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Bob Dylan 960703 in Konstanz, Germany, Zeltfestival

Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 01:59:53 +0200 (MET DST)
From (Chr. Ter-Nedden)
Subject: Report Konstanz, July 3rd, 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         

Subject: Germany 1-3 July From: Andrew Muir ( Date: Sat, 6 Jul 1996 14:48:40 +0100 Another year, another visit to my good friends Chris, Stephan and Daniel. This time with the ubiquitous Josh Nelson alongside. Two contrasting nights at Liverpool (I disliked the first - altogether too competent without being exciting, the antithesis of a Dylan show, predictable in the extreme. The second I thought was much improved, without being sensational, without reaching, say, Glasgow 1995 standards.) were followed by a better-than-expected Hyde Park performance. On to Germany, arriving in time to watch their football side win the European Nations Cup against all the odds; a truly courageous tournament performance. then it was "Bobby, Bobby, Bobby........."
Munster, Germany July 1, 1996 Drifter's Escape Shake Sugaree All Along The Watchtower Simple Twist Of Fate It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry Silvio Boots Of Spanish Leather (acoustic) John Brown (acoustic) Mama, You Been On My Mind (acoustic) Maggie's Farm Ballad Of A Thin Man Obviously Five Believers Alabama Getaway It Ain't Me Babe (acoustic) Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35 Munster is, apparently, a lovely place but the venue is tucked away in a drab industrial region; still luckily for us our long drive was rewarded with a splendid restaurant in the venue. Some people seemed to love this show but I wasn't very impressed with my first night on this mini-tour. I'd place it somewhere between the first and last Liverpool shows. It kicked off with a chaotic Drifter's Escape, cocked-up as only Bob can cock things up. He was all over the place, beginning verses just as Jackson's guitar was ending them! I really liked Shake Sugaree though, not just because I'd never heard him sing it before - it sounded a lovely song and very expressively sung. I can't remember anything about Watchtower or Silvio (thankfully) but in-between them we had a tender Simple Twist Of Fate and a great, rocking It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry. Although these were very good indeed this was as good as it got. The acoustic set was OK - aren't they always? But he usually does Mama, You Been On My Mind better and it now has the identical tune to Don't Think Twice. In fact I think Bob is gravitating towards having one acoustic and one electric song and just giving them different names: Mama You Been On My Mind/Don't Think Twice/It Ain't Me Babe/Girl Of The North Country etc. & Maggie's Farm/Ballad Of A Thin Man/Obviously Five Believers/Tombstone/Takes A Lot To Laugh.... Encoring with an amalgam of Silvio/Alabama Getaway & the acoustic song again. Maggie's passed by and then Bob started Ballad Of A Thin Man which he'd played so magnificently in Liverpool. I'm sure he was going to attempt that same version but, unfortunately, he lost the words and went into a sulk with himself. It was dire. Obviously Five Believers picked things up slightly before the all too predictable encores. I felt like the year since I'd been in Germany had not passed for Bob, it was more or less the same stuff. He seemed a bit distant but maybe that was just me.
Mannheim, Germany July 2, 1996 Mozartsaal im Rosengarten 1. Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood) 2. Pretty Peggy-O 3. All Along The Watchtower 4. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight 5. Man In The Long Black Coat 6. Silvio 7. Ballad Of Hollis Brown (acoustic) 8. Gates Of Eden (acoustic) 9. To Ramona (acoustic) 10. Everything Is Broken 11. What Good Am I? 12. Seeing The Real You At Last (encore) 13. Alabama Getaway 14. My Back Pages (acoustic) 15. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 This was a superb venue - both outside and inside. Designed for Opera and Ballet the hall is magnificent both acoustically and for ease of viewing the stage. Thankfully Dylan made the most of this opportunity. It was great to hear so many variations from the night before, it would take someone as churlish as myself to pine for the yet unheard This Wheel's On Fire! A chaotic opening song again and again followed by a great choice for the second: Pretty Peggy-O. Go Bobby Go. There were many other highlights: principally a magnificent acoustic set (even though Gates Of Eden's *last* verse began with "the motor-cycle Black Madonna") and a moving What Can I Do For You. Everything Is Broken was instantly forgettable and I only wish Seeing The Real You At Last was too...Still it was my favourite show so far (Liverpool second night *may* have been better but I am really not sure and I certainly enjoyed this one more). A strong My Back Pages saved the usual encores from being a total waste of time. (It also featured the only harp solo of the night - a good one too, so much more effective than just throwing them in all over the place.)
