October 26, 2011
Review by Dani Arrow
It’s a Wednesday Night in Munich, the Olympiahalle which would be
Munich’s biggest in-door venue to play, is sold out. Hundreds of
Music-Lovers gather at the entrance, the average age should be
somewhat between 40-50, many of them brought their kids though
and you do see a couple folks in their 20s walk around. Like myself
for instance. First way after getting inside leads to the merch booth,
where I spot Dylan shirts, Knopfler shirts (for about 30 EUR), the
classic tour posters, a programme, bandanas, stickers, hoodies, pins
and whatnot. I gotta admit going to that show as a Dylan fan, I
didn’t know any Knopfler songs at all and I didn’t see the whole set
‘cause I went for a couple smokes and got caught up in the random
talks about Bob and his Albums. What I can say though, Knopflers
songs were very well arranged, his guitar playing was alive and full
of feeling and I really liked his voice.
between Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan wasn’t too long, as the lights went
out again and the well-known Intro sounded through the amplifiers it
didn’t take long for Bob and the Band to appear with a grooving version of
“Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” that was slightly slower than the version on
the record, but just the right tempo to get in the groove and get the show
started. Mark Knopfler was up on stage adding some great guitar leads to.
He would stay for the next 2 songs as well. Next up was “It Ain’t Me,
Babe”, nice version played tightly by the band, Knopfler definitely added
some flavour here, Bob was grunting it a little too hard for my taste but
it was OK. Next song “Things Have Changed” was a little harder and faster
than on the record which I liked, Bob’s voice fit perfectly on that one
and altogether it was a really neat performance. Now comes my personal
first highlight: “Man In The Long Black Coat” in a great stomping blues
version with distorted guitars – loved every second of it. This one would
have fit right onto one of his later albums, and I liked it better than
the original studio version. Charlie was playing away by the way, I guess
being on tour with Knopfler does him well! The set goes old school
rock’n’roll with “Summer Days”, after that I’m happy to hear “Simple Twist
Of Fate” which I’ve never heard live before. Nice rendition of this one.
“High Water” comes in a version that reminds more of the original album
recording than the live version we know from Bootleg Vol. 8. It’s more
swinging than stomping this time around. Next up’s another classic “A Hard
Rain’s A Gonna Fall”, probably the oldest song of the evening together
with the encore, both from “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”. I like how Bob
did the song. I gotta say compared to the other gigs I saw him at, this
time you could really sense he was doing what he loved doing. Compared to
for example the Salzburg 2008 show, which was great, but there you got an
introverted Dylan hiding behind the keyboards for the whole set rarely
looking at the audience. This time around, Bob keeps switching between
center stage, keyboards and guitar and seems to have a great time. He
dances around a bit, really performes and is in the song knowing what he’s
doing at all times. The rocking version of “Highway 61” didn’t change much
from the past years, but it doesn’t have to. It’s a lot of fun. After
that, I hear a violin and prepare for a ballad. What I get turns out to be
my second personal highlight this evening, a gloomy, wisely sung rendition
of “Forgetful Heart” which really managed to touch the heart and just
shows how good Dylan’s new material is. He will prove that point by coming
up with “Thunder On The Mountain” right afterwards, then it’s time for
“Ballad Of A Thin Man”. I loved the arrangement, and it fits his newer
music style. Just like with “Man In The Long Black Coat” before, I wished
he’d record it these days cause I enjoyed the raspy voice and new
arrangement. Bob gets to the end of the set with “All Along The
Watchtower” and a version of “Like A Rolling Stone” which musically
probably was the closest one to the original that I ever heard him play.
The band leaves, but the audience doesn’t. There’s chants for an encore,
so Bob and the Band come out one more time and do “Blowin’ In The Wind”. I
wasn’t expecting that so it was a nice surprise. Good performance too!
Altogether I loved the show, as always, though I gotta point out that this
one might have been Bob’s best performance I got to see within the last
couple years. It’s not that his singing or the bands playing changed a
lot, but it all feels like everyone’s having a little more fun, and it all
feels more alive on this tour.
Review by Markus Atzmüller
Review, Munich, Olympiahalle, 26.10.2011
A very lively and interesting evening in a nice venue with a good acoustics (in
contrast to the bad sound in the Zenith back in 2009). The warm and melodic
75 minute Mark Knopfler set followed by Bobs rough and bluesy 90 minutes
set without substantial surprises.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed about the setlist. I really hoped for a
few rarely played tunes like Can't Wait, Cold Irons Bound, When I Paint My
Masterpiece, This Wheel's On Fire, Señor or for the new arrangement of
Honest With Me. Above that, I have already buried the hope for Leopard-Skin
Pill-Box Hat getting again displaced by Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking as
The big plus was, that Bob and his band were in a real good mood.
Concentrated interplay and a lot of smiling faces on the stage. Mark Knopfler
played guitar in the first three songs and he really set his stamp on the songs - a
nice addition to the very static setlists and arrangements nowadays.
Now to the songs:
1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - Solid version. Nothing less, nothing more.
2. It Ain't Me, Babe - Beneath Hard Rain the weakest song of the evening.
Bobs voice wasn't already on top and the arrangement was a little bit boring.
3. Things Have Changed - Best version I've heard so far. I really like the new
arrangement. Marks guitar improved the song, too.
4. Man In The Long Black Coat - The first surprise of the evening. Bob Dylan - the
perfect crooner! One of my highlights this evening.
5. Summer Days - I have never liked that tune very much and I think it's really
6. Simple Twist Of Fate - Sweet and intensive. Sure a highlight, too.
7. High Water (For Charley Patton) - That one fits in each setlist. Beneath
Forgetful Heart the best song of the concert. As always, Donnie did a wonderful
ijob on the banjo.
8. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - Not my cup of tea. Bob destroyed the song with
his fragmented singing.
9. Highway 61 Revisited - A crowd pleaser. But for the die-hard Bob fa
10. Forgetful Heart - Although I like the original on Together Trough Life even
more, this was the highlight of the evening for me. Very intensive. Goose bubble
11. Thunder On The Mountain - Overplayed just as HW 61 or Summer Days.
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man - Absolutely great!
13. All Along The Watchtower - Very well done. One of the best live versions
I've heard so far.
14. Like A Rolling Stone - Very extended and solid.
15. Blowin' In The Wind - A fifteenth song, like in Lille, France. Indeed not a
real encore because nobody left the stage after LARS. Nevertheless,
thank you Bob!
I've seen better Bob Dylan concerts (especially Munich 2002, Linz 2010) but
even worse (Stuttgart 2007 for example). In summary a solid concert with a
thankful crowd, a well-rehearsed band and a very animated Bob.
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