See copyright notice at

Bob Dylan 980603 in Berlin, Germany

       Address: Am Glockenturm 
       Open air
       Capacity: approx. 22,000 
       Showtime: 7 PM 
       General admission 

From: Subject: Soma Varady - Dylan in Berlin Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 10:16:27 +0200 Almost one week has passed since the Berlin show and no one took the chance to report it, I will do... Just to sketch a background to it, a few words about myself (really a few...): I am a Hungarian Dylan-fan of 25 years old, and alas having not many chances to see and hear the Man live - but perhaps this makes the occasions all the more precious. This concert in Berlin was my third time (and I do crave for a 4th time around!), and was the best of the three, oh, that's for sure!!! First was in Budapest 1991, then came Prague 1995 (the opening show of that year...) and now 1998... ...Berlin. The Waldbuhne, a very nice Greek-theater, with a capacity of ca. 20,000. Lovely place steep in the hillside, nice warm evening. After much trouble around the tickets (we ordered them /the four of us, Hungarians/ - they did not arrive to Budapest - we got in with a fax certificate somehow...) we got in at 5, got a great place in front of the stage, killed time chatting and doing really nothing - - people in the first row said that the show in Leipzig, the day before was HILARIOUS!! That Bob was unbelievable, dancing and laughing, duck-walking and all, with an unusual setlist that had Hard Rain, Shelter, Make You Feel My Love, If Not for You, One Too Many Mornings, and the end was NOT Rainy Day Women but with an acoustic song: Blowin' in the Wind...! (But, alas, I was not in Leipzig, let's leave that to the lucky ones who are authentic in that subject, I'll have to wait some kind of tape to listen to Leipzig...) - Finally, at 7:25 PM, sky is blue with clouds approaching, stage is set, cuesheets are stuck on the stage, that first title seemed to be quite long! And so a white hat pops up somewhere behind the curtain, and man, they appear. Bob comes to the mic, takes the guitar, and comes the well known introduction: "Ladies and Gentlemen..." EVERYTHING IS BROKEN As the band starts I can hardly believe it. Since the singing is not very upfront in the first song, I can't make it out clearly. But by the refrain I know it, it's great! But again, what an opening, as I read the setlists of this year and, well, earlier ones, this can be taken as a real surprise, does anyone know if this was an opener before? They played it great, sound got better around the end, what will be next? IF YOU SEE HER, SAY HELLO Less a surprise, but a warmly welcome take, Bob! And very well sung...yes, those Dylanish prosody, stretching at the end of lines, oh, maybe at other syllables, too; strong and felt performance, not mumbling like I have heard on some boots...and the band is great, playing softly, kind of country music setting. What I enjoy most is the strong and warm voice of Bob, he is animated, really there with the song and with us...This song is one of my favorites, I say to the woman standing next to me in the audience...she's just smiling, eyes sparkling, like everyone's around here... COLD IRONS BOUND I was waiting for it, now here it comes as it 'should', at place No. 3. Dylan is singing well, perhaps the band is not as great this time as on the record. (I know they're not the same musicians). But this song is so good it can't be destroyed. Definitely a better choice than another Watchtower in this place... What is great is to see Bob doing it all, he seems to be real fit, in great shape, wearing a black suit with white shirts and the white (or butter-coloured?) Stetson hat. Nice look, really, like all the other members of the band. I love the attitude, nothing extra, nothing that would be unnecessary, like girls, lights dancing, whatever...(by the way, it is still daylight here, it is long sunshine in June...) UNDER THE RED SKY I like this song but consider it a minor one. It goes well, though, with nice guitar playing, here I notice that it is Dylan who is doing most of the playing on the instrument! Yes, he is the leader tonight, in every sense of the word. Nice finishing verse with intense singing. I wished for a Never Gonna Be the Same Again, but hey, wouldn't that be too much? By the end of the song we are under a kinda black sky...will it rain and thunder? SILVIO Slow and heavy raindrops are falling. Fortunately, not onto the stage, where the guys are rocking with this song, which is really great here on concert, creates an atmosphere...people start moving around the rhythm. The usual slowing down at the end, instrumental tricks. Great, but we very much wait for some soulful, breath-taking moments... THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' They quickly grab the acoustic instruments and start playing this. The day before it was Hard Rain...would fit better to this rain we have now, and I like that song better. But hey, listen, it is great music I hear, Bob playing some incredible little sharp guitar