Oslo, Norway


June 30, 2011

[Steinar Daler], [Espen Aas]

Review by Steinar Daler

Back in my hometown in the middle of first row - can it be better? Yes, 
it can be better - it was better in Odense and not at least Bergen. But 
this was a very good concert as well. Just a little less guts and Bob 
not as much at centerstage - where he should be most of the time in my 
opinion. Read my review from Bergen and all I have to add on the 
concerts of this tour and from Oslo particulary is that for the first 
time in a few years I guess, it took me more than a few seconds to 
recognise one of the songs; It ain't me babe. A brand new arrangement to 
my ears - I'm not sure what I think about it. My highlights were Simple 
twist of fate, Hard rain, Forgetful heart and Thin man. A lot of others 
I talked to after the concert mentioned Tangled up in blue, Like a 
rolling stone and Things have changed as well. Yes, things have changed, 
I feel. After beeing 70 it seems like Dylan have started caring more 
again. Well, go se him as soon as you can!

Thanks to all my freinds for some really nice days together, and thanks 
to Bob for your very engaging concerts. May you stay forever young, and 
may your song always be sung!
See you in the autumn, somewhere in Europe, I hope.

Steinar Daler


Review by Espen Aas

After being quite happy with the show in Bergen (although most people 
I spoke to seemed to enjoy it more than I did), it was time to go 
back home and see him in Oslo Spektrum for the ninth time. They 
tickets said show start at 7.30 p.m., and already 7.40 the lights 
went out and the introduction came.

I admit being slightly disappointed by getting Rainy Day Women as the 
opener tonight as well, although it works, it is fun and people 
recognizes it easily. I wonder if he sometimes makes it into a bit of 
a parody of the original though, the way the he repeats, "the stone 
you, they stone you" and so on. The band sounded much tighter tonight 
though, and Dylan's footwork came quickly into place..! His voice 
didn't use much time to warm up either.

A tour-debut was next, It Ain't Me, Babe, sadly without Dylan on 
guitar this time around. Fine version and of course a crowd-pleasure 
as well. Like last night, Charlie Sexton struggled with his guitars 
and/or amplifier. He was very low in the mix as well, whilst Dylan's 
organ was fairly loud.

Like last night, Things Have Changed was up next, with the same 
boom-chicka-boom rhythm, it had grown quickly on me, and it was great 
fun seeing Dylan center stage, and Donnie Herron's lap-steel filled 
out where Charlie's guitar wasn't in place.

When they launched into Tangled Up In Blue I started to suspect that 
the setlists would remain more or less like yesterday, but I was 
positively surprised by a very good version this time around. As I 
wrote in my Bergen review, the arrangements haven't been all that 
great for some time, but tonight the pieces seemed to fall more into 
place than earlier. It was less of the singing upwards towards the 
end of each linen, and it sounded more similar to the arrangements 
from around ten years ago. His phrasing and overall vocals where great.

The setlist remained the same as yesterday once more when Dylan 
strapped on the guitar and we got the ragged and dirty Beyond Here 
Lies Nothin'. As Sexton's guitar was so low in the mix, it worked 
excellent with the second guitar, and they played up against each 
other throughout. Glad he kept this one in the set tonight as well.

Then it was time to move to Modern Times and Spirit On The Water, a 
jolly nice up tempo song which he did here in 2009 and 2007 as well. 
It is a fine song, but not much more than that, I like the way he 
pushes the vocals towards the end though.

A great performance was up when I heard Donnie Herron plucking the 
banjo, I was expecting High Water tonight as well, but instead we got 
a great Hollis Brown with once again Dylan center stage. He had a 
harmonica in hand, but didn't blow it. He did a fantastic version of 
this song at the very same venue back in 1996 too. The combination of 
the strong story in the lyrics and the thriving music was a highpoint 
tonight. Great singing once again.

Yet another Simple Twist Of Fate was up. Still no big fan of the 
arrangements on this one, but worked better tonight. I sometimes got 
a bit too distracted by Charlie Sexton's obvious trouble with the 
guitar, but Dylan was also on guitar for this one, so musically it 
worked ok. Dylan played some very good guitar on this one by the way.

It all got very up tempo when they launched into Summer Days, a song 
he tends to do here (fifth time he plays it in Oslo Spektrum). Not as 
much fun and jam as before, but it got people swinging in their seats 
no doubt. Dylan had several organ-passages where he played around on the keys.

Hard Rain replaced yesterday's Desolation Row in the tenth spot. He 
has often tended to fall into the sing-song voice way out in this on, 
but once again it was obvious that he had much more to give vocally, 
and gave us a great performance. He stayed center stage for the first 
verse and chorus, blowing a few tones on the harp, but then moved 
over to the keyboard again. And he delivered those strong lyrics with 
much conviction.

Full throttle again on Highway 61 Revisited, ok version, but nothing 
special (he plays it more or less in every show, and has done so for 
years anyway)

My highlight tonight, along with last night was the stunning 
"Forgetful Heart", this has certainly grown into one his best 
performed songs in later years. And the way he treats the harmonica, 
so soft and haunting at the same time..! Wow. I spoke to someone who 
never have heard the song before and absolutely loved it.

Then we knew the rest of the songs of course, Thunder On The Mountain 
was like it always is, followed by Ballad Of A Thin Man as always. 
What I noticed both tonight and in Bergen was how they put on some 
echo on Dylan's vocal on this one, giving the song an even more 
haunting effect. "Do ya? (do ya?) Mr. Jones" Works greatly, and I 
haven't noticed this before. After the regular Like A Rolling Stone, 
I was expecting band intros, but that didn't happen. Instead, Dylan 
kneeled down in front of the drum-kit and picked up a guitar. With 
the back to the audience, he finger-plucked the first few bars of 
Watchtower and the band followed while Dylan went back to the 
keyboard. No band introduction after that either, but instead the 
regular "new" Blowin' In The Wind, which does sound a bit 
tongue-in-cheek to me... I'm glad he doesn't do it alone with an 
acoustic guitar fifty years after its release, it would've been a cliche...

When they grouped and bowed, Dylan brought with him a hand-held 
microphone, and it looked like he was going to use it, but no. They 
walked out, and we all stood in the dark thinking, "hm, why aren't 
the lights put on, are they coming back..?". But of course they 
didn't and it was fine. Dylan had delivered possibly the best show in 
Oslo since the explosive 2002-show. Few people have agreed, but I 
rate this show higher than Bergen - both were very good performances, 
it was just that the band sounded tighter tonight. Too bad about 
Sexton's technical problems, I had really looked forward to hear him 
again, but he still have a great impact on the band. I remember those 
salt-statues standing in one-place two years ago. A lot has happened 
since then.


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