Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 04/14/99


Madrid, Spain

April 14, 1999

Palacio de deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid

Review provided by Antonio Curado

Here we go again, after a travel from the North of Spain, bringin' it all back home. The
next performance I was going to see wasn't far away from my home in Toledo, on Wednesday,
after my job. A new night full of desire. Right back on the Palace of Sports of Madrid, my
biggest preocupation was about the sound. The echo use to be a terrible obstacle for the
usual performances in. Even Bob played here in 1989 (I was just fifteen then and I couldn't
go) and the people use to remember that performance like a thunder which appears and
suddenly dissappears, horrible sound and a Bob Dylan begginnin' to sing too late and going
of the stage without a word and too quick. It was a terrible fight after the show. I have
some papers of the time and the reviews tell something like "Dylan go home". I've got the
tape of this show and, like the usual, the reality is really different. Obviously the sound
isn't too good, but you can hear Bob playin' a Hank Williams number (Heart of gold), with
incredible passion, a great "Tambourine" and fire over "Simple twist of fate". Now I had
came to this place with a man that was there on the days of 89, Jan, the man who had put
often my brain off showing me the shelters that the Dylanesque World hides inside. Out of
the place I meet a holland couple that had been in Santiago too, great boys who told me
happily that they had never seen Bob laughin' before Spanish tour. They talked about
miracles of Spain. Well, if you say that, I must believe you, Lionel (I think that this was
your name). I'll drink a beer for you and Bob.

This time the show began at exact hour. Since the days of 89 the times really have changed,
and on stage there is a boy roaming for the gold of his music now, searching the meaning of
dignity. It was a new shock to me (even more than to find a professor of mine at the
university on the audience, the man who introduced me long time ago on the poetry of Vergil:
the reason for his presence was a terrifyc tape I cut for his son with the songs of a great
guitar player called Bob Dylan). Tonight Bob seems to be cool, easy, relaxed, he plays the
lines of "Friend of the devil" fulling of grace the crowd. A man by my side cannot believe
it. Campbell and Bucky Baxter sing the chorus and give power to the Garcia Tribute, magic
again. Bob dances on the gymn. He is a powerfull jockerman by this time. People is broken.
The times really have changed.

The second number was "Fourth time around" again. Now Garnier plays the contrabass. The
verses take me to the Santiago station īcause althought we usually want new numbers on the
set, we want a return to the magic of his mistery perform too. Jan was out of his skin. The
band ended this one and stayed while a surrounding Dylan began "Masters of war". When the
first lines are sung, the drum atacks with a monodic and beating letany of horrors. I really
thought that this had been the greatest  "Masters" I never heard (with the one at Grammys
91). At Cartagena 95 it was played too, but I don't like the arrangements of this time, not
even in Woodstock 94. The drum gives Bob's voice a new feeling of despair, a strange kind of
hate born now. Worth than the blood... And after, here comes the long time waited "Love
minus Zero", sweet and rytmical, making me cry. The acoustic set went on with "Donīt think
twice" with no harp (Bob didn't use it this time) but powerfull, more even than in Santiago,
melancholly, like a strange way of new goodbye. Everytime Dylan played it on stage, my
nerves were trying catch the legend of the brokenhearts,   everytime I hear this song Iīm
more convinced that it's the perfect one to say hello and goodbye, a song that means terror,
fidelity, and cruel love, maybe the truth, the only, and the ghost of Elvis lives really in
(think about it). Althought I can't forget the days of Merida, when "Don't think twice" was
a howl absolutely desperated. "Tangled" came with new lines and the crowd so lonely they
could cry. The perform was growing and Bob was on stage like a pair of shoes on the Fred
Astaire's feet. The last "acoustic" number hit me: "Forever young". While I was listening
it, I close my eyes, 'cause you need often feel just the music inside your veins, while the
blood flows like the sea and the heart beats like pendulum swinngin' on chains (what a pain
that he didn't play "Trying to get the heaven" again!). May God doesn't bless me but in
order to make it, here is Mr. Bob Dylan.

