Berlin, Germany

Max Schmeling Halle

May 3, 2007

[Dan Hirsch], [Helmut Mehnert], [Frank Schulz], [Werner Kehl],
[John Butt], [Stefan Flach] [Reinald Purmann]

Review by Dan Hirsch

I saw Bob Dylan tonight in Berlin. What can I say?  I'm in awe. I'm transfixed 
and spellbound but also bewildered, all at the same time.  I got to the place 
3 hours before show time and joined the couple dozens who were already 
there, all sitting on the floor waiting, and an old cassette plays songs from 
various 60's-Dylan albums.  I was standing front row, right on the fence and 
in the middle up close and personal.

But I don't care analyzing the show song by song or keeping an account
of who played what instrument on what song (even though I surely noticed 
that stuff:-)

What I do wanna say, or ask is just:
Man!, what is it with this guy?
WHY does he always has the Oscar on his amp?
WHY does he never say hello, thanks or goodbye?
WHY does he never look up to the crowd?
WHY does he play so many shows a year, so many years?
WHY does he find it important to name the band members' home towns?
DOES is he really care at all what goes on on the concerts?
DO the band members know him that well, do THEY know the answers to
those questions?  (I mean, are they on our side, or on his? I feel, they're on 
our side, and ONLY he knows, what the hell he's doing)
WHY does he always have to change his songs dramatically when 
performed live?
Those and many other question and thoughts travelled in my mind
tonight, as I watched this hero of mine. Anyway, it's all mind

Sometimes he looks like he's having fun, for example when he played a
nice guitar solo on Don't Think Twice. Sometimes he gets a very grave
face and looks extremely serious, like when he sang My Back Pages or
Nettie Moore, and most of the times he just has those faces on, that
are incomprehensible.

But I love him, I really do. He's the man.
What's interesting is, we do not understand him, but admire him fully.
Like take for example Neil Young, one of my other favourite artists.
He talk a lot, he say "hello", he gives interviews and he would even
tell little stories before playing a new song! sometimes even tell a small joke!
With him, I feel like I KNOW him. Not personally of curse, but I know
what he's like, and what he likes and don't like. That makes it very
easy to identify with him. I get a little taste, you know.
With Bob you don't get that. You don't know anything (except that he
like Neil Young...)
It's a mystery to me.
Anyway nothing new under the sun I guess....

Great show, what a phenomena....



Review by Helmut Mehnert

Well, it was just another show in the long row of his never ending tour.
Nothing really particuliary about it. No first-time song on this tour.
The start with Absolutely Sweet Marie and Don't Think Twice was fine with
Bob in good temper. Those expecting to hear much from new album had to
wait, until the long recitals of Tom Thumb's Blues, It's Alright Ma and
Desolation Row had passed. Levee's Gonna Break and Honest With Me didn't
impress too much. The other new material went well and nearly satisfied
that part of the audience.

My Back Pages provoked a young guy having a beer with us after the show to
speculate about an end of Bob's career because he heared him snging: "I
was so much older than and I'm young" instaed of "... I'm younger than
that now" in the last verse. So there is nothing more to achieve for Bob

I appreciated Tangled once again in the version he did in Berlin as well
as Blowing In the Wind. Bob's pointing out of single words or phrases was
remarkable all over the show although his voice wasn't as clear and
articulated as I heard him on this years first show in Germany in Hamburg.
But what do you expect after 26 shows in a row?

I agree with the kind of thoughts in Dan Hirsch's review. This Berlin Show
is a good example for beeing forced to ask yourself questions about Bob
and yourself attending a full two hour concert with very diferrent songs
where you don't have the chance of fully agreeing with every single
interpretation. You have to decide which song version you like or dislike,
you can't love them all. And so you begin to reflect the show and the
persons on stage and ask yourself how long and how often you will accept
the same ritual of expecting something of Bob Dylan and always getting
simply the interpretation of songs with minimal show and restrained
communication. Which leaves you empty-handed in terms of emotional contact
but giving you full freedom of interpretion of what you saw and heared.
Thanks Bob and keep on keeping on as long as you wish. And surely produce
another series of Theme Time Radio Hours in autumn, where we can hear you
speaking enough...

