this. Seeing Dylan perform Willie
in a foreign country is a religious experience.
I can’t wait to get my hands on this recording. The funny thing was
there were ten songs left. No more summer tours with Willie Nelson,
please. I’m fond of Willie, but given a choice between 16 songs or
14 and a Willie show, I’ll go with choice A. I’ll Be Your Baby
Tonight was a pleasant romp with a sassy harmonica solo.
Bob’s next selections flashed us back to Europe 1966. After the
motorcycle accident, who would of though he’d be playing Europe 40
years later and offering rocking versions of Ballad Of A Thin Man
and I Don’t Believe You back to back and belly to belly. Bob and
the boys slammed into the opening instrumental like it was “66 and
the Royal Albert Hall all over again when Dylan said “I don’t
believe you….it used to go like that, now it goes like this.” The
band was tremendous, what a great way to make a living. Tony
Garnier’s been doing this for 17 years now.
Quicker paced than usual, Love Sick was next on this delightful
menu and was yet another breath taking performance. “I’m walking,
though streets that are dead/ Walking, with you in my head” I had
those lines going through my head as I was patrolling the Red
District in Amsterdam the previous night. Denny’s guitar solo was
packed with intensity. Bob had finally played one of his recent
creations from 1997, but it was as new or old as any of his songs
rendered at this concert. “I’m a sick of love…tick, tick, tick,….I
hear the clock tick/ I’m sick of love….tick, tick, tick,…I’m love
Tangled Up In Blue followed Love Sick. This wasn’t like a few years
back when this was played almost every night. It’s an honor and a
privilege to catch this song now. An action packed rocking version of
Down Along The Cove turned me into a dancing fool. Has any song in
Dylan’s catalog improved more than this one? And the American theme
continued with the all American tale that takes from the great north
woods to New Orleans, followed by a song that has us sailing down the
Mississippi River on the Jackson Queen. What a terrific ambassador
Bob Dylan is.
Bob was truly inspired; there would be no letting up. Chime Of
Freedom toiled for the faithful assembled in Rotterdam. If anyone
can make up a better set please send me an email. Instead of
wrapping up with Summer Days, Bob just pointed with his gun and said
that way down on Highway 61. I’ve seen that song so many times, but
it was extra special given the content of Bob’s show tonight. No
Love & Theft songs tonight! I so love that album, but a one show
break is a good thing.
If any other song but Like A Rolling Stone was the first encore it
wouldn’t have been right. I always cherish that song. Bob followed
with the were an American band intro by telling the audience which
city each of his mates hails from. “George Receli is on the drums,
he’s from New Orleans….Tony Garnier is on bass, he’s also from New
Orleans” That’s right folks, the good old USA. Watchtower brought
this love fest to an end. The mostly reserved audience went
bonkers, they were blown away by Bob’s bag of tricks. I’m only
catching one show this tour and I’m completely satisfied. I’m gonna
hit some coffee shops in Amsterdam and then it’s back to the good
Review by Pedro Rademacher
Rotterdam was as good as allways, really.
These days he looks like Little Richard, bangin' at the keys.
I kinda like that ballroom-punk they're playin'.
It's amazing to see the music drift from raw and edgy to subtle jazzy
tones in one single song. It's a weird, strange and therefore interesting
combination. Denny Freeman sometimes sounds like the ghost of Jerry
Anyway: I like those curtains, I like the show (now matter what he plays,
he can sing the newspaper or the telephonebook, I don't mind) very much.
I like the fact that every song has it's own gloom. Sometimes there seem
to be some tones missin', but I think they do that on purpose to create
more tension. The timing is very, very, VERY afterbeat, which is very
Must say I love the steelguitarplayer more than anything. Those tones
bring out the best in me. People complaining about this band are either
spoilt, or they don't know too much about music. They are more into
images, complaining that the old man doesn't look, feel or sounds as a
young God. Oh well. Keep dreamin'.
The crowd was dense. Lot's of young people dancing and going out of their
minds in a fine way. Lot's of old folks were having a great time, smiling
from ear to ear, looking pleased like: "I knew he'd never let me down."
I sat back in the backrows were the sound is at best (it may have been a
little louder) and walked towards the stage near the end, to get a glimpse
one more time of this strange and unique ensemble that I learned to love
so much. One would wish to live in a show like this, night after night.
Somehow I had a strange feeling that it may be a sort of goodbye, like
this may be the last deal go down. Let's hope I'm way wrong there.
Good to see the old man far from nostalgia and easy croony tunes. He's
still cranking it up as much as he can. He's not goin' out like a small
candle. He'll shake the roof one more time, Little Richard-style.
