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Bob Dylan 990501 in Ischgl, Germany

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 13:07:22 +0200 (MEST) From: Carsten Wohlfeld ( To: Cc: Subject: ischgl review Bob Dylan Ischgl, Austria, May 1, 1999 Silvretta Ski & Funsport Arena (Top Of The Mountain Concert) A Review by Carsten Wohlfeld If there ever has been a weird venue for a Bob show it was this one. After driving close to six hours from Vienna very early in the morning (we had to leave at 5am!) we arrived in the high society ski resort that is Ischgl (it's kinda close to Innsbruck) at around 11am. Everywhere you look you only saw mountains - snow covered mountains that is. We took the ski lift to the top of the Idalp on 2300 meters. There they had built up a very high stage on a little hill next to a restaurant. So Bob actually played the show surrounded by snow, ski lifts and skiing people enjoying one of the last days of this season. The show was billed as a benefit for the vicitims of the avalanches that killed quite a few people in closeby Galtur. I guess they actually paid Dylan and just donated the rest of the profits from the ticket sales. It must've been a nightmare to get all the stuff up the mountain in time (the show started at 2pm to make sure everybody would get down the mountain safely again). Anyways, your skipass for the day was already your ticket and so many of the about 8,000 folks who turned up had no clue who or what Bob Dylan was and acted accordingly. The huge number of drunks made it even worse, but Bob had tons of fun to see that much snow *and* play. Maybe it reminded him of Minnesota... At 2.15pm they came on stage, Al Santos said "Good AFTERNOON ladies and gentlemen..." and without having a soundcheck earlier on they went into a horrible sounding Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie (acoustic) first. Of course it was a nice change but the sound was rotten and I think it took Bob (wearing his '86 sunglasses) and the band a few minutes to figure out what was going on in front of them. [btw, could somebody please tell me if the Elizabeth Cotten album/CD that has "Shake Sugaree" on it is still in print? I can't find it anywhere. Thanks] Note from Karl Erik: CDNow lists Elizabeth Cotten - Live.
Cotten is also on this one (no sugar): Blues With A Feeling Various Artists, Newport 1963-66 and '68.

