page by Bill Pagel
Review by James Strohecker
The cab dropped me off out front of the Forum in
Copenhagen approximately three hours before show time.
The cabbie asked me, "Are you sure there's a show
tonight?" as I got out. Frankly, I wasn't sure.
There was nobody around, nobody in line, nobody
hawking or begging for tickets. Nobody.
I looked in the window and saw Bob's merchandising
crew setting up the swag. No worries. I was here ...
but where were the people. I walked around and saw
Bob's two trucks and two travel buses. In circling
back, I realized that because it was reserved seats,
nobody bothered to show up early and get in line. In
fact, at the cafe up the street, most of the
concert-goers had a meal and imbibed, taking little
note of me as I had a beer and read the book,
Heading back to the Forum, I noticed a number of
people selling tickets and not a tremendous number of
buyers. The show was sold out, but there were plenty
of tickets available out front at cost. The crowd
headed inside at a leisurely pace, frisked for cameras
(and recording gear) but the Dude in front of me from
Italy marched right in with a full bottle of booze
inside his coat. Interesting.
Bob hates people wanting a piece of him, but he hates
empty seats more. So we waited patiently for an extra
half hour as the crowd flowed in from the cold,
blustery weather and moved beer and coat in hand to
To describe the Forum is difficult -- it has a rounded
roof, cement floors, rows of attached, mult´-colored
folding seats and the back section rose from the floor
to the smoky gloom of the ceiling like the old Toronto
Maple Leafs hockey arena. The sides were a half dozen
rows up and away from the stage. It was a hybrid of
the Medford, Ore. barn, Sheffield fixed floor seats,
and Dublin side seats.
I walked to the top to check it out. People were
pulling out binoculars -- but unlike the floor, it was
toasty warm up towards the rafters. Still, it was a
sound challenge to deal with the room and crowd
Anyway, as the cigarette smoke wafted upward (Yes,
they still let you smoke indoors here. I would've
expected a different type of smoking going on, given
the proximity to Christiania, but it wasn't the case.)
Bob and the gang rolled onstage at 8;30, much to the
crowd's appreciation, and opened fast out of the chute
with a tight Hallelujah, I'm Ready to Go.
Bob sported a brown Stetson and his dark suit with
buttons down the arms and legs, making him look like a
"UCSB Gaucho." Poised and perky, he played a new
half-light, half-dark brown acoustic guitar that was
matched by Charlie Sexton's. Charlie matched Bob's
riffs, as he was to do all night, and they roared
through into The Times They Are A-Changin'.
On 'Changin', Bob's voice did sound rough in the
low-mid octave, but fine in the highs and lows. And
contrary to reviews of the first two shows on this
tour, Bob and the boys flowed well in the first part
of the show.
Interestingly, at the end of the song, nobody stood to
cheer -- it was that way until the end -- and they
seemed riveted to their seats. Perhaps it was just
how people here watch shows, but it sure was a
different crowd from the Roskilde Festival show that
Bob played at last year.
Bob's harp on 'Changin' was soft and melodious --
really what the temper of the show was most of the
night as people tuned in and listened.
Next, the band ripped into a version of It's Alright
Ma that was tight and strong from the get-go. Bob has
re-arranged this song (what a surprise) into a softer,
more generous tune that follows his voice and words
well and allowed him, at least tonight, to peel off
some saucy licks. The band capped it with a bluesy
wind-up that was well rehearsed and good.
Next, Bob wowed the crowd with an excellent Love Minus
Zero-No Limit that was backed by some fine slide-steel
guitar melodies by Larry Campbell. Bob showed off
with his picking and went at it with a little patented
I rated Love Minus Zero as the top song of the night
-- The song is a treat no matter when he plays it, and
tonight Bob and the band stood and delivered it well.
The band then strapped on the Strats and went at it
with a rousing version of Solid Rock. Another wow!
