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Bob Dylan 2002.04.16 in Stuttgart

From: "Carsten Wohlfeld"  office@carstenwohlfeld.de
To: billp61@execpc.com
Cc: webmaster@expectingrain.com
Subject: Stuttgart review
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 11:25:43 +0200

                Bob Dylan

            Stuttgart, Schleyerhalle

            April 16, 2002

            A review by Carsten Wohlfeld



11 years on, the people of Stuttgart still haven't forgiven
Bob - or so it seems. 11 years and 10 months ago on this
day, Dylan performed his worst ever show at the Liederhalle
in Stuttgart, later imortalized on the aptly titled "The
Worst Of Bob Dylan, Name That Tune" bootleg. So while in
most other German cities they sold about 5 000 to 7 000
tickets, the Schleyerhalle in Stuttgart, which holds approx.
9 000 people, was FAR to big for Bob. They decided to close
off 2/3 of the seats, so I suppose in the end the venue
looked even worse than before and held about 3 000 people.
They opened the doors early and even though Gunter and I
arrived late, it would've been no problem to get to the
front still. We decided to take things easy though (after
all we had a pretty decent spot the night before) and
settled for a center spot in the back. The show started
pretty much on time, the band this time wearing their 
matching purple suits again. Bob wore his black suit tonight
and a white cowboy hat, rather than the black one he had on
for the night before. The show had the same loose atmosphere
on stage that had made the Hamburg  gig a week before so
enjoyable. Maybe George's apparent injury and the presence
of Brady Blade in Frankfurt had changed things slightly for
that one show, but Stuttgart was destined to be a fun
concert from the start. They started with

               Hallelujah I'm Ready (To Go) (acoustic)

Bob's vocals sounded a bit rusty, but the rendition was fast
and livid and got the crowd going right from the start. A
good start.

               The Times They Are Changin' (acoustic)

A killer. Bob, that is, not the song. He completely
massacred the tune. Sounded tired and weary and Bob had
major troubles remembering the lyrics. Fortunately, he
spared us the harp solo. I believe that the band wanted to
end the song early, but Bob just kep playing and so the guys
continued as well. A mess.

        It's Alright Ma (acoustic)

As strong as the night before, despite the fact that Bob
(and the band) looked tired, it still sounded very good. A
shame to see though, that he apparently hedropped the great
new "Desolation Row" arrangement for the time being.So far
it was pretty much a hit and miss affair, but it all changed
with the next song, that saw Bob waking up at last.

        Fourth Time Around (acoustic)

Sounded better than any version I've heard in 2000. Charlie
on electric and Lary on cittern added beautiful lines and
Bob's singing was convincing, clean and very, very solid.
The crowd seemed to be very impressed and as if Bob wanted
to confirm that he had finally arrived at the Schleyerhalle,
he picked up the harmonica for the first time. The solo
wasn't his best, but things really improved from here on in.

        Solid Rock

More powerful than the night before, very dynamic and thus a
huge crowd pleaser despite its "obscure" status.

        Cry Awhile

I enjoyed the songmostly due to the fact that it was the
only one tonight I hadn't heard before. The arrangement with
its weird ryhthm structure is pretty challanging for a live
show and while Larry and Charlie did a great job and even
Bob's guitar playing (often duelling with Charlie) was
surpringly good, I still don't think the song worked well
for most people in the audience.

        Every Grain Of Sand

Wow! Its always a pleasure to hear this song, but I was
surprised to find this rare gem in the same set as "solid
Rock". As Tim remarked after the show, something must've
happened. He either found god again or somebody gave him
copies of his born again albums for revaluation. Or
something. Whatever it was, the performance was AMAZING. Bob
obviously likes to challenge his band sometimes by changing
parts of the song without notice and then they walk on thin
ice when they are improvising, but on this song, Bob just
kept to what they had rehearsed and that made sure that the
music was stunningly perfect. Bob really concentrated on his
part (the singing)as well, and while I've heard many
renditions of this song before, none have been as beautiful
as this one. Without the doubt the highlight of the night,
maybe even the whole tour so far.

        Highway 61 Revisited

Rocked as usual, and even with George on drums it's not that
different. Lots of interesting interplay between Charlie and
Bob, the jam parts were long and energetic and put some new
life into this overplayed song. Bob even smiled a few times
when Charlie managed to surprise him with some new licks.
Nice!

        Masters Of War (acoustic)

Sounded a bit tired. Sometimes it has a really driving
guitar part and a military style rhythm, tonight the guitars
sounded weak and the drums were unconvincing as well. The
lyrics were well sung though. The first verse was repeated
and the song ended with the last word of that verse. A
lowpoint.

