Konstanz, Germany

July 3, 1996

Zeltfestival (Tent Festival)

Review by Christian Ter-Nedden (posted to RMD on July 4, 1996)

Imagine Bob Dylan coming to a small circus near you... Anyway, that's how
it felt when I entered the so-called "large tent" of the Konstanz
Zeltfestival (tent festival). About 800-1000 people seated around the ring
or standing inside it. The Dave Matthews Band was just finishing their
support gig. They have a black violin player, a huge guy, who was to
re-appear on and off later on.

After about half an hour, Bob Dylan came onstage. He looked rather
uncomfortable, maybe he had a slight cold or something. He was wearing a
purple satin shirt and black pants, also a black belt with a huge buckle.
Only Tony Garnier wore a hat.
During Down in the Flood, his opener, he kept shuffling around the stage,
as he seems wont to do nowadays, singing and walking, without his guitar.
Obviously he needed this song to get used to the surroundings and the

After that, he performed the first highlight of the show: A slow, tender
version of I Want You, with a new arrangement (to me, at least, it seemed
new). There was a long solo near the end of the song. It was beautiful, but
Dylan still seemed stony. He wasn't enjoying particularly himself, at least
not yet.

All Along the Watchtower was a crowd-pleaser. Extended soloing. Dylan still
looking stony and unmoved.

Shelter From the Storm was the second highlight. He built it up slowly. His
voice expressed sadness, it was like a lament, both haunting and beautiful.
Unfortunately he killed the effect off somewhat by cramming two lines in
one phrase towards the end of the song which gave it a pace it hadn't had

Watching the River Flow was bluesy as usual, his voice now rather rapping
than singing, Lou Reed-style.

Silvio was great. Dylan finally started to get into the music. His body
began to move, he smiled, albeit tentatively, while his band rocked hard
(reminded me of ZZ Top without the beards).

After a minute, everybody changed instruments for the three-part acoustic
set. Dylan started off with the third highlight of the evening: a most
exquisite rendering of Mr Tambourine Man, just as delicate and tender as I
Want You had been. Even though his first acoustic solo seemed not quite up
to his usual standards, he treated us to a very long, drawn out harmonica
solo at the end, during which he let go of the guitar and started really
communicating with the audience. He seemed to have relaxed by then, his
face was a lot friendlier and he looked as if he was finally having fun.

Masters of War was delivered in the same spirit, but again as a kind of
lament, even though he still sneered just as he had so often done in the

For me, One Too Many Mornings was the best bit of the whole show. Again a
long, beautiful harmonica solo at the end. He changed the tune somewhat so
that the song sounded just like Lay Lady Lay in the Hard Rain version. The
most soulful, tender and bittersweet song of them all. I found it very

For the second electric set, Dylan started with Maggie's Farm, joined by
the huge black violin player from the Dave Matthews Band against whom he
sometimes nearly disappeared. And now there were new sparks flying. These
musicians obviously enjoyed trading licks and moving towards each other
Dylan got even looser, he looked and moved quite different from the
beginning of the show, hi-fivin' the violin player, with whom he was
visibly quite pleased, after each song. Maggie's Farm also went down very
well with the crowd.

Then he did I Remember You, a good version of the song but nothing as fresh
and new as what had happened before. There was quite a good finish to it,
though, long and playful.

For Everything Is Broken, he was joined by Dave Matthews himself on
acoustic rhythm guitar and the violin player. By now, Dylan was trading
licks with him, Garnier, Jackson, and Matthews, moving around the stage,
having fun, grimacing.

The first encore, Alabama Getaway, went down very well with the crowd
again. I had never heard Dylan sing harmony with Jackson before and liked
it a lot.

For The Times They Are A-Changin', the second encore, done as usual
acoustically, the violin player came onstage again. This was another
highlight of the show because the violin added so much to the song and to
Dylan's performance. He had to listen to him, and that showed too. So there
was this atmosphere of intense listening, the crowd had turned rather
quiet, and it was, again, very moving. I wouldn't have believed that before
- this song has been played almost to death, last not least by Dylan
himself, but the violin made a world of difference.

And for the last encore, Rainy Day Women, almost the complete Dave Matthews
Band came onstage. Matthews strummed his acoustic guitar, the huge violin
player kept trying to get center stage (where Dylan was in danger of
disappearing next to him), suddenly Dave Matthews sax player was in Bucky
Baxter's spot, playing a long solo a la Clarence Clemons, Dylan reconquered
center stage and started soloing himself - it was great yet hard to keep
track of (who was playing what?). Dylan seemed pleased throughout.

He hadn't said much besides Thank Yous but at least he had introduced his
band and Dave Matthews (but not, as far as I heard, the violin player).
Still, it was mostly a great concert. The atmosphere was very special due
to the small crowd and the circus tent at the borders of Lake Constance.

Well, time to sleep, I guess. Any questions welcome. I couldn't tape the
show, unfortunately.

Christian Ter-Nedden, Zurich, Switzerland

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