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Bob Dylan 2001.07.08 in Montreux

Date: Mon, 09 Jul 2001 15:31:56 +0200
From: te
Subject: montreux review


Here's a short review of last night's Montreux show:

There was a lot of acoustic stuff in this - seemingly - not very
organized setlist. This turned out to be good, though, as the
folky tunes tended to sound a lot better and were played with
great care and inspiration. Especially Bob's singing in Baby
Blue, Visions Of Johanna and It Ain't Me, Babe was fantastic.
Things Have Changed and Rolling Stone were outstanding and If
Dogs Run Free was absolutely smashing in its pretty

Bob's voice was very clear, his timing flawless during the whole
show. The guitar noodling was a bit of a turn-off, though. It's
a shame that Sexton doesn't get more space and you hear a lot of
bad lead guitar playing by Bob instead. All in all the band
deserves a lot of credit. They sound very tight, they play with
a lot of concentration (maybe that's why they look so serious)
and the new arrangements on a lot of songs sound very fresh and
to the point.

A nice show, very convincing in its absence of spectacular
stunts. A great band playing great tunes and a singer who
clearly likes his job.


Greetings to Norway and keep up the good work!

Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 00:29:58 +0200 From: Carsten Wohlfeld Reply-To: To: Subject: Montreux July 8 review Bob Dylan Montreux, Switzerland Montreux Jazz Festival, Stravinsky Hall July 8, 2001 The good (and the bad) thing about being on the road following around Bob Dylan is that you talk way to much about Bob all day. You just can‚t help it. So Gunter, Robert and Tim discussed the setlists of the previous shows at great length during our 3 hour drive south to beautiful Montreux. The song I desperately wanted to hear was ≥Absolutely Sweet Marie„, always a favourite of mine and a song I hadn‚t heard in more than three years, while Tim‚s dream setlist included ≥Blind Willie McTell„ and since his daughters are called Hannah and Louise, you could bet that he definitely wanted to hear ≥Visions Of Johanna„ as well. The problem with that? Despite the fact that Bob has played around 2,000 concerts, these three songs NEVER made it on a setlist together. Now I‚m really bad with maths, but I know for sure that getting to hear all three songs was not very likely AT ALL. The queue, getting tickets and wristbands was a mess, but I won‚t get into that here, because it was basically the only frustrating thing about the whole show. The Starvinski Hall is a great place to see Bob. Fairly small, only a few years old, with a surprisingly low (and pretty small) stage, but best of all there is no barrier at all, so you‚re right at Bobős feet. Despite the disorganised queue ,Tim and Gunter managed to get right to the front while I settled for a spot a dead center in the third row. At around 8.40PM Bob and band came on stage to open with: DUNCAN AND BRADY (acoustic) Which was once more nice, yet unremarkable. It was after this song that the three canadian cuties around me really began to annoy me, because although they had discussed before the show that getting to hear ≥Hurricane„ was less than likely, they yelled for the song repeatedly RIGHT IN MY EAR and while Bob had already started the first solo verse of SONG TO WOODY (acoustic) By the time my poor ears had recovered, Bob was already halfway through the song, it sounded alright, although I was actually thinking more about strangling the girls than the song. Quite an impressive choice though. This was a song that nobody mentioned during our lengthy setlist discussion, probably because nobody dared to mention this, the by far best selection for the #2 slot. IT‚S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE (acoustic) Beautifully sung with Larry on pedal steel. I think it was on this song that Bob got visibly upset with his sidemens guitar playing and he didn‚t recover all night, giving both Larry and Charlie angry looks and even a few nasty comments allnight. During ≥Baby Blue„ he went so far to play his guitar solo on top of Larry‚s. Sounded pretty bad, but Bob wanted to prove whoős the boss, I suppose. The harp solo at the end made up for the mess he made earlier though. So at the third show for me this year I managed to get through the first acoustic set without thinking ≥Oh no, I really don‚t need to hear this song ever again.