Helmut Mehnert


Review by Frank Schulz

"Deconstructing Bobby" -- my sixth Dylan show in Berlin, and the first that 
was disappointing... With each year he seemed to get better: great voice,
focused vocals, tight band, new live arrangements. Well, his voice was 
there, and new arrangements en masse, but the much praised band was a
bunch of individuals, lost in the deconstruction of songs. They never really 
found a way to play together that night (more against each other), noise
and redundancy all night long. Bob's county fair organ was as annoying as
most of Denny's guitar licks, Donny and Stu were merely staffage, Tony and
George tried to keep the thing together in vain... A scatterbrain show.

I appreciate new ideas, as on "Desolation Row" (by the way, a good setlist
at least) or "Watchtower", but this time it just didn't work out. And
where there was no new arrangement tested (the whole concert seemed to be a test
show and not one of the last in Europe), they failed to bring across the
atmosphere from "Modern Times".

Well, one bad out of six, that's still pretty good for Dylan live

Frank Schulz


Review by Werner Kehl

In the past seven years, Bob Dylan & band have played Berlin four times
(2000, 2002, 2003, and 2005) and all those shows took place in a venue
called the `Arena´.  Judging by eye- and even more important by
ear-witness accounts and also by bootleg recordings of the performances in
said place, it seemed like Bob enjoyed playing there very much.  Then
"Modern Times" came out last year, did very well also in Germany and so it
was decided that a bigger hall would be needed to accomodate a larger
crowd that was anticipated for thursdays concert.  The show was booked at
Max-Schmeling-Halle, a relatively new building that local basketball club
"Alba" calls home.  As I anticipated, the concert wasn't sold-out so we
could have all gone back to the "Arena" which in my humble opinion is far
better suited for concerts.

Bob himself though probably enjoyed the change in venue just because he
may have been interested in the aura the new hall gave off seeing that it
was named after the legendary german boxer who stunned the universe in
1936 by beating the american Joe Louis, the then reigning heavy-weight
World Champion (in the rematch two years later, Louis took revenge and
beat Schmeling to retain his status as champion of the world).  Of course
throughout that particular time of Schmelings career, the Nazis tried to
use him for their racist propaganda machine but as is now well documented
Schmeling never gave into them.  Born in Klein-Luckow about 70 miles north
of Berlin in 1905, Schmeling retired in 1948 and went on to live until the
grand ol' age of 99.  He was a hero to generations of germans and was
highly respected throughout his entire life by much of the sporting

Apart from setting up appointments with the usual suspects, I took with me
a distant cousin of mine, Jacob, who at nineteen and hailing from Namibia
in the southwest of Africa has not yet been privy to too many concerts in
his yet young life-time.  Prior namely engagements for him were R.E.M. and
Kool & The Gang during his last german visit 4 years ago.  We stood on the
left-hand side and had a pretty good view onto the stage when the show
began at exactly 7.30.  There was much anticipation due to events at some
of the more recent shows where older, favorite songs like Absolutely Sweet
Marie (as an opener no less!) and Blowin' In The Wind (a classic which
germans especially those from the former East adore for reasons I will go
into later) were being re-introduced and set-lists being shaken up
somewhat as a result.

I won't go into each and every song and I may mess up the order here and
there, but Absolutely Sweet Marie was sweet and very nicely done featuring
beautiful violin strokes and although probably quite a few of the 7
thousand or so visitors to the show had no idea what it was this band was
playing, most of us knew we were in for a treat!

Unfortunately I cannot claim the same for the two songs that followed. 
Don't Think Twice never resonated with me, and Tom Thumbs Blues I thought
was a disaster, butchered to pieces, hung out, abandoned and left to die. 
But then came the most reliable song of this tour, the one that never
failed in all four shows I attended this spring tour: It's Alright, Ma. 
It seems that whatever happens during the first three songs (flow or no
flow), this song was destined to not fail.  It's the 'rock' they can all
safely retreat to and feel fine.  It's become on this tour what I call the
"anchor-tune" like the way Tangled and/or Silvio were when the band could
rely on and cling on to it in any given set years ago.

I was a little perturbed when I saw Bob put down the guitar after only 4
numbers.  My theory is:  if things go well and he's in a good mood, he'll
continue jamming on one more number.  If not, then he'll resort to the
keyboard/organ and assume his position which is to direct his band.  Well,
the direction taken for the next song was not particularly satisfying to
me.  Levee's Gonna Break was all balls but no bust.  Maybe if Bob would
have remained on guitar for this one it could have generated sparks, but
in my opinion it failed to ignite.

