OCTOBER 30, 2005
1. Drifter's Escape (Bob on harp, Donnie on electric mandolin)
2. Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
3. God Knows
4. The Times They Are A-Changin'(Bob on harp)
5. Cry A While (Donnie on banjo)
6. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob on harp)
7. Highway 61 Revisited
8. Shooting Star (Bob on harp)
9. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
10. Just Like A Woman
11. Honest With Me
12. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Donnie on electric mandolin)
13. New Morning
14. Summer Days
15. Like A Rolling Stone
16. All Along The Watchtower
The town of Wetzlar is located about 40 miles down the
highway from Siegen, the city where I have lived most
of my life since I was eight, and from where my wife
and I had had moved to Ireland in 1999, and where we
regularly visit relatives, especially if there are Bob
Dylan concerts within driving distance. So this review
is written from Siegen, some days after the third of
the three shows we saw during that fine October weekend,
but before our next weekend trip to Erfurt, to see
another Sunday show.
Coming from the Oberhausen area, we had visited my
brother and his wife outside of Marburg, before going
down to Wetzlar to see the first Sunday concert of
this mighty fine European tour. Before the show I was
joking to some local fans I knew that the first ten
European shows so far were just rehearsals for the
first Sunday show, as I expected something special,
considering the Sunday set lists Bob had put together
in the last year or so.
When we surprisingly found a spot on the floor directly
at the rail (on the left side close to Stu's guitar rack),
I knew we would have an unobstructed view. Later on we
also realised that thanks to a row of speakers sitting
on the rim of the stage and facing the audience we also
had a flawless sound. So all that would help a lot
already to enjoy even a standard weekday set, let alone
a Sunday concert like the one we had the pleasure to
attend in Wetzlar. It was my 50th Bob date since 1981.
Already the opener, "Drifter", was very promising,
concerning sound, view, and performance. It ended with
Bob's first harp solo of the night. The second song,
"Señor", featured fine guitars by both Denny and Stu,
and was a welcome addition, as I always love to hear
Bob sing this gem (from Aschaffenburg 1995 to Manchester
2002 I had seen it already six times). For me it is
always special to hear Bob sing: "… let's disconnect
these cables, overturn these tables, this place don't
make sense to me no more, can you tell me what we're
waiting for Señor."
The next song came like a small punch right after
"Señor", although I had expected to see "God Knows",
which I last saw in Galway, on a Sunday in June 2004.
But this Wetzlar performance of this song was even more
enjoyable, as I was so much closer to the stage. It was
simply awesome to see and hear Bob perform this gem
with such a conviction, including even the last verse
"God knows there's a heaven, God knows it's out of sight,
God knows we can get all the way from here to there even
if we've got to walk a million miles by candlelight."
Starting the eleventh show of this European tour with
three songs not having been played once during the ten
previous shows, that was something I had not expected.
Three more new additions would follow later on in the
show, so six from the eleven song changes from the
previous show were new for the entire tour. The next
song, "Times", was one of those we did see the night
before, but this time it included a nice center stage
harp solo. It also gave us some time to breathe after
the strong opening trio.
This time to breathe was much needed, as the next song
was the new start stop arrangement of "Cry A While",
which I somehow enjoyed even more than the eight
versions I saw in 2002 and 2003. Dylan's vocals were
great on this one, Donnie's banjo was a nice addition,
and those breaks in the middle of each verse were most
effective and well done. "Don't Think Twice" featured
some more nice stuff from Denny and Donnie, and another
harp solo by Bob. "H61" was maybe not as joyful and
exuberant as in Oberhausen, at least in my memory,
but still quite strong.
More fine guitar by Denny and another harp solo by Bob
was part of the first "Shooting Star" for this tour,
which followed next. It was the third time I had the
pleasure to see this great song (after Wiesbaden 1993
and Dortmund 1995), and Bob's vocal performance was
again a pleasure to behold and to hear, especially the
deep voice with which he delivered the word "praying"
during both times he sang the bridge in Wetzlar:
"Listen to the engine, listen to the bell, as the last
fire truck from hell goes rolling by, all good people
are praying, it's the last temptation, the last account,
the last time you might hear the sermon on the mount,
the last radio is playing."
Still I was stunned about the song selection of this
11th concert of the tour, four new songs, another one
for the second time, and another for the third time.
I remember saying to my wife by then: "And he is only
halfway through the show." The next thing Bob did
impressed me even further, as he performed a song I
had never seen live, which is always a treat (and I
had seen already three of those on the two previous
nights). This time it was a wonderful rendition of
"You Ain't Going Nowhere", the third for this tour,
and it conveyed pure joy and exuberance. "Whoo-ee!"
Great great stuff.
My 12th "Just Like A Woman" followed, also the third
for this tour, with a fine guitar solo by Denny. After
that Bob pulled out a very strong and focused "Honest
With Me", only the second time on this tour, and with
the new band it sounded a little different than the
fifteen others I had seen in previous years; I would
say the song was more enjoyable not being a regular
each night. Talking about regulars, three of those
ended the show ("Summer Days", "Rolling Stone" and
"Watchtower"), and they were quite enjoyable from my
perfect vantage point; but before these were delivered,
there were two more gems to take in, which added
immensely to the greatness of this fine Sunday concert.
Both were new songs for this European tour. The first
one was "Hard Rain", my 7th to behold, but my first
since May 2002. Nice guitar by Denny again, and quite
a focused vocal delivery by the man with the black
Spanish hat: "I'll tell it and think it and speak it
and breathe it, and reflect it from the mountain so
all souls can see it, then I'll stand on the ocean
until I start sinkin', but I'll know my song well
before I start singin'." A very fitting addition to
this brilliant set list.
The eighth new song for this tour I had seen before,
as I had witnessed one of the 17 European performances
of it in 1991, but the appearance of "New Morning" in
Wetzlar was the first one in Europe since then, and it
was a totally different experience. I had heard and
liked recordings of earlier 2005 shows, so I recognized
the slow long intro of this fine new arrangement. Again
a very focused vocal performance by Bob, I would not
mind at all hearing this one again.
For songs like these and as long as Dylan keeps on
creating performing art as great as this Sunday show
it is definitely worth "comin' down the road for a
country mile or two". My 50th Bob Dylan concert,
Wetzlar 2005, will always have a very special place
in my book as one of the most enjoyable concerts I
ever had the pleasure to be a part of the audience.
Three more shows to go to for me on this tour, Erfurt,
Dublin and Dublin; and two of them are Sunday shows.