Hamburg, Germany
CCH (Saal 1)
October 24, 2005

[Werner Kehl], [Carsten Klemann], [Reinald Purmann ], [Siebel], [H. Dohrn], [Thomas Christe], [Med Venlig Hilsen], [Stefan Flach]

Review by Werner Kehl

Over the past 15 years, Bob Dylan has passed through Germany just about
almost every year (except of course in '97).  Sometimes he may have played
only once (Munich '99) or even just twice (like last year in the summer);
but more often than not he puts on a genuine tour passing through two or
three cities consecutively, before going to another country, and then
returning again perhaps a week later to play in other parts.  It is so
once again this autumn and I have decided to try to attend as many shows
as possible, at least as many as I saw five years back in 2000 where
during a concert in the Frankfurt Jahrhunderthalle - in what can only be
described as one of those rare proverbial outbreaks on stage other than in
song - Dylan said to his german fans something along the lines of: "You
here seem to get it more than others."  And so once again I'm coming to
get my share in this years `fall classic´ of another sort...

Long-time friend and colleague Helmut Heimann and I drove through often
torrential rain from Berlin to Hamburg to see gig 1 of the german leg of
the tour.  Once we arrived in the hanseatic city, getting to the CCH was
easy enough and with the horrid weather continuing, we were very happy to
have parking, restaurant and the concert hall all under one roof.  Saal 1
in the CCH is an auditorium with a capacity for a little more than three
thousand people.  Apart from concerts and shows taking place there, this
venue is host to political conventions or corporate firms holding annual
shareholders meetings; as best to Helmut's and mine knowledge, Bob had
never played there before.

He and his band appeared on stage shortly after 8 p.m. and played for just
under two hours.  As one can tell from the set list, this was a heavily
country-flavoured affair which was the perfect choice for a crowd in
reserved seating.  The sound was excellent throughout the venue even in
the very last row of the hall where yours truly was taking notes.  Dylan
was absolutely focused and clear in his delivery and I for one was very
pleased with the song selection.  The newer members of the band blended in
well but did not stick out particularly, whether that will change in the
course of the next few weeks remains to be seen.  Already it will be
interesting enough to note what kind of a show takes place next as tonites
venue is pretty much the opposite of the CCH.  Watch this space for
further updates.

Bis Berlin

Werner Kehl


Review by Carsten Klemann

what a difference between hamburg 03 and 05. Two years ago that straight
club power, no chance for a breath, bear, sweat&Dylans face shouting  in
people´s storm. Now that comfortable, distinguished  hall  where you can
find your way to the show by escalator. Thanks Bob for not beginning  too
early as in hamburg gigs before. Opener Maggies always works, not as
powerfull as in 03, but yesterday was in general more a fine tune thing.
Tonight I´ll  be staying here with  you: Never thought before, that it
could be a hit for me. Dylan didn´t easily performe that harmless song as
a rock show. Instead I heared  a soulful ballad with stretched
nerves&expressive lookingouts  of voice and music. I was very satisfied
with the voice (Dylans weakness later seemed to have other reasons), other
people, who saw him never before on stage, found, that it lost much. Dylan
did little dancing and handmoving for all those, who dare for human touch.
The band made music for listening to. Most of the time that music seemed
not to be a kind of carpet or alibi, it was very arranged and connected
with singing.  Fine, just singingwithguitarplay, sometimes too nice and
controlled & giving the feeling, the music more intends to be softdrug for
the audience instead speaking out for it´s own. In my impression,  Dylan
did go further with the rocky elements. Never had such a concentrated
audience around me. The clapping was more than friendly,  but followed by
silent attention. Dylan did get problems, especially in Lay Lady Lady. Did
I recognized right and he had a big lyric problem which caused a problem
for the band? He phrased monotonous, but after an instrumental intermezzo
the song sounded, as it could be an other& the voice much stronger and
near. A few times this evenening some deep views in works in progress were
given: interesting.  In other moments Dylans selfeassurance seemed to be
down, hiss voice fighted with some fishbones&chewing gums. The big suprise
and my favourite  song (most enthusiasm of the audience too) was Mr Jones.
That was grand voice opera, Dylan as a master of dangerous calls&kind of
soulspeech imitator as others imitiate animalvoices. But more like a
saxophon than a sayyousomethingsinger. In relation, memphis  blues cooled
down even it was good. Gone nowhere was great, but the second really big
song, one of them that really catch you, was tears of rage: I tell you a
story and know you will listen. Simple twist of fate came along as a bar
song from the 2o´s. A little boring. Again: Just at the end Dylan gave
much more expression in the lines,changed from have fun with a style to
direct speach. But this, I guess, was the concept of the song.



