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Bob Dylan 980830 in Townsville, Australia

Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 00:21:36 +0200 (MEST)
From: Carsten Wohlfeld (
Subject: August 30, 1998 - Townsville, Australia - a review

> Bob Dylan
> Townsville, Australia, August 30, 1998
> Townsville Breakwater Entertainment & Convention Centre
> A review by Carsten Wohlfeld

The whole day was a disaster... y'know, you hear all these nice things
about the smalltown that is Townsville, tropical climate, 320 days of sun per
year, only three rainy days in August, yet we didn't see anything than black
sheets of rain... 15 cms of rain in two days, it basically was a flood. Our
planned trip to Magnetic Island was literally washed away. So we spent the
whole day in the city, but at least the Entertainment Centre was a nice small
venue (usually holds 6,000, but tonight only 4,000!) and despite the fact
that I drove Federica and the Sydney crew mad with my "I wo't get a tickets
cause it's sold out" mantra all day, I scored a 10th row centre seat that I
never intended to use anyways...

Walker?Davies openened the show with their usual great blusy set and then
Patti did it... she actually was better than Bob tonight. WAY better that
is. She came out at 8.05pm to tell people that it really meant a lot to her to
be here cause her father spend time in Townsville as a soldier in 1941. She
opened very laidback with "Southern Cross" and "Waiting Underground" but
during "Dancing Barefoot" Darren and I managed to initiate the stagerush and
from there on Patti and crew were on fire!!! They did bascially every song
you could hope for, including tour debuts of "Ghostdance" (her little prayer
for the sunday night) and great versions of "Because The Night" and "Rockin'
In The Free World". To close to the show was wanted to do "Howl", but
couldn't find her glasses (!) so there was a "change of plans" and we got an
amazingly intense debut of "Horses" than went straight into "Gloria". What a set!
I hope no tape exists though or you will hear Irwin, Darren and me sing
very badly on the chorus of "Because The Night" and "Gloria". Bad idea to give
us the microphone Patti :-)

Bob and band took to the stage at 9.20pm as usual, stagerush happened
during the first song, even security tried to preventit...

> Maggie's Farm

Was okay, Bucky on acoustic guitar. Bob was having a great time from the
start on. Played *every* single guitar solo tonight himself, Larry could"ve
gone home straight after "Maggie" I think...

> Lay Lady Lay

Nice version, not really sung but shouted, I think. Crowd was pretty much
into it though and so was Bob.

> Can't Wait

Very good version, again Bob was more shouting but singing but it suited
the song just fine. Very nice phrasing on the last verse and chorus.

> Simple Twist Of Fate

Solid version that was really special cause Bob played a LONG guitar solo
at the end that ranks among the best I've heard from him in recent times.

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

Yet another heavy guitar workout. I guess that was the reason why Bob
chose to play it AGAIN: To show off his guitar skills.

> Silvio

Was done instead of "Cold Irons Bound", not as great as in Darwin, but
still better than most versions from Europe. Crowd: nuts.

> O Babe It Ain't No Lie (acoustic)

Nice choice, even though most people in the audience were unfamiliar with
the song. Bucky and Larry had a good time doing backing vocals. Bob's
soloing was bad and out of tune, otherwise this would've been one of the real
highlights tonight.

> Masters Of War (acoustic)

Solid version, last verse contained interesting phrasing, as Bob didn't
sound cynical as usual, but rather suffering (if you know what I mean).
Interesting. Maybe he changed it because of Patti's dad?!

> Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

Weird version with a bad guitar solo (it wasn't really a solo, rather a
blank spot in the middle of the song), then Bob turned around, grabbed a harp,
but it away, tried another short guitar solo, picked up the harp again,
played one note, noticed it was the wrong key, picked another harp, started a
bad solo that only and the end got really loud and somewhat better. Very
strange indeed.

> Cold Irons Bound

Interesting to hear this so late in the set. Judging from Tony's surprised
reaction there was another acoustic song planned here, but Bob obviously
wanted to do this one... solid version, not much to comment on.

> She Belongs To Me

Quite nice actually, slower and quiter than recent renditions. Bob started
making eye contact with the females in the front rwo again and had a good
time continuing that for the rest of the night. After the song he quickly
introduced the band.

> Til I Fell In Love With You

Yet another solid, but overall pretty unspectacular version. Then they
were gone.

> (encore)
> Love Sick

Was as good as usual. They really get it right over here. In Europe it was
either rushed or rusty, here they do it exactly right. 

> Rainy Day Women 3 12 & 35

Yes, a rather nice attempt at this horrid song, but I still would like to
hear almost anthing else in this slot.

> Don't Think Twice (acoustic)

One of the highlights of the night. Singing and phrasing was both suberb
and he sang it directly to a woman in the front rwo which made all of us (and
the band) smile from ear to ear.

> Blowin In The Wind (acoustic)

Solid version.

> Highway 61 Revisited

We got better versions of this before, but it was yet another chance for
Bob Dylan: Guitar Hero to show off. For some reasons Bob has to close with an
acoustic song these days, so quickly after they went to the back of the
stage after 110 minutes and 17 songs they returned for:

> Forever Young (acoustic)

Solid version, crowd loved it. A few more bows and he was gone.

The longest show so far (not counting Mercury Lounge), 18 songs, close to
120 minutes on stage. Yet it was a weird night, too many mistakes, too many
occasions where Larry should've played the solo instead... Bob definitely
had a good time and it was a good show, but the magic that was in the air in
Darwin was clearly missing. As I said before, this was the first show of the
tour where Patti was definitely better than Bob. Let's see how it all works
out in Brisbane. Thanks for reading, see you there!

Carsten Wohlfeld
"man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies" (oscar wilde)

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