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Bob Dylan 2000.03.24 Dresden

Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 19:11:38 +0200
Subject: review on dylan at Dresden (00/05/24)
From: Sven Lewandowski (  

Bob's birthday party at Dresden

German sociologist Niklas Luhmann (1926-1997) not only developed
one of the most interesting modern theories of society, but also
explained that people do not only have expectations… There are
expectations on expectations as well. People do not only expect
things to happend but also expect what other people expect them
to do - and that they do relate to this expectations. For sure
Dylan was able to expect what people expected him to do on his
birthday's show at Dresden…

So he had two main possibilities. One possibility was to ignore
the audience and there expecatations as well as the singing of
“Happy-Birthday to you' and the shouts by the audience. The other
possibility was to do a special performance (or, as I ironically
said, to offer a kind of surprise to the audience and to perform
all the greatest hits that no one wants to hear again). But in
the end Dylan chose a kind of mixture of these possibilies…

The first surprise was that the venue turned out to be a nice
open-air theatre and that the weather was fine (not too hot, not
too cold and no rain at all). Another surprise was Dylan's
outfit: not one of the usual suits but a western shirt without
any tie or jacket.

As soon as Dylan entered stage the audience started to sing
'Happy Birthday' but Dylan ignored it and started with a
convincing version of 'Roving Gambler' and I tought that he would
carry on with thge usual 'Times They Are A-Changin'' but this
time the times really had changend: Dylan started the next song
alone with his guitar and the band didn't start until he finished
the first verse. It was real: Dylan sung 'Song To Woody' for the
first time on this year's European tour. What a nice surprise and
at that point I was sure that the show was going to be great. He
went on with 'Masters of War' but I don't remember very much of
it because I was so happy having heard 'Song To Woody'. 'Mama,
You Been On My Mind' was another rare choice and I enjoyed very
much the way Dylan treated it. His voice once again was low and
tender. 'Tangled Up In Blue' was good, but there's no need to
coment on this song anymore. The acoustic set ended with 'To
Romona', featuring Larry Campell on mandolin. (It was funny
'cause not very long ago I said to somebody that I missed the
mandolin, which was often played by Bucky Baxter in the old days,
a little bit). Not only because of this intrumental change 'To
Ramona' sounded quite different from the other songs. Dylan also
sung very well. So the acoustic set featured three rare songs and
all of them (and the three others) were performed (nearly)
perfect and if it was not the best acoustic set I ever heard, it
has at least been the acoustic set I enjoyed most.

The electric set started once again with 'Country Pie' and
there's really nothing to say on it. It was rocking and short.
Another good version of 'Can't Wait' follow. More interesting to
me was 'Stuck Inside of Mobile…' I know a lot of people hate this
song ('cause Dylan did it so often), but this is not true for me.
I may be a 'pervert' but I like the song ! And I think this time
even the haters had no reason to complain. 'Stuck Inside of
Mobile…' not only featured more verses then I ever heard live
before, but also was performed perfectly. It really rocked and
the audience was beoming more and more enthusiastic.

After nearly each song there was a lot of communication on stage
and it would be interesting what was on the cue sheet. Anyway -
to me it seemed that they discussed on every song. This was very
obious especially for the next song. They talked a lot and when
David Kamper made an attempt to start, Tony Garnier suddenly
shook his had and waved his hand to tell him 'not this one'. And
so they started again with another song I wanted to hear. It was
'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues'. It was GREAT, altought it featured
rather little text (as far as I remember). By now it was quite
obvious that Dylan had decided to offer a special show as a
present for his birthday ! So the band dropped into another raw
version of 'Drifter's Escape' and now there were no problems with
the loudness of the harmonica, so that we got the full blast. The
band introduction followed and David Kemper once again was
declared as one of the best drummers in the world - better than
no drummer at all.

By this time audience started another 'Happy-Birthday-"attack"
but didn't succeed. So 'Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat' came on as the
last song of the regular set. When Dylan came back for the
encores, 'Happy Birthday' was sung again. Tony seemed to be
wanting to join in and exchanged a few words with Dylan but Dylan
didn't seem to agree. But he must have recognized what was
happening - for he surely is no Mr.Jones - but this was exactly
the song he did instead of the usual 'Love Sick' (that I heard on
every concert since I heard the debut performance at
Bournemouth). 'Ballad of A Thin Man' not only sounded great but
also seemed to be the right song for the very moment. In fact
something was happening here ! (But Dylan wasn't here all alone -
and he also recognized that there was an audience !). 'Like A
Rolling Stone' (which was weaker then the nights befrore) and 'It
Ain't Me, Babe' followed. Then he once again did 'Maggie's Farm'
which turned out to be this concert's only weak performance. I
didn't really expect that 'Forever Young' would follow and I
still think that it is quite strange that Dylan performed this
song on his birthday (a bit like singing 'Happy Birthday' to
oneself). As a real surprise Dylan left out 'Rainy Day Women' and
did 'Highway 61' instead (for the first time on this European
tour). That was not only a nice change - 'Highway' really sounded
great. (By the way Dylan-concerts without 'Highway' seem to feel
a little bit like being on 'cold turkey'). 'Blowin' In The Wind'
finished the show but another strange thing was still to happen.