Review by Reinald Purmann

With the only restrictions that some people missed the rockabilly parts
of the last years shows and also that someone cannot dance in an
all-seated-venue (with perfect acoustic!) and that I have no idea, how 
the Man & Band will improve this performance in Berlin tonight - it was 
an outstanding, remarkable tour-start in Germany 2005. 

At 8.10 p.m. the stage was filled with more than three dozens of instruments, 
no harps included. They have a new stage set-up, the piano placed more in the 
center, Stu Kimbell on the left side and Donnie Herron sitting next to George
Recile.  And everything was perfect. "Tell me" with a first harp-solo in the 
stage center, a perfect "Lay Lady", a swinging "I don't believe you".  Then 
all my favourites in an excellent row: "McTell"! "Tears of  Rage"!! "Ain't 
Goin' Nowhere"!!! All big highlights tonight. For "McTell" Donnie Heron plays 
a thin, mercury banjo sound. On "Ballad of Thin Man" the curtain on the back 
wall was lifted, later on illuminated with stars. Dylan, dressed in  black 
with a steelblue scarf, was in very good form, he was really singing, 
controlling his voice in a perfect way: "a simple twist of fff...ate..." 
The band is great, producing sometimes a hoping, jumping, swinging sound. 
"Aint Goin' Nowhere" for me was the absolute highlight.  Standing ovations
for a big show at 10.00 p.m.. Don't know how they will get better tonight in
Berlin. Don't dare to miss!

Reinald  Purmann 


Review by Siebel

what a night! just great!
bob was on from the very beginning, having the best start into a concert
that i have ever seen. "maggie" was powerful and caught the crowd
directly. "tell me that it isn´t true" is just a fine song. bob sang
carefully and was in a good voice. "lay, lady, lay" was a crowd peaser.

my other personal favourites this evening were: 

"blind willie" - great arrangement, strong vocals and an incredible
atmosphere! "ballad of a thin man" - always wanted to hear that. ver nice
played! "tears of rage" - just wow! never dreamed i would see him play
that! "highway 61 & watchtower" - rock and roll!

very good concert, great setlist, bob in a good mood (maybe too much
upsinging in simpe twist of fate?!) and a great after show-party!

you did it again, bob!

review by siebel 


Review by H. Dohrn

It was a grey and raining day in Hamburg and we nearly arrived too late for
the start of the show. We just got our seats and Bob was already beginning 
to play.  Bob was dressed all in black with a nice blue shirt and a white hat.

Opening song was "Maggie's Farm" which was played well. Bob was good at voice
from the start and it promised to become a great show. And indeed was a 
wonderful set.  Second one was "Tell Me that it isn't true" which was sung 
very careful by Bob then turning over into "I'll be your baby tonight".  Then 
came "Lay Lady Lay" which was played wonderful. One of my personal highlights 
this evening.  First time we saw Bob on harp was song No.5 "I don't believe 
You" which was another highlight to me.  The Band played very good and Bob 
came up first time to the center of the stage and was doing a harp solo. That 
was one of the changes to the previous shows I saw in 2004. This harp playing
in the center of the stage is an interesting way looking at Bob and just a bit
of compensating that he is not playing guitar anymore. I enjoyed it a lot. He 
does it several times last evening...wonderful sight to me. So the setlist 
goes on with a lot of more highlights. Good idea by Bob this 3 songs in a row 
part.."Ballad of a thin man"..."Stuck inside of mobile"..."Tears of rage". 
Denny played a few nice guitar licks on stuck inside which i never heard before
on previous live tapes and which made that song special this evening. The show 
went on with " You ain't goin' nowhere" and "Tweedle Dee"...which were played 
well but nothing special. Then the other highlight of this evening...The return
of "Simple twist of fate"..What a song and it was done fantastic by Bob & his 
Band...First time he played it since 3 years. Last time he played that tune was 
Frankfurt 2003.11.06 and thank you Bob for doing it here again in Germany..So 
the main set came to the end with a high energy played "Highway 61 revisited"..
The encore was opened with "Don't think twice" which featured Bob again on center 
playing a harp solo and also it was careful sung. I love that song just that way 
he does it in Hamburg. The show ended with "All along the watchtower" which was 
played very powerful.