Review by Melle Gloerich
1. Maggie's Farm
Rocking intro, good singing although some mumbled lyrics. Loved it.
2. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
Ok, but little boring. Never been a fan of this song.
3. Watching The River Flow
Me and my brother first thought it was 'Leopardskin pillbox hat'
Nicely played, nothing special though. Funny how he stretched river
followed by a really short flow: "Riveeeeeeeeeeeeeeer [pause] flow"
4. Lay, Lady, Lay
A little slow, but one of the big hits for the audience it seemed.
Some cool vocals here, especially on 'big brass bed"
5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
I hoped to hear this song, because of some lyrics that seem to apply to me
'shakespeare...french girl". Was another OK song, but I don't like the
steel-guitar in this song, instead of a being in a wild west kind of ghost
town the song was transferred to Hawaii with too much of the smooth
6. Blind Willie McTell
Sool song, happy to hear it. I can't remember any special moments.
7. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
Just like "Tonight, I'll be staying here with you" a song I don't like too
much. Couldn't focus much
8. Ballad Of A Thin Man
Nicely done, I needed the rocking of this song since I missed it since
Maggie's farm. A funny mix up in lyrics: "Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting I am a cow you ask for what reason and he screams back you're a
I think at this song a, I might add, nice looking girl, threw a bouquet of
flowers on stage. The guitarist on the lefthand side (bad with names,
sorry) was kind of shocked for a moment of these flowers at his feet all
of the sudden. The guy that helps with guitars and the sound put the
flowers on top of some audio-devices behind bob. I don't think he ever saw
9. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
Never thought I would here this song, really happy. The first few, how do
you call that? Stanza's? We're mixed up, but he finished with the right
one. Was cool to hear it, but listening to the lyrics left me wondering
what the hell he was doing, the story in the song was gone. The feeling of
the song was still there, and I enjoyed it but it could've been better.
10. Love Sick
Yes! Great to hear it, nailed the song. Looked like it went on forever but
that was alright with me. The audience reacted very positive on this song,
right at the intro, it's so recognisable
11. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
OW yes! Very good performance, not a single mumble. The lighting of the
place was very nice at this song, curtains pulled up/to the side halfway
with a red light on it and the black background was full of little lights.
Like he was performing outside.
12. Down Along The Cove
Rocked ok, but I heard it the first night in Amsterdam last time and that
was so much better (remember the cool break with just Freddie Koella doing
13. Chimes Of Freedom
At first the song sounded familiar, but I didn't know what song it was, I
misheard my brother saying 'Chimes!', and I thought he said 'Times' so I
was left wondering how this song sounded since I try to map the sound to
the sound of 'the times'. Only just before he sings the first 'Chimes of
freedom' I recognise it. After the show my brother said it was the best
song of the night. Mine was still to come.
14. Highway 61 Revisited
Heard it before (I only have been to amsterdam 10-11-2003) but I really
love this song played since 2003. Right from the start it went of, like a
train or a horse. Wild and steaming. A few good guitar solo's and then it
seemed like they we're ending the song, you know how an end of a songs
like this sounds, and it was sounding like it. But after the climax and
the build off we heard the galloping of the drums again! Bob was smiling a
lot and was having fun over this fake ending after a lot of smiling and
looking to teammembers he went into the lyrics again. Rocking ending. I
guess this was the sound he was looking for back in 65 if he only knew he
was too young and too unexperienced to pull it off back then. Thin wild
mercury indeed. This was the song I liked best.
What happened then I hadn't seen before or read about it before. The whole
band came front stage and stood there for about 30 secs in full lights.
Bob was having the harmonica in his hand like a microphone and he was
moving it in front of him like he was gonna introduce the band, I was
thinkin 'Oh no, he's gonna screw it up if he's going to talk into the
harmonica!" But he didn't and they all walked a little laughing of the
15. Like A Rolling Stone
From the first note it's for sure it 'Like a rolling stone' and my
was happy to hear it. It was a in weird tone for this song, I thought it
was sad and curious. Like he was actually asking a person all these
questions because he feels bad for him and he wasn't there to help him in
this hard time. It wasn't the sneering song I expected and rememberd from
last time. It was performed very good though.
Bob introduced the band, every time he added where they were from
(Tennessee, New Orleans, etc.). I liked that, to me, it feels so worldly.
These guys from the other side of the world performing the songs here. It
also gave me the chance to really believe I was at a Dylan show, this is
him, all the way from America. Still feels that way after being in
Australia and Asia for nearly a year.