It was a surprise to hear Desolation Row right after as I wouldn't have
expected it that early in the set.  I found no fault with it but then
again it didn't really stand out that much either.  During Deal Goes Down
it was my time to buy beer for the posse and during Honest With Me I had
to go pee...

After a somewhat lackluster Rollin' & Tumblin' came My Back Pages and I
found this version to be really special.  It seemed like EVERYBODY on
stage clicked during this one.  The arrangement worked extremenly well and
I would go so far as to say that if there was one song on which most if
not all attendees of this gig could agree on, it would have been My Back
Pages; and definetly also Blowin' In The Wind.  If my memory serves me
well, this song was resurrected in Cottbus (also not too far from Berlin)
during the summer tour in 1996.  That tour had taken Dylan for the first
time thru a succession of relatively big german cities in the former East
(Magdeburg, Cottbus) and on that final stop of the german leg of the tour
in Cottbus, he played Blowin' for the first time in a few years; and the
roar from the crowd especially after the line: "How many years can some
people exist before they're allowed to be free" clearly must have left
quite an impression on him.  I honestly believe that from there on Blowin'
took on a new direction.  Just think of its inclusion in `Masked &
Anonymous´ where at the end of the film we see the character Bob plays
being driven away to the sound of Blowin'; it's an outstanding version, a
live performance from the days when Dylan, Campbell & Sexton would crown
the sets of almost every show with glorious renditions of this gem! 
Needless to say it was phenomenal also thursday nite!!

I noticed a couple of folks infront of me who had been happy to hear that
Summer Days had been dropped the night before in Leipzig and probably
cringed as that one made a re-appearance but it was pretty fiery with some
nice lead guitar work.

Tangled Up In Blue started out very promising but imploded before it even
had a chance to take off.  Bob messed up somewhat on the lyrics and the
overall impression I gathered for this song I have always cared for very
much was pretty disappointing.

Thunder on The Mountain on the other hand was probably the best song of
the evening as far as rock 'n' roll intensity is concerned, this number
had it from a-z!  I was dancing up a storm with Ulrike and Igor and I
noticed there were a few others in our vicinity doing the hip-shake too. 
Introduction followed, then came and went Watchtower, the formation and
all too soon it was lights on, show and spring tour '07 over for yours
truly and others too.

The first reaction came from my right side: Jacob thought it had been a
great concert!  The only complaint he had was that he didn't find the
guitarists very engaging, or as he put it in words: "they didn't seem very
passionate when playing a solo."  I could very much underline that
sentiment but judging by the 10 shows I've seen in the past two years with
this combo of guitarists, tonite they seemed at it with good intent
(relatively speaking that is).  The best, most enaging show I happened
upon this tour was without a doubt Duesseldorf.  From start to end
Duesseldorf was one of the best shows I've been to in the past 5 years, if
not the best!!  The 1st half in Frankfurt was also excellent but then the
rest bottomed out somewhat.  But what a venue in Frankfurt!  The
`Jahrhunderthalle´ is such an awesome place, a small hall that Bob
continues to play in regardless of how many zillion records he sells in
the area (if you want to check out a description of the place, I tried it
in my review from 6/11/2003).  And even though the sound was good tonite
in MSH, it's better when Bob plays the 'Arena'.

So my ultimate thoughts on Bob Dylan & band in 2007?  Well there were
highs, and they were darn high too!  But unfortunately there were also
moments when the weakness' of this combo were all too evident.  We have to
remember these guys - with the exception of Tony - are all still
relatively new and therefore it's much more difficult for them to find
synchronicity.  I find them not to be as versatile and as reliable as
those who were with Bob a few years back (i.e. the guitar players named
above).  At times these new dudes do connect and interlock and the rare
times when it lasts all night it is simply wonderful (I'll say it again:
Duesseldorf!!)  But there were times (like Hamburg) when it seemed like
this bunch are still trying to find their way and have trouble getting
there.  It needs to be said that it's honorable of Dylan to defend his
current band members against mounting criticism, but for him to claim that
this is the best band he's ever had is misleading, in my opinion.
Yes, things have changed and perhaps these days it's best to keep
expectations a tad lower than before.  But as long as Bob comes around to
visit I will go see him with whoever he's playing!

Thanks all for bearing with me and thanks also to those who have taken
their time to keep the faithfull posted; I just want to say that this time
around I especially enjoyed Mr Jinx' reviews.