We saw a very relaxed Bob. He was in good shape and even joking and laughing a 
few times. Good to see him that way. All in all it was a great show with some 
personal highlights to me and I would say it entered up to my 5 all time favorite 
shows I ever saw in person and I'm looking forward to the next one in Hannover 
on Wednesday.



Review by Thomas Christe

There was a Dylan on stage who I never before have seen in such a good
condition: bodylanguage and performance proved that this guy is feeling
realy great tonight. So was his voice: every word came realy clear and
understandable to my ears, supported by the good accoustics of the venue.
With the exception of "Maggies Farm", "Highway 61" (which alone was 
worth the high ticketprice) and "All Along the Watchtower" the setlist
was very country-dominated. For me it was a show with Dylan at his best
performing songs which I have heard before in much better arrangements
(not country).



Review by Med Venlig Hilsen

This was my 9'th Bob Dylan show during the years. 3 friends of mine and I
are always driving for a concert near Denmark, and are always seeing Bob
in Denmark, if he's playing here. We arrived in Hamburg around 16 o'clock
driving through the heavy rain (hoped for a Hard Rain there...). We lived
in a very cheap backpackers close to the concerthal and arrived to the CCH
around 18 o'clock. 

The CCH was perfect as it is placed within a SAS Radison hotel where you
could go straight into the Hotel bar and get a few drinks before the show,
and you could see many Dylan fans arriving as some of the had found the
same good possibility. Now to the show, which in comparison with the
concerts I have seen (The grey hall (1996) and Forum Copenhagen (2002)) is
a clear no. 3 of best shows I have seen. But setlists-wise I think it was
the best show I have ever seen. 

We discussed some things after the show. Would you rather be in a venue
were you could stand (and go after the good sound) and get a average show
setlistwise - as Aalborg? Or would you prefer a show where you have to sit
and get an average sound, but get and extremely interesting setlist? 

I prefer the last thing, as I don't like seeing the same songs that have
been played so many times since 2001. Let's say Tweedle dee & Tweedle dum
or Summer days, or something else for the 259'th a good or bad
venue, with good or bad sound. 

I'm a traveller for songs I haven't seen/heard, as they're the gems worth
going for. Then secondly I hope for a good venue and a good sound (...and
good beer, Germany is the place to be). 

I think the Venue was great with good sound. My mates wanted it much
louder and a more perfect sound. 

The Hamburg Show: 

It started like the other shows with a fine "Maggies Farm", and then going
into a good "Tell me it isn't true" where you simply noticed that the
Freeman & Herron appearance makes this band Country & Jazzy at the same
time, and you realize that this is the best band since Charlie Sexton was
sitting in. An allround "I'll be your baby tonight", and then a very nice
"Lay, Lady, Lay, where I was really into the sound and the band-tightness
for the first time during the concert. It's a very good Nashville Skyline
band, no dout about that... 

We were lifted into a tight "I don't believe you" where the concert really
started to take off, then a killer-version of "Blind Willie" where I

Can this get much better? 
What are we getting next? 

Then a very Bluesy "Wathing the river flow", another tune that I have
never heard, so I was very happy. I felt totally like Mister Jones with no
direction home setlist-wise, it was perfect! And then the absolutely
highlight of the evening "Ballad of a thin man". I was completely knocked
out (but not loaded..), that song just made it for me. Allready a very
good concert, and a killer-version of that song. I was on the moon, and
the audience made a standing ovation after the song. Superb! 

Then a very nice "Stuck inside", and then again I was completely on the
moon as they played "Tears of rage". 

