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Bob Dylan 2001.07.05 in Braunschweig

Date: Fri, 06 Jul 2001 06:28:14 +0200
From: Carsten Wohlfeld
Subject: dylan braunschweig review (+setlist)

   Bob Dylan
   Braunschweig, Germany
  July 5, 2001

It's 4am and I just arrived back home after a three hour drive from
Braunschweig. This show must have been one of the weirdest experiences I
ever had at my 100+ Bob shows. The circumstances of the gig couldn't
have been better: Sunshine all day, a rather small, sold out  venue
(2,500 capacity; the first indoor show on this trip to Europe) and Bob
even attended the soundcheck, treating us to an approx. three minute
harp solo on "My Back Pages" among other things.

The show started just a minute or so after 8.00pm without a support act.
There had been many speculations about the seemingly random setlist on
the current tour and a friend had called the Borgholm show a couple of
days earlier "confused". After having seen tonights performances, I
kinda know what he was talking about. When they were good, they were
spectacular, but the lowpoint were really, really boring, too. But let's
start at the start. (By the way: my last show was Munster last fall, so
if I try to compare version it would be compared to late last year

  Roving Gambler (acoustic)

Easily my least favorite song out of the opening selection,  The band
was doing an okay job, but Bob seemed to be a little behind with the
delivery of some lines (maybe he did it on purpose?). He didn't move an
inch during the first song and his voice was of the typical "first song,
still got to adjust" variety.

  Mama You Been On My Mind (acoustic)

Well, it's not his best song, so I guess even the best version still
would hardly categorize as "amazing": This was better than some
renditions I had heard previously. He tried to change the phrasing a
little bit and he may have skipped a verse in favor of a pretty long and
surprisingly melodic guitar solo.

  The Ballad Of Hollis Brown (acoustic)

Wow! Now he really got started! Even though I believe he played this
song less than ten times over the last ten years, this was already the
6th time I had the pleasure to hear it. What I like most about songs is
songs with killer lines of the "it's better to burn out than to fade
away" variety. This song obviously has tons of lines like that and the
fact that Bob pretty much concentrated on the words rather than his
guitarplaying and Larry did an excellent job in providing a strong
rhythmic base, made this an early contender for "best tune of the
night". Great! On to the first electric set.

  Tombstone Blues

A letdown. If they would've done a driving, hardrocking blues version, I
probably would have loved it, but the fact that Kemper used brushes on
this song is a strong indication that it was no more than a pretty
unconvincing blues jam going nowhere. A pity!

  Simple Twist Of Fate

First song of the night with Larry on pedal steel. As Ray said after the
show, Larry looked really tired throughout the show. The rest of the
band looked great though ÷ especially Bob who looked really healthy and
"ON". Oh, and while Larry's still having his "I'm the original outlaw"
Gunfighter mustache, Bob got rid of his "Call Me Al Capone" mustache.
"Simple Twist" was nice, without being special and sounded a bit too
much like "Make You Feel My Love" at the beginning. The harp solo,
complete with Bob holding a note for about 10 seconds, was a pleasant
surprise. The crowd (a pretty enthusastic bunch for Germany) loved it
and we got the first of several "thank you's" of the night.

I'll Be Your Baby Tonight

Larry still on pedal steel. This song still gives me the creeps. Sorry,
I can't help it. The usual country-ish arrangement had hints of a Las
Vegas Revue-vibe to it, which was the only good thing about it.

  Masters Of War (acoustic)

The curtain they use for a couple of years now came into full effect
during this song and while at first I thought the nice lighting effects
would probably the best thing about this overplayed song, it turned out
to be a pretty decent version with a great instrumental break (featuring
David) in the middle.