As always a big Thanx to Bill Pagel for this fantastic site!

And of course the biggest Thankxs go out to Bob for doing what he does!!

All The best to you and come back soon if you can!!!

Werner Kehl


Review by John Butt

Berlin seemed a good location to catch Bob on his latest, much-acclaimed 
European tour. Bob would surely show a special affinity for the city where 
President Kennedy announced "Ich bin ein Berliner". I was not disappointed. 

Some reviewers - not on these pages but in the mainstream media - continue 
to complain about Bob never talking to his audience, except of course to 
introduce his band. For me, Bob's entire set-list was an intensely personal and 
purposeful dialogue with his audience. The theme was set with the highly 
appropriate opener "Absolutely Sweet Marie" - "I'm just sitting here, blowing 
on my trumpet/With all these memories you left for me." And what about 
the memories you have left for us, Bob? And the theme continued right 
through the set, up till the penultimate "Thunder on the Mountain" - "Today's 
the day gonna grab my trombone and blow."

Another complaint, from people who do not know Bob, is that he changes his 
golden oldies out of all recognition. For Bob, this reinvention of his songs is a 
search for perfection. On tonight's evidence, he seems to be reaching that 
mark, and settling down to versions of his songs not so far removed from the 
original. "Don't think twice, it's alright", for example, was much closer to the 
Freewheelin' original than the Live at Budokan version, for example. Few 
would have had any difficulty in recognizing "Just like Tom Thumb Blues" from 
the original version. "Desolation Row" was faster, with more of a shuffling beat 
than anything we have heard before, but still eminently recognizable. If Bob is 
really seriously considering re-recording some of his old songs, as he mentioned 
in a recent interview, now would seem to be a good time. Outstanding 
though Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton's acoustic guitar introduction to 
"Tangled up in Blue" used to be, few would replace Bob's current, 
harmonica-dominated introduction to the "Blood on the Tracks" classic. 

But to come back to the theme of Bob's personal dialogue with his audience, 
it is a trend which began with the 1966 concerts - though those exchanges 
were more in the nature of a confrontation than a conversation. With the 
audience challenging him with lines like "What happened to Woody Guthrie, 
Bob?" and the infamous, ultimate accusation of treachery - "Judas!" - Bob 
replied with "I Don't Believe You" and "One Too Many Mornings" - "You're 
right from your side, and I'm right from mine."

Dylan, of course - or at least Dylan's music - thrived on the confrontation. Now 
the conversation between him and his audience is much more cordial. But still 
it seems like Dylan sometimes wishes to introduce an element of controversy, 
as if challenging his own position from the vantage point of his audience. As in 
"Levee's gonna break" - "You say you want me to quit. I say 'No', not just 
yet", a theme which he takes up again in "Summer Days" - "The girls all say 
you're a worn-out star." 

Of course, now Dylan's audience is too adoring to throw down the gauntlet 
to Dylan, as the disillusioned folkies did in 1966. Now, the adoration is for the 
most part returned by Dylan: "I look into your eyes, I see nobody other than 
me" ("Levee's gonna break"). 

Nowhere is this mutual love affair with his audience more evident than in two 
songs from "Modern Times", "Spirit on the Water" and "Nettie Moore" - both 
of which were highlights of the Berlin show: "I'm gonna travel the world, 
that's what I'm gonna do. Then come back and see you…………. I'd walk 
through a blazing fire baby, if I knew you were on the other side" ("Nettie 
Moore"). In "Spirit on the Water", first of all Dylan shows the way: "Have you 
ever seen a ghost? No!", then later, when he once again puts words into the 
mouths of his audience: "You think I'm over the hill, you think I'm past my 
prime" - it is the audience's turn - emulating Dylan - to shout "No"!

And then, in a grand finale - the ultimate act of union between Dylan and his 
fans - the spotlight falls on the audience, adoringly hailing Dylan as he stands 
in a line with his band, gazing at them lovingly and appreciatively. 

"How can you say you love someone else, you know it's me all the time." 

Too true. 


Review by Stefan Flach

Due to our very premature arrival at the venue (four hours before show
start), Annika and I finally found ourselves among the lucky few who made
their way to the first row. Some chats with "neighboring" fans made time
fly, as did a makeshift attempt at playing Battleship (not reommended when
standing next to each other). At around 7:40 the lights went out and five
silhouettes entered the stage ... 

