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Review by Joop van Veen
Last night was my 16th Dylan concert (over a period of 22 years, so a poor
average for the real fan). I counted 7 songs out of the 19 played that I
had not heard live before, so once again I was not disappointed. The
concert started 10 minutes late (no opening act, thank God) with I am the
man Thomas. I realised that Dylan's singing is as confident as it was in
the early 90's. This was very much clear in To Ramona, which was a perfect
vocal performance (and a great song to boot). It's all right ma was
steady, but not spectacular. Tomorrow is a long time is one of my
favourites, great to hear it. TUIB is a great song (have heard it way too
often). Everybody bitches about Dylan's guitar "solo's", me too, but I
realise that this is something he enjoys. Here's the deal: I'll sing for
you, but I will play some solo's and you have to accept that. Fair enough
- even though I could do without them. Country pie: just good fun. First
serious song: Trying to get to heaven. The arrangement was weird to say
the very least. It was done in a jazzy cocktail lounge way (even the stage
lightning emphasised this), and was utterly unbelievable. I have to listen
back to the tapes to determine whether I really like this or not. But as
my brother said after the song "He's not afraid of anything". Very true.
Maggie's farm was boring. Not dark yet was beautiful, another great vocal
performance (I don't even know what I'm trying to get away FROOOOM).
Drifter's escape was brilliant, an amazing and outstanding harp solo, as
good as I've heard in a long time. Pillbox hat was ok; I was amazed at the
finale where they all stand rock still while the crowd goes wild, very
funny and good stuff! Things have changed was solid, LARS passed me by
unnoticed. Fourth time around was beautiful, the sound of the band is made
for this song, GREAT. Watchtower was boring (heard it way too often). I
shall be released was a very fine version, it proves that Dylan's voice
can still handle this song, contrary to what other people might say. HW 61
was ok, Blowing in the wind was great (I can't believe I'm putting this on
paper). The current arrangement works perfectly. All in all it was a very
solid show, Dylan looks very fit and healthy. On the other hand, maybe
this band is too organised and well-tuned for my liking, no surprises -
but no balls-ups either. Time for a change?
Review by Elvis te Alkmaar
So this was Bob & the Band in Rotterdam...
The show was great although I noticed that too many mornings were broken
off quite abruptly. Love is here to stay. Thanks for the authors of
Searching for a Soldier's grave. Hoping we all will find one, somewhere
somehow. In quite a quiet place though, because rest is all we need...
(All we need is Rest! Yeah, and Love)(turn it upside down or inside out,
as you wish). It's always hard to remember to forget. There was some
change in lyrics In "Not Dark Yet" indeed, but I can't remember what. To
me it was one of the best performances of the night, all along the
watchtower as well. I was hoping that the Band played "Groom still
waiting|Dead Man" because the night fell already. I love you all, and
sober and quite clean though some druk said I am dirty. There was also
some sweet cute little ass sitting aside me. Yeah we're all assholes at
least we all got one (thanks Clint). Thanks for Things Have Changed! It
was the first time I heard the song & it sounded as ggggggood muzak to my
ears... (geintje) Wish you all the best for following links. Paid for my
ticket didn't complain was too hungry to maintain... As it always will be.
I got the usual.
(=To Be Continued. In Dutch it is an abbreviation for some disease. Good
enough for now? Greetings from some black'n'white cow...)
Review by Chris Barnard
Dylan and the band came on at 8.10 pm, Bob wearing his long black jacket,
black pants, purple shirt & tie. They started off with "I am the man,
Thomas" and the sound was excellent from the outset, with vocals high in
the mix. (Sitting next to the sound guy helps, I guess.) A quick "Thank
you" to the 7000 people packed into the Ahoy exhibition/sports center, and
then "To Ramona". Bob lowered his voice when singing the last word of most
lines, giving a laconic twist to this sweet song. It almost sounded as if
he was thinking twice about kissing her cracked country lips... The same
vocal treatment worked much better with "It's allright, ma" -- very good
delivery, the band hit a nice groove in the up-tempo part, and Bob danced
a little jig. The high point of the acoustic set was next: "Tomorrow is a
long time". Heart-achingly beautiful, soft and tender delivery. "Tangled"
got the crowd dancing and had some interesting lighting, and "Searching
for a soldiers grave" was solid.
On to the electric set: I really enjoy "Country Pie" in this slot; just a
breezy electric blast to shift gears. Bob & Larry shared a laugh at the
end. "Trying to get to heaven" then changed the pace completely: very,
very slow and focused delivery, as if Dylan was wading through treacle
towards St Paul shutting the Pearly Gate. "Maggie's Farm" received warm
applause and arm waving, with Charlie Sexton and Larry really letting go
on the guitars. "Not Dark Yet" followed, and the friendly guy next to me
summed it up perfectly when he told his mates: "OK, I can go home now." He
did not, but had every reason to leave: it does not get better than this.
"Drifter's Escape" was up-tempo and fairly unremarkable, except for the
cool harp solo that Bob pulled off while pointing with his right hand at
someone in the front row.
He then introduced the band ("some of the best players in the whole wide
world"), played "Leopard-skin pillbox hat", and they stood in line to soak
up the thunderous applause. A solid "Things have changed" followed, with
the podium bathed in purple light and Bob spitting out his views of the
contemporary world. "Like a rolling stone": very good, loved the emphasis
in the intro ("once upon a TIME, you dressed so FINE"), and Charlie showed
off his guitar skills and cool hairdo. Great suit too.
