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Bob Dylan 980604 in Rostock, Germany


       Stadthalle
       Address: Südring 90 
       Capacity: approx. 10,000 
       Showtime: 8 PM 


Subject: June 4, 1998 - Rostock, Germany - a review From: Carsten Wohlfeld (happyjaq@confetti.ruhr.de) Date: 05 Jun 1998 14:11:00 +0100 Bob Dylan Rostock, Germany, June 4, 1998 Stadthalle A review by Carsten Wohlfeld We arrived in Rostock rather late after last night's drinking shenanigans and didn't see much from the supposedly beautiful harbour. What we saw was east german architecture at it's worst, even the venue looked awful from the outside even though it was actually pretty nice inside - much smaller than I had told Bill as well, so instead of 10.000 people, there were only 5.000 that still made the night a sellout show. Dylan (tonight without his "Pop" hat he wore the night before, still wearing a black, albeit different, lack suit) and the band took to the stage at 8.10pm and surprised us all...dramatic drum intro and straight into: All Along The Watchtower The new arrangement, debuted at Miami Beach! Better performance that in Florida as well, much more rehearsed. I had such a great time hearing it! Not only it is my alltime favourite song by anybody, I also remeber that all the people I met in NYC made fun of me for thinking that "Watchtower" will return as the opener....hehehehe... Apparently only the band and I had heard this version before, all the others - including experts like Stephen and Josh - looked quite puzzled... "Maggie's" was on the cuesheet, but went unplayed. After a quick "thanks everybody" (repeated after at least six songs tonight!) they jumped straight into... Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You The usual arrangement, but I think it was a bit faster (probably due to the fact that all five on stage were having A GREAT TIME (TM) tonight), with Bob's vocals high in the mix and delivered very convincingly. If I only would like the song more, this would've been a real highlight. Cold Irons Bound Introduced by Bob with "that enough of the old stuff, now let's do something new" (or words to that effect). Great version, rocked more than usual and Bob put ALOT into the vocals. Band played very loud, Bob almost had to scream to get heard, but managed to still sound way cool! David Kemper especially had a great time, he was so into it, he even lost one of his drumsticks while going crazy on one of his short breaks. What Good Am I I kinda expected this song in tonight's set, since it had been on the cuesheet for Berlin already. Another startling vocal performance by Bob, who sang very gentle while he band was playing slower than they did on past versions of this song. Quite perfect actually, bar the odd wrong note in the guitar solo. Next on the cuesheet: "Silvio" - and "Like A Rolling Stone"!!! Bob steps up the the mike..."thanks everybody... and now.... I dunno...turns to Tony - waits ages...says off-mike "Silvio"... Silvio A one in a lifetime change for a "Silvio" retirement was gone :/ Great version though as if they wanted to show us: "hey, this one's better than 'Rolling Stone' anyways!" Girl Of The North Country (acoustic) Nice selction of course, even though Bob messed up a couple of solos and his guitar sounded very harsh and metallic. Got an overwhelming reaction from the crowd, though during the opening bars. Masters Of War (acoustic) Different, not as good intro as last night, otherwise a flawless performance of a song that maybe never has sounded better than in this arrangement. It was so good, it's actually hard to put into words. After that a long discussion between Bob and Tony followed (I never saw them talking on stage that much before)... they obviously were thinking about playing "Don't Think Twice", the cuesheets alternate for: Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) Unfortunately they decided against it and rolled out yet another good, but not overwhelming version of this old warhorse. Before the song - but after their initial decision Bob went over to Tony again whispering something into his ear... most likely the addition to the set that was: Tears Of Rage because "Every Grain Of Sand" was on the cuesheet in this slot!!! They obviously didn't know how much it would mean to me to hear this song live only once (and if you read this Bob & Tony, don't you dare playing it before I join the tour again in Copenhagen :-)). At least they were working really hard to make "Tears" sound special and indeed it did. All the smiling, laughing and dancing around that had dominated most the today's show was absent on this song, making it one of the best versions I've heard. The flat harp solo at the end was supposed to be a bonus, but it was better to watch than to hear I guess. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere Interesting choice given that they played two "Basement Tapes" in a row! Bucky had a great time doing the backing vocals (saw him smile for the first time on this tour!) and the a-capella ending was just awesome! crowd: nuts! Interestingly enough the cuesheet's alternate on this song was "Don't Think Twice" (really!). Dunno what that was supposed to be: Unplugged Part II? After the song Bob stepped up the the microphone to introduce the band, but had to cough first....