Monday, April 13, 2009



Football hooligans partied on outside of the Bijlmer Sports Complex as mild mannered Bobsters filed into the Heineken Music Hall for Dylan’s final act in Amsterdam. “Gotta Serve Somebody” electrified pronto, though it was a truncated version like the openers from the other nights. “Don’t Think Twice” was well received, Dylan was swaying and plucking his organ gospel style. The Cowboy Band emerged from hibernation during a romping “Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine.” “Million Miles” was a surprise and a performance that exceeded expectation. Dylan laid down swampy chords, recreating that bluesy late night feel of Time Out Of Mind. This band’s is at its best on this kind of number – one that hits a nerve and evokes a hazy feeling. “Stuck Inside of Mobile” was the right follow-up. Dylan seemed to be enjoying himself for the first time during this Dutch run.

The reworked Sugar Baby was an ugly baby, as was Beyond the Horizon. If this Horizon can be pulled off by Dylan, he’s still a million miles away. In between the ugly babies, Dylan goosed his Dutch fans with “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum,”stepping to the microphone to do his lead singer thing while side-swiping his harp. Quality entertainment. I need to go off on a bit of a rant here, I have never seen audiences as disinterested and talking amongst themselves like the ones here in Amsterdam. I tried to avoid their yappng, but they were yapping all over the place - like kids during recess. I had to vent, because this went on for three shows and was especially disturbing during the slower songs.

Getting past the horizon, amends was made with a focused Desolation Row. Bob really locked into this one. A huge performance, but I was struck again by the lack of courage or conviction from the axe men. Moving forth with a crashing but meaningful blow, the band blasted Tough Mama again. Dylan improvised most of the words as the band prematurely evacuated, ending too quickly. By himself, with a little organ plinking, Bob sang the final “Crestfallen” verse.

The band redeemed themselves with a perverse ”Highway 61”. The Cowboy Band had some wild call and response exchanges that had Tony Garnier crying – truly unique improve - this is a show you’re gonna wanna track down. “Ain’t Talking” was beyond reproach - an Easter Sunday treat. “Thunder on the Mountain” was out of control – instead of pussy footing around, the guitarists went out on a limb and interacted with Dylan. LARS was powerful, and the three song encore just was. Amsterdam is such a phenomenal city, but the chatty cretins who came to these shows didn’t know what they were missing. Even Dylan seemed dismayed, after acknowledging the audience in typical band line-up fashion, he half heartedly pointed at them, spun away and quickly disappeared.

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