The Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt

NOVEMBER 6, 2003



1. Down Along the Cove

2. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

3. Cry A While

4. Love Minus Zero/No Limit

5. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

6. Simple Twist of Fate

7. Things Have Changed

8. Moonlight

9. Man in the Long Black Coat

10. Highway 61 Revisited

11. Every Grain of Sand

12. Honest With Me

13. Mr. Tambourine Man

14. Summer Days

15. Cat's in the Well

16. Like a Rolling Stone

17. All Along the Watchtower

Enjoyable, extremely enjoyable. There we were,
my wife and I, for the first time back in our native
Germany, more than four years after our move to
Ireland. There we were, less than four weeks after
seeing two fine shows in Stockholm and in Karlstad,
standing in Frankfurt’s Jahrhunderthalle, at the rail,
some twenty feet away from the keyboard, where Bob
Dylan would start the 43rd concert I had the pleasure
to be a part of the audience.

What happened in the following few minutes, was
one of the reasons I enjoy to keep going to several
shows of a European tour these days. Bob played a
huge surprise, started the concert with a new and
fresh version of an old song, and one I never
witnessed before at that. I did not recognize
it during the intro, which already bounced, as
did the whole song, and so did I, at the rail,
watching Bob sing this brilliant version of
“Down Along The Cove”, a song he had not played
in more than two years.

Many people reading this would know how much I
had loved Bob opening his shows with those gospel
cover songs in recent years, but this opener last
night in Frankfurt takes the cake for “most
energetic opener I have ever seen”, replacing
“Jokerman” from Cologne 1994. Absolutely amazing
stuff. Everything following immediately would
have to be an anticlimax for me, even though every
song was enjoyable; but this opening song already
was worth the price of admission, and the plane
ticket, and the rental car.

But this show had many high points, and no low
points really worth mentioning, and I have no
urge to focus on the occasional slip in the lyrics
of some of the songs, but on the brilliance of the
perfoming art we were blessed to experience in
Frankfurt. First of all, Bob’s singing was strong
and very focused most of the time, and by now the
band is as together as can be. They were smiling
a lot, already during the first song, and they
all were enjoying to play together, that was obvious.

All the rocking songs which appear a lot on this
tour, were extremely ntense and well performed,
especially I would like to mention “Things
Have Changed”, “Highway 61", and “Honest With Me”.
The solo from Freddy Koella during the big
instrumental break of “Summer Days” was one of
the best things I ever saw any band member do
on stage. Freddy, who was wearing a hat, rocked
all the way in Frankfurt, but unfortunately I
could not see much of him unless he stepped up
to the center stage area, for my view of him was
usually blocked by the piano playing singer.

That singer was exchanging glances a lot with
his most attentive drummer, whose skills I valued
more than ever during this show. The other two
guys on the other side of the drums, what can I
say, they are as reliable as ever, and to see
them all interact like they did in Frankfurt
is pure pleasure, performing art at its best.
The choice of songs is secondary at this stage,
but the changes to the previous show were more
numerous than usual on this tour, more than
half the songs this time.

So we got to hear a sublime “Love Minus Zero”,
with some of the finest singing by Bob I ever
saw. Also there was another new song for this
fine European tour, a surprising and beautiful
“Simple Twist Of Fate”, which I always love to
hear, as it is my favorite 70s song preceding
“Slow Train Coming”. And to witness the new
version of the “Man In The Long Black Coat”
was a real treat as well, I am glad I did
not miss that boat.

“Every Grain Of Sand”, my favourite of all
Bob Dylan lyrics, started with an extremely
fine harp solo, and was delivered word perfect,
not one slip. Great that he treats almost
every European audience with this particular
gem this fall, during this what I would label
“The Leaves Are Starting To Fall - Tour”,
where not only sixties songs rock through
the so called, yet pre-planned encores, but
also every night a wonderful rocking
“Cat’s In The Well”, which by now ends with
the first drum beat of “Like A Rolling Stone”.
Minor thing, but very effective. “May the Lord
have Mercy on us aaaaaaaalllll”.... BOOM ....
“onceuponatime you dressedsofinethrewthebumsadime”.

So what do I say? Meeting nice fans, enjoying a
fine show, hearing great songs, performed by the
greatest living artist and his excellent band, it
is quite a way to spend an evening. And you never
know what might happen. A great opener we had,
and a great finish too this time. After all the
music stopped, and the band was standing to take
in the appreciation of the audience, Bob stepped
up to the front of the stage where an envelope
was being given to him. Immediately he turned
around, walked to the drum riser, and handed it
to George, pointing to him as if to say “this
is for you”. Then he walked back to his spot
center stage, and looking to the first row,
pointed to himself with a look on his face
which said “What, this was for me?”. I could
see the subtitles in my mind. It was the most
Chaplinesque thing I have ever witnessed.