March 27, 2007
Review by Steinar Daler
A dream came through?
On Sunday, just three days ago, a good friend (yes, indeed a good
friend) called me and asked me if I wanted a ticket for the club-show in
Stockholm. My answer was not blowing in the wind. In a few moment
flight-tickets from Oslo to Stockholm were ordered and arrangements for
taking off from work two half days were made.
Two days later, (yesterday), I was as close to Dylan (maximum 3 meters
away) as I have never been before. I have had first-row tickets at several
occasions before, even as far back as in 1981, but not in a small club
with a scene only a half meter high (low is a better word). The atmosphere
in the club was electric when Bob came on, and I could almost feel a
unison gasp from the whole room when Bob picks up his electric guitar and
straps it on. First time in 3 ˝ year since last time I saw him like this.
He starts off with ”Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)”. I m
happy that he does not looks into my eyes when he sings the title-words.
He could easily have done so, and maybe I would have felt it like he
wanted me to go away. But he did not look anybody in their eyes the whole
night. (Maybe except for Tony). It seems like he is not aware of the
audience, just concentrating on his playing and singing. ”Not Dark Yet” is
a surprise as song #2. One of my favourites of all time, and even if I
have heard him doing this song better before, it was almost worth the
whole trip. It is fascinating to see the band as close up, and how all of
them, (maybe except for Tony), almost stares at his hands and his small
signals the whole night trough. It is a bit strange that Donnie can play
as good as he really does and staring at Dylan at the same time. Maybe
this is the trick behind the band`s excellent performance.
They does solid versions of ”I'll Be Your Baby Tonight”, ”It's Alright, Ma
(I'm Only Bleeding)”, “Tears Of Rage” and an above usual standard ”Highway
61 Revisited” and the audience were almost crazy. A mellow version of
“Lay, Lady, Lay” almost make them go bananas.
Bob quits the guitar and walks in his usual strange way over to the
piano – a bit at the right side of the stage, seen from my view. I do not
know how impressed I was by his guitar-playing – it was of course nice to
see him centre stage again – but if it was up to me he could leave the
piano and guitar to others and concentrate on his vocals (and harmonica).
He starts like Jerry Lee Lewis and ”Rollin' And Tumblin'” the first one
from “Modern times” tonight is just what the audience want – me too! Denny
makes some real good bottleneck-licks on this song. ”To Ramona” is
beatuiful as usual and he is playing harmonica for the only time tonight.
And the audience like it a lot (great understatement). On the slower songs
he also proves that there are nuances between his “wolfman-voice” and his
Next up is ”Country Pie”. It swings, but to be honest it has never been my
favourite meal. Contrary, me and the whole audience, loves the next one;
”Tangled up in blue”. Why can he not play more of those great songs from
the 70`s. What about ”Oh! Sister!” Bob? Please! let us hear something like
that on this tour. (Sorry about the distraction from the review – but it
had to be said). Well, anyway ”not a dry eye” to see in the room after
”Tangled…”. ”A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall” – another personal favourite
follows, - nice as always. It is strange to think about that it is 45
years since he wrote this still very actual song.
Tony picks up is ”standing-bass” and we all know the concert is coming to
a close. “Summer Days” is still great, but, what about something else in
that spot Bob? The anchors are the two usual ones ”LARS” and
”Whatchtower”, split in the middle by a great version of a really great
song; ”Thunder On The Mountain”. Really a night to remember for the 700
lucky ones, smiling and stumbling (and rollin``and thumblin) out in the
mild Stockholm spring-night. But was it a very good concert or just an
extraordinary one, because of the small hall? I`m not sure. Hard to decide
after being 3 meters away from Bob most of the concert.
Keep on, keepin` on!
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