Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 04/25/99


Zurich, Switzerland

April 25, 1999


[Carsten Wohlfeld], [Gunter]

Review by Carsten Wohlfeld

Exactly eight weeks after the amazing show in Portland, ME and the
somewhat disappointing gigs in Atlantic City it was time for me to catch up with
Bob again. Even though I look forward to every single show I get to see it’s
not that  I lie awake for three days cause I can’t bear the excitement. Well
not anynore, one of the few disadvantages of seeing (too) many shows.
Actually I felt a little bad to skip classes and stuff, but by the time I met up
with all the guys from Germany and Switzerland (we didn’t have the power to
do sightseing though) who hadn’t seen any shows in almost a year it all
changed. Or was it the minute that Bob came on stage at 7.15pm in the huge
Hallenstadion and actually opened with the acoustic set, something I’d never see
him do before? I really don’t know. So I guess what you’re asking yourself
is: Does that long acoustic set first really work? And what was the show like
in general? Well, the answers are: It works much better than the
sandwich-style unplugged set that he played for, well, the last 25 years. And the whole show
was way above average as well. But let’s start at the start.

 Cocaine Blues (acoustic)

Soundcheck deluxe. Very rough, but pretty fast version, Bob sang it a
little differently than usual to make sure Larry and Bucky couldn’t follow him
on the chorus. Still any of the covers will be a fun way to start the show,
I’m sure. It was a bit weird cause it wasn’t the usual kickstart to the show
but it was a pleasant change nevertheless.

 Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)

A song I usually would use to go to the toilet, but since it came so early
on in the set I stayed and was pleasantly surprised. The song sounds tired
and worn out in his usual #8 spot but today it was actually quite lovely.
Sung very casual, Bob used this one to practise his knee bends and started
smiling and grinning - and he never stopped til the show was over. Oh yeah, and
this actually included the line „dance beneath the German sky" - even
though Zurich was in Switzerland last time I checked. At least that’s what I and
several other people heard.

 Masters Of War (acoustic)

Another tremendous rendition of this song which of course makes perfect
sense to play in a town that is only an hour away from Belgrad - by plane that
is. Played in the same way as on the recent US tour it really deserves to
be officially released at some point. You just can’t imagine it will get any

 Girl Of The North Country (acoustic)

The Marseilles show had „Visions" in this spot and I’m pretty sure that I
saw Tony ask Bob „Visions Of Johnanna?" before this one. Bob shook his head
though and we got this one instead. Okay version, well received cause it’s a
lovely song, y’know?
After the song it looked as if Tony was really argueing with Bob and from
what I *guess* it was like: „Well you skipped ‘Visions’ now, but you really
should give them one long, rare song". Bob sighed and they decided to do: 

 A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (acoustic)
Which was great, even though the first chorus sounded pretty bad cause Bob
changed the pharsing without telling Bucky and Larry who were singing
backup of course. Got much better towards the end. It’s funny that he played this
one in Switzerland cause it’s this month that Swiss Air feature a kind of
‘parody’ on „Hard Rain" in their inflight magazine. Believe it or not, it
starts off an article about the Barbie doll!

 Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

Got the usual treatment and had two funny moments. Bob sang all of the
„fishing boat" verse but changed only the last line to (I believe): „before his
mind was being destroyed". Also Tony started staring at David halfway
through the song as if he as gonna say: „I gotta watch you to make sure you don’t
mess up." Amazingly enough David did just that, it sounded as if he just
dropped one of his sticks...

 It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (acoustic)

Somewhat new version of one of my alltime favourite Dylan tunes. Much
faster than recently and without the bow on the bass as well. Bob forgot the
words to the opening line of the last verse, but it was great to hear this song

 Can’t Wait

Good song, but a bad choice to start of the electric set in my opinion. To
me it would make much more sense to use ‘regular’ openers like „Maggie’s"
„River Flow" or „Watchtower" here, something he did during the first part of
the tour. Funnily enough I’ve always complained in the past when it was too
slow, tonight it was pretty fast, but unfortunately it sounded way too
rushed and Bob didn’t put the amount of emotions into certain lines like „oh
honey" as he usually does.

 Not Dark Yet

I wrote in my review of last summer’s Berlin show that he probably would
never play this song again unless the band would improve the arrangement,
cause it was a pretty rotten version. And here he goes again, playing the song
again for the first time in ten months (well, on this tour anyways) and it
sounded gorgeous, cause David doesn’t use the sticks, but the brushes on the
drums and the song song sounds just as lovely and gentle as on the album.
Bob played lead guitar on it, too! I was *very* impressed.

 Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

Always a very welcome choice, especially lately in the „‘66 comeback"
version. Bob had tons of fun, all the knee bends, funny moves and goofy facial
expression you ever could hope for were there. After the song he spoke for
the very first time. The content of his speech: „Thank you".

 Make You Feel My Love

Bob talked to Kemper before the song and signalled him something. Maybe he
had messed up this one before and Bob wanted to make sure it doesn’t happen
again Who knows? I’m still amazed how many people actually like this song
so I’ll leave it to them to describe this rendition. Band intros followed.

 Highway 61 Revisited

Quite a few people said afterwards that they never saw such a powerful
„Highway 61" before. I can’t agree, cause at times it was better on the recent
US trip, but it goes to show that the song still gets better with time and
sounded a lot better than on the last European tour in ‘98. It was a bit
longer than usual a well, with Bob and Larry atking turns at the solos. Tony
looked quite surprised when Bob just kept going at the point where he usually
turns around to Kemper to signal the song’s ending. A few bows and then they
were gone.

 Love Sick

Nice lighting, just white lights like a palm tree above the band’s heads.
„Love Sick" has seen better days, but for the last two lines alone it’s
worth hearing every night, IMHO.

 To Be Alone With You

Usual fun rendition of this silly lust song. Bob improvised one verse and
much to the band’s surprise he decided to start the song with a short guitar

 Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (acoustic)

Long discussion before the song and thank god, they decided not to play
„Blowin’" This was an okay performance, and the ‘highlight’ was Bob’s sole
harp solo of the night. Nothing special, but hey, he was blowin’ the friggin’
thing and that alone almost made some hippies cry :-) More discussions
between Bob and Tony and everybody looked slightly confused... then Bob stepped up
to the microphone and said something like: „I wanna introduce a couple of
guests, the guitar players from Bruce Springsteen... Steven Van Zandt and
Nils Lofgren" (who were appearing with Bruce in Zurich the next day). Nils
looked old and Little Steven completely wasted but they all had fun to play an

 Not Fade Away

Nobody knew who would take a solo at any given time and so it sounded a
bit improvised but was fun to watch of course... ladies and gentlemen, would
you please welcome... Bob Dylan And The E-Street Band!"

All in all  it was a very good start to start my own personal tour, cause
it was a show that was in a way a contunation of the high standrad
performances on the Upstate New York dates yet it was very much different. Thanks to
Christian for getting me the ticket and especially to our lovely hosts Tim
and Reginein Uberlingen! See ya in Linz!
carsten wohlfeld (
„her name is eve and she lives two floors below, she is 22 and looks like
linda ronstadt" (the birdy num nums)


Review by Gunter

acoustic set (appr. 45 min.)

The show started about 15 minutes late, opening with COCAINE in a new, faster arrangement. I
wondered how it would work out as opening song if you consider the nice slow 97 versions
which would not have fit in no. 1 spot. But it did work and was even one of the highlights
of the acoustic set. Next was TAMBOURINE MAN - another highlight though it has been played
so often this tour. His singing has really improved again since I’ve last seen him in Europe
98. Clear voice and phrasing, really nice. Next was MA! night as he threw a few evil looks
to Kemper and Campbell from time to time.

electric set (appr. 35 min.)
Again CAN’T WAIT as electric opener. Of course a nice song played very funky but too slow
for the beginning of the electric set in my opinion. I would have preferred a ‘classic’
opoener like ‘serve somebody’ or even ‘maggie’s farm’. Never mind - the next song made up
for it: NOT DARK YET in a new arrangement, different again from the 98 version. I heard it
98 in Berlin where they totally messed it up and even quitted playing it after that horrible
night - now it returned for good and it’s a pleasure to hea! n Dylan himself....

encores (20 min.)
LOVE SICK as usual with Dylan convincing again with nice phrasing and smooth singing. TO BE
ALONE WITH YOU was another highlight for me, not a classic song but Dylan obiously had fun
playing this one and danced and smiled and so also the audience received it really well.
DON’T THINK TWICE followed as a welcome alternate to Blowin’ in the wind in this position.
The only harp solo was included in the end, not too long but played quite enthusiastically.
Then Tony Garnier went over to Dylan and whispered somet!
 and Bob was high fiving and embracing both Lofgren and Van Zandt afterwards -  probably
 happy to have some people smaller than him on stage. 
Can’t wait to see him in Linz tomorrow. Thanks a lot to our hosts Christian in Zuerich and
Tim and Regine in Uberlingen.


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