June 26, 2019
Review by Krister Törneke
The Globe arena may not be my favorite venue for listening to Bob Dylan live.
Still it has been the place for most Dylan shows that I have attended through
This time my anticipations were modest, partly because I had seen the setlist,
which has been more or less identical since last fall. Although I have learned
that the arrangement and performance is far more important for my
appreciation than the choice of songs, it is nice to have some surprises once
in a while.
So Bob and his excellent band came on stage about 10 minutes after
schedule and started off as expected with Things have changed. And as
expected I was slightly disappointed. Having heard so many versions of this
song, it is inevitable that some of them have been better than this one.
This was the case with some of the following songs as well. However the
sound was good, at least where we were sitting on row 24, and Bob's voice
was clear. I have difficulties understanding those who complain about the
way he uses his voice at the age of 78.
The following It ain't me babe was a nice exception to the feeling of
"having heard better versions before". Bob's piano playing was more
emphasized than I can remember from earlier, and it added to my
experience. When Cry a while was replaced by Can't wait I didn't even
notice. Somehow I consider them the same category and neither is my
The show picked up and I began to feel more satisfied after the first seven
or eight pieces. Tryin' to get to heaven, Scarlet town and Make you feel
my love (with some beautiful harmonica solo) were all great performances.
I had been looking forward to Pay in Blood, which is my favorite from the
Tempest album. But again I was disappointed with the arrangement,
missing the heavy bass that I have appreciated on earlier versions.
The great surprise was Girl from the North Country. I had certainly been
looking forward to Don't think twice, which was replaced at this point,
but this was a far better treat and the definite highlight of the evening.
The beautiful tune, great harmony and on top of that Bob's piano playing
was fantastic. It was followed by good versions of Love sick, Thunder on
the mountain, Soon after midnight and Gotta Serve somebody.
The band went off stage and we all asked for more, knowing that we
could expect another two pieces. Of course they came back on and
delivered a great encore. As I listened to Blowing in the wind my thoughts
drifted away. Dylan has been associated with this song for so long, and it
would be easy to consider it part of a distant history. But tragically the
words are so relevant today. How many ears must one man have before
he can hear people cry? Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
that too many people have died? … And how many young people will be
deported to Kabul before our government stops committing this crime?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind…
Leaving the Globe arena I got on my bike and was back home within a few
minutes, thankful to Bob and his band that they are still touring and giving
us new experiences from the treasure that has been created over a period
of some 60 years.
Review by Robert Blasiak
I didn't know what to expect at the Stockholm concert. The Rolling
Thunder Revue documentary had just come out - would it earn a special
nod in the setlist? It was his first concert in Stockholm since getting the
Nobel Prize - would this come up? And it seems the next volume in the
Bootleg series will focus on the Nashville years - so would this be on his
mind and reflected in the setlist? The answers: no, no, and maybe? The
highlight of the night was a lovely near-solo version of Girl from the North
Country - the first in years - clear, warm and convincing. I heard an
interview with David Bromberg in which he said something along the
lines of "No one can put a song across like Bob Dylan". I often think of
that when I listen to the Sinatra covers and Triplicate - they ring true.
And that same earnestness and connection was all through Girl from
the North Country. That alone was worth the price of admission.
I was miles from the stage, so can't say much about stage presence -
basically, Bob's at the piano, and occasionally comes out to center stage
at the end of songs - there's a little shimmying now and then, and he
likes to wave the microphone stand around. Fun ambience with warm
speakeasy lighting that kind of slows you down, like watching a black
and white movie. But that relaxation is juxtaposed by a rapid fire setlist:
no intermission, just a couple seconds between songs,
one-after-the-other. It would be nice to have the song sink in a little
more before jumping to the next, but even that creates an
interesting dynamic, because the whole evening becomes almost
like a single long bedtime story from Bob.
Other highlights from the night: Can't Wait - funky and fun, and clearly
the band was having a good time with this. Thunder on the Mountain
also with a nice drum solo that shook things up a bit. Otherwise, lots
of the oldies have a very similar sound, feel, instrumentation, tempo,
etc, so almost sound like different chapters of the same story (It Ain't
Me Babe, Simple Twist of Fate, etc). Early Roman Kings is still a mystery
to me - what is this song about?! I've seen it twice in concert now, and
could understand next to nothing except the title (ah-hah, so this is
Early Roman Kings!) But the band is great, so it's fun just for the energy,
and it would feel like a defeat to look up song lyrics, so it's fine to leave
this as a mystery. Gotta Serve Somebody - love the album version, and
last night it sounded like maybe there were new lyrics, but then again,
it's a bit hard to tell. Maybe someone can decipher the bootleg someday.
Scarlet Town intense and apocalyptic, great instrumentation - loved it.
The only real stinker of the night (for me) was Like a Rolling Stone. Like
so many of those early songs, Bob has reworked it so many times over
the past 50 years. But while lots of the rearrangements add fun new
flavors to the original, this never seems to have clicked with Like a Rolling
Stone. Last night's version featured a switch to half-time right before the
refrain, coupled with ascending nasally questioning phrasing "Now you
doooon't… seem so prouuuuud…. " before going back to full tempo on
the refrain. Then back and forth again and again for each verse. But
David Bromberg is kind of right. Because the first time he did this, I
squirmed in my seat. The second time, I winced. But after a few more
verses, I felt myself kind-of-sort-of coming around to this version.
