Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 05/01/99


Ischgl, Austria

May 1, 1999

The Idalpe
Silvretta Ski and Funsport Arena

[Carsten Wohlfeld], [Gunter] [Anders Tidström]

Review by Carsten Wohlfeld

If there ever has been a weird venue for a Bob show it was this one. After
driving close to six hours from Vienna very early in the morning (we had to
leave at 5am!) we arrived in the high society ski resort that is Ischgl
(it’s kinda close to Innsbruck) at around 11am. Everywhere you look you only
saw mountains - snow covered mountains that is. We took the ski lift to the
top of the Idalp on 2300 meters. There they had built up a very high stage on
a little hill next to a restaurant. So Bob actually played the show
surrounded by snow, ski lifts and skiing people enjoying one of the last days of
this season. The show was billed as a benefit for the vicitims of the
avalanches that killed quite a few people in closeby Galtur. I guess they actually
paid Dylan and just donated the rest of the profits from the ticket sales. It
must’ve been a nightmare to get all the stuff up the mountain in time (the
show started at 2pm to make sure everybody would get down the mountain safely

Anyways, your skipass for the day was already your ticket and so many of
the about 8,000 folks who turned up had no clue who or what Bob Dylan was and
acted accordingly. The huge number of drunks made it even worse, but Bob
had tons of fun to see that much snow *and* play. Maybe it reminded him of
Minnesota... At 2.15pm they came on stage, Al Santos said „Good AFTERNOON
ladies and gentlemen..." and without having a soundcheck earlier on they went
into a horrible sounding 

 Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie (acoustic)

first. Of course it was a nice change but the sound was rotten and I think
it took Bob (wearing his ‘86 sunglasses) and the band a few minutes to
figure out what was going on in front of them. [btw, could somebody please tell
me if the Elizabeth Cotten album/CD that has „Shake Sugaree" on it  is still
in print? I can’t find it anywhere. Thanks]

 Mr Tambourine Man (acoustic)

followed as expected and was only average apart from the closing harp
solo, which rates as one of his longest and best in recent times, even better
than last night’s in Vienna. He just had to play this song, as the posters
actually said „The Tambourine Man is back"...

 Masters Of War (acoustic)

never ever sounded so out of place. They played it anyways.

 Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

appeared early on in the set, maybe it was because they didn’t have
cuesheets. Only Tony had sme sort of notepad on his amp and they decided on the
spot what to play. Last time I saw them do that was at the Mercury Lounge show
last August. „Tangled" was less than perfect, but a crowdpleaser
nonetheless. David stopped way to early and so we go a few lines without drums before
he rejoined the others again. Weird.

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

He couldn’t remember the first line, so we got a long, weird intro but
apart from that it was a fine performance, with yet another long harmonica
solo. Started off rather uninspired, but got better closer to the end. Up to
this point, the snow surrounding him was more enjoyable than Bob’s show itself
I have to say and even though they all were grinning and smiling throughout
the show it wasn’t really special - yet.

 Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

Was a pretty cool way to kick of proceedings in the electric set. They did
a good job - the usually don’t mess up this one, as you know. Bucky had to
do some major tuning on his pedal steel before the song and at one point
Tony and Bob were standing in front of him, too and it looked as if Bob wanted
to tune the pedal steel for Bucky!

 Under The Red Sky

We got a few weird chords to start with (they didn’t seem to remember who
was supposed to start the song) and then they went into this one, which is
far from being my favourite song, but it was nicely done. Same arrangement as
last summer.

