Leipzig, Germany
Old Fair Ground
Messehalle 7
April 12, 2002

[Vitek Zelinka]

Review by Vitek Zelinka

This was a very good show, among the best from the 9 shows I have seen
over the years so far. It was probably a lot stronger in many aspects than
Hannover on the next day. The selection of the songs was very good, Dylan
was on and concentrated all time, right from the hopeful opener of Wait
for the Light to Shine, through the powerful and contemplative built-up
instrumental finale of Times, good rendition of Desolation Row and tender
One Too Many Mornings. The best was still to come: Solid Rock, much to my
surprise, turned to be one of the most powerful songs of the evening, both
musically, as the rendition was very dramatic, and with its message of
people expecting false peace to come. I was very pleased to get three
songs from Time Out of Mind. First of them was Can't Wait, a very dramatic
and powerful reading, with some nice cutting reggae rhytms by Charlie
Sexton. Dylan was very concentrated on the singing, changing some of the
details in the lyrics carefully. The entire song was downright spooky and
very good. Cry Awhile came next, with the verses even more hurried than in
the album version - the rendition was quite alright, but to me lacked the
magic of Cant Wait. The first electric part was closed by a well-working
Maggie's Farm, which Bob ended by a very welcomed improvisation sang in a
pressing voice: I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother, sister, pa, ma,
uncle, aunt (and who knows how many other relatives) no more. This topped
a very rocking version of the song. The second acoustic portion was opened
by Its All Over Now, Baby Blue, still nice to hear, with a very melodic
opening. 4th Time Around followed immediately, introduced by Larry's
cittern and immediately recognizable. Just a little playful piece, a sort
of parody and answer to Norwegian Wood, but pleasant enough. Tangled Up in
Blue, no matter how much of a warhorse it is, turns out to be effective
live, and it was especially so today. It also pleased the crowd very much.
Summer Days followed, evolving into a wild jam, giving all the players a
chance to show off a bit, while remaining true to the nature of the songs.
Very energizing, and all of them could not help but grin, transferring
that wicked grin to the audience. Not Dark Yet calmed things down and
brought a contemplative note and some very good, soulful singing. Bob
seems to be a lot more better on the newer songs, which suit the current
state of his voice and capture also his attention. This was proved also by
a great version of Cold Irons Bound. This arrangement is supreme and tops
the album version by far. The rhytm section made it very dramatic. The
highlight of the highlights off the evening. Rainy Day Women closed the
main part, giving a chance to jam off and introduce the band. Not Fade
Away as the first encore confirmed the importance of Buddy Holly for Bob
Dylan and was very joyful. Like A Rolling Stone is more of a
crowd-pleasing duty, but still manages to work. I had the first chance to
hear Forever Young live and was captured by its simple beauty. Honest With
Me did not do much for me, not being one of my favourites from Love and
Theft. Blowin' In the Wind is just the way for Bob to end shows these
days, no comments here. Do not listen to the song at home, but do not mind
it live.

All in all a very strong show of almost two and a half hours and some
strong and well executed selections, particularly from Time Out of Mind.
Very satisfying. The audience was diverse. Being 27, I was certainly not
the youngest person there. The venue was a typical dillapidated East
German communist factory hall with disgusting curtains, but Dylan managed
to make even such an environment warm (and you could not see it after the
lights went down) and the accoustic was pretty good.


page by Bill Pagel

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