Berlin, Germany

Mercedes-Benz Arena

April 4, 2019

[Michael Brenner], [Laurette Maillet], [Werner Kehl]

Review by Michael Brenner

Since 1978 (Dortmund) I am travelling to Bob-Dylan-concerts. Milano,
London, New York,  Lulea, Bad Segeberg, Petange, Stockholm were among
them.  Nearly every time with my old

Bob is like an old friend, coming around from time to time for a visit.
And I am happy to meet him. It feels like Bob will play his
never-ending-tour forever, and he will be there when I am long time gone
by, actually he is nearly 78 years old, I am 67.

Last night Bernd and I went to the Berlin concert.

Some of my impressions:

It was a magnificent night.

Bob played 2 hours and things have changed. He is singing beautifully. The
sound was crystal-clear, while he was doing his slow songs, one could
understand nearly every word.

My Highlights:

When I paint my masterpiece: beautiful, I was touched to tears.

Like a rolling stone: new version, dramatically changing the tempo within
the song. Great! Fun!

Don’t think twice: Bob doing a solo with piano and harp, only Tony
playing bass in the background. Definitely the highlight of the night.
Sheer beauty. Magnificent.

The crowd was enthusiastic, among them Wim Winders, the movie director.

For the time being I am working on a book „Bob Dylan – a politicical
activist?“ About him, the sixties, the zeitgeist and Bobs political
influcence on society and young people. Doing a project like this is in
sharp contrast to a night like yesterday nicgt. The times they are

In a couple of weeks I will meet Bob again  in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Michael Brenner


Review by Laurette Maillet

Berlin April 3.I arrive in Berlin at 8pm.Thomas , my CS host is waiting
for me with a nice meal : pasta with tomato sauce,salad and ice cream for
desert. We chat in French about politics.  It is pretty rare for me, now
a days, to talk about religions or politics. It could be tricky. But
Thomas is one of those ‘citizen of the world’ and we get along.In 2
hours we rebuid the world, making it a lot better and peaceful.  Back in
the 60’s and all the hopes envisioned. But….I go to bed and
dream.Berlin April 4.The sun light is shining through my curtains at
6.30am.That will be a sunny and warm day, up to 20 degrees celcius.I want
to take a chance to see Berlin again. For the 5th time,if my memory serves
me well !I walk out at 10am towards the Dom. I stroll in the streets until
I receive a texto from Johannes telling me he can’t check in his hotel
before 2 hours. Could me meet ? Certainly, yes.We find each other at the
foot of the TV tower and have a little lunch.Then walk slowl
 y towards the Mercedes benz arena.I found a surprising quarter looking
pretty much like Christiania in Copenhagen.I buy myself a grill sandwich
and relax for 1 hour alon? the river bank.I take plenty of photos of the
paintings on the buildings. Street Art is the best.Time to move again. I
reach the Wall gallery. A piece of the separation "west Berlin/east Berlin
wall" had been turned into a graffiti gallery. The venue is right next to
it.The weather is so nice that hundreds of Berliners are taking the sun
outside.I relax before the show time.6pm.Fans start lining up to get in.
It is a huge Arena, capacity 10000 !I have no difficult finding a
ticket.My good Samaritan is a big Fan. He had seen hundreds of shows, even
at the beacon ! What a chance. We can chat about the setlist !My seat is
on the side but first row, so no on in front of me.Show starts on time and
Bob is dressed in black and white. I read posts where it said his hair was
silver grey. Doesn’t look this way for me. Dyed d brown as usual !
The show is professional.  No mistake but no surprise,
neither.It is my third show on that tour and franckly Wurzburg was more
energic.At times, here, I find myself bored. The public is soooo calm.«
Highway 61 » doesn’t bring much reaction.Few fans start clapping on «
like a rolling stone «  but for no result.I see few arms up in the air
up front, rapidly disappearing into a sea of heads.Except getting up to
get some beer, no one is moving. Woah !Bob and the Band are doing their
job. I see Bob getting some drinks from the side often between the
songs.But his voice is clear.Is « thunder on the mountain «  slower
than usual ? Or is it my mind drifting away ?I stand up for the final.
That was a good show but for me, not the best.My good Samaritan will be in
Prague. So see you there afterMagdeburg. I walk the 40 minutes back
home.Thomas is already in bed.Up tomorrow at 6am.
Good night Bobby. Sweet dreams !


Review by Werner Kehl

First of all, what I'd like to know is who were the nincompoops who booked 
this gig in an arena that can hold up to 15 thousand people?  I thought after 
years of lousy venue selections in Berlin that finally they would get it right 
and host Bob and His Band in an adequate theatre but that certainly didn't 
happen this time around...

As we all know for some time now, Dylan seems keen on playing smaller 
venues and performing intimate shows in places that are suited to his kind of 
music thus appearing in classic theaters or old-timey type halls (check out 
photos of venues in Prag and Paris!) that concur to his style.  In the U.S. 
multi-functional sports arenas are surely a thing of the past; but here in 
Europe in 2019 it seems that with the exception of a few cities, promoters 
continue to stage him in a variety of soul-less arenas!!  Why??

The arena which hosted Bob and Mark Knopfler together in 2011 (now that 
made sense back then) was obviously nowhere near sold-out, in fact the 
entire upper deck was curtained-off and even in the lower section towards 
the back there were quite a few empty seats ( i guess perhaps 5-6 thousand 
were in attendance). 

I was lucky to score a ticket (was worth 144, paid 100) 20 minutes before 
8 from two dudes with an extra and so ended up on the floor to the left in 
6th row.  A bunch of speakers were hung suspended right above our heads 
so the sound was impeccable there but from previous experiences in this 
arena I had pity with folks who were further away, the impact of sound on 
them would be minimal at best.

No song-by-song analysis, I'll just say that the slow stuff (Scarlet Town, 
Soon After Midnight, Don't Think Twice, Masterpiece before it got hacked 
to pieces) worked better than the mid to uptempo songs (Honest With Me, 
LARS, Pay In Blood were to my ears dreadful) although I really did like Gotta 
Serve Somebody.  Vocal delivery was excellent (except on life-less Blowin') 
and his piano playin' continues to impress.

But all in all, this show left a lot to be desired for mainly because of the 
venue; just imagine this show in Admiralspalast or Schiller Theater (heck I 
would have even settled for Verti Music Hall right next door) but no, the 
friggin' morons mentioned above will have none of it.

The Good Lord willin' Bob + His Band will be back in a few and then 
finally will play in a setting worthy of his (and ours)!!!


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