This song has been on the shelf for many years and
it's not dusty in the least -- though at times it
seemed to reek of the hot, hard sound from Bob's tours
in the 80's and early 90's. The band made Solid Rock
a hot rocker with Strats akimbo -- a wicked transition
from the four opening acoustic numbers. This one¨s a
Next the group moved into a slow, soft Moonlight with
Charlie strumming jazz-like riffs on his red Gibson
and Bob highlighting the song with an almost falsetto
singing of the high lyrics. Moonlight was just plain
exquisite -- capped by Bob cool y ripping off some
amazing licks to bring it to a tight close.
It set the stage for a somewhat pedantic Stuck Inside
of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again. But as my
friend M-2 says, Bob's gotta pay the bills sometimes.
Charlie Sexton took center stage for Mobile and picked
up the pace with some nice riffs, as Bob turned to him
and they played toe-to-to and with enjoyment, like the
old Paul Revere and the Raiders guitarists.
The group then headed back down the soulful path with
a chilling rendition of Sugarbaby that had the crowd
in rapt attention, followed by a tight, well-sung,
phat Masters of War and capped by an awesome One Too
Many Mornings. The latter was a surprise pick and was
the second best song of the night -- perfect acoustic
guitar work by Bob as he stepped back from the front
of the stage and just picked and played. Nice, nice,
Next up, Bob gave the crowd another "Hey!" moment when
he opened Tangled Up In Blue with an inspired harp
lead-in. As a result, Tangled seemed revitalized by
the new intro and had higher energy and tighter
playing than in the past.
Then they headed into the ENCORE with a great
rockabilly Summer Days, followed by an up-tempo
Positively 4th Street, then into Cold Irons Bound with
Charlie on his black Gretsch, capped by an actually
well-played Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat where Bob
introduced the band members.
Summer Days was boffo, rockin', whacko and fun. I
keep expecting Tony to step up to the front of the
stage and start whappin' and spinning his upright bass
like the bass player in BR-549 -- the band that opened
for them in Pueblo, Colo. last summer.
Unfortunately, Positively 4th Street used to be a rare
treat of words and music; in it's new upbeat form, it
loses both. Sure, it's Bob's song and he can play it
however he wants. But it missed the mark in its new
format -- perhaps it'll morph into something different
during the tour ...
During Cold Irons Bound, Bob reined back the horses as
usual. I've only seen them rock this all the way once
last year in Las Vegas. It's a real treat if you
happen to catch it; but always a good hard rocker
Following the break, Bob and the boys launched into a
surprising Not Fade Away, which made the crowd rush
the stage in streams and forced the rest of the folks
sitting to actually stand and enjoy the show.
The band followed Not Fade Away with a predictable
Like a Rolling Stone, which led into another nice
surprise of the evening, a well-performed I Shall Be
Released. Released was made brim-full and captivating
by the back up, cool vocals of Larry and Charlie.
Then Bob led the team into a charging Honest With Me,
which seems to have lost some steam from the West
Coast tour of last fall, and into a haunting Blowin'
In The Wind, which left the crowd both gasping and
applauding for more.
In all, a good show and a good sign that Bob is
focused and the group is having fun playing well
together. Look for some new (old) songs during this
tour -- I think Bob has some tricks up his sleeve.
RANDOM NOTES - Larry Campbell wasn't looking like a
cross between Rasputin and Aqualung, as he was on the
last tour. He's cut his hair to near the shoulder and
shaved off his Diablo-like goatee. He seemed to be
enjoying himself. In fact, they all seemed to be
enjoying themselves; this is a band that revels in
playing to audiences on the road and playing well ...