insertions! And that singing, wow, great thing he is not bore with that song! He is there with it, again, phrasing that makes the words living, meaningful. Yes. LOVE MINUS ZERO By the end of 'Times' we know and feel that it is very special what is going on here. The magic happens, that transcendental happens, I feel the power that's floating around, on the stage...and somehow the audience is very much turned on, tuned, in tune with Bob, and yes, this IS the moment when true creativity bursts out... ... and tonight it does in Love Minus Zero. What should I say about this performance? No words can describe this, they would be flat and ridiculous, trivial at their best... It is suffice to say that it was the most perfect thing I could have experienced at that very PRESENT moment. Besides, that's another favorite song of mine. Great God...(TAPES!!??) MASTERS OF WAR The ghost of creativity stays with us, electricity's still in the air. Wizard Bob sings like he does it for his life. He puts everything into this song, unbelievable. He is ON, words are concentrated, timing is perfect, guitar is bitter and much in accord with the song's topic. People around me shake their head, they can't believe it. What power this Man has... TANGLED UP IN BLUE Hey, it's the fourth acoustic! Lucky we are! Of course, he can't leave out this song. And well, this acoustic set is so perfect, with this gorgeous performance at the end, rolling, swinging, with long and pulsating solos. And here all is let out, Bob is dancing!!! A few steps here and there, and a lovely lead with the guitar. Singing? Great...what else could be? I feel so high, sorry, I can't remember with a historian's accuracy...audience gone quite mad at this moment...(and even the rain stops!) NOT DARK YET A thrilling moment it was when they got back to their electric guitars and this tune slowly burst out. "Shadows are falling...". A man next to me listened with jaws dropped...I just looked around, the audience listened with breaths taken back, getting every little nuance of this rare wonder. One of us (the four Hungarians) said before the concert she wished for this song and I said then that it is not likely to have this tonight. And now it is here... Simply beautiful. And hearing alive we face a slightly different song, a different beauty. Again, get the tape! That line "I was born here and I'll die here, aGAINST my will"...worths a million...Can it be more improved? HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED It can't, there must be a relaxation. The fact that Bob introduced his band before this number showed that. Now we have nice, rocking music, but I feel kind of out of place. I am so much under the influence of the former performances, how can this man get over them with such an ease? I don't want to entertained with guitar riffs and rushing singing... ...but tonight Mr. Dylan is the boss, he has that willing power, and by the third verse and the long solo after that I am amazed again. What energy he plays with! And he's moving around, hah, a little shaking of the head, dancing to the rhythm, man! I am dancing, too... DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALL RIGHT Of course, they're gone and of course, they're back again. Back with the acoustic setting. What will that be? One Too Many Mornings, I think for a moment, then it's not, it's the good old Don't Think Twice. But tonight, thanks Lord, it doesn't matter, Bob makes it a real gem, now I think he could sing every little song and turn it to a gem, he's got the secret knowledge tonight for that...He's singing from the heart, that's the secret... And after all the words, he expresses what can't be expressed with words: there comes the harmonica. And a solo of long minutes that crowns the whole evening...I'll die a happier man. Thanks, Bob. LOVE SICK It's still not the end, here comes a truly mesmerizing performance of this song. And Bob sings my most loved lines goddamned well: "Sometimes/the silence can be like/thunder". The band is perfect this time, it is better than on the album (not as it was with Cold Irons Bound). I think they could play this good till the end of the world now...audience is silent again, loud roar at the end. RAINY DAY WOMEN # 12 & 35 Lovely, relaxed ending, a real finishing song, we know that. Everybody's dancing, a feast is taking place around. They play it long, it seems to me. Bob's smiling, bowing at he end. It's the end, it all went so fast...this night. BLOWIN' IN THE WIND Now you see, it was not exactly the end, a wonderful gesture it is that Bob places an acoustic song at the end, and this is so affecting to hear the Man on the stage singing this old song with so much care... ...and yes, so much was cared tonight, there was so much experienced here tonight, so much we got tonight, Bob! A lots of thanks for that. This is all I could say now. It was perhaps subjective, it was only the way I saw and felt only, but I don't care. All I want to say to those who read this: for me it was a night I'll remember forever. Dylan's on tour now, and God, I hope he will be there for many years...Don't miss an experience like this, his music alive... Soma Varady Budapest, June 9th, 1998 (
