You Will Remember My Name (Godfatherecords G.R. 851/852)
Stadthalle, Bremen, Germany – June 14, 1998
Disc 1: (75:55) Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, Man In The Long Black Coat, Cold Irons Bound, You’re A Big Girl Now, Silvio, John Brown (acoustic), Girl Of The North Country (acoustic with harp), Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right (acoustic), Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic), Can’t Wait, Make You Feel My Love, Watching The River Flow/Band Intro
Disc 2: (77:20) ‘Til I Fell In Love With You, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (acoustic), Love Sick, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Blowin’ In The Wind (acoustic) – Bonus Tracks: Grugahalle, Essen, Germany – June 16, 1998; Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power), Under The Red Sky, To Ramona (acoustic), Ballad Of Hollis Brown (acoustic), The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (acoustic), She Belongs To Me, Blind Willie McTell, It Ain’t Me Babe (acoustic with harp)
Bob Dylan’s show at the Stadthalle in Bremen, Germany was the 12th concert of the Summer ’98 European Tour and the 985th of the Never-Ending Tour. In sharp contrast to the life-threatening hospitalization he experienced the previous year, Dylan was riding high in 1998 with three Grammy Awards in February for his triumphant “Time Out Of Mind” album. Godfather Records has released the silver debut of a perfect audience recording of a particularly stunning show.
The first half of the year had been a busy one, beginning with a winter tour of the US, followed by a South American tour with the Rolling Stones, and a Spring triple-bill with Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell. The European tour began on May 30th at the Rock am Ring festival in Eifel, Germany and wound through Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark before returning to Germany in Hamburg on June 12th, followed by this show in Bremen on the 14th. Dylan was touring with an incredibly strong band, made up of Bucky Baxter (Pedal Steel, Mandolin), Larry Campbell (Guitar), David Kemper (Drums), and of course, Tony Garnier (Bass), Dylan’s longest-running sideman, who continues to tour with him to this day.
The show begins with a laid-back and bluesy “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat”. Dylan is in fine voice (for Dylan), using the nasal tone that dominated his ‘90s output, just three years before he would adopt the gravelly sound he’s been singing with since 2001’s “Love and Theft”. “Man In The Long Black Coat” features Bucky Baxter’s haunting Pedal Steel, a sound Dylan would go without for most of the following decade. A typically bouncy “Cold Irons Bound” is next, followed by a surprisingly upbeat “You’re A Big Girl Now”. “Silvio” is tight, with Larry Campbell’s terrific backing vocals elevating the tune.
“John Brown” is the first acoustic number, and is perhaps the show’s highlight. Absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing. Dylan’s version of the old traditional folk song was written in 1962 and recorded as one of the Witmark Demos included on Vol. 9 of the Bootleg Series. Live versions were included on 2005’s release of the Gaslight Tape from 1962, and of course on 1994’s Unplugged. The version from this show is much slower than the version on Unplugged, which helps bring more attention to the story told in the lyrics. It is also somewhat reminiscent in cadence to the verses found in Dylan’s Street Legal classic “Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)”.
The acoustic section continues with a gorgeous “Girl of the North Country” and a stunning “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” with gorgeous rhythm and mandolin accompaniment, though Bob flubs the lyrics at the top. Speaking of lyrics, Dylan takes some liberties with “Tangled Up In Blue” as he often does, skipping the “She lit a burner on the stove” verse, but each line is delivered with authority and conviction (though it features a typically frustrating and discordant guitar solo from Bob).
We’re back to electric for a solid “Can’t Wait” and an extremely delicate and tender “To Make You Feel My Love”. A honky-tonk “Watching the River Flow” ends Disc 1 on a high note.
Disc 2 begins with a fine “Til I Fell In Love With You”, followed by a nice “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”, with pleasant backing vocals, though they would not hit the heights reached by the versions played once Charlie Sexton joined the band and, together with Larry Campbell, delivered exceptional three-part harmonies. Bob does beautifully repeat the “So many times before” refrain to make this version a special one. “Love Sick” from the recent Time Out Of Mind is next and is typically sparse. Bob draws the set to a close with a rollicking “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”. A lovely “Blowin’ In The Wind” is the sole encore, with Larry Campbell’s backing vocals particularly effective during the chorus (but again not yet reaching the heights that would be achieved with Charlie Sexton in the near future).
You Will Remember My Name includes eight bonus tracks from two nights later at Grugahalle in Essen, Germany. These tracks represent every song from that show which was not played in Bremen. The sound quality is nearly identical (maybe slightly inferior, but barely if at all) to the Bremen show. “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)” is terrific, thanks largely to Bucky Baxter’s pedal steel. “Under The Red Sky” is light and poppy. “To Ramona” begins the acoustic portion, and is given a European feel thanks to the Mandolin. “The Ballad of Hollis Brown” is downright funky, thanks to a strong backbeat from David Kemper. “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” is delicate and heart-wrenching, and Dylan’s guitar solo here is much more effective. “She Belongs To Me” sounds like a country ballad, once again dominated by the Pedal Steel. Next is “Blind Willie McTell”, the celebrated Infidels outtake that would finally appear on The Bootleg Series Vol.s 1-3. Here the Pedal Steel is contrasted beautifully with Larry Campbell’s jangling rhythm guitar line, and Dylan’s vocal performance is powerful. Finally “It Ain’t Me Babe” clocks in at over ten minutes and leads from a lilting ballad into an acoustic jam that is pretty incredible, complete with a stunningly sensitive harp solo.
Godfather complements this set with its typically sharp graphics, complete with period-accurate photos and a firsthand account of the evening from “Robert Shriner”. The fact that this show has never been released before and is in such stunning quality makes it a must-buy.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)