The concert closed with a great bluesy version of It Takes a Lot to Laugh,
It Takes a Train to Cry. Another mysterious song that I've always liked a
lot, and it really felt special to see this performed live. So Bob's final
message to Stockholm? "Now the wintertime is coming…" Ouch! But of
course he's right…
Review by Laurette Maillet
Stockholm.I go back to the commercial center and bump again into
Frederick, a fan from Sweden. We have a pleasant conversation.We go out
around 6 pm as the show will start at 7.30 pm.The crownd arrives mainly
from the metro station and this is a good thing for me.Some scalpers are
around but they are nice and polite with me. Rapidly a nice woman hands
me a ticket. She asks nothing. Just says she is happy to please me. Whoa!2
good people I don't even know...and they don't even know me.I enter the
huge arena. I want to be down on the floor. So I find my way.The stage is
large but all the instruments are now centered ; Bob's piano is center ,
behind on the right Donnie's instruments, behind Bob left stands Tonny,
then George's drums and left left Charlie.Weird. Unless you are on the
right side facing the stage you don't see Bob. Just a hat when he is
sitted and half his body when he stands behind the piano.The music starts
as George takes his stand then the others followed by Bob. For
what I see he is wearing a black hat. And this is all I can tell. I had
to move far away at the end of the venue on the floor to find an empty
seat.The sound is not the best at the beginning getting better after ....
"Can't wait"...I can't believe my ears. Fantastic! Bobby is center stage.
The Band is obviously enjoying a new song. Tonny is moving right and
left.The public also enjoys. Behind me they clap in rhythm.Thank you
Bobby!Then the same songs but I suddenly woke up and I know this is the
reward for my .... Trials! :)"Make you feel my love" is great even though
this is not my favourite one."Scarlet town" is again center stage with
Bob standing and holding the mic.Then another surprise. " Girl from the
north country" instead of "Don't think twice" but same style; just Bob on
piano. Sweet melody.Also few lines changed on " Simple twist of fate",
a story about a new date! A complete changing of tempo on "The early
Roman kings".And a surprising blank on "Gotta serve somebody" . Bobby
missed a couple of words. Blank!A fantastic "Love sick" that should have
been center stage.Not too much reaction from the public except
LARS.Applause on Thunder for George.And a long time before all the public
realized the show was over.A bow , hat in hand ....and Bob is gone.What a
day.The lesson is ; when the dreams you dreamed don't come true do like
Review by Anders Tidström
Now 53 years since I first saw Dylan in concert. That was also in
Stockholm, on Bob´s first world wide tour. He´s actually in the same
good shape, considering several decades has passed by. I´ve seen Bob in
Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Canada through the years and
it´s always been a thrill, mostly something unexpected, version of song,
handling and choice of instrument, shape of voice, set list, costume and
manner. This night in Stockholm the expectation was though that things
would be mostly expected and thus not much space for great surprise. The
set lists of 20 songs, for example, has constantly been almost identical
for more than a year though Bob travelled Europe, Far East, Australia, USA
and more. And 19 of the songs appeared as expected. But obviously
Stockholm 26th of June was time to kick out good ol´ Don´t Think Twice
which has paraded number 14 on the set list since the 4th of October last
year. Suddenly and for some interesting reason Girl From The North Country
appeared on that position. A wonderful version with all focus on Bob
singing and playing the grand piano, just a slight background back up by
Tony and Donnie in the band. This song about Bob´s high-school girlfriend
Echo Helstrom. A Swedish-American, who passed away last year, now honored
on Swedish ground? For any reason but beautifully performed. Likely Like a
Rolling Stone and Blowing in The Wind also were performed in exceptionally
great slow and thoughtful versions. Much more could be said about the
concert but I prefer this brief selected report here. In all, two hours
very well spent by Bob as well as by the audience.
But next time in Stockholm Bob, avoid The Ericsson Globe! The acoustics
are terrible, bad circular echo phenomenon, etc. Stockholm Waterfront is
the ultimate arena for a Dylan concert - an intimate stage with a perfect
sound – already proved twice. Next time a third time?
Thanks Bob for your resolute and intense creativity that inspires.
Review by Tuulikki Borgman
Regardless who he will frame his poetry, how well he sings or how
fantastic his band will support him, he can´t fool us. As Leonard Cohnen
pronounced it ” It´s coming from the feel that it aint exactly real or
it´s real but it ain’t exactly there”.
He came and sang to us, and we went to listening unforced and in all the
Concert was better than before, can´t deny it. Still we are his
supporting team and deserves better in the matter of interaction.
It’s so sad.
Between the lines he destoys it all with a subtile message of a worn out
lover sick to saticfy his thousand headed mistress.
Why can’t anyone tell him?
* He’s better off at a seat with dr Phil to solve his problems?
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