Oslo, Norway


October 10, 2013

[Steinar Daler]

Review by Steinar Daler

Oslo is my hometown and of course it’s nice to see Dylan there. It was
my 10th Dylan show inside the city limits of Oslo. I have seen 4 more
concerts  close to Oslo and I have also seen Dylan in 4 concerts in other
cities in Norway, and only missed 3 of his concerts in Norway. That means
Dylan performed his concert since 1981 in Norway last night.  I
believe I’m one of few Norwegians that have seen Dylan earlier this year
(3 concerts in April in US + 4 concerts in July US/Canada). I liked all of
those concerts a lot and that made me a bit nervous before the concert
here in Oslo. It can be dangerous to have too high expectations  before a
Bob-concert. In the seven concerts I have seen earlier this year, I have
seen 3 different lead guitarist in Bob’s band; Duke Robbillard 3 times,
Charlie Sexton 3 times and Colin Linden 1 time. As a lot of other fans I
was wondering who would be the lead guitarist now. Close to the venue I
spotted Dylan’s body-guard Baron, and as I have said hello to him a
couple of times before I asked him about the guitar player and he told me
it was Charlie. I of course told that to a lot of other fans before the
band entered the stage – maybe I should not have done so. Things like
that is always a thrill to experience yourself. Well, ten minutes after
schedule Stu strolled on stage playing his – this time very nice –
blues riffs on his guitar for a completely sold out Oslo spectrum (7000
people). I had 3.rd row center tickets – excellent.  Bob and the band
joined Stu and a hatless Bob with grey big curly hair, black suit with
white ornaments and white boots found his place center stage and started
playing “Things have changed”. I have seen Bob at his first show at a
European tour a lot of times before (Stockholm or Oslo) and I remember
that he have seemed to be marked of jet-lag. I had been worried about it
before the concert. And, well, I don’t know if it was jet-lag or
whatever, but Bob did not look very comfortable on stage, his singing was
rather rough and the sound in the hall was not at it’s best. Kind of
disappointing. The next song “She belongs to me” (still singing from
center stage) was a bit better, but I have definitely heard better
versions earlier this year. No harmonica. Strange! Bob walked over to the
grand piano and started playing “Beyond here lies nothin’” – not
one of my favourite songs and just an ordinary performance, I was
beginning to feel that this would be a kind of boring concert. Then he
played What Good Am I, and suddenly his voice was much better – a good
tender reading (almost as good as when I heard that song 3 times in the
spring). You could clearly hear the audience cheering and clapping a lot
more after that song. The sound in the hall was also becoming better.
First “Tempest” song was up next.; “Pay In Blood”. OK, but not
outstanding, another “Tempest” song “Duquesne Whistle” followed
– good, but far away from a couple of supreme versions I heard of this
song in the summer tour. After that song my wife leaned over and asked me
“what do you think”, I answered OK, but nothing more. But, then
something happened. “Tangled up in blue” was the next song up and
suddenly Bob’s voice became much clearer, the piano playing was really
good (some lyrics changes was as always welcome) and the whole sound of
the band felt much better. “Tangled” is of course a crowd pleaser as
well and the mood in the hall  got better. After “Tangled” Bob walked
up to center stage again and we got “It’s all right ma (I’m only
bleeding). The first real highlight!  A different arrangement from what I
have ever heard, very bluesy, sharp rap-singing and excellent violin by
Donnie Herron. Bob and the whole band at their best and a song that most
of the audience know. Really, really good! I don’t remember if it was
during “Tangled” or “It’s all right ma” that Stu broke a string,
anyway it seemed like he had some trouble, and when Bob finished “It’s
all right ma” he started speaking. I’m sure he sad “Don’t go
away”, and the rest of the sentence was probably something like “we
will be back in a while” Then the whole band left the stage and the
light in the hall were lit. Everybody was wandering what was happening and
there was a lot of funny speculations from the people around me –
“he’s and old man and need a rest”, “he had to go to the
restroom”, “he needs a break for a cigarette”, he have some problems
with his nose – a cold maybe – and have to go out to sneeze”, and so
on. Maybe we will never get the answer. What was very interesting, indeed
was that the crew changed the set lists that was taped to the stage floor.
  After ca. 10 minutes they were back and it seemed like they all, Bob
included looked more happy and the sound was now very good. Bob was behind
the piano for “Early Roman Kings” (the most often played song from
“Tempest”). It was the best version I have heard live. Not just a
rhythm & blues riff. A more full sound. GOOD!  “Simple twist of fate”
was another crowd pleaser. Bob’s voice was clear and the arrangement not
far from the “original” version. The whole sound of the band seems
perfect.  Even, the in some way “worn out”, “Summerdays” was
better than I have heard for a couple of years. Charlie played some small
very delicate riffs on his guitar and Tony smiling all over his face when
playing his standup bass. “Forgetful heart” was up next and it was
another highlight of the concert. The audience loved it – and Bob’s
phrasing and melodic voice was as good as it get these days. “Spirit on
the water”, was OK, but nothing extra. Next up was three more song from
“Tempest”. “Scarlet town”, “Soon after midnight”, both from
behind the piano and then the world live debut of “Long and wasted
years” from center stage.  Three really great performances. Clear
singing, with concentration on every word, delicate playing from all in
the band and the audience really enjoying and cheering between the songs.
I have heard “Soon after midnight” several times before, but it had a
more full and powerful sound this time. “Long and wasted years” was my
highlight of the show. When you get a world debut, from center stage in a
very good arrangement with Bob giving all he can into every word – well,
what more can you get? We got a lineup, a small brake and then two
encores. Very well performed and recognizable versions of “Watchtower”
and “Blowin’ in the wind”. It seems like everybody was happy. I have
had a feeling on a lot of concert the last years that Bob sometimes lose
the power in the performance before he get to the end. This time it was
the opposite way – a weak start and almost slowly better and better.
I’m looking forward to the two concerts in Stockholm in the weekend.

As always in Oslo before and after the concert, a lot of Bob-fans from far
and near gathering at the Two dogs pub. I love you all and a special
“thumbs up” for Radovan and Jehan from London who will be following
the whole tour and make a documentary film of us, Bob’s fans. They are
real fans themselves an both extraordinary pleasant young people. Say
hello to them when you see them.

Steinar Daler


Click Here
to return to the
Main Page

page by Bill Pagel

Tour Guide
Tour Guides
Bob Links
Set Lists
by Date
Set Lists
by Location