"Fourth time around" is probably my favorite Dylan song (don't ask!). When
they started playing the intro I could hardly believe it, and what a
fantastic version it was. Bob on acoustic guitar for this one, as he
described the ups and downs and absurdities of life. I applauded till my
hands hurt, grabbed my things and left.
Review by Berend P. de Rooij
First time I saw Dylan live was in the Rotterdam Feyenoord soccer stadium
in 1978, audience some 40000. Great show, great concert. Somewhere
around 1986, 87 he was in Rotterdam Ahoy with Tom Petty & The
Heartbreakers. Great concert. I remember shows in Vredenburg Utrecht,
Statenhal The Hague, Philips Eindhoven and from a few trips abroad to
Belgium, England and Germany and they were like nice to see a Dylan
concert but often a bit sloppy, amateuristic I'd say with Bob in bad form
(health problems ?) or even outright drunk and musicians like the
Watson-drummer who's more of a woodchopper. For me this goes through to
this spring when I went to the Cologne and Oberhausen shows. And now the
man is 59 years old and he seems like 59 years young. It was a f%&?!ng
GREAT concert and a f%&?! GREAT show
!! Even the lighting was better than I've ever seen it since 1978 (and !! then
half of the show was daylight). The neverending band sounds better than
ever, the PAsystem also, and Bob's voice was powerful and crystal clear !
I heard a friend say that it sounded like finally they had rehearsed the
show before bringing it on stage. Ans what a setlist ! Not only that he
did (a.o.) Ramona, Long Time, Watchtower, Released, Blowin', HW61 and 4th
Time, but the choruses (notably in LARS and ISBR) were sung by the
bandmembers in a singalong manner (lights on the audience) and BITW was
done alike. He didn't introduce it as 'we are gonna sing .....' but it
sure felt as if he enjoyed the crowd chant. Thomas and Soldiers Grave
were also sung and played beautifully, the only disappointing aspect for
me was that Bob only did one mouth harp solo (in the end of a hardrocking
Drifters Escape). On this list was a guy who took some friends to their
first Dylan concert and I could understand his apprehension. But I would
not be surprised if Bob has won some new fans. I hope he found the
directions to the AHOY stadium and that he was not involved in the ten
car road crash near Texaco afterwards. I mean, it was only 10 p.m., why
drive so fast ? I'll be certainly attending more shows on this tour, Bob
is not only the great artist and the great writer, he is also back being
the great performer. Did anybody tape the show or knows of a tape or
bootleg CD, please let me know. And when he plays within a six-hour trip
to where you live you have NO EXCUSE if you're not going. See you in
Review by Antal Buisman
At about seven o'clock me and my friend Mike entered the Ahoy sportpalace, and
it was already very crowded. Before taking our seats we had a friendly talk to
one of the security people who assured us that if we didn't take our places,
or if someone took a flash foto Dylan wouldn't play.
Nevertheless there was a small crowd standing right in front of the stage and
when the lights went out at eight a large crowd ran towards the stage. We were
still sitting and Mike said : Go for it!!
So we ran to the stage and there we were about fifteen meters away from the man
himself! I had never seen him this close and it was great because we could see
all the interaction between the musicians,
The first song was unknown to me, and the second only vaguely rang a bell, but
the came It's Alright Ma, and it was great. Bob sang the lyrics with such care
as he pronounced sentences like:"all this.... phoney" and: "not much is
really....sacred" as if he himself was astonished by these words.
Then came Tomorrow Is A Long Time which of course was in Elvis's version one of
the favourite covers of one of his songs. It was really beautiful, this love
song. I had never expected he'd play this one.
Two more acoustic songs were played and all this from the moment he came on
stage sounded really country, they even looked like a hillbilly band wearing
these nice looking jackets and cowboy hats.
During Tangled Up In Blue we could see how Bob really enjoyed playing lead
guitar and also later in the show we saw him exchanging licks with the audience
who responded with aplause and laughter.
After this country set the Strat's and Tele's were brought in for an electric
set and what a great rockabilly version of Country Pie we got!! The very young
and very nervous Charlie did a great solo!
Some more great moments came with Trying To Get To Heaven and Not Dark Yet, a
good rocking version of Maggie's Farm (Mike's favourite Dylan song, he said
he preferred the Hard Rain version, but I thought it was great anyway) At the
end there was a really cool new interptretation of 'Drifters Escape and we
finally got some harp too. Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat was played against some
sort of New Orleans Whorehouse decor (where did it come from, Was it a dia or
just a trick of the light?) and then it was over. Well not quite yet.
There was an encore of seven! songs starting with the new Things Have Changed,
which I hadn't heard yet. By this time I was really sure that Bucky Baxter was
ill or couldn't make to Rotterdam, because all the time I had seen the pedal
steel's standing unused with the exeption of All Along The Watchtower when
Larry played it. I was very happy to hear I Shall Be Released because I hadn't
that one before, the same for Blowing In The Wind which I really like in this
Highway 61 got everybody really rocking and Bob did his Chuck Berry walk really
low to the ground!
After "Blowing" it was really over and the whole band stood there for a full
minute watching the Ahoy and enjoying the applause. No one bowed and Dylan
looked like as if he would say: "I thought you were supposed to stay in your
It was really the best Dylan concert I saw untill now and I thought his voice
sounded much better and I also really enjoy the interaction between the guitars,
and especially the way Dylan plays and keeps the music from getting too nice and
I sure hope that in the near future we can expect an official 2cd set with
highlight of this tour!
Thanks Bob, see you next time!
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