 It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train to Cry

Fun version, the same old bluesy arrangement, but today it was even slower
(=better) than usual. Bob went over to Bucky before the song and said
something to him. I guess they talked about th weird strechted out steel tones
that Bucky played on this one. It was around this song, that the „show" turned
into an open rehearsal. For the rest of the night Bob would talk to at
least one of the bandmembers before the song and he seemed to explain what he
wanted them to do on certain songs. He also looked over Tony’s shoulder to get
a glimpse at the notepad with the „setlist" which looked really funny. What
they decided on was 

 If Not For You

which was very well done bearing in mind they haven’t done it in ages
(well, with one expection in January maybe). The best part of it was the
improvised ending though when Bob sang: „If not for, you, YOU! I’m
talking about you...I’m dreaming about you", which was either very cool or totally
ridiculous. Tony almos fell over cause he was laughing so hard. Band intros
followed and Bob also said: „It’s A thrill to play here, because Elton John
played here. Every place Elton plays I gotta do too" (or words to that

 Highway 61 Revisited

was „Highway". The „promoter" verse („never been engaged in this kinda
thing before") made Bob laugh. A few bows and they were gone. But they returned
very quickly cause the drunks that were supposed to clap were less than
enthusiastic and so Bob said: „We gotta take a quick break here to tune these
instruments". So what followed was either a „part 2" or an „encore" - you
After some tuning David just started this VERY fast beat and everybody on
stage looked a bit puzzled. This really sounded like an open rehersal now,
the drummer just gets into a groove and the band plays *anything* on top of
it. If you ever have heard U2’s „Rattle And Hum" album you know which song
can be easily played over such a beat...

 All Along The Watchtower

despite the strange start it was a very good version, that the band seem
to enjoy A LOT. It had a few stop and start parts, almost similar to the ‘96
„Silvio" (also kinda reminiscent of the one-off „Watchtower" arrangement
they did at the „Hall Of Famee" show in 1996) and I just *loved* it.

 Simple Twist Of Fate

seemed to be a weird choice for an encore, but it was very welcome and
well done nevertheless. Before the song Bob also carried out some reapir workon
Bucky’s pedal steel, yes really. He was in charhe tonight (see above). The
roadies came on stage to hand the band their acoustic instruments, but Bob
decided against it and they did:

 Watching The River Flow

very fast version and despite the similarities in the arrangement, it
sounded ten times better than the „Maggie’s Farm" they did in Graz the other

 Blowin’ In The Wind (acoustic)

well, there was no way around it really and it kindamade sense to do it
for such a non-Dylan crowd. When he came to „must a man look up" he actually
looked up into the sky...

After 90 minutes it was all over, but even though the show was much
shorter than the others it was way mor fun. The snow, the sun(burn), Bob’s dark
glasses, the non-appearance of any „TOOM" songs - well, everything really. He
probaly will never ever do a show like this again, but it sure was fun
watching him play here. Wonder that he will do at the laast show in Munich now -
return to the old format? Carry on like this? I’ll let you know tomorrow. My
thanks to Birgit and Guido for letting us stay at there place in Munich...
so long!	

carsten wohlfeld (
„always tell the truth, it’s easier to remember" (evan dando)


Review by Gunter

We started very early today to drive from Vienna to Ischgl which in fact is situated at the
very other end of the country. This show was billed as „top of the mountain concert" and an
benefit for the avalanche victims. A few months ago, several people were killed by an
avalanche in Galtuer, a small town near Ischgl further up the valley. As we drove though the
valley we already saw what that unnormal amount of avalanches had destroyed here... Anyway,
we arrived in Ischgl in time and got into the gondola to ride up the mountain to the Idalpe,
approximately 2300 meteres altitude. Funny enough, local newspapers reported that they had
problems in transporting Dylan to the top as he didn’t want to use the same gondolas as the
fans nor wanted to fly in a helicopter. They ended up giving him a ride in one of those
funny „Pistenbullies". Before the show started there was an awful local DJ entertaining the
audience. He hardly played any good songs and if he did he destroyed them with his own
singalong. Finally he had almost to be pushed out by Dylan’s crew and the show started about
15 minutes late. Dylan and the band came onstage. Dylan had his sunglasses on he already
wore in the 80s, Larry some Terminator-styled black glasses and Bucky a funny wooly hat.
Press cameras and even filming by some local TV stations was allowed during the first songs,
so you will probably see some photos soon...