Bob's big, fat guards who look for tapers were pushing
the crowd around as usual. Not nice or appropriate
... Thanks to all the nice people in Copenhagen for a
-- JW Strohecker
Review by Mattias Davidsson
Well, to describe the feelings after this concert, concider the following
scenario; you start by a tree at the end end of the rainbow, finding a
bowl full of gold. Let’s assume you happen to love gold. Behind the next
tree you find a bowl full of diamonds. Let’s assume you love diamonds even
more. Then concider repeating the process of you finding treasures, one
more valuable than the preceeding behind 18 more trees, corners or bushes.
To make it short, this was the killer concert, the best of concert I’ve
ever seen, including all previous Dylan concerts. All the renditions of
songs outclasses previous renditions in my back catalogue. It was an
evening of shear astonishement. Could Bob and the band actually sound so
good? I didn’t think so. Before this concert that is. From the first
strums on the mandolin in Halleluljah ‘till the last chorus of Blowin’ in
the wind, they nailed it (I hereby concider Bob forgetting the opening
words of “the times” as part of that song). Bobs singing was as vivid as
possible, he used his voice to at least twice of it’s capacity. The fact
that Bob was so focused and spot on all the time left the rest of the band
confident and playfull. Made it possible for them to provoke new sides out
of the songs with their instruments. It was a special evening, and to
ackwnoledge (him knowing) this fact, after the last verse had been sung,
Bob did something I’ve never seen him do before (not even in front of the
Pope). Perhaps he never did it before? He kneeled before his audience, hat
off, one knee on the ground, head bowed down. Then he left the stage.
Sometimes during the concert it felt like people in the audience didn’t
really believe what they were hearing. Can something really sound like
this? Can even Bob sound like this? The wild blazing guitar playing, the
energy density, the playfullness, the extreme of feelings, from good to
bad, from love to war. At one stage I was almost sure that Bob and the
band must have been collectively possesed! The major part of the songs
were better than the original versions, including the songs from the new
album (to say that “+4’th street” and LARS was better than the original
versions would of course be like arguing that Jesus knows the Bible better
than god or something…). Solid rock competed with the most sulfur scenting
versions from the early 80’s, “masters of war” took us on a trip down the
quarters of belsebub. Sugar baby swayed from the new drum arrangement.
During the first part of the chorus in “Not fade away” Bob didn’t even
care reshaping his mouth for the different words, he just opened it and
screamed, left for his fellow guitarplayers to express the words, leaving
his voice playing the part as just another, though yet so exciting
instrument, just as he did on many of the other songs this evening.
During “Leopart skin” the audience rushed to the stage, perfectly in sync
with Bob and the band jamming along for a couple of minutes in the
bluesiest of fashions. You could almost hear them telling the audience
“come and get us if you can!”, waiting for the front of the stage to be
crowded before bursting into the next verse. The lights directed towards
the audience during asa Bob sang “How does it feel?”, really made it feel
like it was adressed to those of us who feel bewildered, who does not yet
know what to make of hour lifes in this age of bombing all from the church
of mammon to the holiest of places in the so called holy land. Bob made
his mind up since long in his choice of changing the world, and if there
is some ultimate justice in this world I hope he will continue doing it
till the day he drops dead.
I fear I could say much more about this concert, but now I will devote my
time to finding a copy.
Review by Jonas Valthersson
”Well, I´m standin´ on the table, I´m proposing a toast to the king”
A cold and sunny day in Copenhagen took me to this great Dylan-concert. A
very well performed gig. Over two hours! The sound was like listening to a
good liverecord, as ”Budokan”. My seating was quite far from the stage,
but ok anyway. I really enjoyed the superb lightshow from there and I´ve
seen him close before, soo. But I prefer Dylan without a cowboyhat, it´s
not his style I think. Tight band also. The new drummerboy passed the
test. Bob Dylan will never stop surprise musically and that´s because he´s
sittin´on top of the world. He´s unique. ”Masters of War” really felt
right in time. It resulted in standing ovations. Love that song. Some
songs from ”Love and Theft” did the evening complete too. Keep on rocking
Thanks, Jonas Valthersson.
page by Bill Pagel
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