  Boots Of Spanish Leather (acoustic)

Was VERY well done, as it is most of the time. Careful delivery of the
lyrics. Maybe he missed out on a couple of lines, but even if he did, he
did a very decent job of covering up his mistakes(s) tonight.  Bob
basically took all the solos up to this point, leaving Larry and Charlie
to play rhythm guitar and fill Bob's holes. They used beautiful blue
backlighting on this song, so you could hardly see Bob, but when I got a
glimpse at him standing almost completely in the shadow I noticed that
he looked EXACTLY the way he looked in about 1975. Pretty healty, very

  A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (acoustic)

Larry on bouzouki. The arrangement was kinda different, thankfully
without the backing vocals that used to turn into "Charlie and Larry vs.
Bob" duels most of the time. Bob's performed several lines of the first
verses as kind of a rap, the last verse was extremely well SUNG though
and I really liked that despite the fact that it's not one of my
favorite songs. I know it's probably a great piece of art and all, but
the song never connects with me the way, say, the umpteenth renditon of
"Desolation Row" still does. Charlie had his electric guitar in hands
before switching to acoustic during the first verse.

  To Be Alone With You

A nice choice after the rather serious acoustic set. Fast, hard rocking,
with Larry taking a solo on the fiddle. A carefree time was garantueed
for all! It was the next song however, that made the night.

  Where Teardrops Fall

Exremely well done, especially when you consider that Bob played it
approx. ten times over the last ten years. It still had the low and dark
"Oh Mercy" feel to it and was in one word: lovely. The harp solo at the
end (most definitely even the first EVER on this song!!!) was a nice
bonus as well. Larry on pedal steel. A fairly long discussion between
Tony, Bob and David followed and then David hit the drums REALLY hard

  The Wicked Messenger

This was another special treat. I had heard it last fall and it was
alright without being special. Tonight it took really off. I guess you
can compare ist evolution to the way "Drifter's" evolved from it's first
performances (new arrangement) in May 2000 to the amazing renditions
last fall. There was this funny moment during the closing harp solo
where Bob stopped playing and turned around to David, because he
expected a drumroll before he would start again. When Dylan looked back,
that's exactly what he got. Band intros followed prior to:

  Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat

Slightly different arrangement as Charlie was allowed to take his first
longer solo and show us the new effect pedal he bought: It makes his
guitar soundlike a hammond organ (you may have heard it [first] on the
Beatles "Let It Be", where George Harrison quite famously used the same
effect). Apart from that it was the usual jam with a triple solo. After
the formation they were gone for a few minutes


  Love Sick

Very well done AGAIN: Highlight of the performance was the light effects
though. You could see Bob's and the band's gigantic shadows projected on
the curtain in the back, mimicking the "wandering spirits" design they
used for T-shirts a few years ago.

  Like A Rolling Stones

Was (too) slow, without energy and quite flat. A disappointment. He had
played harp on "Stone" the show before this one and tonight he went back
to pick up a harmonica as well, but before he decided on one, the song
was over.

  If Dogs Run Free (acoustic)

Was kind of a continuation of "Stone" with Charlie and Larry on electric
guitars. The last time I heard it was when it was debuted in Munster,
where it sounded fresh and funny. This was a typical "we have to get
through it" by numbers rendition. The people in the crowd who hadn't
heard it yet loved it though.

  All Along The Watchtower

Yet another arrangement, with Charlie holding the notes during the riff
and David playing harder than usual. Larry on lap steel. It was an
extremely short version as well, hardly with any solos in the middle and
the song now seems to end WITH rather than after the last line. It ends
with Bob holding the word "hoooooooowwwwwlll"...

  Knockin' On Heaven's Door (acoustic)

This time it was Larry on electric before switching to acoustic during
verse one. Charlie on the other hand played his electric and used the
"organ" to great effect with a lovely, lovely solo. Larry and Charlie
also get to sing more and more backup, joining in on selected lines of
the verses and the whole chorus. Maybe it wasn't performed to
perfection, but the arrangement is the best I've heard so far. Another
unsuspected highlight. After the song the crowd started clapping
rhytmically, and they didn't even stop when the band started

  Highway 61 Revisited

Which visibly annoyed and/or confused Bob. He refused to start singing
and even told the band to play quieter and only when they did and the
clapping died out because of it he started singing WAY later than usual.
Great Charlie solo among the usual jam mayhem.

  Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

I think Larry plays a different kind of rhythm on this, but I might be
wrong. Another formation and then they left again. Only to come back 30
seconds later for yet another song. Even Tony seemed to be surprised. He
probably thought he would be done after 20 songs and seven encores - the
mainset had 13 songs tonight). Anyways, they added

  Rainy Day Women Nos. 12&35

With Larry on lap steel. And it was every bit as good as you would
expect it to be ?

Then the lights came on and it was all over. Two hours, seventeen
minutes, 21 songs. Not bad. Not THAT great either though, despite the
above mentioned highlights. A really weird show, I think I'll need some
more time (and a couple of more shows) to put it into perspective. The
main set was obviously more or less random (12 new songs tonight compared
to the previous show), but this laissez-faire approach also meant that
any kind of red thread that you would usually have running through a set
was lost. The set had absolutely no flow and went from good to bad and
back within minutes. We'll see what Schwäbisch-Gmünd will bring us on
Saturday. See ya there!

Carsten Wohlfeld

"if you can't get noticed wildly dancing naked while coming out
of a volcano, you might as well give it up" (gina gershon)

Date: Fri, 06 Jul 2001 09:54:03 +0200 From: Sven Lewandowski To:, Subject: Braunschweig review It was strange ! On the trip back home I sat in a car with two persons who saw Dylan for the first time. Dieter thought he'd seen a fantastic show, but Mareike's statemant was very precise and short: "total scheiße" (total shit). Andreas enjoyed the show and Alex (a hardcore fan and Mareike's boyfriend) argued that we've seen a good show. But I think they were all wrong in some way. Let me explain why. After being to 18 shows last year Braunschweig was going to be my only show in 2001. In the back of my mind I kept the posibility of going to SchwŐbisch Gmčnd too, but I really wasn't able to make up my mind. So I decided not to decide unless I experienced the show and Braunschweig. But yesterday's show didn't change my mind. To me the show was neither really good nor really bad. I think the setlist was quite interessting but nearly the whole show lacked of commitment. That was especially true for Dylan's vocal performance. The show started with Roving Gambler. I really like this song but in some way I was distracted by Larry's horrible new beard. But never mind. Mama, You Been On My was okay and I liked it. When they started to play Hollis Brown I thought "Oh great - that's one of the songs I came to hear". But very soon it became disappointing. On most of the verses Dylan rather mumbled in a very low voice throught the lines. You could hardly hear this voice. On some verses, especially on the first, his voice was strong. So all in all Hollis Brown might be a highlist on the setlist. But this was definitely not true for the performance of the song. The first electric set startet with Tombstone Blues and it was quite good but the perferomance didn't match last year's performances (especially Cardiff). On Tombstone Blues we had once again to face the problem which to me spoiled a lot of the show: Dylan's vocal performance was rather weak. The was no power in it and it lacked of both aggressivness and commitment towards the songs. But on the other hand Simple Twist Of Fate which followed was treaten in a tender way and his voice seemed to return to good form. But finally he destroyed a lot of the atmosphere with a strange harp solo at the end of the song. There's very little to say on I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. To me it was a rather mediocre performance. Masters Of War was sure a highlight although I don't really like the song. Dylan now seemed to be more concentrated and his vocal delivery got much better. That was also true for the other two acoustic songs that follow. On Boots Of Spanish Leather his voice was tender and blue lights created a very special atmosphere. I was quite surprised that A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall followed. I didn't expect him to do such a long song with some many lines - especially after the experience that he didn't seem to be able to remember the lyrics of Hollis Brown. But on Hard Rain his memory seemed to be quite clear and so we got a good performance. This time (this year ?) there were no background vocals by Larry and Charlie and so I enjoyed the song much more than at Portsmouth last year. While Dylan's vocals were good at these 3 acoustic songs the second electric set started with to old problem. At To Be Alone With You, which featured Larry on fiddle, Dylan's voice was too weak to match the power of the music. There was a lack of the aggressivness in his voice that is needed for this song. Too me the highlight of the show was