I have never been down this road before, where will you take us Senor-Bob?
Completely out of my mind. Then I was thinking this is getting into the
best setlist I have ever seen, and then the only downer of the show
setlist-Wise a "Tweedle Dee" that brought me back to reality of the
2002-2005 shows. But the best version I have ever heard, so maybe that was

Then I was knockouted for the third time during this concert: "Simple
twist of fate". Bang! The version was played in a strange/corny way, and
Bob had forgotten the lyrics, which resulted in loud shouting from the
audience, I think it was in despair of the rather strange version. It was
another highlight for me though... 

Then we got a killerversion of "Highway 61", very loud and very nice. A
predicable "Don't think twice". They're playing "Don't think twice" and
"Like a rolling stone" every second day. At last a loud version of "All
along the watchtower", which is always a very good closer. 

A fantastic good concert where my highlights were "Blind Willie McTell"and
"Watching the river flow". And the three songs that made this concert very
special - a killer version of "Ballad of a thin man", a fab version of
"Tears of rage" and the rather strange "Simple twist of fate" with the
1966 shouting from a not content audience. 

Thanks to Bob and his band for this experience! 

....and thanks to the very lively audience in Hamburg! 

The Man In The Long Black Coat 

Med Venlig Hilsen


Review by Stefan Flach

If there is any rule for writing about a transitory experience like a live
concert, I suppose it is that you should do it quickly afterwards.
Memories of specific moments pass rapidly and if you wish to bring them to
your mind again, you better do it fast. The Hamburg show happened three
days ago, and I consider myself lucky that I don´t know what I´ve
forgotten meanwhile. But let´s see what is still there (on the accessible
side of my memory) ...

It was an exclusively seated show and shortly after my girlfriend and I
sat down in our chairs (row 20, fairly towards the center of the stage),
we tried to figure out if we could maybe improve our seating positions.
There were a lot of chairs still unoccupied, but since all had been
reserved in advance, we put our efforts to rest after a few minutes and
killed time by looking around and playing cards (uncomfortable without a
surface to lay the down) ... Rainer Vesley, the editor of the sadly cut
out austrian fanzine “Parking Meter”, whom we should encounter again on
our train ride to Berlin the next day (a very nice experience we should
continue someday, Rainer), was one of the very few people we knew in the

A few minutes after 8 pm the lights went down (there was no “Rodeo Suite”
or any other music coming from the speakers before) and there they were,
one and a half year after I had seen them the last time: The small man
with his huge white Stetson and his uniformally well-dressed partners in
crime, to launch directly into the expected

“Maggie´s Farm”

that was excitingly uncompromising right from the start, even if it didn´t
show too many pecularities. During the “brother” verse Dylan throw some
nasty phrasings towards us as if they were candies (they tasted
marvelously). The song was very tight, mainly thanks to the animated band
("animated" doesn´t concern their presence on stage throughout the whole
show, though; at least Denny Freeman, while producing at times most
extraordinary things on his guitar, looked as if he came out of Madame

“Tell Me That It Isn´t True”

was done in the usual mellow way then. Dylan leaned beautifully into many
lines and delivered a very persuasive reading. Upsinging wasn´t featured
at all, if I remember correctly. Towards the end he went centerstage and
blew a tender yet piercing harp solo. The fast countrysong worked very
fine as a successor to the rocking “Maggie´s”. What cannot be entirely
said about

“I´ll Be Your Baby Tonight”

as number three. The sedate rhythm of the song contrasts little with “Tell
Me..” maybe because both are country numbers and “Baby” is a slower one
that slows things down a bit too early maybe. Dylan´s singing was sturdy
and solid throughout, on the two bridges (1x2) he put an effort in making
his sensual longing for the female “baby” credible, by which he was
successful. A nice version.

