Flensburg, Germany

October 2, 2022

[Laurette Maillet], [Sascha Priester]

Review by Laurette Maillet


From Copenhagen to Flensburg October 1st.I spend some hours in Copenhagen
before my bus. I go again to Christiana. But this time I am disappointed.
The 'hippies' are gone. It's pretty much commercial now with a lot of
tourists.Except buying weed and smoking (which I don't do) nothing is
special.The FLIXBUS from Copenhagen to Flensburg is a nice double deck bus
due at 4.30 pm. I have two seats for myself, so I am comfortable. At the
train station I exchanged the left over of my Danish coins for a sandwich
and a drink.I watch a movie on YouTube , on my phone; Jackie Chan in
the   "The deadly fist fighter." Funny Jackie! I love him. :)We
arrive  a bit late but I make it right on time to check at my "Bead
and breakfast" for 10 pm.I have a private bedroom so I take a chance to
wash my clothes :) and sleep sound.October 2sd.I rest in the morning and
walk to the venue in early afternoon. The flens-arena is on a campus and
there is nothing to do or eat or drink :(I walk to downtown Flensburg.
Nice little city, all crowded on a Sunday afternoon. I'm happy to be back
in Euro zone and buy myself some food. I can figure out the price without
calculator :)Back to the venue. Tonight the show is at 7pm. Probably, like
suggested Bob Russel , to give the crew people time to 'undo' the stage,
drive to Magdebourg, and 'do' the stage again in early morning.I arrive by
4.45 pm to bump into Marie. Marie is a Dylan follower. She is special as
she is traveling on a wheelchair. She arrived with her father who doesn't
want to go to the show, so Marie asks me if I want to go with her as a
'service' person. Yes, sure.We get in at 5 pm and wait :)We are on the
balcony, left of the stage.The Arena is smaller than Copenhagen. Maybe
5000. Quite full.Bob starts on time.With an intro piano for "Watching the
river flow"."Masterpiece" is remarkable tonight. My highlight. Bob saying
"thank you Art lovers" and something else I don't hear well."Rubicon" my
second highlight.Bob moves quickly three times center stage.I see that he
is wearing his cowboy black boots :)I stand and dance for the Rock songs
as there is no one behind me.The floor people are static. No much
enthusiasm :( except again for "I'll be your baby tonight". Well done!On
"Serve somebody" Bob sits at the piano for a solo that is not supposed to
be there. Tired?Right after a quick introduction of the Band I see fans
trying to reach the stage. But Erik, the new security man, is vigilant and
"flash" the fans to go back to their seats. Venue security guards take
positions and no one will reach the stage :( . The good old days are
gone.Bob was doing his job but nothing was exceptionnel. The Band is
tight. All the songs well performed.I enjoy myself with Marie. All by
ourselves in a corner of the balcony.In the morning I bumped into Ian
Gallon staying in the same motel as me.After the show I ask him if it's ok
to walk together back 'home'. And finally I change my bus ticket for a
train ticket for tomorrow.Instead of 3 am we'll leave at 9.15 am. :)All
together a nice journey in Flensburg.Many will be in Berlin. Some
will make it to Magdebourg.


Review by Sascha Priester


I guess, most striking is the overall change of the sound since my last
concert in Stuttgart 2019. It is really difficult to describe, you have to
be there, see and hear but, most important maybe, feel it.  Watching The
River Flow and Most Likely You Go Your Way have this „finding the way
in“ to the performance in this careful, subtle manner - an approach
fitting for every song yesterday. The band‘s hemicircle of the band
frames Bob like an ancient Roman theatre, always concentrated and in eye
contact with Bob. All of them are excellent in the waves of sound they are
creating, while I was most impressed with the acoustic of the hall being
able to hear all the nuances - and, by the way, remembering all these
great players this band has had in the last decades, now celebrating the
current incarnation. Just look, what an outstanding percussionist, drummer
and pacemaker we have here in front of us, creating this new tapestry
carrying Bob’s voice and piano play in an innovative way. A tapestry,
building up volumes, reducing them. Spitting out words, having love with
them - and having more than one laugh, too („… so beautiful - when I
paint my *laugh* masterpiece“).

The older tunes were executed fine, all of them, but my personal dream
come true was to hear finally the current album in its near entirety. One
masterpiece after the other, I Contain Multitudes, Own Version Of You,
Black Rider, Key West, Crossing The Rubicon or Mother Of Muses being
highlights in this beautiful tower of songs.  Hey Bob, when you may read
this crazy fan‘s unstructured sentences, you may think about a
performance of Murder Most Foul in the city, that is so deeply connected
with JFK, in Berlin this week. Hm, what do you think?:-)

After one „… sit and watch the river flow“, Bob did exactly this. He
sat down. This is now kind of a problem, because when he sits, you see
maybe some hair above the top of the black „piano barricade“, which
would have been a disaster for the whole concert. People, who paid a real
fortune this time for the tickets (with lots of seats being empty in the
hall) were already worrying and chatting. Tony & Co. were laughing,
everything was fine. He stood up again…

But now on a very serious note, my theory regarding this piano: The
massive instrument is not a wall to hide Bob from us. This is not a bad
habit by an old cynical and misanthropian person with strange attitutes
towards his audience. If you ever had such thoughts, forget them - it
could not be more on the contrary!

We all have witnessed it during the last years: Bob as a very old man has
become visibly weaker - but he is mentally strong as hell. He uses this
„barricade“, that is obviously very massive and maybe also fixed in a
special way, to stabilize him, when he stands. He wants to stand, he wants
his face to be seen.  The mic is adjusted to this position and he fights
for it the whole evening, even prayed for it so heartbreaking in Mother Of
Muses. In the later songs, obviously getting more tired physically, he
plays piano with one hand, but not with the other waving free, but getting
a firm grip at the piano‘s edge. Even both hands did so last night
sometimes. This incredible discipline and way to deliver the best
performance for him, but also us (the many ‚thank you‘ and short
speeches yesterday were astounding), also regarded the one and only harp,
during Every Grain Of Sand. Beautifully started, he played the harp with
both hands, bluesy, inspired, full of life, power and wisdom. And just
when I thought, please never stop this again, one hand searched for the
balance again. Bob continued the harp break with just one hand, then
closed with the piano. He also was at least three times walking to his
right of the piano - a place left free in the hemicircle - to the center
stage to show himself in full, standing there - great moments to show our
respect to this incredible talented, gifted and brave artist being still
on the road.  See you in Magdeburg tonight, when the gods and the muses
are with us. Thank you, Bob, for getting another glimpse of your universe.
Thank you for - everything.


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