Where Teardrops Fall. It was the only song that I haven't heared live before. But it was a great performance too. And an unexpected one... Dylan's voice changed once again and commitment seemed to have returned. So we got a lovely performance. Towards the end of the song Dylan even picked up this harmonica and delivered an enjoyable solo. Wicked Messenger followed and I enjoyed it very much. But still I'd argue that last year's performances of the song were much stonger. He once again played the harp but it wasn't as agressive as it has been last year. Band introductions followed and the set was closed with Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat which was quiet boring to me. After a short break the band returned and started the encores with Love Sick. There seemed to be some kind of misunderstanding on stage and so Dylan played some strange kind of intro to the song. Love Sick was surely one of the ups in a show full of ups and downs. I enjoyed the song and I think it was a good performance. That can't be said for Like A Rolling Stone. It was one of the "downs" (there's nothing more to say on it). I have heared If Dogs Run Free once before - the debut performance at Mčnster last year. While at Mčnster the song was a sensation the performance at Braunschweig was much better and more interesting - another highlight. I didn't like All Along The Watchtower and I think I have to repeat myself once again: The performance lacked of commitment and Dylan's vocal delivery was rather weak and poor. Knocking On Heaven's Door followed and I really loved the new version. Especially Charlie's electic guitar created a fantastic sound and made the song sound fresh. I think it was the best performance of Heaven's Door I've heared so far. Highway 61 Revisited: see Watchtower Blowin' In The Wind: always the same Rainy Day Women: not a performance to remember So all in all it was a show with a lot of ups and downs and though I'm known to be very critical I think nobody can really argue that it was a perfect show. It sure had it's highlights, but you can't forget about a lot of weakness. So in some way Dieter as well as Mareike weren't totally wrong in their judgements. I've one wasn't committed to Dylan before it was hard to become a fan during the show. And I think it has a lot to do with expectations too. I don't know what Dieter was told by Andreas before the show. But I can imagine what Mareike was told by Alex... I think her expectations were too high and therefore disapointment was unavoidable. I myself tried to keep the level of my expectations low and in some kind of way I was rewarded for doing so. Cheers Sven
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 15:49:32 +0200 (MEST) From: tobias freimueller To: Cc: Subject: Braunschweig - Review No. 3 Braunschweig Review I see that Carsten (back on the tour?!?) und Sven have been busy already, and I agree with them: This show featured some of the best Dylan and some of the worst (at least in the post-drunk-period) in one show, what make things hard to describe. I think there are 3 reasons for this extreme ups and downs: 1) The band plays so exceptionally well these days: Hardly any mistake by any of the guys. Everything depends on Bob now completely. 2) Bobs voice sounds very rough and old this year. When I listened to some of the 2001-Boots I wondered about that, in Braunschweig it turned out to be a fact. Something must have happened to his voice during the christmas-holidays ÷ propably he smokes stronger cigarettes now... On slow and epic songs like Boots and Hollis Brown his voice works very good, maybe even better than before, but on some others... 3) His guitarplaying has been strange since 1961, but now it is simply bizarre sometimes - and he's taking all the solos for himself leaving Charlie and Larry strumming chords (what is a shame). Maybe he's just getting bored of playing some of the routine-songs like ROLLING STONE and LEOPARD and is trying hard to push them in a new direction with some │unusualŃ guitar? Show started with an pretty standard ROVING GAMBLER; can't say much about this, because I was searching the moustache in Bob's face (it was'nt there) and because I was shocked by Larry looking like RŐuber Hotzenplotz (just for German readers) with his new beard. MAMA YOU`VE BEEN ON MY MIND came next. Far from beeing an interesting choice, but nicely sung and played. Would have prefered BOB DYLANS DREAM in this slot ;-) When they started the next song, I was sure that it was JOHN BROWN because Bob saw me in the audience and decided to do that tune - like in Mčnster 1996, Bremen 1998 and Mčnster 2000 ÷ but I was wrong. It was the other brother Hollis to come. HOLLIS BROWN was the highlight of the night for me. Different arrangement staying on one level during the whole song ÷ no increasing volume like 1998. Bob was very concentrated