        Tomorrow Is A long Time (acoustic)

Bob started it off with a harp solo that sounded a lot like
"Tamborine", but fortunately he pulled out this lovely tune,
with Larry on harmony vocal for the chorus. Unlike on
previous versions, Bob decided not to sing the song WITH
Larry, but rather AGAINST Larry, which resulted in a
hilariously funny "solo" for Mr. Campbell on the second
chorus. Bob was so behind with his lines (on purpose or
not), that Larry sang his lines all by himself and Bob
basically repeated after him.  It was a weird version, but I
actually prefer a weird "Tomorrow" than having to hear the
umpteenth "Tambourine" or "Tangled", so I for one was happy.

        A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall (acoustic)

Was much better than in Hamburg, although that still doesn't
mean that it was a highlight. I don't know why he has to
sing this song over and over agin, even though it seems to
be obvious that he can't sing it anymore. Can't make him
(or the crowd) happy?!

        Summer Days

Like the days before, this was stunning good. 'nuff said.

        Simple Twist Of Fate

Some thought it was a surprise move to pull out this song,
but after "Shelter" the nightbefore, yet another "Blood On
The Tracks" tune didn't surprise me at all. Although it's
rarely played (this was only the second rendition with
George), it was very well done, both from the band and Bob.
He seemed to enjoy this song a lot, putting a lot of energy
and emotion into the lyrics and even closing off the song
with a harp solo.

        Cold Irons Bound

The arrangement is still the weird and rather complex one
debuted at the Cologne show it 2000, it's still good to
hear, although the more rocking choices from "John Wesley
Harding" seem to work better for the crowd in this slot.

        Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

The best thing about this song was that it showcased how
much Bob and his band can change. Within 15 mins we got a
rockabilly song, a balladesque love song, a "difficult"
blues rock song and a comedy blues. Wow. The song was the
usual rocking jam until Bob started his band intros and
things got very weird/funny. First of all, he said "Ladies
and gentlemen, I want to intriduce my band. do you mind if I
do that?" (or words to that effect). After he had introduced
Larry, Charlie began to move around, holding up his guitar.
At first, Bob seemed to be surprised, but after he had
introduced Charlie he went over to him, encouraging to play
a solo (at first by his own, then together with Bob). A
minute or so later Bob introduced George and then Tony - and
they got their solos as well!!! Tony's part made Bob burst
into laughter, too! It was very, um, intersting. After the
band intros had finished, Lary played a lap steel solo as
well, even without Bob's encouragement! A very entertaining
way to end the main set.

        Man Of Constant Sorrow

This kicked off the encores and while it wasn't very
different to the previous versions, it was still a
highlight, much loved by the crowd.

        Like A Rolling Stone

Seemed to be a lot more energetic than the previous night
(maybe because George felt better and hit the drums
harder?), and Charlie's solo parts were longer and stronger
as well.


        I Shall Be Released (acoustic)

I'm convinced this song started off as "Forever Young" and
they band switched to "Released" when Bob kicked in this his
harp solo. Maybe I just completely misheard it? I like
"Released" better anyway and this was a very nice version,
although Bob again tried to challenge backup singers Larry
and Charlie with his phrasing.

        Honest With Me

Rocked as usual.

        Blowin'In The Wind (acoustic)

Pretty weak, it seemed as if Bob's performance came full
circle and he returned to the weak start of the show
("Times") with this song.

So after 2 hours and approx. 20mins the show had ended.
Still no "Watchtower" for me - a pity. Unlike the previous
two concerts I had seen, this wasn't very consistant. "4th
Time Around", "Every Grain Of sand" and "Tomorrow." were
simply stunning, the blues rock songs were all very
enjoyable and rocking, but some of the stuff in between
really was sub-standard. Not a bad show, much better than
the one at this venue in 2000 (not to mention the 1991 gig
again).

After the show we took off to lovely Lake Constance, while
Bob no doubt made his way directly to Munich for the next
show. Thanks to Gunter, Tim and Regine, couldn't have done
it without you! Stay tuned for more from Munich soon!

Carsten Wohlfeld
--
http://carstenwohlfeld.de
"your girlfriend can leave you, but the rolling stones are there forever" ~
alan mcgee


