OCTOBER 28, 2005




1. Maggie's Farm

2. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (Bob on harp)

3. Watching The River Flow

4. Lay, Lady, Lay

5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

6. Blind Willie McTell (Donnie on banjo)

7. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on harp)

8. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on harp)

9. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)

10. Love Sick (Donnie on electric mandolin)

11. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

12. Down Along The Cove

13. Chimes Of Freedom

14. Highway 61 Revisited

15. Like A Rolling Stone

16. All Along The Watchtower

There we were, my wife and I, for the first time at the
Ahoy, to see the first of three shows during one fine
October weekend. It was our first Dylan show since
Belfast and Galway, the only two we saw in 2004. We
flew in from Cork a day early, to spend some time in
Rotterdam, and even got to take a nice harbour cruise
through earth's largest port a few hours before the
Ahoy show, which was our first Dutch concert since
Kerkrade 1995.

Concerning the song selection, with an average change
of more than ten songs from one show to the next during
this tour so far, it is hard to guess what Dylan will
pull out, so I expected a mix of regulars and rarer
songs, and this is what I got. But no reason to complain,
as the performance was better than the set list might
suggest, and the band members sure know how to play.
Especially the two new guys, Donnie and Denny, impressed me
not a little. I think they add some maturity to Bob's band.

As it was our first of six shows during this tour, we
stayed a little in the back on the floor to test the
waters, walking around sometimes between songs to try
different vantage points. "Maggie" was an intense opener,
and pulled me right into the concert experience, which
I came to enjoy. Already the second song, "Tonight I'll
be Staying Here With You", was the first new one for me,
having never seen it live in 47 previous shows since 1981.
It featured the first center stage harp solo of the night.

Another very nice center stage harp solo followed later
on during "Baby Tonite", which I had not seen live since
Portsmouth 2000. Actually there were some other regular
songs for this year, which I had not seen for some time,
"Lay Lady Lay" I had not seen since the above mentioned
Kerkrade show in 1995, and both "Blind Willie Mc Tell"
and "I Don't Believe You" not since May 2002.

"Blind Willie" was the first peak of the show for me,
well sung by Bob, and nicely accompanied on banjo by
Donnie. In a world where levees are not fortified to
stand hurricanes, because funds are channelled elsewhere
to fight wars, it is very fitting to hear Bob Dylan sing:
"… this land is condemned all the way from New Orleans
to New Jerusalem … God is in heaven, and we all want
what's his, but power and greed and corruptible seed
seem to be all that there is …".

To end the first half Bob pulled out a very intense and
enjoyable "Ballad Of A Thin Man" (which was my first
one since Kilkenny 2001), featuring another nice harp
solo by Bob. My 31st "Tangled" of course couldn't match
up to my 30th, in Galway last year, which will probably
stay forever as the finest rendition I have ever heard;
but it is always nice to hear a new song for a certain
tour. And "Down Along The Cove" is always welcome in my
book; I simply love these live versions ever since I
witnessed the first two comeback versions of this song
in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf in 2003 (with mighty Koella
on guitar), and then the fine Galway version last year.

Just as I was pondering the fact that so many songs from
the 60s were performed in Rotterdam, and already expecting
three more of those 60s regulars as the last three songs,
Bob threw me a curve ball in spot number thirteen,
surprising me with the oldest song on my top five wish
list of all the songs in his current repertoire which
I had never seen before; a sublimely beautiful "Chimes
Of Freedom", for me the high point of the show, worth
the price of admission, the plane ticket and the hotel.

This song was the first European appearance in 18 years
(since the nine "Temples In Flames" performances of this
gem in the fall of 1987, the first of which had actually
been the European debut of "Chimes Of Freedom", which
also was pulled out in the Ahoy in Rotterdam). All I can
say is I sure was glad to witness Bob Dylan sing this
great new version of "Chimes Of Freedom", "… flashing
for the warriors, whose strength is not to fight,
flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight …".