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Bob Dylan 980828 in Darwin, Australia

Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 03:42:51 +0200 (MEST)
From: Carsten Wohlfeld (
Subject: August 28, 1998 - Darwin, Australia - a review

> Bob Dylan & Patti Smith
> Darwin, Australia, August 28, 1998
> Darwin Gardens Amphitheatre
> A review by Carsten Wohlfeld

Before I tell you about the Darwin show I wanted to share a little funny
story with you... In April 1995 the New Musical Express ran a story on people
following Dylan (in with our friend the famous Ray WorldWideWebster got
quoted as well) and I thought following Dylan was the coolest thing you could
do, even though at that point I didn't even dream about doing it myself. The
article mentioned that Dylan had played 620 shows since 1988 and I told my
friends if there ever was gonna be a 1,000th show, I'd be there, no matter
where it would be held. Now the 1000th show took place the other day in Perth,
which is arguably the most isolated major city on this planet and I still
was there... now that's what you call commitment, eh? :-)

Anyways, Darwin was the start of the new millenium so to speak and since
the previous shows in Oz had been all every good and professional, it was the
real exceitment that was sadly absent. If that was gonna change at all on
this tour, Darwin was the place for it to happen. Beautiful nice town, great
beaches, palmtrees, swimmingpools, and 34 degrees C in the shade. Quite a
change from the rainy and cold south. The show was definitely one of the
highlights for the people in Darwin (the local NT News called it one of the
biggest shows here - ever!) and the venue was a very nice, well, not
Amphitheatre, but a nice hill with green grass and a pretty huge stage. Thanks to the
Sydney crew and to Graeme and Hania and Bob from the DEC the waiting for the
gates to open was a lot of fun and I didn't have trouble getting my ticket

This was a perfect venue for Patti Smith and so at the soundcheck we were
treated to perfect renditions of "Summer Cannibals", a laidback "I'm so
Lonesome I Could Cry" (Hank Williams Sen.) and - for the first time - "Gloria".
At 6.30 they finally opened the gates and we got the best "seats" in the
house, front row next to the rail. Now everybody likes to tell their mates that
they got the front row center spot, but for Patti's set it was really me
who stood about one and a half meters away from her... it was quite freaky to
have her look at me so often I have to say.

Patti followed a well reveived set by Walker and Davies who seem to get
better and better every night (or maybe they just get used to the large
venues) at 8.10pm. Starting with "Wicked Messenger" she got the crowd started
right from the beginning. "Dancing Barefoot" was next, as good as it ever was
and yes, Patti took off her shoes and socks again. After those two songs I
already was happy as can be and I thought: "Now there's really only one song
she can play to top this..."Free Money"'. And she did. I truely believe that
this were the best five minutes I ever spend at a rock and roll concert and
I've seen a few! Words fail me to describe the power and energy Patti and the
band put into this song! The rest of the set was just as good though. Patti
largely ignored her latest two albums and gave us the first Oz-rendition of
"Redondo Beach" as well and mindshattering rendtions of "Rock And Roll
Nigger" and the closing "People Have The Power". She talked less than on the
previous nights, but the music siad it all! One of the best shows I have ever
seen. Too bad that it only lasted for 50 minutes.

Bob and crew came out at 9.20 to perform with a rented setup. Not one
single amp was the same, the mics were new, even Kemper's drumskit was
different. Tony didn't even bring his double bass, playing the acoustic bass guitar
during the first acoustic set as well. Weird! The soundcheck had given us
ramshackle versions of "Mr Jones", "Dear Landlord", "All I Really Wanna Do"
(with vocals by Bucky) and "Sweet Marie" amongst others and that was an
indication that he was ready for a change. And after patti's set he really had to
do *something* to top her!

Well, the first thing he did was ignoring the cuesheet's alternates
"Pillbox" and "Serve Somebody" to open with:

> Maggie's Farm

With was nicely done and of course more than just well received. Bob was
smiling from the first line on and even though I couldn't hear him sing too
good from my spot his voice seemed to be in good shape tonight.