Mr Tambourine Man (acoustic) followed as expected and was only average apart from the closing harp solo, which rates as one of his longest and best in recent times, even better than last night's in Vienna. He just had to play this song, as the posters actually said "The Tambourine Man is back"... Masters Of War (acoustic) never ever sounded so out of place. They played it anyways. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) appeared early on in the set, maybe it was because they didn't have cuesheets. Only Tony had some sort of notepad on his amp and they decided on the spot what to play. Last time I saw them do that was at the Mercury Lounge show last August. "Tangled" was less than perfect, but a crowdpleaser nonetheless. David stopped way to early and so we go a few lines without drums before he rejoined the others again. Weird. Don't Think Twice It's All Right (acoustic) He couldn't remember the first line, so we got a long, weird intro but apart from that it was a fine performance, with yet another long harmonica solo. Started off rather uninspired, but got better closer to the end. Up to this point, the snow surrounding him was more enjoyable than Bob's show itself I have to say and even though they all were grinning and smiling throughout the show it wasn't really special - yet. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again Was a pretty cool way to kick of proceedings in the electric set. They did a good job - they usually don't mess up this one, as you know. Bucky had to do some major tuning on his pedal steel before the song and at one point Tony and Bob were standing in front of him, too and it looked as if Bob wanted to tune the pedal steel for Bucky! Under The Red Sky We got a few weird chords to start with (they didn't seem to remember who was supposed to start the song) and then they went into this one, which is far from being my favourite song, but it was nicely done. Same arrangement as last summer. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train to Cry Fun version, the same old bluesy arrangement, but today it was even slower (=better) than usual. Bob went over to Bucky before the song and said something to him. I guess they talked about th weird strechted out steel tones that Bucky played on this one. It was around this song, that the "show" turned into an open rehearsal. For the rest of the night Bob would talk to at least one of the bandmembers before the song and he seemed to explain what he wanted them to do on certain songs. He also looked over Tony's shoulder to get a glimpse at the notepad with the "setlist" which looked really funny. What they decided on was If Not For You which was very well done bearing in mind they haven't done it in ages (well, with one expection in January maybe). The best part of it was the improvised ending though when Bob sang: "If not for, you, YOU! I'm talking about you...I'm dreaming about you", which was either very cool or totally ridiculous. Tony almos fell over cause he was laughing so hard. Band intros followed and Bob also said: "It's A thrill to play here, because Elton John played here. Every place Elton plays I gotta do too" (or words to that effect). Highway 61 Revisited was "Highway". The "promoter" verse ("never been engaged in this kinda thing before") made Bob laugh. A few bows and they were gone. But they returned very quickly cause the drunks that were supposed to clap were less than enthusiastic and so Bob said: "We gotta take a quick break here to tune these instruments". So what followed was either a "part 2" or an "encore" - you decide. After some tuning David just started this VERY fast beat and everybody on stage looked a bit puzzled. This really sounded like an open rehearsal now, the drummer just gets into a groove and the band plays *anything* on top of it. If you ever have heard U2's "Rattle And Hum" album you know which song can be easily played over such a beat... All Along The Watchtower despite the strange start it was a very good version, that the band seem to enjoy A LOT. It had a few stop and start parts, almost similar to the '96 "Silvio" (also kinda reminiscent of the one-off "Watchtower" arrangement they did at the "Hall Of Famee" show in 1996) and I just *loved* it. Simple Twist Of Fate seemed to be a weird choice for an encore, but it was very welcome and well done nevertheless. Before the song Bob also carried out some reapir workon Bucky's pedal steel, yes really. He was in charge tonight (see above). The roadies came on stage to hand the band their acoustic instruments, but Bob decided against it and they did: Watching The River Flow very fast version and despite the similarities in the arrangement, it sounded ten times better than the "Maggie's Farm" they did in Graz the other night. Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic) well, there was no way around it really and it kinda made sense to do it for such a non-Dylan crowd. When he came to "must a man look up" he actually looked up into the sky... After 90 minutes it was all over, but even though the show was much shorter than the others it was way more fun. The snow, the sun(burn), Bob's dark glasses, the non-appearance of any "TOOM" songs - well, everything really. He probaly will never ever do a show like this again, but it sure was fun watching him play here. Wonder that he will do at the last show in Munich now - return to the old format? Carry on like this? I'll let you know tomorrow. My thanks to Birgit and Guido for letting us stay at there place in Munich... so long! -- carsten wohlfeld ( "always tell the truth, it's easier to remember" (evan dando)

Date: Mon, 03 May 1999 10:10:20 +0200 From: Marion Hitzenhammer ( To: Karl Erik Andersen ( Subject: Dylan in Austria Hi Karl Erik At the end of this mail you will find another picture from Bob's concert in Ischgl. It appeared in todays edition of the "Tiroler Tageszeitung", the greatest newspaper in western Austria. Dylan even made it on the frontpage of this newspaper (Pic.2) All of Dylans 4 concerts in Austria got terrific reviews by all major Austrian newspapers. And even the very serious "Neue ZŸrcher Zeitung" from Switzerland spoke of a "Dylan of magical presence". I saw him live in Graz on April 29 and was absolutely stunned. I have seen great Dylan concerts (Nuremberg 1978), good ones (Vienna 1981) and a terrible one (Munich 1987) but this was an absolute sensation. I suppose nobody in the audience had expected him to be that good (again). Especially the acoustic part sounded better than anything I have ever heard on the official CD's or the bootlegs. His voice was unbelieveably good (soundmix?,miracle?) and his guitar playing reached a level never seen before. The band fits him perfectly and every new version of the well known songs sounded better than the original. I can only hope that soon an official CD or some good bootlegs of the tour will come out to confirm my opinion. Greetings, Marion

1999: January - February - March - April - May


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Path:!!!!pln-e! spln!!!mdrn Subject: Bob Dylan concert in Ischgl, 1st of May, 1999 (long) From: Werner Haas Date: 6 May 1999 05:37:44 -0700 Organization: UniversitŠt Innsbruck The concert was announced in this way: "The Tambourine Man Is Back! Top Of The Mountain Concert 99. Bob Dylan live Benefizkonzert zugunsten der Lawinenopfer von GaltŸr und Valzur. 1. Mai '99 Ischgl 14 Uhr Idalp" (Benefit concert for the avalanche victims of GaltŸr and Valzur - two villages in the Paznaun valley. According to the press kit of the Ischgl tourist information 1 million Austrian shillings will be paid.) We drove from Innsbruck to Ischgl (about an hour's drive) and there was not very much traffic. In Ischgl we used the Silvrettabahn to get on the Idalp (2.311 m). On the Idalp were mainly skitourists. The setting was thus: One arrives via one of the lifts on the Idalp, where they have a huge panorama restaurant, behind this restaurant is an empty area. The stage was erected at the end of this field. The soundcheck started at 12.00, after a cool morning the sun was up. It quickly got hot and the snow reflected the sunlight. Now I know how people can get snowblind. I was almost alone on this field and looked for a sweet spot to see and especially hear good. As the stage was build rather high, it was no use to be in the front row. I settled for a place that was about 10 m away from the front row and with great acoustics. I noticed later that the band was well mixed, except for the bass that was just a little bit to loud for me. From 12.40 till 13.50 they played taped music introduced by a DJ. Clouds were coming again, it wasn't so hot anymore and you could now see better. At 14.02 roadies tuned the instruments again. About 14.15 the concert started. Bob wore a black suit with sidestripes on his trousers and likewise ornaments on the jacket. Grey shirt. Sunglasses. 1. Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie (acoustic) Bob was obviously in a good mood. This was the only song that was allowed to be recorded for 60 seconds ("Fotografiert darf nur wŠhrend des 1. Songs werden und Mitschnitte von Radio und TV sind nur wŠhrend der ersten 60 Sekunden erlaubt" - leaflet for the press). The sun came out again for a few minutes. 2. Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic) (with harp) 3. Masters Of War (acoustic) Wonderful heavy version. Even the weather seemed to agree and sent a few snowflakes to set the mood. Bob was very concentrated and his bitter smile was sincere as he sang: "And I hope that you die / And your death'll comes soon." 4. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) Bob played nice solos, made some guitar hero posing. When the last verse came he just played, didn't sing, the last refrain and grinned amused. 5. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic) (with harp) As he sang one time "It's all right" he started laughing. Well harmonica playing. He had the harmonica and the microphone in his left hand and held the cable with his right hand up - entertainer-style. After this song he slightly stooped forward and streched his arms sideways out. 6. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again The electric part of the show began. Wonderful guitarwork from Bob. He easily played some licks that astounded me. Good version. 7. Under The Red Sky Big surprise for me. Nice to hear. 8. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry 9. If Not For You The next surprise for me. It seems that Bob enjoyed the show himself. He adlibbed at the end of the song and instead of "If Not For You" he sang: "You you you, I'm talking about you" (Isn't this a songtitle, late '70s/early '80s?). After that he said "Thank you" and made a comment about Elton John playing at the Idalp and this being the reason(?) that he was there. I couldn't understand him completely and as his musicians were grinning this might well have been tongue in cheek. He then introduced the band. 10. Highway 61 Revisited Good, very rocking version. They went to the back of the stage, to the exit and roadies were busying themselves with the guitars. It wasn't quite clear if this was the end of the show as there had been rumours, that this special show would only last for an hour. Bob then came back to the front just to announce that they had to "Tune this instrument" (his guitar) and went to the back of the stage again. 11. All Along The Watchtower Like Highway a good rocking version. People liked it. 12. Simple Twist Of Fate Quite a different tempo but it worked. After the previous two fast songs the audience was ready to listen to this song. Bucky had some problems with his pedal steel guitar and Bob helped him. It seemed as if he plugged Bucky's guitar correctly in. 13. Watching The River Flow Another surprise. Uptempo version that was slowed down for the end. People were so into this song and dancing or behaving in other ways strangely, that Bob showed Tony some of the things that happened in the audience and both grinned. 14. Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic) Well played version. Refrain sung by the three guitarists. In the last verse Bob sang "The answer my friends..." ;-). Concert ended at 15.50 Werner P.S. Yes, I am very interested to hear this concert again ;-).