and got all the lyrics right (Sven, the tapes will tell!) and from where I stood, one could hear every word (Sven, where have you been?). Great great performance! Now things turned around completely: TOMBSTONE BLUES was played without energy, Bob playing around with the phrasing ending up stretching some lines and words, singing on a single note. Bad. SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE is always welcome, although it means that there would be not much room for electric surprises. Fine, more spoken than sung vocals from Bob, strange, but good Harmonica at the end. I`LL BE YOUR BABY TONIGHT came next. This is definitly the song I don't want to hear. Bad phrasing (as always), endless jamming (as always). Puuhhhh..... Back to acoustics again with another standard choice: MASTERS OF WAR turned out to be the start of a great second acoustic set. Perfect performance, at the end Bob repeated the first verse again and the song ended with the last line of that verse. Nobody on stage looked surprised, so this must have been rehearsed before. Same thing happend later again. Now Bob saw me finally in the audience and started BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER like always ;-) Again a perfect version. Spoken lyrics, a few good guitar-licks, Great! HARD RAIN was the first song that I never heard live ÷ good performance again, although Bob changed timing in the chorus in almost every verse what make things not easier for the band. Next was the extra-song for the night: TO BE ALONE WITH YOU was same as earlier this year with Larry on violin (he looks even more like Hotzenplotz now while playing some staccato-riffs on the fiddle and grinning all the time as if he would jump off stage every second and kill somebody ÷ probably me because I was standing right in front of him). As always Bob could'nt remember much of the lyrics and played some really strange guitar for the first time. WHERE TEARDROPS FALL was a brilliant performance again. But to be honest: It's a silly song with stupid lyrics. WICKED MESSENGER was another highlight. Strange to see how Bob did'nt care at all about the well rehearsed arrangement. He stayed away from the microphone when he usually sings and plays some not-so-bad guitar-parts instead. Larry, Charlie and Tony looked puzzled on some points but this brought fresh air to the song. Maybe it will sound confused on the tapes, but it was fun to see! LEOPARD SKIN PILL BOX HAT should be deleted from the set-lists indeed. It's getting slower and slower. Bob's guitar was bizzare on this. Unfortunately he did'nt play HIGHLANDS for the first │enchoreŃ but the usual LOVE SICK. Carsten and Sven liked it, I certainly did'nt. Again Bob was searching for some new ways of phrasing without finding any... But things went downhill even more: ROLLING STONE was the worst redition I heard in years. Way too slow and played without any passion. Sounds like a highschool-band playing it so slow to learn the chord-progression. Bobs guitar sounded completely out of tune. This song needs a rest too. I was hoping for something different than │DogsŃ now and chances were good, because he skipped it the night before for the first time since October 2000. But no way: They did it again and they did it surprisingly good. No more screamed lines, just a relaxed jazzy tune. Nice! A looooonnnng discussion between Bob and Tony made me sure that they were talking about how to play SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES ;-) but I was wrong. WATCHTOWER came next. OK-Version with Bob doing the repeating first verse-trick again like in │MastersŃ. KNOCKING ON HEAVENS DOOR was the song I hoped for, because I love the new arrangement I knew from the Melbourne-Boot. And they did it! Unfortunately Bob did his best to sing the choruses in a different timing than Larry and Charlie... Nice version nevertheless. HIGHWAY 61 was driven by great rhythm-riffs bay Larry and Charlie, Bob's vocals were not more than OK, His guitarplaying has totally lost the connection to what the others did. BLOWING IN THE WIND was again a bad version. Played on autopilot by the band, except for Larry, who tried to play a different rhythm ÷ what did'nt work at all. Another song that should be skipped for some time. RAINY DAY WOMEN closed the show (when was the last show featuring 21 songs?), same as always ÷ Bobs guitarplaying sounded as if my grandma would try it for the first time... When it was over you could feel that the hardcore Fans did'nt really know what to say about the show, most of the other people seemed to like it very much, hm.... Get a tape and judge for yourself ÷ it's worth for HOLLIS BROWN alone. See you at Schwäbisch-Gmünd Tobias -- GMX - Die Kommunikationsplattform im Internet. GMX Tipp: Machen Sie Ihr Hobby zu Geld bei unserem Partner 1&1!
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