acoustic set

They started with OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE, a nice new choice although very few of the
audience seemed to know this song. Probably 70% of the people in the audience came here for
skiing and watched the show more or less by coincidence. There main interest was to keep
their glasses of beer full and to party. MR TAMBOURINE MAN was next and got a nice cheer,
but MASTERS OF WAR obviously was out of place in this area. The band seemed to recognize
it at this point and decided to cut the acoustic set short. TANGL electric set Things improved
much already at the beginning of the electric set. Dylan seemed to really the rather nice
panorama view from the stage. They really had fun playing now and started with a rocking
STUCK INSIDE OF MOBILE. Next to follow was a new song for this leg of the tour, UNDER THE
RED SKY. Obviously not a Dylan classic but they did it really well. Another surprse in the
next spot, IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH. It was a quite slow version but very bluesy and nice
guitar solos. Yet another surprise waas next: ! n HIGHWAY 61 as usual, the first song
tonight the audience was really enjoying and that made them dancing and waving hands in the
air. Only 60 minutes+ and the main set was over and the band off. As Dylan realized that
there was rather no crowd reaction for an encore and that he had still some 30 minutes to go
for his booked 90 minutes set he came back and said something about a short break for
getting the instruments in tune and helped himself repairing or tuning Buckys pedal steel!
David started with a f! t their heads together, had a look on some notes Tony broug! ht with
him and it ended with a perfect choice of songs nobody would have dreamt of. WATCHING THE
RIVER FLOW was the last electric encore and had a nice uptempo beat, much better than
Maggie’s farm which has a similar arrangement these days. They ended the show with BLOWIN
IN THE WIND, got back into their Pistenbully and went downhill. A really great show today, I
had the feeling that they were throwing pearls to pigs today as most of the audience didn’t
care about the show and only the few who came just t Gunter


Review by Anders Tidström

   It might be wild and crazy to go almost four hours by plane and seven 
hours by car to reach a Bob Dylan concert. I did though! Very international 
as a Swede riding with a Finnish plane, an Italian car through a Swiss 
territory to the Austrian Tyrol. And to quote Dylan: If I´d lived my life by 
the way others were thinkin´, the heart inside me would´ve died (Up to Me, 
1974). When in Ischgl it´s a fifteen minutes ride on wire over the treetops 
to the stage on Idalpe. Altitude is about 7 000 feet and the 1st of May was 
partly sunny with a few snowflakes in the air. An enormous panorama all 
dressed in snow. Breathtaking but a good air to breathe.
   My Heart´s in the Highlands didn´t come up (!) and nothing else from Time 
Out of Mind. But when Dylan spoke some words to the audience
he said: It´s such a thrill to play in a place like this. Have to do it 
because Elton John was here.
   Dylan has his philosophy that a real artist should meet the audience face 
to face to be sure about things. He never took the easy way around. Playing 
in Ischgl among skiers and snowboarders on vacation is kind of a tough 
challenge. It was indeed a top concert anyway but the audience where not all 
concentrating on Dylan all the time. Quite much heavy drinking and lucky 
faces. Also snowballs passing through the air once in a while. When the 
music rocked hard there were a lot of dancing of course. So what I would 
call a country rock version of Don´t Think Twice really turned on the crowd. 
That was the peak on the top of the mountain, so to say. Highway 61 and All 
Along the Watchtower was appreciated aswell. And who could resist Blowin´in 
the Wind as a farewell in the end!
    No snowballs were sent to the stage though Dylan in a middle of a smile 
when singing Don´t Think Twice suddenly looked a little thoughtful on that 
matter. In my opinion concerts at night without after ski party notion puts 
the creative music of Dylan in the center of mind. But the high altitude 
concert was great because of it´s strange character of something quite 
different. (Cheers!)
    Doing a weekend trip like mine isn´t bad at all. I  report to some 
Swedish newspapers to cover my expenses so don´t feel sorry for me. I was a 
journalist in the sixties and made my very first article about the first 
Dylan concert in Stockholm, april 1966.
                       Anders Tidström

PS Ischgl which doesn´t sound so tender is a most charming Tyrolese village. 
You might have heard that the area was terrorised by severe avalanches 
earlier this winter. There are thus contradictory emotions to Ischgl. 
Dylan´s rock band didn´t release any new avalanches though. DS


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