Subject: Berlin 3 June 1998 - another review, from Christian From: thomas achilles (achilles@BLINX.DE) Date: Thu, 4 Jun 1998 11:07:56 +0200 Hi there, Christian here, using Tom's account. I hope i manage to make it brief, but anyway, here's my view on the Berlin show last night: General stuff: the Waldbuehne is a lovely venue. Amphitheatre-like, beautiful, with good acoustics. Perfect setting for a show, altho maybe a bit too large for Dylan. Well, 7:30pm, the stage lights went on, 'ladies & gentlemen...' Bets were made about what song Dylan will open with, and we were all wrong. Everything Is Broken. Nice, a fine choice, it fits well into the typically upbeat opening slot. Bob looked a bit more relaxed than during Maggie's Farm in Leipzig. It wasn't the perfect rendition, but it rocked. If You See Her Say Hello. More upbeat than last time i heard it (Hamburg 1996), and Dylan sang it full-throttle but at the same time managed to put his heart into every word, sounding beautifully desperate, especially during the later verses. One of my faves yesterday. Cold Irons Bound. A nice and powerful rendition again, similar to the Leipzig version. Stroooong singing, move over, Roger Chapman! Under The Red Sky. It was really under the blues sky, with a few first grey clouds appearing, but okay, this is not really important. This one, too, was more upbeat than before. Dylan's singing was real strong that night, on this number like on all the others. Silvio. Crowd pleaser. Cool rocker. As usual. Dylan really needs this to get a bit more animated, and it works. Still he wasn't as joyful and relaxed as the night before, but the intimate setting in Leipzig can of course not be compared to the atmosphere in a large outdoor venue like the Waldbuehne, and i think this had an influence on Bob. The Times They... It was nice, but still Bob sang it pretty, well, concentrated, sticking to the song's melody, not bending the words, not playing around with the phrasing. Love Minus Zero. Loved it. Smooth singing, really beautiful. Masters Of War. This was cool, of course, we all expected Tangled. But apart from the fact that it was a surprise, it was a wonderful version, brilliant singing by Bob, a real spooky gooseflesh rendition. Wow. Tangled. The ultimate 'give the people what they want' song, and they appreciate it, cheering their lungs out, and Bob gives the enthusiasm back. Not Dark Yet. Carsten says he hated it. i loved it. It's true, there were technical mistakes by Kemper and Campbell, but apart from that, the arrangement has grown more worked out, smoother than before, and Dylan's singing was terrific. Highway 61. As usual, he loves it, the crowd loves it, it rocks. The encores: Don't Think Twice. Lovely, soft and sweet, with a beautiful and longer-than-lately harp solo. Love Sick. Oh yeah, i love this one live. I have the impression that Dylan slowly but surely turns this one into a real rocker. RDW. Good. Blowing In The Wind. Of course we were pretty surprised again, altho not as much as the night before. Of course this song has a special meaning for the Eastern Germans, Stephen Scobie mentioned that it was *the* one western song that each and every Eastern schoolkid learned. How many years must some people exist before they're allowed to be free. i guess that's why Bob picked it. He played it once two years ago, and it was in Cottbus, deep down in the southern East. Okay, we gotta leave, off to Rostock. Just let me add that this must've been the show with the most acoustic numbers (six, count them, six) since the earliest nineties or so. And a lovely one it was. Nothing can top the Leipzig show, of course, but i enjoyed this one very much, too. Christian Zeiser
Date: 08 Jul 1998 23:41:00 +0100 Sender: (Carsten Wohlfeld) To: Subject: June 3, 1998 - Berlin, Germany - a review : Bob Dylan : Berlin, Germany, June 3, 1998 : Waldbühne : A review by Carsten Wohlfeld : Okay, it's after 2.00am, so this is gonna be short... We all got up very late today and just spend the day chilling out, before heading to the Waldbühne at around 4pm. The Waldbühne, famous for being to ripped to pieces by angry Rolling Stones fans in the Sixties, is a beautiful amphitheatre, that has a capcity of around 22.000. Today about 12.000 folks turned up to see Dylan, who started his set early at 7.30pm. Before the show we could see Bucky sit at the side of the stage, playing his acoustic guitar for about half an hour. I remember thinking: "Hey, 'Maggie' is the only song where he plays the acoustic, I wonder why he has to rehearse THAT?!" Soon after we got the answer: : : Everything Is Broken : With Bucky on acoustic guitar. Not the best version imaginable oft his song, but at least the band had fun playing it. Tony was grinning and laughing all the way through it, obviously enjoying the puzzled faces in the audience: "Gotcha! Didn't expect THIS one, aye?" : : If You See Her Say Hello : Expections for the rest of the show