"Absolutely Sweet Marie" 

made for a better opener than in Leipzig the day before, when the fact of
seeing "Cat’s in the Well" being replaced for once was spoiled by Dylan's
hesitant and unsteady vocal approach to the song. This night he was more
confident, at least after he's gotten past the first verse; already his
singing of the first bridge (OK, let's say, the second) was more flexible
than on most of the entire Leipzig show. 
We were also most delighted to see Dennie Freeman using again his
customary Stratocaster which he had sadly traded for a Gibson jazz guitar
the day before (songs had rocked considerably less thereby). 
Things really got started with 

"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" 

Dylan leaned into the lyrics with "that inimitable authority" (Clinton
Heylin) which enables him to move statements from 45 years ago to the one
and only present, to assimilate them and distance himself from them at the
same time. In blessed minutes like these there's no meaning of words and
verses that has to be detected "on paper" - you're invited to "understand"
(emotionally visualise) them via the way Dylan utters them, together with
all sorts of mannerisms found on the way. Like in the mid-'90s, the song's
classic heyday was the "I'm walking down that long and lonesome road,
babe, where I'm bound I can't tell" lines - a cascade of words, sung at
breakneck speed. A couple of splendidly accomplished instrumental verses
enframed his vocals in a most fitting way. In my mind I presented Dennie
Freeman with his first gold medal of the evening ... 

"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" 

which uses to trade places with "Watching the River Flow" in the song # 3
slot on this tour, then introduced two features that were to characterize
most of the show: a) the prevalence of blues rock songs, b) the
"roughcast", yet nonchalant and even ironic vocals. Almost everything that
was easy and lightweight about the song in former years (but listen to
Tampa, September 21, 1993 for a stunning exception) has adopted an edgier
and gruffer quality since it was played in Bruxelles for the first time
this year. There's even something "pissed" (for want of a better word)
about the way Dylan focusses on the lyrics. In Berlin he partly sounded
like a guy ordering one drink after the other while telling the story of
his life and interspesing some jokes about it. The succession of equally
constructed verses sustained that impression. After the second
instrumental verse (preceding "I started out on Burgundy") he slighly
lossed the momentum, but nevertheless: the air in the bar was still

"It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" 

then strode the arena like a giant - the giant it's always been.
Everything was pure expression of clamour here. It was strange to see the
"old" (2002 ff.) and the "new" arrangement (debuted in Amsterdam this
year) being mixed; while I thought this could only result in watered-down
crossbreed, I was quite disabused: a new, bluesier quality has invaded the
song by now. It rocks convincinly hard but in a casual, laid-back manner.
Dylan's singing was superb throughout, as was his guitar playing (even
when it was an "air guitar" at some points - Annika laughed and tried to
call my attention to the fact that he only "fanned" his right hand but
didn't hit the strings). During the penultimate verse he came across a
vocal "spark" when raising his voice frantically on a specific word of
each line - It made for another proof of his adorable pigheadedness when
he retained it until the song was over. The audience's response was all
heat and flame. 

In the darkness between songs he put the guitar aside and went over to the

"The Levee's Gonna Break" 

I hadn't heard in concert before but only on tape. A few times I had
appreciated it (especially the Philadelphia version from last fall), most
other times it had been a bore. But, like it's always the case, you can
only fully assess the merits and debits of an artwork when you've
personally encountered it. Immediately (or after one or two verses) it
became evident that the zest of the song's unchanging sequence of
seemingly disjointed verses lies in their frenetic succession. The
despaired plea of a working man that's at the centre of the "narrative"
regulates the tempo of Dylan's delivery, the song's drive might be a
direct result of the plea's immediacy. When the song was over I realized
that I'd never understood its rebellious and even riotous quality before.
It's as if "Union Sundown" was resumed a quarter of a century past
"Infidels", together with a first-person narrator who's the offspring of
Dylan's empathy with the disabled American working class. 

Even when it's a travesty to say a song that's about ten minutes long was
the "lightest" of the evening, I thought it was the case with 

"Desolation Row" 

which others, who generally love the song better than I do, could probably
review more appropriately. Dylan's singing I thought was more focussed
than on most other recent versions I've heard, but overall my ears and
mind took a break during the song. Side note: Stu Kimball looked quite
bored and underutilized when strumming along on the acoustic guitar

"Honest with Me" 

Each time I don't immediately "get" which song is played in a concert I
try to surpress the recognition as much as possible. The song goes
"incognito" that way, without its clog of connotations. Sadly, I never
make it past the first sung words, if at all. "I'm stranded in the city
that never ..." was soon converted to "Honest with Me" = the stubborn,
hard-boiled, "adults only" rocker I've always appreciated so much.
Following the above mentioned main qualities of the show the song was most
appropriately chosen, of course. Dylan spat the words with conviction and
zest, and played around with them as if they'd never been written for
another purpose. Tons of exclamation marks were delivered in addition. The
"When I left my home ..." verse was a especially delightful as it was
brimful with vocal eccentricities. Again, I felt sorry for Kimball who was
restricted to rhythm guitar only. Even during the instrumental break
(which comes so surprisingly late in the song) the guitar "soli" weren't
distributed, like it's been the case in former years, but Freeman handled
all of them. 

At times it's redundant to see the "rockier" and the "softer" songs in
direct alternation all the time (it's been that way for years now), as
there's no continuity for either of them. It's like alternating between
salty to sweet food throughout. Occasionally, we may feel thankful for
stark contrasts, though, like when "Honest with Me" is followed by 

"When the Deal Goes Down" 

Dylan adopted a different, smoother vocal approach for this song, of
course, but still incorporated some of the previous harshness - which made
for a most delicious interaction. "We eat! and we drink! We feel! and we
think!" He was all assertive yet tender - but not in a premeditated way
(the song and its harmonic structure forwards a somewhat rhetoric vocal
approach on lesser nights). It all seemed a result of his momentary
Freeman played two gorgeously versatile soli during the instrumental
verses and was applauded overwhelmingly. While most hardcore fans are
stubbornly blind to his abilities, it seems to be different for casual
audiences ... 

"Rollin' and Tumblin'" 

was the only song that I thought was more convincing in Leipzig the day
before, where Dylan's vocals supplied it with a strongly boisterous drive.
In Berlin it was as enjoyable as any good rock song you accidentally hear
in a supermarket and forget as soon as you're back on the street. 

"My Back Pages" 

entered the stage like a dignified senior celebrating his jubilee - but
perhaps all too much so. The song's "inbred" solemnity was taken too much
for granted for my liking. In order to become concrete, the envisaged
quality would need a "shadow", a setoff. The dignified senior would have
to loudly blow his nose at times - or Dylan had to use his guitar on the
When he played harmonica during the intro he suddenly went over to Donnie
Herron, nodded his head and walked over to his "accessory" desk and
grabbed a different harp. The grumpy look on his face (raised eyebrows,
pursed lips) when he turned around was priceless. 

"Spirit on the Water" 

is perhaps my favorite song on the album, but not off the album - live
versions hardly hold a candle to the wonderfully accomplished studio take.
Dylan needs to be strictly focussed on ALL of the lyrics (their
composition, their flow), which is rarely the case. I'm not sure if the
Berlin version turned another page in this regard but it was certainly the
most colorful and versatile. "I'm as pale! as a ghost / Holding a blossom!
on a stem!" - vocal emphases came by truckload, and one was more beautiful
than the other. An adequate and satisfying version. 

"Tangled Up in Blue" 

was as subtle as a stadium announcement in Leipzig and featured more lyric
flubs than you could count. I was a tad scared when the well-known intro
was played once again. Dylan seemed to have learned by the latest
experience, though, and tried something new, which made for a utterly
fascinating and bizarre impression. After he had played a magnificent,
extended harp intro (covering two or more verses) that was pretty much an
autonomous song, things got tangled up. Moving his hands over the keys
(without striking them) many times, it seemed as if he was to set up an
adjuration of some kind. On one verse he virtually whispered some of the
lyrics. Sadly, he never seemed to get a precise idea of what he wanted to
achieve after all - and mostly lost sight of the ghosts he tried to
conjure up. They ended the song rather abruptly. 

"Nettie Moore" 

If there's one song in Dylan's current repertoire that makes for a
literally intimate experience it's this one. Owing to the subdued backing
you can hear his voice as clear as a bell - tolling in the wilderness.
Even though he sings in front of thousands upon thousands of people you
get the stunning and exquisite impression to spend time with him off the
record, privately, in full confidence. No other song since "Sugar Baby" in
2001 has presented us with this special gift - which we maybe have hardly
unwrapped by now. More than any other song on this tour, "Nettie Moore"
equals an autonomous character; each of the four times I've heard it I
felt as if I'd met someone - an entity that isn't identical with Dylan nor
with the lyrics. It'll be a future task to describe it as good as it gets.
Freeman played some spellbinding licks during the third chorus - and got
another gold medal. 

