Mainz, Germany

Volkspark (Open Air)

July 7, 2019

[Amund Børdahl], [Laurette Maillet]

Review by Amund Børdahl

Greetings from Volkspark: Sehr gut. UNBELIEVEABLY sehr gut. First, what a
nice place this People's Park was - like a heavily scaled down version of
The Roskilde Festival (also a nice place!), without the dangerously noisy
warm-up bands all over the place beforehand, only the good atmosphere, the
bierstube stands, the weather, the people. To stay in the park in the
company of one's beloved brother and his best friend surely did not put a
damper on anything. And what a concert. Think of this man's past. Think of
what we owe this man "for having created new poetic expressions within the
great American song tradition," as the The Nobel Committee for Literature
put it. Think of his back catalogue, his enormous bag of tricks. Think of
his fame. Think of his consistently evolving art of the highest quality
imaginable, at the age of 78. Overheard from a conversation between two
old-timers towards the end of tonight's show: "If he does this at 78,
think of what he can do when he's 80!" Think of the fact that his latest
collection of self-authored songs included a number like "Scarlet Town."
Tonight's version was perhaps the strongest of them all for the past two
weeks; or is it simply that the song grows stronger on each listening?
Earlier in the set he played a "When I Paint My Masterpiece" which made it
hard to decide which leg to stand on, which eye to wipe; it was
excruciatingly beautiful. Same with "Don't Think Twice" (the one I hoped
for, last time was in Bergen two weeks ago; and I hoped my companions
would get to hear this heartbreaking version). And "Love Sick"? After the
unsurpassable Hamburg renditon yesternight (strictly, the night before; I
missed out on Braunschweig yesterday, on force majeur: a garden party for
an 82 year old lady, family stuff, a great evening on its own terms, where
was I, oh yes:), I could hardly believe my ears. I caught the eyes of my
brother on this one; he seemed to understand. The sound was perfect, the
song evolving to new hights; he slows it further down, his diction softens
miraculously without any harm done to the edges, it's an all time keeper,
and think of the ever stronger versions he has done of this song for the
last three decades! No one, none of the old war horses (still alive and
kicking) comes even close to what this man can do and does. He was the
best back in 1965 (think of it), he is the very best now; think of that.

Surely, a number of people were moving around the area, some heading for
another bier or five; some, for all I know, having so-called conversations
of the type that annoys concertgoers who let their minds wander instead of
concentrating on what's going on upstage; and some, perhaps, were restless
out of cell phone abstinences. But there was not a Danish music journalist
in sight,* the big crowd was certainly enjoyed, and besides, I moved
freely around the area myself, with plenty of space to do my dancing,
crying and laughing while searching for phrases to sing my praises (okay,
I know, but I am writing this fast); btw, have I mentioned that the
Tempest song "Soon After Midnight" is among the definite highlights in the
set? Also, I cannot recall having actually been looking forward to the
encores at a Dylan concert before: My standard reaction has been oh no,
it's soon all over... But the "Blowin' in the Wind" he sings now grows on
you; and "Train to Laugh" leaves you humming and footworking all the way
home in your metros and busses. I can't say I never liked this song (to
put it that way); but now I really do like it. Talk of shining up a pearl.

*Note in passing: Much to my surprise I actually spotted a couple of
exiled Danish music journalists (Ekstra Bladet, Berlingske Tidende and/or
Jyllands Posten), leaving the area after "Like A Rolling Stone," heading,
to judge from their looks, for their Spotify play lists of who-knows-what;
as sure as I was of having seen those same persons being dragged through
the mud at The Roskilde Festival screaming "Dylans sammensætning af sange
gik igen fra koncerterne i Norge, Sverige og Finland!" and things like
that (never mind; Danish is a goobledygook language anyway, especially in
the hands of their badly paid and not too good-looking music journalists),
they must have managed to escape somehow - but what the heck were they
doing at a(nother) Bob Dylan concert? How little do we care! They were
soon out of sight; "The Early Roman Kings" took over, in their sharkskin
suits, all da yonga woman going cracy. End of note.

To conclude, not that I am running out of superlatives - O ye Lovers of
Literature & Schöne Künste, roll over if you don't know: The Breaking Bad
of the Singer-Songwriter Tradition, The Walter White of Folk Rock, The
Back of Beathoven, oh well - but I want to make this short for other
reasons (it's called "SugarMegs"; check it out, if you're not already
there): "Var det en bra konsert?" family & friends ask from their cell
phones in the north when the show is over. (It means: Was it a good
concert?). The answer is blowing in the wind at 670 616 629 miles per
hour: Yup.

Amund Børdahl


Review by Laurette Maillet

Mainz.I arrive with Hans and 2 others by car in early afternoon.We are in
a park and the stage is set up.There will be a sound check earlier than
usual as the show will start at 7 pm. It is an open air show but
sitted.Bob will not be on stage for the soundcheck, only the Band. There
is a Fans pre-show meeting at the Cafe next to the stage.Many Bobcats
arrived from different direction : some from Netherlands, some from
France, some from Austria, some from Switzerland, some from Belgium, some
from Italy, some from Poland, some from the UK, some from Japon, some from
Austalia, some from USA, some from ...Germany.The whole old bunch of
followers.Bobby should be happy!I get in and decide to stand on the side,
right from the stage, so I can see Bob's profile on the piano.I have eye
contact with Bob's security guard (not Barron) who doesn't seem to mind me
being there.Even at all time the venue security people will make sure my
view is not blocked. Whoa!I am in heaven, dancing and singing a
 long.More and more people will pile up, standing, on the right aisle and
 the left aisle. Exactly what I love.Bob is great. The Band is great
 though I don't see any of them.He will do "Can't wait" at the piano which
 is good for me as I will not see him center stage for "Scarlet town".He
 made a lite mistake on "Love sick" ; he forgot the 'Sometimes'
 on...'sometimes the silence can be like thunder'.Other than that all was
 perfect."Don't think twice" was the choice of the 3 choices ; "Don't
 think twice" , "Girl from the North" , "Spanish boots of Spanish
 leather".I didn't feel the static set list tonight. For me it was a brand
 new show. A brand new public.Even the ancient Bobcats were there tonight.
 Feeling like the good old days.On the negative side ... A lot people came
 to have a good time and were pretty drunk and not respectful. A lot
 walking in front of the stage and back and worth.Shame!Well.It was a show
 I will remember.Thank you Bobby. Thank you the Band. Thank you the
 security people.Have all a safe trip. See you at the next show.


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