16. All Along The Watchtower
A rocking end of the show. Nothing special but cool as ever. This was only
the second song my mom recognised (together with Lay Lady Lay, she loved
the rest but couldn't make out what they were.) Bob and the band were
front stage again. Bob walked there really funny, like he was acting cool
or drunk, can't put my finger on it. He was holding the harmonica again
and it looked like he was considering to throw it to the audience, the
band was smiling and I think the drummer nodded "yes do it!". Bob was
looking to the people who were standing close like he was telling "are you
ready?". But he received the applause and went backstage.
A very nice night, way better than Amsterdam 10th of November 2003.
His voice is in better condition too, not much upsinging but more
importantly, the rough 'broken' voice is no more, it's clear. I remember
some very melodic high pitched singing, but I can't recall what song. The
sound was really good too, I was standing centre stage, saw bob en profile
most of the time and heard every instrument cristal clear. The only thing
that might be too loud was the steel-guitar. But that might be just my
Review by John Spoor, Lenno Veerman and Gert Aanen
Our Dylan tour began on Monday in Hamburg and via Berlin and Hannover ended up in our home-base
Rotterdam. How older Bob (and we) get the more restless we are when Bob is in the area. Last
year we only visited the Bonn show and now 4 shows in 5 days! We have been seen and heard 36
different songs, what a variety!
Now concentrating on the Rotterdam concert, we think it was after Hannover the best of the 4.
The Ahoy in Rotterdam is an indoor sports stadium which gives place to about 8000 people. With
long and slowly moving queues we finally got our place at 8.00pm (what a difference with the
German venues where the entrance have been organised much better). This night we were
accompanied by John's and Gert's wifes, 2 of Gert's kids (the Bobpart in the upbringing can't
be skipped) and a couple of friends (Oh Jan……… All Along the watchtower is really a Bob song).
Bob started at 8.05pm and in contrary to the German shows where the band members were in grey,
were all the band members in black. Bob also in black with a white head and a light green shirt.
He started with the usually Maggie's Farm, we think it's a good warming up for the rest of the
show. It sounds strongly and it seems this song gives him lubricant for the rest.
The surprises of this night were love-sick, tangled up in blue (3rd time this year!) and chimes
of freedom. Bob was in a good mood (he doubled up with laughter during highway 61) and his
voice was strong and clear without upsinging. Overall Rotterdam had a good setlist and was of
Our little tour has been come to an end……(for now). We had a great week with the ultimate
highlight of Visions of Johanna in Hannover (according Gert). We enjoyed our contacts with
new Bobfriends (among with Jimmy from the UK, Dieter and Uwe from Germany) and had 2 wonderful
after parties in Hamburg and Berlin (thanks to Max (John Wesley) Dax). Furthermore special
thanks to our friend from the US who gave us a special gift from Vancouver July 2005.
John Spoor, Lenno Veerman en Gert Aanen
Review by Keith Reilly
My wife and I last saw Bob Dylan perform in London in 1984 and the
concert was truly outstanding, so it is sad to have to say what a
disappointment Friday's show at the Rotterdam Ahoy was.
The set list was fine, but many of the songs seemed to have been so
rearranged that some were barely recognisable. Dylan's rather eccentric
singing voice which I had always liked so much seemed to have lapsed into
a babble with complete lines of the songs sung so quickly and with poor
intonation that for much of the time the words were indecipherable. This
wasn't helped either by the generally poor sound quality.
He spent most of the evening at his keyboard, but I couldn't hear much of
the Dylan keyboard intros found in songs such as 'Like a Rolling Stone'
which typified at least that era of his style. Also it was positioned at
right angle to the front of the stage and with his large Stetson hat, from
one side of the arena, I doubt if you would have been able to see his face
at all. OK, so we come for the music, but if you can't even see him, why
not stay at home and listen to the records? I had expected him to take up
a guitar and come out front at some stage, but it never happened save for
a few short harmonica solos and a brief nod to the audience at the end.
Most people did stay to the end, but about eight people just to the
right of me left around two thirds of the way through, and before the end,
another dozen or so from the row in front. OK, maybe they weren't great
Dylan fans and had just come along to see what the fuss was, but sad that
they didn't see the Bob Dylan that I grew up with.