“Lay, Lady, Lay”

as the third countrysong in a row raises the creative spirits (at least of
me as a listener) yet again. Its eternally beautiful chord progression is
always bound to put me in a warm, dreamlike perceptive condition. It was
the first time I heard the song in concert and I loved the experience very
much. Dylan´s singing was immensely strong at many points, culminating in
the strongest vocal moment of the night so far at the song´s end: the last
repeated “lay across my big brass bed” (beeeeeeeeeeeeeed!) was a
monumental cry for satisfied lust (featuring vocal lust on its own) and
made a terrific impression on my soul. The momentum was sustained by the
slightly surprising decision to open the “non-Amazon” part of the show

“I Don´t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)”

a song that has always ranked among Dylan´s most offensively sensual and
sexual. When it´s performed successfully (like on the first 2005 show from
Seattle), it aims directly at the singer´s strong wish for a realization
of his and his former girlfriend´s lust and longing for each other (“her
mouth was watery and wet”) – at a time when their relationship is already
over. In the song´s best versions, the singer´s anger about this fact has
resulted in some greatly impassioned and supercharged outcries (“knocked
out and loaded”) for understanding of the woman´s decision to leave him
behind. At least the first two verses of this version can definitely be
placed in that “best of” category, as Dylan twisted the charged words
around on his tongue in a tremendously sensual yet venomous way. “Myth” of
“it could even be like a myth” he made sound like a tin can that he kicks
away on the lonesome road he´s travelling on. The first instrumental verse
something must have broke Dylan´s concentration apart, so that he had 

“Blind Willie McTell”

was another song I had never witnessed in person before. Sadly I couldn´t
focuss on it like I wished to, as a guy from the venue´s security suddenly
approached me and asked to see my ticket (I had one). Afterwards it took
one or two minutes to get back into the song, at a time by that Dylan was
already into my beloved “God is in his heaven” line. The performance was
very strong and had a quality of perfection. Donnie Herron´s banjo playing
never struck me on any recording like it did here. In a review from the
London show in 1997, a journalist described the “Blind Willie” there as a
“voodoo iniciation” for something he couldn´t really find words for. Not
accidentally his description came to my mind at this show. The song´s
inherent power has a transcending quality. On a good night it can take a
hall´s roof off. This didn´t happen in Hamburg, but maybe I could see some
cracks in the ceiling.

“Watching the River Flow”

then proved that “I Don´t Believe You” was mainly a pause in the flow of
the river, but how fantastically it erased all worries about a
supposedly lacklustre repetition of a song that nobody really cares for
(right?). The band was ON FIRE on the song and explored numerous
little-known terrains of its melodic possibilities. Denny Freeman was THE
man on that song. You couldn´t tell whether the song swallowed the
guitarist up or the guitarist uncompromisingly told the song where to go
after all! His soli were spellbinding. Dylan didn´t catch my attention
here too much, but there´s no use to blame anyone for this. (In Berlin the
next day the song saw him back in full manic conqueror-mode, though.) I
had never heard a better version of the song (before Berlin).

“Ballad of a Thin Man”

followed as a surprisingly personal and intimate reading then, even if the
intimacy was executed somewhat on purpose. The new, slower arrangement of
the song invites Dylan to use a more subdued vocal approach that can
easily be associated with attributes like the two beforementioned ones. I
didn´t trust that “strategy” completely, but was carried away by that
unique, majestic flow of minor chords that have always contrasted so
inspiringly with the viciously ironic lyrics. A little bit of hesitant
upsinging was featured as well. After the last sung verse Dylan grabbed
his harp and his second microphone and went again centerstage to ... yes,
to do what? To create the most (and maybe sole) truly magical moment of
the show. His harp solo, which he blew on the very high tonal registers
from start to finish, was a tale all of its own. Neither I nor the song
(through my perception) has ever been to the places where Dylan guided him
that night. Everything was crystal clear for maybe two minutes. The song
was treated

“Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”

was the only song Dylan should have abstained from on this show. For my
ears it was performed without passion or even interest by anyone on stage.
A five minute pause would have been a better decision to keep things in a

“Tears of Rage”

then came as the first true surprise of the night. As soon as Dylan
started singing, I had the impression that he tried to “act the innocent”
by using a seemingly soft and sensitive vocal approach – the upsinging.
His memory of the original lines was quite weak as well, so that the first
two verses were lyrically confused. At the end the band joined Dylan in
mixing things up (but did so quite deliciously). One half of the players
were convinced they were in one particular part of the verses, the other
half had absolute sureness of being in a different part. A joyful fight
was produced by this that ended only by a mutual decision to part in peace
– they went slower and more and more subdued and almost faded the song
out. It was a joy to witness this piece of forced improvisation/struggling
for a solution.

