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Bob Dylan 980625 in Manchester, England

       Nynex Arena
       Double bill with Van Morrison 
       Showtime: 7:30 PM 

Subject: Manchester Bob Date: Sat, 27 Jun 98 10:32:01 +0000 From: Reid ( Van was on form tonight. There were some moments when he and the band were frightening. They played Just Like a Woman and did it very well. But when Bob and the band started up the music was from a different planet. Gotta Serve Somebody again with its harsh metallica sound and so very loud. I Want You, nothing special about this performance just good. Cold Irons Bound had Bob's voice so deep in the mix it took some concentration to hear what he was singing. Very loud again, dark and frightening, clouds of blood and hillsides of mud.....then gently into To Make You Feel My Love with Bob on guitar and making Humphry Bogart like faces here and there -nicely done. Silvio, well, still it sounds so very alive - the guitars thrashing and wailing. A tremendous close to the electric set. The acoustic set began with the the Mexican cantena sound of Ramona, then a Master's and Baby Blue. Good solid performances. Mama You've Just Been On My Mind performed as I heard at Sheffield. Great fun, a traditional jiggle of a pop song. I heard more Buckey steel on this tonight than on Tuesday. Tangled Up In Blue, again no change in a long time apart from a few new words. Nevertheless, what a fantastic performance of this song tonight. Full of energy and Bob's guitar playing was perfect in its bobbyness, and he knew it too, because he was looking very pleased with himself. There were two solos and during the first the crowd went wild, jumping and shouting all through it. New lines were in verse two something about ....working night and day....and.... time was passing away. Forever Young was as tender as ever. The last part of the show as far as the setlist goes is getting boring. H61 followed by Love Sick, then Bob's 'I am going to enjoy myself' jam/ song and then close with Blowin In the Wind. During the encores a woman was thrust up onto the stage and kissed and hugged Bob. He appeared to like this very much as after she had returned to the audience he lingered near where she went back in obviuosly hoping for more. After a while he enquired if it was her husband who was with her - is that your husband? At the end of the show he bent to speak to her again and then swanked off. Black coat embroided with leaves. Same trousers as Sheffield. Black boots. White shirt. Bow tie, grey and white? If the setlist was somewhat conservative tonight the whole performance was very entertaining and presented Bob and the band on great form. Every one I spoke to form 20 to 50 and Bob-mad to first- timers were all well impressed. I did not get to hear Tears of Rage or Not Dark Yet as I would have liked but it was a happy night all the same. David Reid.
Subject: Manchester Evening News, Friday, 26th June, 1998 (long) From: Alan Fraser ( Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 07:33:00 GMT Review of Van Morrison and Bob Dylan at the Nynex Arena, Manchester, 25th June, 1998, by Paul Taylor. Last year Bob Dylan produced his best album in over 20 years, singing of lost love and the shadow of death. Soon after, his heart scare meant he was very nearly knocking on heaven's door for real. You would think the experience would plunge him further into gloom, but last night he just wanted to rock and roll. This was as a gritty a set as Dylan has ever played, the gnarly guitars, primeval rhythms and stroppy confidence in that famous whiney voice seeming at times like the Rolling Stones jamming with Muddy Waters. Bob, stick-thin and elegantly clad in black, hunched over his Stratocaster, stabbing at fragmented riffs, or plinked artlessly at an acoustic guitar, taking every opportunity to rock out. An awe-struck crowd greeted him with a roaring ovation, then jostled to get to the stage front as stewards struggled to get them back to their seats. One woman managed to hurl herself on to the stage, planting a kiss on smiling Dylan's face before being bundled away. Of his new songs, the ballad Make You Fel My Love was one highlight, Dylan's pining voice buoyed up by steel guitar, and another was the harsh blues of Love Sick. Oldies wrought anew included Forever Young - ever more poignant coming from the lips of a 57 year old - a dreamy Blowin' In The Wind, a pensive, croaky It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, and Highway 61 Revisited, seemingly done in the style of Status Quo. Warm-up man of the evening had been Van Morrison - a "support" act well capable of upstaging the headliner, as Ray Charles could testify. He rattled through his opening numbers so briskly he seemed to be on piecework, scowling away in black suit, trilby and shades just like the bloke who had just failed the Blues Brothers audition. Sudeenly he hit his magical best with Moondance, gliding teasingly into My Funny Valentine. The Healing Game featured a delicious doo-wop sequence which had Van chuckling, but soon he was barking out lyrics like a hellfire preacher, as saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis eerily echoed his every word. After a storming version of Burning Ground, Morrison trundled off stage, moaning and wheezing agonisingly into a harmonica. Dylan couldn't top that, we thought. But he did. It was a night in which two enigmatic geniuses showed their finest form, both still scratching the creative itch long after many of their peers have descended into mediocrity.

June 1998 Setlists Tour