*cough* "Oh man, I'm a loser!" (at least that's what I think I heard him say) and some other inaudible sentence with loser. All band members nearly dropped their instruments and bursted into laughter. Dunno what that was suppsed to be... he definitely had a great time though. Bob wanted to make the band intros longer, but couldn't think of any jokes, so he just pointed at David in a funny way and said something inaudible about Bucky. Big smiles from the guys for that. Highway 61 Revsited followed as expected, but after a lengthy discussion on stage. The cuesheet caled out for "Fell In Love With You" and - would you belive it - "Forever Young". Why they put on the two acoustic songs there, probably will remain a mystery forever. Cooking version as usual, Bob having tons of fun. (encores) My Back Pages (acoustic) For a long time it looked as if they would do an electric encore first ("River Flow", predicted Josh), but while the band came back to the stage, the roadies made way for this one: Nice version, Bob's singing could've maybe been a little softer. I think he dropped a verse or two and the ending was rather abrupt. Bucky joined in for the chorus twice, but gave up after Larry apparently didn't have any interest in singing on this song, too. Love Sick followed and was better than the night before, not so rushed, complete with a gorgous vocal delivery by Bob. Rainy Day Women Was actually longer, different, better, with Kemper going berserk behind his drumkid. Bob picked up some flowers from the stage after the song (as he did in Leipzig, did he ever do that before) and then they were gone. It Ain't Me Babe (acoustic) Not for long though, cause they hardly had left when they were on stage again to do, no not "Blowin'". Nice change, even though "Ain't Me babe" is rather predictable as well of course. A bit of a rushed version comeplete with a harp solothat started out rather uninspired, but go better during the long, slow ending. Bob took a bow and that was it. All in all a great show, I personally would even consider it to be better than Leipzig, cause Bob was almost as animated as two days before but I simply liked the song selection better today. Great show, even though it could've been an absolute classic when he had dropped "Tangled, "Silvio" and "Highway" all in one show. Dunno if Bill Pagel would've believed us calling in a setlist like that anyways ;-) Well, maybe next time. At least he enjoys playing almost random sets (four different openers in just five shows) again. I won't see any shows till Copenhagen, so I hope they don't "waste" "Visions" or "I&I" on a festival audience this weekend. Thanks to Tom, Christian, Stephen and all the others who made this trip so enjoyable. See you next week! -- carsten wohlfeld "what once you called home is a minefield" (damon & naomi)
Subject: Rostock 4 June 98 - a review From: Christian Zeiser (UncleM@BIGFOOT.DE) Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 18:23:54 +0200 Well well. It's sometimes hard to find words for something incredible you have just experienced. The show in Rostock yesterday evening was beyond every dream I have dared to have. Take a look at the setlist first: All Along The Watchtower Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You Cold Irons Bound What Good Am I? Silvio acoustic set: Girl From The North Country Masters Of War Tangled Up In Blue Tears Of Rage You Ainęt Goinę Nowhere Highway 61 Revisited encores: My Back Pages Love Sick Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 It Ainęt Me, Babe Doesn't it look nice? Five different openers for the latest six shows, 30 different songs performed during the latest three shows, but all this is only statistics. Let's go songy by song: Wow. I was second row, a bit to Bob's right, with only a short woman in front of me, terrific view. Nothing could go wrong. Of course we made our bets again about which song Bob will be opening with, and he had us all surprised again. Watchtower, the old war horse, was back, warmly welcome, I know Carsten was close to fainting on the spot. The new arrangement is very cool, the same he did in Miami recently, but now perfectly worked-out. Bob was warmed-up and relaxed even now, not standing behind the mike like a statue, like he often does during the opener, but walking around the stage a bit already. I knew this was going to be a special night right then. Brilliant applause, his first 'thanks ev'rybody of the evening, it wasn't to be the last one, in fact he was very talkative last night. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You was sweet, Bob in very fine voice, smooth but powerful, and of course it was a nice song to sing to the audience, and they surely appreciated it. Bob now dancing around a bit more, doing his weird poses, grinning, totally relaxed. 'Alright, thanks everybody. That was one of my old numbers, now one from my new album' or something similar. Hey Bob, old chatterbox! :-) Cold Irons Bound rocked even more than the nights before, it really blew you against the rear wall. He sharply focussed some of the audience members during this one, and at one time he looked straight at me, the only problem was that it was during the 'I thought some of them were friends of mine, I was wrong about them all' part. Now what was *that* about? :-) Bob's voice was incredibly strong, he had no trouble at all with barking the words out. Pure joy. I looked at the audience, and all you could see was grinning faces. I can say the East German audiences are great, warm, enthusiastic. For me, there was nothing that could go wrong with What Good Am I anyway, I love that song, and he delivered it soft and sweet, with a few new lines I haven't heard before: '... if I just look away while you bid good-bye', and 'if I just turn away like I'm asleep'. After this, there was some discussion with Tony, then he finally came back to the mike and said, 'and now... [pause] ... I don't know'. Cute grin, then he made up his mind and launched into Silvio. Indeed the cue sheet had an alternative listed, Like A Rolling Stone, but I guess he knew the show was going on great, the audience loved it, and he knows Silvio is always a crowd pleaser so he thought he's better not take the risk of trying something else. Fine with me, Silvio rocked like hell, and even the long-time followers who were there bopped around, joining in on the chorus. Girl From The North Country. Very very sweet, his voice (I'll say it again, warm and smooth, unlike on recent tapes). He has a new acoustic that has a bit harsher sound, by the way. I've heard voices say that they lked the old one better, and I agree, the new one doesn't seem to fit the quiet songs that well, but it was not really disturbing to me, just new, and maybe