A break on the show was announced by Dylan, but it didn't happened (just one minute). The
fact is that the electric set on the concerts had been the most important revolution on my
soul. Less predictable, harder, a great stuff wich came with the tunes I was trying to
imagine before every show. Please, understand me. I could hope "Donīt think twice", "Times",
"Tambourine", "Love minus", "Masters", "Tangled" (of course) but the tunes on the electric
set... Wow!! On Madrid was more risk. I suppose that Bob was convinced that a hard set would
be more accepted here than in a town like Santiago. He wasnīt wrong. Peopled flied. First a
hard rockin' "Watchin' the river flow", soundin' hillbilly and puttin' my mind back on the
tops. I've got nothing too much to say. And then a song that really means a specially thing
to me: I played on a band two years ago, playin' the acoustic guitar, and on every show I
used to sing two Bob numbers: "Joey" and "Seņor", and we played "I`ll be your baby tonight"
too. Now Bob is playin' "Seņor" on stage, but something funny happens. After the first lines
Dylan sings "You know my hearts are made in leather". He missed all the verses! It was
really strange, he was really doubtfull, touchin' his hair and showing the mistake with the
break of his face. But this need a comentary: it`s strange, but on Barcelona 84 the same
happened. You can hear this great show (to John Bauldie the great one) on a bootleg called
"From the coast of Barcelona", and the most of the lines are missed too. The fact is the
genial solution Bob found to resolve the situation: on some verses his doubt became a
muffle, but when the two break arrived... Specially the second break, it was sung with
really hate and blood, like a silver tale of the yanquee power. I think that one of the most
terryfics Bob Dylan`s verses is "This is a dream no more, it`s the real thing". And here
itīs. Performed like only Bob Dylan can. But there is more: the next day on Valencia (was it
Valencia? I can`t remember, but it was the next show anyway) he played "Seņor" again! And if
you look at the set lists you can see that on the electric set the repeated numbers are
really rares (except the final ones). It remained me the NYC sessions to the MTV shows, with
the two versions of "Dignity", first touchin' the words and doubtfull, forgetting the words,
then singin' it like a hurricane. I would like to hear the "Seņor" of Valencia. Perhaps
itīll be one of the highlights of the tour. Itīs the pride of Mr. Bob Dylan.

(On the other way I have answered me often about the songs of "Street legal" on stage. Why
only "Seņor"? "Street legal" is one of the greatest cuts of our hero, just like "Blonde" or
"Oh mercy". Songs like "New pony", "Stop crying", and the masterpiece trilogy "True love
tends to forget"-"We better think this over"-"Journey through the dark heat" must be
reinvented by his father (if Bob wanted to paint his masterpiece, he got it with this
trilogy). Even Dylan said long time ago that "Street legal" was the right key to know the
real way his music was going to. Well, well... If somebody around Dylan read this notes,
maybe he`ll want to remember this to him...(wishes))

The highligth came when the next lines began: "When you're lost in the rain in Juarez and
it's eastertime too..." This was a shock to me. Great arrangement, broken strings,
negativity, "Just like Tom Thumb`s blues" is the real thing I was thinkin' about when I
wasn`t born yet. And how is Dylan givin`a lesson about what is the ROCK AND ROLL tonight!
He`s the real king o f the real things. My heart felt the deepest energy since 1993. My
nerves are all renewed. And my blood is green. "Simple twist of fate" gave us the fortune:
there was a pretty girl behind me, blonde, a face made of the Poe's poetry, so white skin,
and while the show I didn`t see her. It was like an epiphany when the lines of the cruel
fate crashed again the face of that beauty. Great moment, new dreams. A thing I was hoping
happened too: when I was fifteen I used to meet a friend called Ivan, drink beers and smoke
cheap cigarrettes hearing records of Beatles, Stones, and a vinyl called "Blood on the
tracks". We thought that the verse "She was born in spring", really said "She was born in
Spain". Well, tonight Bob said that lookin' at the crowd with a smile, and even I think he
said "but I wasn`t born there" althought Iīm not sure. Another highlight. 

With "Highway 61" ended the electric set, terrifyc again (it's unbelievable everytime Bob
says the number of the highway and the guitars go away). The encore was great. A new delight
called "Love sick" saw me in the morning. I really answered me why didn't Bob make new
arrangements of the recent songs now like he used to do the years before (think about
"Jockerman" on Letterman show 1983). The fact is that this "Love sick" was the only TOOM
number on the show, and this stranged a lot a good number of the audience who was waiting
for more. "Like a rolling" came with a rumorous sentence and the people out, and "Blowin'"
had really a catartic effect. When "Not fade away" closed the show, the man beside me who
was eleven years ago at the same place, looking at the same man, couldn't believe his eyes
and ears. He had been on the best concert anybody ever performed on the town of    Madrid.
It`s funny, but the man was Bob Dylan.

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