"Summer Days" 

was enjoyably rollicking, Tony laughed many times and swang his upright
bass around. Once again, it was not so much the song in itself that was
played but the song on the basis of its hundreds of versions over the
years. Side note: as the much-loved jams have become less prominent in
recent years it's Dylan's singing that plays pretty much the leading part
(for an especially interesting vocal check out the version from Sheffield,
April 14, 2007). 

"Blowin' in the Wind" 

was presented as an anthem. Period. Sparklers were lit and swung around in
the audience - an appropriate response. 

"Thunder on the Mountain" 

When I wrote in my Münster review that the song is strangely hard to focus
on and always seems to slide off the same was true for this -
vastly superior - version. Actually, it was my personal highlight of the
show. Both Dylan and the band were nothing but aggressive. While he barked
the vocals in an incredibly barnstorming way, they encircled his deliverly
like only "some tough sons of bitches" could with whom the first
person-narrator has liked to "recruit his army" with. If you didn't know
whether to take shelter or join forces with them you had to decide quickly
... It was a fantastic experience to witness qualities taking shape I
never thought the song would have. Even though the Berlin version
naturally recurred to the album take it was obvious that the latter's a
mere blueprint, a vague sketch of what the song is able to become. We got
a precise glimpse of it - and can never state anymore that we haven't. An
adorable condition. 

"All Along the Watchtower" 

Imagine you were asked to tell about the way that one tree next to your
house looked yesterday evening, could you ..? Aha. But you could tell it
was still there - ancient yet fit as a fiddle. That you'd miss it
incredibly if was gone one day. That you actually would like to thank the
gardener for all his care. No, he won't be around the next weeks. But
let's hope he'll come back soon - thankfully, he seems to like our

Stefan Flach


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Review by Reinald Purmann

What would be the right opener for a venue named for the (one & only)
german heavy-weight Champion ? Waiting for the Man &  His Band we debated
this - "Hurricane", Davey Moore" ? The usual problem of the sports-halls
seating areas, this time enlarged in a very huge, nearly filled venue. Vou
lucky General Admission floor, floating & dancing ! Tonight the band in
light-blue-suits, Dylan in black suit, white shirt and hat. The new
arranged and seldom played " Absolutely Sweet Mary.." was a perfect
opener, followed by a heart-rending "Don't think twice". A first highlight
in this show without a single weak-point was a steam-rolling "It's all
right Ma...". Changing to his keyboard, Dylan played a fantastic harp
intro for "Desolation Row". Forget the skipped verses (Neptun etc.) but he
gave the vital topics in a perfect performance of this important song.
Followed by a pure heavy-metall-version of "Honest with me". Tonight's
motto came with a majestic (newly arranged)  "My Back Pages" with his all
time statement: "I'm younger than that --- now. " - - "Tangled.." was even
better than the night before. It was stellar ! Dylan started with a long
harp intro, the keyboard was prominent in the mix. - The sound was very
all night good, but they changed the sound mix constantly. Sometimes you
hear  the perfect fiddle of D.Herron, then you only see him fiddling. Same
with the keyboard.. It is a special thing to hear "Netti Moore" live for
the first time !  I' ve heard it 3 times for the first time in a month -
it allways was very, very remarkable &v touching.  For the audience
tonight this performance after the forementioned "Tangled..." was like a
right hook of the man lending name to the venue. - When I predicted before
the show that "Blowin.." could arise, I was rejected. The picture of a
lonely man with a guitar in his fur-waist-coat asking "How many..." was
destroyed of a most rocking version of this warhorse of ages. (Shame to
you, Hollies !) . They beat the allnight acid test (we call it: Elch-Test)
with a perfect, between breath-taking silence and roof-burning -power-
rock throning "Watchtower". 

Thanks to Bob Dylan and his Band !  This show is worth seein' everywhere
... What might be the secret of this all ? If my binoculares served me
well the Man wears a big golden Diamond-ring on his left hand.ring finger,
that sparkles just before he sings... Any question ? 

Reinald Purmann   


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