sky-rocket with this great choice. Nice delivery even though I have to repeat my Miami Beach comment here - for me it just sounds a bit too rushed and too loud. Bob tried to sing it really softly, but got buried in the mix a little bit. : : Cold Irons Bound : Well, it was a good version, I Noticed that he doesn't seperate the "Cold Irons - BOUND" anymore as he used to do last fall. The ending was messed up a bit, cause David Kemper stopped a bit too early. Larry looked at Tony after that, shaking his head. No wonder, cause David stopped halfway through a beautiful Larry solo. : : Under The Red Sky : Another nice choice, that was quite enjoyable even though I've heard better versions of this one before. Interestingly enough, there were not many 60s song tonight. #1, 2, 4 and 10 could've easily all been old songs, but Bob pulled out the newer stuff tonight for some reason. "What Good Am I" was on the cuesheet but went unplayed too, "Ring Them Bells" was heard during the soundcheck. Further prove for this theory, I guess. : : Silvio : Silvio was Silvio and not much else. Bob was having less fun tonight, not dancing around nearly as much as the night before and only smiling once during the whole 80 Minute show (that was about 15 mins shorter than Leipzig). : : The Times They Are A-Changin' (acoustic) : The first real lowpoint of the show. Obviously a crowdpleaser, but Bob failed to add the special egde that would've made worth while for the regulars. : Love Minus Zero/No Limit (acoustic) : Contained an interesting lyric variation on "NOT to argue what to judge" (Stephen told me this later, I hope I got it right, cause I didn't hear it) and started out with a long, weird instrumental part. Good version, even though I liked older ones better, where thelittle guitar riff is more prominent. After that Tony and Bob started discussing what to play next...hey guys, it'll be "Tangled", right? : : Masters Of War (acoustic) : NOOOOO! It was "Masters" and a staggeringly good version too, clearly t he highlight of the whole set for me. I guess it was the same new arrangement that was played in the Mid-West in February... Larry playing lead guitar rather spendidly. I would never have thought that I could ever like the song this much again after I got to hear so many average versions in the past. I was pretty happy about "Tangled" being dropped, but while Larry wanted to put away the acoustic guitar Bob turned around to Tony and said (I could read his lips from my spot): "Let's do 'Tangled' NOW!" And then they did. : : Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) : Pretty good version actually, kind of "Okay, we know you thought we would drop it, but we can do a decent job playing it!" : : Not Dark Yet : Well, it was an open air show, the sun was slowly going down...."not dark yet, but it's getting there". Unfortunately, the completely killed this song, horrid version even worse than the New York City versions. Kemper started his "loud" part far too early and Larry didn't know what to do with the solo. Bob tried hard to sing is as good as he could, but he couldn't save the song from drowning. It'sw my favourite song on "TooM", but a version like that I would never want to hear again. : : Highway 61 Revisited : Followed the band intros and sounded somewhat different compared to last nights version. Yet another crowdpleaser. : : (encores) : Don't Think Twice, It's Allright (acoustic) : Interesting phrasing on this old warhorse, that was special because it featured a lengthy harp solo at the end - nothing special actually, since his harp solos sound flatter than the ones from, let's say, 1996. : : Love Sick : Had the started messed up, but became a pretty good version closer to t he end, even though it never reached the heights of some of the early '98 renditions. Interestingly enough one of the biggest crowdplaesers as well. : : Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 &35 : Oh yeah, they couldn't get rid of this one - unfortunately : : Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic) : Obviously not as surprising as in Leipzig and the actually came back pretty quickly too. Better version than the night before, with a somewhat longer excuse for an guitar solo. Larry and Bucky on backing vocals during the chorus. Then they were gone and Dylan never had been nearly as animated as the night before throughout the show. So it wasn't bad, a good solid show, but nothing I'd sell my grandma for. A lot of the casual Dylan fans who come to see him complained at the leng th: of the show (80 mins). Indeed it was quite unusual to have no opening act and a show that was all over by 8.55pm!!! There are a few things I probably forgot, but it's really getting late and Christian will do another review shortly (or so he tells me). Thanks for our time and to Tom for letting me use his account. If you want to send me any comments, please contact me at Good night, see you all in Rostock! -- carsten wohlfeld "your girlfriend can leave you but the rolling stones are there forever" (alan mcgee)

June 1998 Setlists Tour