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Bob Dylan 990428 in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Subject: Smiling Bob - Ljubljana review
From: Peter Dobaj (
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 22:10:03 +0200

columbia recording artist.....BOB DYLAN!"

It's 20:15 and we're still at the bar(he he), wanting to get
some beer and wait for another hour or so 'til the start of
the show. Nobody could believe he would get on the stage so
quickly. We rush down into the hall. About 2000 - 3000
people have gathered in the small Hala Tivoli; there wasn't
any free space left in the hall.

There wasn't much advertising for the concert outside of
Ljubljana. I live in Maribor, the second largest city in
Slovenia and I haven't seen a single poster or anything
regarding the concert. Besides, the posters were awfull:
black and white, no picture. Maybe because of the
disgracefull performance of the last concert here (according
to Dino and newspapers) the expectations weren't high.

We rushed down from the bar and Bob and the whole band were
already on the stage and playing "Friend of the devil". I
knew this song would be on first (from rmd, where else), but
I never heard it yet, so I was exited to hear it. As I
looked at the stage I had to smile for a moment because of
the acoustic setup; in particular: the bass player with his
huge acoustic bass (I don't know what's it called in english
- contrabass?). Next up was "Mr. Tambourine man" the crowd
went nuts. His lead guitar was perfect in replacing the harp
and he started doing his little moves douring his solo. The
crowd was very receptive and the applause from the fist song
was probobably still in his mind and he almost smiled a
little. Maybe just half of the Mona Lisa smile and maybe
just for a moment but it was there if you looked closely

He was very confident when he started song no.3....
...."Masters of war". It was played very raw in my opinion,
the drums were very strong. Everybody liked it, the crowd
showed much approval. Then came "Mama, you been on my mind"
a little less known song to the public (and me). It was done
in a very country coloured way and so was the next one
"A-Hard rain is a-gonna fall". The slide guitar was strong
and the band backed him up at the "it's a-hard, it's
a-hard,..." part. The song came to the end and the next one
started almost overheard by the applause. Until the first
line I realized it was one of my favorites: "Tangled up in
blue". The beautiful lyrics almost came to the end, the band
still playing and Bob went a little to the back of the stage
backing the crowd and turned around with his harp in his
mouth and started playing. It was beautiful and it was
during one of my favorites! Then came "Baby blue" with the
nice slide guitar sounding around the lyrics.

And the lights went out for the first time. Something was
going on on the stage, everybody was moving around, you
could see someone carrying the big acoustic bass down the
stage... The lights went on and the electric set could
begin. The guitars had a strong sound, the slide machine(?)
doing it's effect on "can't wait". I don't know for sure but
I think he emphasized the line "I'm your man" (isn't that a
Cohen song?). Then came a beautiful song from Bob's first
album I bought: "Every grain of sand". Then came the rockin'
"Memphis blues" and everybody was dancing now. The band were
backing him nicely during the refrain ("agaaaaaaaain"). Next
up was "Not dark yet", we recognized it at the first notes.
Up to now it was a great show, but the highlights were yet
to come. It was time for ROCK'N'ROLL. Where? Back on
"Highway 61 (revisited)"!!!. I can't put it in words and you
can't imagine that (no, you really can't)...And then the
lights went out a second time.

"Bobby, Bobby" and "Dylan, Dylan" was everybody shouting in
the dark, there had to be an encore. After 5 minutes (that
lasted like hours) Dylan came back on with the paranoid
"Love sick" After the song Bobby and the band talked a
little, seemed to me like Bobby was changing the plan. And
we went waaaaaaaay back to 66 with "Leopard skin pill box
hat", rockin' like H61R. I almost melted away during his
harp-like guitar solos. They changed their instrumens again
and done a great acoustic "Blowin' in the wind".

Back on electric again the fabolous "not fade away", his
usual ending tune. 4 song were played in the encore already
and I thought "plase, please just one more". He was in a
very good mood, but the band were already putting away their
instruments and Bob walked up to them, said something, I was
watching every single move and then a miracle happened
(beside the miracle of seing Bob for the first time live
ever): they put their guitars back on!!!!! And the third
miracle: The drummer cracks the snare like a rifle shot. The
first two drum hits and it's "Like a rolling
stone"!!!!!!!!!!!! Bob was constantly looking over to
someone in the first row on the left and the fourth miracle
happened: he was smiling cheek to cheek singing to the first
row left almost forgetting to go over to the mic while
singing. Perfect lead guitar, perfect band...

After the song he walked over to the first row left and
exchand a word or two still with a big grin. Then he walked
off the stage and the lights went out a third time....

Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 13:04:18 +0200 (MEST) From: Carsten Wohlfeld ( To: Cc: Subject: ljubljana review Bob Dylan Ljubljana, Slovenia April 28, 1999 Hala Tivoli A Review by Carsten Wohlfeld After spending the night off in Vienna we drove to Ljubljana via Graz and even though the drive was a bit of a drag due to the amazing amount of construction work going on we were all quite surprised (and pleasantly, too) how nice and western-orientated Slovenia looks even though the traces of the past are still sprinkled all over the place. I also thought it was quite funny that close to the border they had painted "Slovenia" on the roads, so you don't take the wrong turn, but actually you could still see the "Yugoslavia" signs underneath... Anyways, queueing up in front of the venue was a nightmare, the security was completely disorganized and it's a miracle nobody got badly crushed. The venue itself was small, but pretty ugly, too. The crowd was the youngest - and most enthusiastic - I'v ever seen at a Dylan show (One assumes that is has to be that way cause nobody who saw him here in '91 would've dared to come back and see him again) Bob and crew took to the stage at 8.15pm and Dylan looked as if he got up three minutes prior to that, his hair was a mess and the rest of the band looked rather tired, too. Nevertheless the opening Friend Of The Devil (acoustic) was quite nice, apart from the end. They do this nice fading out on this song and usually it works quite well, but tonight Kemper went "loud" again and it sounded pretty messy. Bob turned around to David after the song and said something that could've either been "That was awesome", "That was all right" or "That was awful". I think it was the latter, judging from his facial expression. Mr Tambourine Man (acoustic) Could've been a great choice, since it was an obvious crowdpleaser, but Bob couldn't even remember the first line and after mumbling a few lines he sang one of the the last verses first and mixed up plenty of the others as well. It was baaaad! Masters Of War (acoustic) Huge cheer from the crowd as expected and actually a version that was even more intense than the ones we heard over the last few days. Bob seemed to be even more determined to get it right and he did. Mama You Been On My Mind (acoustic) Was alright, but far from being perfect. Since he has played it almost every night on this tour you'd expected that they can play it better by now... oh well. Close to the end Bob stopped playing guitar, went back to his amp to pick a harp and give us a harmonica solo. But while he was still looking for the harp David played the end part and the song was over! I'd give a million bucks for a pic of Bob's look when he turned around and fired some very dirty looks at David. Tony kinda panicked too and Larry looked *very* confused. What followed was a long discussion between Bob and Tony and then they made the mistake to decide on: A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (acoustic) The first verse was alright but it all when downhill when they reached the first chorus. As you might now, Larry and Bucky are supposed to join in on the chorus, but Larry and Bucky both missed their cue and so Bob sang "It's a hard" alone, stopped, played a few more chords, sang "It's a hard" a second time, yet again without Larry and Bucky, got very angry and then finally sang the whole chorus with his two guitar-players together. And just because he didn't want to admit that this was a baaaaaaad mistake he actually repeated it every time he sang the chorus, often adding new lines halfway through so that the whole thing sounded even more messed up. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) followed and made up for some of the bad performances earlier. It was pretty good indeed and at the end Bob played the harp solo David "stole" at the end of "Mama". It's All Over Now Baby Blue (acoustic) Again a lovely performance, even though Bob's voice sounded a bit rusty at times and so I probably would say that the "Baby Blues" in Zurich and Linz were superior versions. Can't Wait I'm still convinced that this is not a very good opener of the electric set and tonight it was particularly bad cause David never found the right groove and made the whole song sound very edgy. Bob noticed that too and turned around to David a couple of times but he just couldn't improve the situation. After the song Tony aked Bob if he wanted to do "Not Dark Yet", but Bob shook his head and they decided on something else. Every Grain Of Sand Was obviously a great choice, nicely done as well, only the last verse was a bit shaky and the solo maybe could've been better if Bob would've left the soloing to Larry. Still the first real highlight of the night. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again This should've been the song that gets the band back on track, but it actually was a very weak rendition as well. Bob tried hard but it just didn't work out. He tried to do the rare "debutante" verse, but only could remember fragments of it. Not Dark Yet was "Not Dark Yet", just not as good as it usually is. Got one of the biggest cheers of the whole night though. Bob introduced the band afterwards, the only thing he said all night except a few thank yous here and there. There was along discussion with Tony and Tony actually seemed to ask Bob something like: "So you don't wanna do 'Highway'?" but either Bob changed his mind or I'm just not very good at reading Tony's lips... Highway 61 Revisited Was one of the night's few highlights, sung very well and Larry also did a *very* hot (and long) solo. Then they left.... but of course they came back after the crowd went absolutely nuts (never have heard 3000 folks make so much noise). (encore) Love Sick very good version which made all the young cute girls (and there were tons of them) rush to the stage. It was at this point that Bob really woke up :-) Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat same as it ever was. Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic) Obviously a song that meant a lot to the people here in Slovenia (and many of the italians who made their way to this gig), so it was a big singalong and Bob seemed to very much enjoy the reaction this song got. Not Fade Away Loud, rough and tons of fun. Bob and crew went back behind their amps, but didn't leave the stage. Bob asked Tony (!) "Do you wanna do one more" or maybe it was "Do you think we should do one more" and they returned straight away, guitars in hand. At that point I already knew they would do "Rolling Stone" cause it was the only song to follow "Not Fade Away". Like A Rolling Stone was fast and *tons* of fun cause a guy in the front row went absolutely mad and was waving his arms, screaming things at Bob and signalling Dylan to jump into the crowd... Dylan loved that and at one point Larry, Tony and Bob were all standing right in front of him, laughing out loud. David also tried to get a glimpse at what was going on, so he almost got up from his drum stool so he could look over his drum kit - all this while they were playing the song of course! I never ever have seen Bob laugh that much on stage, he hardly could sing the last verse cause he was laughing so hard. He also came to the edge of the stage to play his last solo directly to the guy in the front row. Also, I never saw a crowd go nuts like THIS. When the song had ended after about eight or nine minutes, he actually shook hands with the guy before disappearing. What a sight! The show not only had one more song than the others, it also was much longer, and lasted for over two hours. It was still a rotten show though, and I'm not sure if the amazing (and very funny) performance of "Like A Rolling Stone" - easily the best I've ever heard in person - made up for the many fuck ups earlier on. Then again, there always has to be one bad show per tour or it wouldn't be Bob. In '98 it was Hamburg for me, in '96 it was Mannheim and now it was Ljubljana. It'll be interesting to see how things go in Graz tomorrow. See ya there! -- carsten wohlfeld ( "i go to the bakery all day long cause there's a lack of sweetness in my life" (jonathan richman)
From: Tom Rooney (Rooneyt@CEU.HU) To: Karl Erik Andersen Sent: Monday, May 03, 1999 2:26 PM Subject: Re: Ljubljana Another View of Ljubljana From Carsten Wohlfeld's review, I presume he was down front, against the stage. Here's how the show looked, and sounded, from center court, about four rows up. This put me about 100 feet from the stage, with a clear view over the crowded floor. While I agree some songs were sloppily performed ("Mama" and "Hard Rain" in particular; the latter was much tighter two nights later in Vienna) and it seemed Bob was unhappy with the drumming at times, overall I'd say this was a very good show, made extra special by the small hall, festival setting, and wildly enthusiastic crowd. The sense of excitement in the crowd was palpable in the hall before the show ("You could just feel it in the air.") as folks jockeyed for position on the floor and in the permanent seats. Some changed locations several times before settling on a place to sit; others sat nervously, then finally got up and joined the crowd on the floor. For me, the highlights were: A thundering, snarling "Masters of War," particularly relevant given events nearby. Larry and Bob traded tasty licks during the break, and Bob's phrasing of "death beeeeeeed," "graaaaaaave" and final "deeeeeeaaaaaaaad" were truly memorable. "Every Grain Of Sand" was great to hear in this arrangement. Bob's first solo was a bit messy, but he made up for it with some fine playing in the second break. Placing "Love Sick" and "Leopard Skin" back to back in the encore section was a clever bit of programming. (But not unique, as I see he did the same in Linz.) "Leopard Skin" was particularly hot. The crowd spontaneously erupted (combusted?) when Larry and Bucky came in to sing harmony on "Blowin in the Wind." I believe it was the musical moment that set this off, and not just the familiar lyric. At any rate, it was a memorable part of (yet another!) great arrangement of this song. The extra encore (would they have played on if this was a "rotten" show?) and Bob's interplay with the person from the front just before they left the stage. (It reminded me of the "You da man" sequence from Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing.") The thunderous ovation at show's end. The 10,000 or so in Vienna two nights later couldn't come close to matching the noise these 3000 people made. Too bad the band was on the bus and missed it. Has anyone else commented on the sound on this tour? Here, and in Vienna, the balance was excellent (though at times a bit loud) and every vocal nuance came through clearly (hence we couldn't miss the dummy lyrics and vocal miscues.) Take a bow, sound engineer(s)! By the way, the crowd was made up of people, aged 10 to 60+, from all over the region: Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Austria, and Hungary. I heard a few native English speakers as well. I'll remember Ljubljana for this diverse mix of people, and their enthusiastic reception of the band's performance, more than any individual moment. And if it didn't compare musically with other concerts in other cities on this tour, I don't think most of the audience really cared. They thought the show was grand.

1999: January - February - March - April