I'll just need a show or two to get used to it, that's all. Masters Of War. Very strong delivery, way better than on the recent US dates, as powerful as in Berlin the night before. Gooseflesh. Tangled Up In Blue is a song that many people would like to see disappearing from the sets, and though I understand their view, I have no problem with hearing this again and again live. I sometimes skip it on the tapes, but seeing him do it on stage, allowing himself one verse for getting into it, and then lifting off, just letting the words flow and stream, stretching, bending certain syllables, is pure fun, and the audience always loves it. He does this song, to say it in Carsten's words, on autopilot, it's a sure winner that keeps the show going. Tears Of Rage was beautiful, featuring the first harp solo of the evening - the first during in electric song since quite a few weeks at least, am I right? Before the next song, Bob had a brief discussion with Tony again, and when Tony finally laughed out we knew we were in for a surprise. You Ainęt Goinę Nowhere! Now this one had us grinning up to both ears, a completely unexpected choice, enthusiastic audience response, and none of the people around me, including me, could keep their mouths shut during the chorusses. The final acapella chorus saw Tony grinning broadly, clapping the rhythm to the audience, which of course joined in immediately. This song, really, was one big celebration. He wanted to start the band introduction after this, but the crowd just wouldn't stop cheering, so he stood there behind the mike, 'Alright, hehe!', obviously enjoying the moment, looking at Tony grinning, looking at the audience again, patiently giving us time to quiet down again. Then the band intros, as on the two shows before. Every single band member received a warm applause. Yeah, it was Highway 61 Revisited again, the cue sheet had an alternative, but I guess he had the same resons for playing this one as for Silvio. And it proved to be a good decision again, a fine fine rocker, the crowd bopping around, nobody being able not to smile. Lots and lots of wild rocker posing by Bob. Then they were off, everyone including Bob giving the crowd a nice smile. It took a while before they came out again, probably Bob wanted to have his well-deserved smoke or so. First encore: My Back Pages, very beautiful, but then he never spoils this one, does he? People loved it. The woman in front of me threw a bunch of flowers on the stage, which had Larry giving her a broad smile. Cute. Love Sick. Very strong again, this one has finally become one of his autopilot numbers, and he now manages to really toy around with his phrasing, making it far more exciting to listen to than when he started playing it last October. Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35. Even this one was great. Okay, you probably now think I'm completey stoned from luck, but that comment wasn't mine but (I think) Rainer said that after the show. Even the people who have been to the shows before with me were hopping, singing along on the chorus. Fine jams with Larry, who was really great yesterday. Some more deep bows, Bob pointing at us, and they left again, but most of us were pretty sure he would come out again to give us another Blowing In The Wind. This is Eastern Germany, remember. And he hadn't picked the flowers up yet. And they indeed came back, having most of the people (those who weren't at the shows before, obviously) completely surprised, but it wasn't Blowing In The Wind but It Ain't Me, Babe they launched into. I thought, now this is weird, such a show, and he gives us It Ainęt Me, Babe, how will they react to this? But my concerns were unnecessary, the crowd loved it. Beautiful concentrated singing, and then he put his guitar away, the people of course knew what was to come when he walked to the back of the stage. He clearly enjoyed the enthusiasm, picked up his harp, turned around to us, and lifted the hand that held the harp, showing it, like saying 'now this is what you wanted, right?'. A nice moment followed, he just stood there for a minute or so, harp in his hand, but just let the band play, giving Tony satisfied looks, enjoying the moment, enjoying to see the crowd almost lose their minds, until the first 'come on, man!' shouts appeared, then he launched into a solo that was far longer than his recent harp solos usually are, starting out smoothly and quiet again, and finally almost blowing his lungs out with the finishing chords. And now he finally picked the flowers up, gave us more bows, and left. That was it. I looked around and saw people's eyes say 'I don't believe what I have just experienced'. I have to admit that I was so stunned that when I called Bill Pagel so speak the setlist on his answerphone, I got completely confused. Man, what was it on slot #4?', so Stephen Scobie had to help me out, dictating the list. Sorry Bill, if all I did was giving you chaotic nonsense-mumbling, I was too happy to concentrate, and I know Josh phoned in anyway. A few more remarks: I caught a glimpse on the cuesheet, and it had options beyond belief. Every song from the acoustic set on (but one) had an acoustic alternative listed, and there were alternatives for Silvio, Tangled, and Highway 61 aswell. They all went unplayed yesterday, but he seems to be in a goofy mood, we'll see what happens in the near future. I haven't talked to anyone after the show who didn't say it was brilliant beyond belief, so I guess my comments here reflect not only my own excitement. Only one lady walked by me and said 'and when will the second part start?', as if she had paid for time, and anyway, the show was about 100 minutes or so long, which I can't say is short for recent standards, is it? So now Bob's off to Scandinavia, I think you folks up there are up for something good. I'll have to wait until next Friday to see him play in Hamburg again. See you all there, and Bill, I promise to be more concentrated next time. :-) Goodbye! - Christian

June 1998 Setlists Tour