„ To be honest, I didn‚t think Bob would be able to keep the standard of song selection this high. My thoughts went back to Braunschweig, where a fairly decent acoustic set was followed by a boring ≥Tombstone„ and a horrid ≥Baby Tonight„. Montreux was different though. CRASH ON THE LEVEE (DOWN IN THE FLOOD) Is not the kind of song I usually would get excited about, but the rocking arrangement worked quite well tonight. I still liked Bob‚s phrasing on the early 1995 versions better, but oh well, it was still tons better compared to ≥Stuck Inside Of Mobile...„ as the electric opener. After the song, Larry picked up the bouzouki and I had a big smile on my face, because this either meant we‚d get to hear a new song or indeed ≥Blind Willie McTell„. So I spend the first few chords looking over to Tim so see his reaction. BLIND WILLIE MCTELL Actually it took him a bloody long time to recognize it, but the smile on his face soon after was just priceless, as was Bobős word-perfect performance of this great, great song. It rarely sounded better and that really says a lot given that the sound so close to the front is usually pretty bad. The definite highlight, not only tonight, but on my personal three date mini tour. Could it get any better? Well, having heard ≥Baby Tonight„ and ≥River Flow„ as the third electric song at the previous shows, I would have been happy to hear ≥Lay Lady Lay„ and since Larry sat down at the pedal steel , for whatever reasons I was convinced that this was the song we were about to hear. So I was COMPLETELY in shock when I heard Charlie play one of my favourite riffs in a Bob Dylan song ABSOLUTELY SWEET MARIE Wow! This was GREAT. Actually I have heard better versions, as this seemed not to have the driving power of the 1998 arrangement, but hey, they only do it once every six months or so and with that in mind, it was pretty good. After all, it was the thought that counts right? And in my book an okay ≥Sweet Marie„ is still A LOT better than bascially anything. MASTERS OF WAR (acoustic) Was the first semi-letdown. Not only was it a repeat from the show a couple of nights ago, it was also the first song in the set from the ≥I think I‚ve heard this song often enough even if i live to be 100 years old„ category. Being so close to the front the vocals got kinda lost in the mix and (because of that?) I found the song less impressive than in Braunschweig. A lot of people in the audience were clapping along. That often happens and I never figured out why anybody would want to clap during this song. Oh well. Larry picked up a guitar with a capo afterwards and this could only mean two things: We would either get one of my least favourite songs or somebody in the crowd would be EXTREMELY happy very soon. The first capo song obviously is ≥Tangled Up In Blue„, a song I heard at over 95% of my dozens of Dylan shows. In fact I believe Braunschweig and Schwäbisch-Gmünd were the first two shows I‚ve seen EVER where Dylan didn‚t play the song two times in a row. To see a whole tour (well, my three shows) without a single ≥Tangled„ still seemed unthinkable. Like Neil Young (almost) said: ≥Itős gone, but not forgotten„. To make a long story short, we got the other capo song. BIG smile on Tim‚s face, big dumb grin on anybodyős face really, because it was VISIONS OF JOHANNA (acoustic) Okay, it‚s not much as a sensation to hear it as it used to be in say, 1999, but obviously the fact that they play it more frequently means that the performance improved a lot since the song returned to the set in early 1999. This version didn‚t have a harp solo and I believe Bob mixed up a couple of lines, but still this was probably the best version I‚ve heard, well, since the 1966 bootlegs really! Bobős vocal delivery was STUNNING and made this a strong contender for the best song of the night together with ≥Blind Willie„. IT AIN‚T ME BABE (acoustic) Somebody threw some flowers on stage during this song (they were removed by Dylanős roadie Tommy after the song had ended), but it wasn‚t the flowers that distracted Dylan during this song, it was what he thought to be really bad guitarplaying courtesy of Charlie and Larry. Dylan even paused during the closing harp solo to make some pretty harsh comments on Charlie‚s playing (off-mic, obviously). A so-so performance. JUST LIKE TOM THUMB‚S BLUES Wow, another very welcome surprise. A pretty nice version, although I don‚t have much to compare, because I hardly ever heard him do this (in person or on disc). DRIFTER‚S ESCAPE The usual hard-rocking blues version, this time with an extra guitar solo by Bob before the expected harp solo to end the song. RAINY DAY WOMEN Nos. 12 & 35 I told you how much I hate the song many times before, but tonight I was actually pleasantly surprised, because this meant we wouldn‚t get to hear ≥Pillbox„ and with that, yet another 11 (!) new songs in the mainset compared to the previous show. ≥Rainy Day„ included the band intros halfway through the song (if I remember correctly Ų Bob didn‚t say a word all night apart from that though) and was the usual jamming arrangement which gave Bob the chance to flirt with some of the women in the front. He got every upset with somebody in the front row though, so much in fact that he stepped to the front to tell the person in question ≥I don‚t want to see you ever again at one of my shows„ (or words to that effect). The formation followed as did a short break. (encores) THINGS HAVE CHANGED A tiny bit slower than the previous night, I believe, but Bobős vocal delivery was just as good as in Schwäbisch-Gmünd. I always thought the renditions last fall lacked the passion that the kinda rough romps had made the song so enjoyable last May, but this came pretty close to what I would call a perfect version! LIKE A ROLLING STONE Again, a great performance, with the same engery that had fired up the song the night before. More flirting, and now - at long last - some nice guitar licks from Charlie. Larry broke a string and managed to change guitars halfway through the song. IF DOGS RUN FREE (acoustic) Obviously a perfect choice for a JAZZ festival, I liked it better than in Braunschweig. The highlight was an extended solo by Larry, who got his first and only chance to shine on this song. ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER Rocked, rocked, rocked! Again, the first verse was repeated after the solo parts. KNOCKINő ON HEAVENS DOOR (acoustic) With Charlie on electric guitar. I still love the new arrangement, even though it wasn‚t as well done as in Braunschweig. Charlie didn‚t play his Leslie ≥organ solo„ and he missed the cue for a couple of lines as well, thus making this a bit of a confused version. HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED More of what you expect from this song. BLOWINő IN THE WIND (acoustic) And still more of what we already knew... Then they stood in formation for a few seconds as usual, Bob took a few bows, making some funny shadow boxing moves and then they threatened us to leave. But in fact they didn‚t even leave the stage, as they turned around very soon to do another song. With ≥Rainy Day„ used up in the mainset already, it was CATS IN THE WELL Again. It rocked, it was fun, it was a nice way to end a near perfect show. Actually it still kinda left me confused, because I didn‚t expect that Bob could get so angry at his band of seemingly perfect musicians. The setlist obviously was a killer, probably the best I‚ve ever heard/saw in person, and some of the performances were just too good to be true, but some songs suffered from the surprisingly weak performances by the backing band. So although an excellent show, I think itős safe to say that I‚ve seen better Bob shows already. In a way it was like the Tramps show in 1999. So what are my thoughts after seeing three Bob shows in 2001? I never got to hear so many different songs in the space of just three dates (well over forty!). The mixed up setlists took away a bit from the perfection of the performances I guess, at least there were a lot more things happening on stage Ų some on purpose, some seemingly not on purpose Ų than late last year. Where this will lead Bob is anybodyős guess. Despite the fact that over all I was quite impressed with the three shows, I sold the tickets to the two remaining shows in Germany that I intended to see at first. Never done that before. If that is an indication of burnout onh my part or an indication that Bob needs to change things even more to keep it really exciting is up to you. I‚ll see Big Star instead which should be special as well. Thanks to the touring crew Ų Gunter, Robert, Tim (and Regine), Janice, Joe and Ray Ų for the free rides, the funny stories, the place to stay and generally a great time as usual. Hope I managed to get across the vibes of the show(s) without making too many mistakes, I had to rush these reviews a bit. See y‚all next time! Carsten Wohlfeld -- "i went to college, i got a fancy car, drop dead apartment, now i'm a shining star / but she never made it / she's selling avon / but she had you" (nick saloman & mary lou lord)
