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Bob Dylan 2002.04.12 in Leipzig

This was a very good show, among the best from the 9 shows I
have seen over the years so far. It was probably a lot
stronger in many aspects than Hannover on the next day. The
selection of the songs was very good, Dylan was on and
concentrated all time, right from the hopeful opener of Wait
for the Light to Shine, through the powerful and
contemplative built-up instrumental finale of Times, good
rendition of Desolation Row and tender One Too Many

The best was still to come: Solid Rock, much to my surprise,
turned to be one of the most powerful songs of the evening,
both musically, as the rendition was very dramatic, and with
its message of people expecting false peace to come. I was
very pleased to get three songs from Time Out of Mind. First
of them was Can't Wait, a very dramatic and powerful
reading, with some nice cutting reggae rhythms by Charlie
Sexton. Dylan was very concentrated on the singing, changing
some of the details in the lyrics carefully. The entire song
was downright spooky and very good. Cry Awhile came next,
with the verses even more hurried than in the album version
- the rendition was quite alright, but to me lacked the
magic of Can't Wait. The first electric part was closed by a
well-working Maggie's Farm, which Bob ended by a very
welcome improvisation sang in a pressing voice: I ain't
gonna work for Maggie's brother, sister, pa, ma, uncle, aunt
(and who knows how many other relatives) no more. This
topped a very rocking version of the song.

The second acoustic portion was opened by Its All Over Now,
Baby Blue, still nice to hear, with a very melodic opening.
4th Time Around followed immediately, introduced by Larry's
cittern and immediately recognizable. Just a little playful
piece, a sort of parody and answer to Norwegian Wood, but
pleasant enough. Tangled Up in Blue, no matter how much of a
warhorse it is, turns out to be effective live, and it was
especially so today. It also pleased the crowd very much.

Summer Days followed, evolving into a wild jam, giving all
the players a chance to show off a bit, while remaining true
to the nature of the songs. Very energizing, and all of them
could not help but grin, transferring that wicked grin to
the audience. Not Dark Yet calmed things down and brought a
contemplative note and some very good, soulful singing. Bob
seems to be a lot more better on the newer songs, which suit
the current state of his voice and capture also his
attention. This was proved also by a great version of Cold
Irons Bound. This arrangement is supreme and tops the album
version by far. The rhythm section made it very dramatic. The
highlight of the highlights of the evening. Rainy Day Women
closed the main part, giving a chance to jam off and
introduce the band.

Not Fade Away as the first encore confirmed the importance
of Buddy Holly for Bob Dylan and was very joyful. Like A
Rolling Stone is more of a crowd-pleasing duty, but still
manages to work. I had the first chance to hear Forever
Young live and was captured by its simple beauty. Honest
With Me did not do much for me, not being one of my
favourites from Love and Theft. Blowin' In the Wind is just
the way for Bob to end shows these days, no comments here.
Do not listen to the song at home, but do not mind it live.

All in all a very strong show of almost two and a half hours
and some strong and well executed selections, particularly
from Time Out of Mind. Very satisfying. The audience was
diverse. Being 27, I was certainly not the youngest person
there. The venue was a typical dillapidated East German
communist factory hall with disgusting curtains, but Dylan
managed to make even such an environment warm (and you could
not see it after the lights went down) and the accoustic was
pretty good.

Vitek Zelinka

2002: Jan - Feb - April -