April 21, 2007
Review by Markus Prieur
Two days after the great show in Düsseldorf I went down to Frankfurt to see
another concert, my last one for this tour, as I have to go back to Cork this
week. Concerning the setlist it was very similar to the show in Düsseldorf,
songs 1-4 and 12-17 being identical, and three more repeats among the
songs 5-11. Already during the first three songs of the opening act [Dylan on
guitar] (which were warmup songs for his vocal chords somehow) I suspected
something like this, but during “It's Alright, Ma” I stopped caring, so much did
I enjoy another version of the new arrangement of this old war horse, with
Dylan shooting out the lyrics, and the band totally in sync with their band
leader. The last song with Bob on guitar was a fine new arrangement of “To
Ramona” (it had appeared twice on keyboard earlier in the tour), a song which
I had last seen in Oberhausen 2005.
Then came the main set, with Dylan behind his keyboards, starting again
with another great performance of the perfect opener “The Levee's Gonna
Break”, which (as already in Düsseldorf and differently than on the studio
track) ended with the same verse which opens this gem. “If it keep on rainin',
the levee gonna break; everybody saying this is the day only the Lord could
make.” (reflecting Psalm 118:24: ”This is the day that the Lord has made; let
us rejoice and be glad in it.”). This stunning song was followed up immediately
with another rain song, the always welcome “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall”,
which I had not seen since Erfurt 2005.
Next up was the only song of the night I had never seen live before (as it did
not appear in Düsseldorf), a rocking take no prisoners “Rollin' And Tumblin'”,
with fine guitar work by Denny; followed by another sublime and beautiful
reading of “When The Deal Goes Down”, which Dylan should not withhold
from any audience on this tour, especially as it features more very fine guitar
by Denny. Then came a small semi surprise in the set, the second “Things
Have Changed” of this year, which I found quite enjoyable, also since I had
not seen it since I saw Dylan perform it on the same Frankfurt stage in
November 2003. Another beautiful version of “Spirit On The Water”, with
more fine guitar work by Denny closed the center portion of the show.
The more predictable, and mostly rocking third part of the concert, included
one more slow song, another beautiful version of “Nettie Moore”, which
meant no Ain’t Talkin’ for me this time around. As I wrote already in my
Düsseldorf review, most people attending these shows seem to have no
clue that Dylan will not play the guitar again after changing to piano; and I
also think they actually believe that Dylan and his band come back for a real
encore because they cheer so loud after he walks off stage. When he comes
back, they have not clue that the so called encore is already predetermined.
Nevertheless, the way in which Dylan performed the two final songs of the
show in Frankfurt last night, “Thunder On The Mountain” and “All Along The
Watchtower” was very strong, impressive, and powerful. Long may he keep
touring and entertain us with his songs.
Review by Stephen Jarvis
This one started pretty much on the dot of 7:30 - the usual five-minute
burst of Aaron Copeland was cut short. The sound in the venue was good and
clear but not very loud. In contrast, at the Brussels show the sound was
very loud and often distorted - impossible to hear any detail unless you
got up close. The effect in Frankfurt was that the performance seemed
slightly subdued, which is not necessarily a bad thing. In Brussels,
Rollin and Tumblin had been wild and out of control like a runaway train
or a hydroplaning juggernaut; here, it was tight and controlled with a Sun
The early highlight was 'To Ramona' with Dylan on guitar. A lovely,
skating arrangement (setlist suggestion: 'Winterlude') with touches of the
'Third Man Theme'.
Denny received bursts of cheering and applause after each of his two solos
on 'When The Deal Goes Down'. Apart from that, he was quiet for most of
the set. But he attempted to cut loose a bit in 'Like A Rolling Stone' and
'All Along The Watchtower', and the results were not pleasing to my ears.
Forsaking his usual fourth and fifth string twang, Denny disappeared up
the fretboard and began bending the high notes. It was all wrong, bringing
back unhappy memories of the JJ Jackson years for me.
Dylan has turned 'Like A Rolling Stone' inside out on this tour - soon it
will be a ballad. His harmonica intrusion at the start serves to pull the
band back and quieten them down. This is all good: the song has too often
served as an arena-rock anthem - now it means something again. Tonight,
Dylan even managed to find some fresh nuance in 'Watchtower', though the
band were keen to thump their way to rock meltdown.
The odd thing about this tour is how familiar the 'Modern Times' material
already sounds. 'Spirit On The Water' was superb tonight, but my heart
didn't exactly lift when it started. And no matter how good the
performances, once 'Nettie Moore' starts, you know what the rest of the
set will be. Have I seen and heard too many shows? Not really and maybe.
Dylan seems protected and comfortable with this band. This means that he
doesn't walk the wire as he often did in the past. It also means that he
is not performing against or in spite of the band as he was in the
mid-90s. I wish he would stop playing arenas. If he stood in line and
waited on the floor, he'd know what a drag it is to see him in such places
(and the Frankfurt hall wasn't too bad, though, like most of them, it was
stuck in the middle of nowhere). Is the audience still mostly full of
people who only want to see Dylan once in their lives? Almost everyone
must have seen him at least once by now. Surely most people who have seen
him only two or three times have become tired of 'Summer Days' and know
what the encores will be.
But still no one on earth is as good as Dylan or even comes close. No one
has a show anything like this (don't forget that Springsteen has never
done anything that Dylan didn't already do 40 or 45 years ago - dig out
those tapes of Dylan singing with Pete Seeger).
Review by Dierk Grebe
The concert at the Jahrhunderthalle was a very special evening for me
since it was the first Dylan concert that I went so see. So I cannot
compare it to any previous shows he did in Frankfurt or elsewhere.
But it was definitely one of the best shows I've ever seen. Dylan's
voice was strong and the band played tight and powerful. Also the
sound at the Jahrhunderthalle was much better than at the Festhalle
(Frankfurt), where I saw Eric Clapton last summer and which provided a
terribly dull sound. Dylan seemed to enjoy the show, he seemed tor grin a
couple of times and sort of danced - or at least shook a litte - while
standing behind his heyboard.
Thought he didn't play any of my personal favourites such as
"Desolation Row", "Idiot wind" (seems a long time since he did that
one) or "Man in the long black coat", the setlist was awesome,
nevertheless. Highlights of the evening were "It's Alright, Ma", a
song that was certainly not in my Top-50-songs; until saturday. I
never thought this one could be played so powerful. "Nettie Moore"
might have been the best song from his new album, while other
highlights include "Things have changed", which I hoped he'd play
but never thought he really would, "To Ramona" and the inevitable
"Highway 61 Revisited".
Unfortunately, the song I liked the less was the last of the evening, "All
along the watchtower". I always prefered the Hendrix-version and in my
opinion the band didn't do such a good job on that one. It sounded
surprisingly dull (unlike the rest of the concert) und the guitars were
indeterminable. Wouldn't be the worst idea to drop the song from the
setlist or at least not put it as the closer of the concert. Leaves kind
of a bad taste if you don't enjoy the last sond as much as you did the
other 16 songs. "Like a rolling stone" would be a better closer for the
show ... or anything else but "AATW".
But all in all a great concert, great performance by Dylan and his band.
The next time he comes around, I'll be there again.
Review by Amund Bördahl
A hot night in Jahrhunderthalle: Time for Dylan and his Band. Cat's in the
well, don't think twice. Watching: It's... to Ramona. Levee's gonna break,
rain's gonna fall, rollin' and tumblin' when the deal goes - down. But
things have changed. Darkness on the face of the deep. Kill me a son. Oh I
miss you Nettie Moore, and my happiness is o'er, the world gone black
before my eyes, raise a toast to the king! That's where the music comin'
from. Rollin' like a drum. None of them along the line know what any - any
of it - is worth: You and I we'we been thru that. But why catalogue
details? Nothing came short of perfection.
Review by Gert Aanen
For us this was the last concert of the European Tour. We started in Amsterdam
on Monday the 9th. and then Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Frankfurt. With my
friends John and Lenno and in Frankfurt accompanied by my brothers Jan en Hans
we all enjoyed the concerts very much, without any exception. We listened to
in total 4 x 17 = 68 songs of which 32 different songs.
Wel now about Frankfurt. We arrived at one o'clock pm. at the Jahrhunderthalle,
a modern venue. At the parking place in front of the hall there was a fair where
some of us expand their dylan or related collection with older records. Before the
show started we were welcomed by the double dylans at the entrance who
played dylan songs in German including stand up bass, very nice! John bought
their CD which we enjoyed in the car back home.
Comparing the set lists of our 4 shows, Bob gave us in Frankfurt A Hard Rain's
A-Gonna Fall and Things have changed. Furthermore 6 of the songs were from
Modern Times. Things have changed was in a very staccato rhythm, I never
heard it that way.
What I absolutely don't understand are the critics on the band. Especially Joop
Bekkema apparently cannot live with the current band. But they fit so well in the
total performance. They play so tight and when Bob allows them they can do
their thing each of them on the right time. May be there are better guitar
players, may be there are better singers, may be there are better light shows,
may be there are singers who can dance on the stage, may be there are singers
who talk between the songs, may be some performers give autographs, may be
there are…… but this is Bob and this is his way and I like it and I hope that the
never ending tour will never end.
"Will you let me be myself, or is your love in vain?"
Review by Joachim Richter
My third concert in three days. Again I needed some coffee and later a Red
Bull to become awake.
So, what should I write about this concert. I had big hopes on this one
since I assumed that Bob and the band would deliver a great show, having
one and a half days off in Paris after it. But... dream on. The show was
nearly identical to Düsseldorf two days before. The classic songs without
big surprises. The songs from "Modern Times" extraordinarily fine, once
again. The audience appreciated the new songs very much. "Nettie Moore"
again in a strange key, similar to Stuttgart the day before.
As Düsseldorf: only an average BD concert.
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