All in all, this looked like Dylan on the cheap. Even the tickets were
cheap by today's standards. Maybe it suited the neo-purists or those who
can see no wrong, but for me it was just an anticlimax. Dylan never
looked like he really wanted to be there and in the end, neither did I. I
had hoped he would play 'Forever Young' (my favourite), but in the end,
I'm glad he didn't. I think I am happier if I just keep to my recorded
Review by Ot Bot Kat
A strange, sometimes boring, sometimes beautiful choice of songs this
night. Bob’s voice was good, but not inspired. Definitely not seen the
best of him tonight. He just not seemed to care all that much. After the
weak 5 opening songs came a thrilling Bind Willie, and an astonishing Thin
Man. A really weird, awkward I don’t believe you, a very strange
arrangement on this one. Love sick is of course beautiful, but again, not
sung as haunted as the deadpan man can. TUIB, nice! Down along the cove
was just WEAK. Seen him doing this one in Amsterdam twice, well it’s just
not comparable. I missed Koella here. And that’s one thing to be said
about this whole evening. This band is, apart from Recile and Tony,
average. Not as half as adventurous as it used to be. No good solos AT
ALL. NO INSPIRATION. Most of the time BORING. Highlight, of course, was
Chimes of freedom. A very special treat for us. All in all, it was a good
show, and surely no regrets for attending. But it was the weakest show
I’ve seen so far, not only for mr. Dylan himself, but mostly for this
soft, lousy band. Larry, come back! –OBK-
Review by Markus Prieur
There we were, my wife and I, for the first time at the Ahoy, to see the first of three shows
during one fine October weekend. It was our first Dylan show since Belfast and Galway, the
only two we saw in 2004. We flew in from Cork a day early, to spend some time in Rotterdam,
and even got to take a nice harbour cruise through earth’s largest port a few hours before
the Ahoy show, which was our first Dutch concert since Kerkrade 1995.
Concerning the song selection, with an average change of more than ten songs from one show to
the next during this tour so far, it is hard to guess what Dylan will pull out, so I expected
a mix of regulars and rarer songs, and this is what I got. But no reason to complain, as the
performance was better than the set list might suggest, and the band members sure know how to
play. Especially the two new guys, Donny and Denny, impressed me not a little. I think they
add some maturity to Bob’s band.
As it was our first of six shows during this tour, we stayed a little in the back on the floor
to test the waters, walking around sometimes between songs to try different vantage points.
“Maggie” was an intense opener, and pulled me right into the concert experience, which I came
to enjoy. Already the second song, “Tonight I’ll be Staying Here With You”, was the first new
one for me, having never seen it live in 47 previous shows since 1981. It featured the first
center stage harp solo of the night.
Another very nice center stage harp solo followed later on during “Baby Tonite”, which I had
not seen live since Portsmouth 2000. Actually there were some other regular songs for this
year, which I had not seen for some time, “Lay Lady Lay” I had not seen since the above
mentioned Kerkrade show in 1995, and both “Blind Willie Mc Tell” and “I Don’t Believe You”
not since May 2002.
“Blind Willie” was the first peak of the show for me, well sung by Bob, and nicely accompanied
on Mandolin by Donny. In a world where levees are not fortified to stand hurricanes, because
funds are channelled elsewhere to fight wars, it is very fitting to hear Bob Dylan sing:
“… this land is condemned all the way from New Orleans to New Jerusalem … God is in heaven,
and we all want what's his, but power and greed and corruptible seed seem to be all that
there is …”.
To end the first half Bob pulled out a very intense and enjoyable “Ballad Of A Thin Man”
(which was my first one since Kilkenny 2001), featuring another nice harp solo by Bob. My
31st “Tangled” of course couldn’t match up to my 30th, in Galway last year, which will
probably stay forever as the finest rendition I have ever heard; but it is always nice to
hear a new song for a certain tour. And “Down Along The Cove” is always welcome in my book;
I simply love these live versions ever since I witnessed the first two comeback versions of
this song in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf in 2003 (with mighty Koella on guitar), and then the
fine Galway version last year.
Just as I was pondering the fact that so many songs from the 60s were performed in Rotterdam,
and already expecting three more of those 60s regulars as the last three songs, Bob threw me
a curve ball in spot number thirteen, surprising me with the oldest song on my top five wish
list of all the songs in his current repertoire which I had never seen before; a sublimely
beautiful “Chimes Of Freedom”, for me the high point of the show, worth the price of
admission, the plane ticket and the hotel.
This song was the first European appearance in 18 years (since the nine “Temples In Flames”
performances of this gem in the fall of 1987, the first of which had actually been the
European debut of “Chimes Of Freedom”, which also was pulled out in the Ahoy in Rotterdam).
All I can say is I sure was glad to witness Bob Dylan sing this great new version of “Chimes
Of Freedom”, “… flashing for the warriors, whose strength is not to fight, flashing for the
refugees on the unarmed road of flight …”.
| Click Here
to return to the
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists