See copyright notice at

Bob Dylan 990409 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

From: "Axel Jost" (
To: (
Subject: Santiago
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 00:15:05 +0200

Hi karlerik,

here's finally my 2 cents worth of the santiago show


when dylan finally started his set at the multiosos del sar, a modern
indoor-arena of about 8k-capacity, the venue was still pretty empty. most
people were still outside mingling with friends and talking. i was standing
near the stage, about 4th row, quite a treat for a person of my age (48).
dylan opened with his new acoustic set, probably in order to simulate the
set structure of his shows in 1966 - he surely was promoting his newest
album with a vengeance . much to my surprise press-photographers were
taking pictures. after having had a fight with the promotor they were
finally allowed to do so, and some nice photographs surfaced in the local
papers the next day.

yeah well, i knew bob would start with the acoustic songs (tx to the
internet :) and i was listening very carefully and noticed, much to my
disappointment, that he mixed up or forgot some of the words to several
songs, especially to all time favorites like "times" (i mean how can anybody
ever forget those words ) or "tangled".  they just didn't come out
right. while watching bob and his band i had the impression that bucky was
eyeing bob in a concerned, even worried manner.  believe me, i love the man
like you all probably do, but at this time of the show i was quite shocked
of his carelessness concerning his own masterpieces.

OTHO he seemed to be in pretty good shape: he was truly aware of the
audience, making eye-contact, communicating, doing those charming dance
movements. right after the line "there's a war outside and it's raging" he
was almost making a pause, while _staring_ at the audience, just like if he
was asking us: now, haven't i told you before? having watched the news all
day about the bombing of serbia, this really sent shivers down my spine.
this guy _still_  knew what he was speaking of.

the band was great, as always. tight, creative, really rocking and rolling -
probably the best live-rockband on planet earth. the acoustics were alright
as well, but bob's singing, sorry to repeat myself, just wasn't. i had seen
him in essen in 1998 and everything seemed to fit, now this just wasn't the
case here.

frustrated i went to the back of the hall and took a seat. and, believe me
or not, the concert seemed to get better by the second. i could see that the
hall was packed by now. and boy, the people were great: warm, loving,
obviously appreciating that bob had come to them and did so many dates in
spain. they didn't seem to mind about the mistakes, about bob's way of
swallowing and mumbling some syllables and words, like if it wasn't
important at all what the songs were about. sometimes he was soft when he
should have been sharp (like in LARS), but to me all that wasn't important
anymore. the words didn't matter - but the songs did. and i, watching from
behind,  got more and more drawn into that great atmosphere that bob, the
band and the audience created. tony was his ever smiling self. the guys sure
had fun, bob as well. the light show was really nice and fitting. "love
sick" was stunningly done, "blowin'" was overwhelmingly received and a true
message song if there ever was one (having watched the news all day, you
know). and the absolute highlight was HWY 61. strong, convincing, simply
superb. probably even the words were done right. after the concert's weak
start it had turned into a magnificent show once again - tell me, what more
could i say?

the people of santiago were a bit angry  bob hadn't visited
st.james-cathedral, one of the holiest places on earth (at least for a
catholic pilgrim). yeah, and maybe even worse, he hadn't stayed in the town
as well, having preferred a hotel in vigo. some of the local papers said
that there wasn't enough hotel-room capacity in santiago (they needed 30
rooms), but one hotel-manageress told me that he had insisted on a room with
a sea-view - well, the sea of santiago is its ever-falling rain. i'm sure
bob will realize next time.

1999: January - February - March - April