From: Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 13:03:31 +0100 To: Subject: another montreux review hi, here another, a little bit late, montreux review. after a almost fatal panic rush at the entrance to the auditorium, caused by a incompetent organisation (which is the first time to happen at this otherwise beautiful event) the crowd set itself in good mood and full of positive expectation in the sold out hall. bob and his band started in time with its usually cover version to open the show. followe by the also to most of the spectators unknown song to woody. this was both nice but also still sort of stiff, shaky and a kind of rumbling. followed by a nice "baby blue" (with a beautiful steel guitar) but still, even though the crowd was in a very loyal good and cheering mood, the fire was not yet at its full heat. after the band changed to electric and boomed and banged solid thru a down in the flood. then the first highlight was a intense, dark and powerful great version of blind willie mc tell, followed by a beautiful and compact played absolutely sweet marie which lifted our hearts and started our feet to shuffle. back to the acoustic guitars these bandits presented a masters of war, wich in my opinion could not match with the versin they did in zurich about 3 years or so ago, despite the great cinical razor-edge vocal of bob. the following visions of johanna was a gift for the many of a hardcore bobfans. (a nice change to the usually tangled up in blue, which was played maybe to many times the years before, but neverthless was always a great song to play, due to its movie-screen like lyrics and always changing arrangements). after, still the accoustic way, followed a absolute amazing version of it aint me, babe, which was the most fantastic piece i ever saw personally live on stage by bob and his band. this was just an awesome arrangement, kind of mellow, with a great tender vocal part, and a great harmonica solo to top it of. this song tonight was alone worth the price of the ticket. absolutely amazing. they woke us up from our paralizing fascination with an electric tom thumbs followed by a absolute super-dynamic and powerful drifters escape which demonstreted the skill and power of this band, with the two guitar heroes and last but not least the powerful, unspectacular but absolute filling drumming of the often forgotten und underestimated unvisible Mr.kemper. after shocking us with an early rainiy day women (can this really already be the end, we asked ourselves, bob seemed not to be in bad mood after all)his bobness rewarded us with a 7 songs encore. after a inspired things have changed, they went straight into a fantastic like a rolling stone, which presented its still shining power in a once again new clothing. bob did an amazing vocal and was really enjoying himself. after the band changed their faces again and lead us into a jazzy chigago cocktail-lounge with a fascinating if dogs run free. what a suprise, thanks to the good memory of bob that he not forgotten this song. well, very nice, very easy and classy. then it was good to hear, again after some years, the powerful along the watchtower ,also this came in a little rearranged way, compared to the g. e. smith years, topped once again by a beautiful pedal steel. (the wind began to howl....) if to prove his creativity bob went afterward to a new version of knocking, very touching. then the cowboys got in their boogie-tuned-mustangs to ride like thunder on the highway 61 just to stop before sundown and leave us with an rooty, dusty, stripped-down blowing in the wind. great. of course everybody wanted more. so, to sweeten our departure, they came back again, to let the cats dance in the well. after all, a marvelous show, bob seems to be getting better and better still. even though he will never be remembered as a great lead-guitar-player its nice to hear him play, and he is always backed up securly by his excellent band. its impossible to judge if this was his best show i attendet (it was for shure better than his second apperance in montreux about 1994 or so, or his gig the year after in nyon) because somehow you feel this way almost every year you get to see him, but this can not make sense to rate his shows. i am just thankful everytime to get to see him, and this one was really also a great one. as a funny remark let me tell you, that how ironic, somebody brought flowers to him to the stage exactly during the performance of it aint me babe (i am not the one you need... you bring me flowers constantly) so who lives near where he will be these days, dont be a fool, do not miss it greetings stefan -- Neu: sunrise hat jetzt noch gŁnstigere Surfpreise! Sofort profitieren!

2001: February - March - April - May - June - July -