As the band left stage Dylan turned back, walked to the mic and
said something to the audience. To me it sounded like "it was a
night to remember", but I'm not quite sure about the exact words
he used (so we have to wait until the bootleg arrives) - but the
sense was clear. I can't remember that Dylan did say something to
the audience after a show in recent years. Does anybody so ? So
all in all it was a great birthday party with an enthusiastic
audience, a great band and singer who's been in a very good mood.
It was so obvious that Dylan enjoyed himself - so much that he
felt urged to thank the audience. What an evening ! Certainly a
show to remember !


From: HelmutHeimann ( To: Karl Erik Andersen  Sent: 5/25/00 3:39 PM  Hi Karl Erik, hope you're having  a great time on the road  and a safse return. I was happy to read you were guest of honor at the Horsens gig, Certainly well deserved. As I didn't see a review of last night's Dresden show yet, I might as well send you a couple of lines. After Tuesday's somewhat rough and edgy yet very compellent concert  in Berlin's Arena - a refurnished industrial building  not normally known  for it's hospitable athmosphere, mysteriously transformed into  actually a quite nice place to be - it was off to "beautiful Sachsen" (as Bob had referred to the place at his last visit in '94). A relaxed afternoon in a Biergarden at the banks of the Elbe, a little walk through the still war-bitten old center, then into the park where a beautifully set, intimate amphi-theatre awaited us. And Bob. As Birthday-banners were raised and flowers sailed unto the stage, they went through a storming Rovin' Gambler and set the mood for this special night with a very touching and impeccably sung  Song To Woody. Other highlights of the accoustic set were Mama, You've Been On My Mind and To Ramona. Bob's singing was very pronounced and concentrated, the band played accordingly. The smooth and soft character of the show  (maybe that's what birthdays do to you from a certain age on) carried on through the electric set, with Country Pie back after last night's absence, a welcome Can't Wait, a grand Mobile,and  a beautiful Tom Thumb's Blues. With Drifter it was basically back to the Berlin setlist. The number itself came across way more concruent than the day before, especially when Bob took to the harmonica. Leopard Skin, as ellegantly cruising  as ever, and the Lady in first row got to throw her Leopard Skin Hat again, this time almost hitting Bob's guitar's neck.... Did you know there's very few drummers around that are better than no drummer at all, and Dave Kemper is one of them ? Bob's kind words during the introduction of the Band.... During the encore break a couple of Happy Birthay To You - attemps arroused from different parts of the 4000 strong crowd, but only when Tony came back and kind of directed the chants with a waving hand the congratulatory choir came together and flowed onto the stage, where Bob appreciated it with a big smile and a bow. Ballad Of A Thin Man showed the same compassions as the whole show so , Rolling Stone of course got big cheers ,and only during Forever Young Bob seemed to be losing a bit of stamina, as he mixed up verses and played some funny licks. Instead of Rainy Day Women ,a number I personally don't care too much for by this time, but which totally had me raving during the positively 'stoned' Berlin-Version, was absent, a rousing ride down Highway 61 (probably on extra gas) instead,  Blowin', and  a wonderful, moving spring  evening was over - almost, as Bob came back to the jubilant crowd to appreciate their obvious love for him . "I think I'll remember this birthday for while". So will those that have been there. Long may he run.
Subject: Dresden Review From: (Christian Zeiser) Date: 27 May 2000 07:57:37 -0700 Of course: A Bob Dylan show on the man's birthday was bound to be something extraordinary. Yet, you couldn't really say which way the road would take - it could either be an event coming close to a celebration or it could be just another show, which would be something special in itself, Dylan completely ignoring the fact that it's his birthday. Anything in between those two scenarios was also possible. The Junge Garde in Dresden is a lovely outdoor venue, like half an amphitheatre, big enough for a crowd of maybe 6000 and yet intimate enough to provide a certain family gathering feel. Several bed sheets with "Happy Birthday Bob" written on them could be seen above the crowd, lots of people had abviously spent the day rehearsing Happy Birthday choirs, and it was clear that every single soul in there knew what day it was. As usual, Dylan and the boys started the show pretty much in time, launching into Roving Gambler. Dylan seemed very relaxed, often taking looks into the crowd, seemingly enjoying the fact that he could indeed see the whole audience for a change. After Roving Gambler, the first few people attempted to sing Happy Birthday for him - and failed. Dylan, with a typical distance to his own party, went straight