“You Ain´t Goin´ Nowhere”

is a song whose major quality is positive exuberance (about the joy that
the desired person is coming to town) – at least in the choruses. The
background singing by Charlie Sexton and Larry Campbell was a perfect way
of bringing it across. Ever since Dylan sings it on its own, that quality
is lacking for me. The first verse and chorus of this version confirmed me
in my impression. Dylan maybe felt a need in cheering his vocals up as
well, since he incorporated some hilarious faked laughing in the second
chorus: “Whoo-wee! Ride me high / tomorrow´s the day my bride´s gonna come
/ Ye-he-he-he-heah! Are we gonna fly down in the easy chair.” From that on
the song became more joyful in general and was a pleasant addition to the

“Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum”

was a less than pleasant selection for me, but how great it is when your
fixed ideas of a song (or of what you like and dislike to hear in general)
are proved unimportant and dispensable. The song was displayed like a map
before my eyes. The two dueling guitars on the right side (Stu Kimball´s,
playing the high-sounding parts of the main riff) and on the left (Denny
Freeman´s, taking care of the dark parts) shined an unknown light on my
assessment of the song when played live. As it progressed, it became a
postmodern giant trampling his way through the hall. Much of its original
weirdly figurative and tragic impact became astoundingly “visible” by the
two man´s raucous string work. Dylan´s singing lacked this and other
positive qualities rather much, but didn´t distract from the song´s
brilliant scenic display either ... The welcome surprise of

“Simple Twist of Fate”

then followed. Both my girlfriend´s and my eyes went bigger when we
realized it was this song (the first version after Frankfurt 2003, which I
had accidentally witnessed in person as well). The look on my face must
grown somewhat darker as the performance progressed, though. Dylan seemed
a bit uncertain about his vocals and also about the lyrics. The “blind man
at the gate” was missing completely and left a gap in the reading for
instance. His singing was solid overall, but maybe didn´t do the song
justice as you could have hoped for – likely it needs to be played more
often again. The major letdown of this version for me was George´s new
drumming pattern. It has a incessant chatting “jazz-lounge” quality that
rather distracts from the song´s intimacy. I suppose the song´s
reintroduction looks better on paper/on the screen than it did when being
performed at the show.

“Highway 61 Revisited”

was a welcome alternative for “Summer Days” as closer of the show´s main
part then. It rocked like hell (of course) and saw some truly exciting
inventions by Mr. Freeman and Mr. Kimball. Freeman´s new “gangster riff”
(four ascending and four descending notes sounding as if they came from
the soundtrack of a no-name gangster movie of the 1960s), played most
prominently towards the end, added a new, slightly “trashy” yet refined
and somber quality to it all. Dylan growled and yelled his way through the
verses and kneaded some words to great effect. A major performance of a
song that we all have heard more than enough – but on a night like this
that doesn´t matter. As an additional “gimmick” Dylan hilariously played
the pedal steel (for the first time on stage ever) at the beginning of the
song, sadly it was rather hard to discern in the overall wall of sound.

“Don´t Think Twice, It´s All Right”

Dylan chose as first encore after the common five minute break and … well,
he upsang the hell out of it. The dubious vocal device has become the
song´s most crucial element in recent times, adding a new, more overly
artificial quality to Dylan´s delivery. I cannot say that I completely
dislike it, but it´s a letdown for me nevertheless to hear for instance
the brilliant “I´m a thinkin´and a wondrin´ walkin´ all the way down the
road” line, which was the song´s apotheosis in former times (mid-1990s),
becoming a pale shadow of its former self when casually upsung like on
this show. It was an ok version in the context of the 2005 touring
activity, and that´s it.

“All Along the Watchtower”

followed the band intros then and turned immediately out to be a mammoth
version. Every imaginable lightning struck from every instrument and every
tongue and culminated in one blast of a performance that was utterly
satisfiable and left us nothing but happy. The perfect ending to a
beautiful show. Thank you, Bob & Denny & Donnie & George & Tony & Stu.

Stefan Flach


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