Konstanz, Germany July 3, 1996 Zeltfestival (Tent Festival) 1. Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood) 2. I Want You 3. All Along The Watchtower 4. Shelter From The Storm 5. Watching The River Flow 6. Silvio 7. Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic) 8. Masters Of War (acoustic) 9. One Too Many Mornings (acoustic) 10. Maggie's Farm (V) 11. I'll Remember You 12. Everything Is Broken (G, V) (encore) 13. Alabama Getaway 14. The Times They Are A-Changin' (acoustic) (V) 15. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (H,V,G) (H) Dave Matthew's horn player played saxophone on this song (V) Dave Matthew's violinist played on this song (G) Dave Matthews on guitar This is one of the strangest shows I've been to: a boring set list, a very indifferent performance from Dylan for most of the show but immensely entertaining and fun by the end. Back to the beginning though and there was a promising start as Dylan and the band actually played the same song for the opener, a very nice I Want You and as-good-as-it-can-get-under-the-circumstances Watchtower augured well. But there was something wrong with his voice, I'm not sure if he had a cold or was hoarse from over-touring but he couldn't pull off the tender Shelter version that he was aiming for and the show dipped alarmingly with a turgid Watching The River Flow and a worse- than-normal (if that is possible) Silvio. The worst Mr. Tambourine Man I've heard was followed by the most boring Masters of War. I was glumly thinking that it will probably be my last show for about a year and I hadn't liked anything apart from the second song when.....but first a digression... (I should point out that other people loved every song on this show without exception, but I can only tell it as it felt and I think they were carried away by the setting and atmosphere. The setting was a tiny tent perched on a beautiful lakeside - the atmosphere was one of intense and unrestrained appreciation of Dylan - no-one in the crowd could be described as far away and they certainly responded to the intimate atmosphere.) ....back on to the songs....Dylan finally stretched his voice - hesitantly at first, then with more confidence on One Too Many Mornings. Things were looking up, though my interest was dimmed by the opening chords of Maggie's Farm. I should not have despaired - help was at hand from an unlikely source. Now anyone who knows me will vouch for me being the most anti-guests on stage with Bob of people. I booed George Harrison in '87 'cos I was annoyed he was sharing a mic with Bob. But it was a guest who saved this show, someone I don't even know the name of. He is the electric violin player from the supporting Dave Mathews Band. A cool dude he is too, a tall, muscular black man with a huge grin and an extrovert stage presence; he bounded on the stage and suddenly Bob had to wake up. Here was someone on stage who not only was attracting the audience's eyes from Dylan but who could also play like fury and had no inhibitions about showing it. Maggie's really took off and ended in a duet/duel between Dylan's guitar and the tall Dude's manic violin. I've no idea how it will come across on tape but it was great to be there and see the sheer joy in Dylan's face at this time. The audience went potty, Dylan high-fived the violinist and we were into a run of the mill I'll Remember You. A dire Everything Is Broken followed, Dave Mathews himself on guitar but probably as unfamiliar with the song as Dylan appeared to be, only to be transformed half way through when the violinist came back on. A huge grin split Dylan's face and they were off again. Dylan revelling in having a musician on-stage who played for playing's sake and, although clearly admiring Bob, was not the kind of guy to pay deference on stage. A god-awful (is there any other kind) Alabama Getaway followed; a more fitting tribute o the terminally Dead even I could not wish for. Then the highlight of the night as the violinist re-appeared for a stunning The Times they Are A-Changin'. Again I do not know how it will come across on tape but my word - what a spectacle. After spending a verse or so familiarising himself with the arrangement the violinist upped the ante. Dylan responded with vocals and guitar; the two of them egging each other on. Then Dylan grabs a harmonica and starts his walk around the centre stage. The violinist takes this as a cue to circle Dylan, playing ever louder and faster. Dylan responds by re-doubling his harp playing while moving to the violinist's (Jackson's mic) as the demented violinist took centre stage. The two then came together, warily at first like two nervous fencers, before meeting up again at the centre mic for a blistering en to the song. By this time the crowd could probably be heard in about 5 central European countries and the whole thing ended with a completely over the top Rainy Day Women with both bands on stage and crashing guitars competing with sax, violin and Dylan's voice in a wild orgy of sound. Never have I seen Dylan so happy on stage, more hugs and high fives followed for the guests. Exit to fantastic applause. So there you have it - a fun end to my little trip and a show that was at best mediocre ends up leaving me happy and smiling. 'Till next time, thanks again, Bob. -- Andrew Muir

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