> License To Kill

Took me about a microsecond to figure out this one and I was very happy to
hear it again. If Bob plays a song twice in three years and you get to hear
both renditions you can consider yourself lucky, right? It was a baaaaad
version though Bob didn't really know what to do with the words and Larry
almost ignored the changes on the bridge altogether just basically strumming the
same chords as before. "I Want You" was also on the cuesheet.

> Can't Wait 

Great version, perfectly sung and yet another chance for Tony to show us
his qualities as a show dancer :-) I really like his dancing...

> It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry

"4th Street" was the only song on the cuesheet in this spot, but Bob and
crew chose to continue with a very powerful bluesy rendtion of this
magnificent song. First time I heard it in two years, also the first rendition with
Larry and David and I liked it very much. Doesn't sound much different
compared to the old band's version.

> Under The Red Sky

Fitting song to play at an outdoor show in Oz of course, even though the
sun had long gone down. Wasn't on the cuesheet at all, "Takes A Lot To Laugh"
and yet again "4th Street" were though. Usual nice rendition, but I don't
like the song enough to get really excited about it. After the song Tony went
over to Bob and asked "Cold Irons Bound?!" which was the cuesheet's only
choice for #6. Bob didn't seem to like the idea and so we got:

> Silvio

Great version, much more energetic than previous renditions in Australia.
Guess it's a good idea not to play it every night :-)

> Stone Walls And Steel Bars (acoustic)

"Don't Think Twice" was on the cuesheet instead. The usual countrified
version... most people didn't recognize it and so it scored mighty low on the
clap-o-meter. I liked it a lot though. Bob and band really seemed to be into
it as well.

> Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic)

was "don't Think Twice", uninspired harp solo at the end. "Times" and
"Desolation" were listed on the cuesheet instead.

> Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

was "Tangled", which these days means it was one of the highlights of the

> Knockin' On Heaven's Door (acoustic)

Great version and a major singalong as well. I might be wrong but I don't
think Bob sang the "new" third verse tonight. They messed up the endding
again with some endless "ooo-ooo-oooos" from Bucky and Larry. David just kept
on playing which looked pretty funny.

> This Wheel's On Fire

Great choice even though most people seemed to be unfamiliar with the
song. I just love the backing vocals so I for one was very happy to get to hear
it again.

> 'Til I Fell In Love With You

Followed the band intros and a little speech on how nice Darwin is (or
words to that effect, I believe). Bob also picked up something one of the
Aboriginals in the crowd had thrown onto the stage. He really seemed to
appreciate it, whatever it was. "Til I Fell" was "Til I Fell" and featured the usual
goofy poses that always grace the last songs.

> (encore)
> Love Sick

One of the best versions I ever heard, miuch more powerful than usual with
great singing and an amazing twin geetar solo courtesy of Bob and Larry.

> Rainy Day Women 3 12 & 35

was played as well, Tony on backing vocals. After this song a girl jumped
on stage and ran over to Bob talking to him for about three seconds before
security guys took her away.

> Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

Yet another crowd pleaser, done in the usual style. Strangly enough the
roadies came out again with the electric instruments straight after this one
(the cuesheet had ended with "Rainy")...

> Highway 61 Revisited

followed and was almost as breathtaking as at the Mercury Lounge. One of
the best renditions of this song over here.

> Forever Young (acoustic)

Even more! Yet anotherr very nice version of this wonderful song. I didn't
like it all that much the last couple of times but this was a very
enjoyable rendition.

Soooo, 100 minutes later we just had witnessed the best Bob (and Patti)
show in Oz so far, probably even one of the best gigs this *year*. Around
7,000 people in attendance seemed to be genuinely happy and that's all you can
ask for, right? Next up is Townsville n sunday, stay tuned!

Carsten Wohlfeld
"love can be suicide" (beatles) 

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