into a lovely version of Song To Woody, way more full of feeling than the ones I've heard on recent March/April recordings. It was like he had just written the number, every single word came out like a statement on its own. Moving. Stellar. ... Find a few more super-enthusiastic words and fill in the blank. Of all the shows I've seen so far (I don't count, but for the record: something between 25 and 30), this will hold a place among my own personal Top 10 song renditions. A beautiful Mama You Been On My Mind followed a solid Masters Of War, and right after a pretty common Tangled Up In Blue we got treated with a rendition of To Ramona that should shut up the nastiest critic of this song. I always liked the number itself, but grew a bit tired of the recent arrangement. This one was a relief, Kemper resisting to give it the waltz beat. The electric set started off with a rollin' and loose Country Pie and another attempt at Can't Wait, whose new arrangement I can't help to find a bit short-lived. It was a surprise, it was cool in the beginning, but after a while it gets a bit boring. Of course it still manages to fascinate the usual people, the sane ones who only go to one or a few shows, so I'll shut up right now. :-) After this a very special moment arrived: The prove that songs that you write off as played too often, as overused and having ceased to develop, can one day suddenly seem like a completely new number played for the very first time. Stuck Inside Of Mobile had me thunderstruck, Dyln putting a whole new level of power into his singing on this one, and the band shone on this one. Up-beat, loose, relaxed, Dylan giving it forceful and flowing vocals. Wow. Just Like Tom Thumbęs Blues was sung pretty low-key, a surprise on its own, a soft and careful treatment on this horror scenario. Oh yes, and then the Drifter was back, blowing everyone away. The new arrangement is forceful enough on its own, and Dylan barks out the lyrics, proving that after all he is one of the best blues shouters around. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat closed an electric set that consisted, except for Can't Wait, of up-tempo numbers only, a fact that underlined the party atmosphere of the whole event. Still, Dylan had given us no chance to congratulate him so far, but this changed when they came back out for the encores. The break was long enough for a happy Birthday choir to form and be delivered, and Dylan even rewarded this with a bow and a "thank you". A guy who had tried to hand Dylan a present before had been less lucky. You couldn't even tell where the bodyguard that grabbed and dragged him away had come from, that is how quick the guy was. Dylan himself paid no attention to that scene. The guy could have known. It is naive enough to think that you can actually get through to him and hand him, as we later found out, three bottles of wine. Still, several things flew on stage during the show, including a few bunches of flowers, a leopard-skin hat, and a toy moose. :-) Ballad Of A Thin Man opened the encores, and although I love the usually played Love Sick, I found this to be a refreshing change. Like A Rolling Stone was next, rocking and pleasing the crowd, before It Ain't Me, Babe, just like Stuck Inside Of Mobile, proved that the old war horses can still surprise. Dylan gave it a very soft treatment, speaking the words in a low-key tone, taking away the what-do-you-expect-sarcasm of the song and giving it more of a regretful touch. Marvellous. Maggie's Farm rocked, Forever Young was kind of ragged as he failed to remember a few lines (still, it was loved by the crowd who obviously found it very fitting to the occasion), and after a reliably rocking Highway 61 Revisited it was time for the last number, Blowing In The Wind. Once more it was clear that this song has a special meaning in eastern Germany, as the "how many years can some people exist before they're allowed to be free" line got several cheers of excitement from the crowd. Dylan looked a bit surprised here. Did he know in which part of the country he was at all? The show was over, the crowd going wild, obviously completely satisfied with what they've just experienced, and finally Dylan, already on his way out, returned to the mike once more and spoke the sentence that everybody had already learned not to expect: "Thank you! I will remember this birthday for a while!". Those were the words. We'll be sure to do that, too.
Subject: Re: Dresden Review From: (Eben Hensby) Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 17:53:31 GMT This review won me over! Does anyone have a copy of the Dresden concert on bootleg? If you do, please contact me privately! It would be greatly appreciated and I DO have stuff to trade with you! (my website needs updating...)
Subject: Re: Dresden Review From: (Jörgen Lindström) Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 21:14:04 GMT Thanks Christian! Very nice reviews of the Regensburg and Dresden shows, really enjoyed reading them. Jörgen, Stockholm
2000: March - April - May