BOB DYLANęS 2002nd DREAM – DER MEISTER IN DER SCHLEYERHALLE Natürlich hat Bob Dylan auch anno 2002 Träume, mehr noch: der Mann hat sogar mit 61 Jahren Visionen, vor allem künstlerische. Schon deswegen nimmt er eine Ausnahmestellung ein im Kreis der Rock- und Songwriterveteranen, die noch auf die Bühne gehen. Auf seiner never ending tour - seit Jahren gibt er ungezählte Konzerte in der ganzen Welt - beweist er immer wieder aufs Neue, daß er uns allen noch sehr viel zu sagen und zu geben hat. Als der Meister am Dienstag Abend die Bühne der gut gefüllten Schleyerhalle betritt, sehen wir ihn zunächst als missgelaunten, knorrigen alten Mann mit linkischen Bewegungen und maskenhafter Mimik. An seiner Seite die seit Jahren bewährte Band. In gewohnter Manier beginnen sie mit einem Traditional, das sie diszipliniert und kontrolliert mit wunderschönen harmony-vocals vortragen. Wie sich selbst dabei beobachtend und zuhörend ist es lediglich der Einstieg zu einem phantastischen Konzertabend mit einem Höhepunkt am Anderen. Wie Bob Dylan bei Hard Rain das a-gonna fall einfach verschluckt und ihm somit die Schärfe des apokalyptischen Protestsongs aus den Sechzigern nimmt und auch der 75er mit Punk Attitüde vorgetragenen Live Version, ist schlichtweg genial. So gelingt ihm ein neues Lied voller Poesie und Sinnlichkeit, untermalt von ausdrucksstarken akustischen Gitarren und harmonierendem Bass- und Schlagzeugspiel. Dies gilt nicht nur für Hard Rain, Dylan nimmt Kontakt mit seinen Songs aus der Vergangenheit auf. Er stellt Fragen an sie und somit auch an sich selbst. Indem er sie anders betont und phrasiert, nimmt er ein ernsthaftes Spiel mit ihnen auf und transportiert das Alte ins Hier und Jetzt. Er ändert Melodie, Rhythmus und Dynamik, läßt Raum für kontrollierte, spielerische Improvisation und bewegt sich doch im Rahmen von Folk, Blues, Rock, Country. Wahres Rockęn Roll Feeling kommt bei Summer Days (vom letzten Album „Love & Theft“) auf. Pure Spielfreude verbreitet sich auf der Bühne, Dylan hält musikalische Zwiesprache mit Charlie Sexton (Gitarre), tänzelt und lächelt, verbreitet jugendliche Leichtigkeit, gute Laune und dies mit einem zurückhaltenden Charme, der sich dennoch im Publikum ausbreitet wie ein Lauffeuer. Erstaunte, glückliche und zufriedene Gesichter. Wer wissen will was hinter dem Begriff Authentizität steckt, muß nur ein Bob Dylan Konzert besuchen. Einschmeichelnd, countryfiziert kommt 4th Time Around („Blonde On Blonde“) daher. Eine Hommage ans Leben, die Liebe mit wunderschöner Melodie und eindringlichstem Gesang. Pure Intensität! Das gleiche gilt für Simple Twist Of Fate. Ein wahrer Kracher ist Cold Irons Bound, der Geist von Robbie Robertson & Co. (The Band) weht nicht nur bei diesem Stück durch die Lüfte. Ein Song wie ein ungezügeltes Pferd, das Bob und seine Mitstreiter dennoch im Zaum halten, auch hier wieder disziplinierte elektrische Gitarren (drei an der Zahl!), die sich ineinander haken und verzahnen; das ganze Bandgefüge stampft über die Prärie und bläst dem Publikum einen Psych-Blues-Rock um die Ohren, dass es eine wahre Freude ist. In ähnlicher Weise gehen sie mit Highway 61, Honest With Me und Cry Awhile um. Im Vergleich zum Konzert letzten Jahres in Schwäbisch Gmünd, das von der rauen ungehobelten Art und Weise lebte, ist der Live Auftritt in der Schleyerhalle in Perfektion, die Intensität, Wärme und Spielfreude mitbringt, kaum mehr zu toppen. Als sie I Shall Be Released anstimmen muß man einfach den Tränen nahe sein. Wundervoll! Einfach betörend wie die Stimmen in Harmonie den Refrain zum Leuchten bringen. Zum Sterben schön! BlowinęIn The Wind soll dann das letzte Stück des Abends sein. Längst hat er dieses Lied aus seiner selbstgefälligen Lethargie befreit, in das es vor Jahrzehnten durch unsägliche Cover Versionen geraten ist. Was soll er nicht alles gewesen sein: Inbegriff einer ganzen Generation, Protestsänger, Judas, Jesus, lebende Legende, Mythos, etc. Der Konzertabend in der Schleyerhalle hat gezeigt, daß Bob Dylan ein Mensch mit Charisma und Aura ist. Kaum auf der Bühne, zieht er das Publikum in seinen Bann. True Magic! Wenn er dann endgültig hinter dem Vorhang verschwindet, trifft es einen unvorbereitet, man ist schockiert, eine Leere entsteht und ist doch erfüllt von dem, was er imstande ist zu geben. Bob Dylan und seine Musik ist das Geschenk!
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