April 4, 2017
Review by Steinar Daler
I have been to the first three concerts on the tour; 2 times Stockholm and
Oslo (my hometown). All of the three concerts has been good and better
than my expectations. If I have to choose, maybe Oslo was the best, but
maybe thast's only because I was at the rail just in front of Bob's piano
there. He was "on" from the first moment (at the first concert in
Stockholm he needed a few songs to warm up). "Things Have Changed" have
been the first song of the show for a long time now, and yes, the change
have been there for some years now - very often a static setlist. The
setlist don't change much, as we were used to for many years, and I think
at least the fans that see several concerts each year (like me) miss the
changes. But on the other hand it makes surprises more welcome, like a
splendid "Standing In The Doorway" at the first Stockholm concert. He have
not played it since 2005 as far as I remember and I hope this will not be
the only performance of that song on this tour.
His first "Sinatra song" in Oslo was "Why Try To Change Me Now". Maybe it
is his way of saying that his audience have to respect him as the
unpredictable man he has always been - "I have always been your clown" he
sings. But what was special about this song in Oslo was that it came as
early as song #5 and that it for a long time now (in the fall and both
concerts in Stockholm have been the very last song of his concerts). That
made a lot of us who follow the setlists, think; What will be the last
song tonight. The answer was something I really appreciate. He did not
played the "Sinatra song" "I Could Have Told You" - which in my opinion is
the most boring of the "standard songs" he has played so far. And at the
end we got a strong version of "Ballad Of A Thin Man" instead. I hope he
will keep up doing changes like this. For me most of the "standard songs"
is boring - well, so far all of them have been boring, except for the one
he performed for the first time in Europe at the last concert in Stockholm
and in Oslo so far; "That Old Black Magic". I have to admit I liked it, it
made my foot going and Bob performed it with style - hand held mic stand
and a lot of movement. Really good. The highlights for me and a lot of the
other hardcore fans I've been talking to have as usual been "Love Sick",
Desolation Row (8 verses fisrt night in Stockholm, 7 verses the other two
concerts), "Long And Wasted Years" and "Tangled Up In Blue". He used his
harmonica on "Tangled" at the first Stockholm concert, but we have not
seen or heard any harmonica on other songs or at the two other concerts.
It was a great harmonica performance as well and I believe a lot of his
audiences want him to use it more. I do! No guitarplaying by Bob, but, I
don't mind and it's been a long time since he usually picked up the
guitar, so we don't expect him to do so even if his guitar is very visual
placed on the stage. I attended the concert in Las Vegas the day he got th
Nobel Prize, and then he played the guitar on "Simple Twist Of Fate".
Maybe that was his little sign that it was a special day. He smiled more
than usual too. If not Bob, so at least his audience were talking a lot
about the Nobel Prize at the two Stockholm concerts. Everyone seems to
agree that he got it - but the people who don't agree on that are probably
not the people who see him in concert either. Almost all the merchandise -
t-shirts, posters and more were almost sold out the first day in
Stockholm, almost nothing left for sale the second day. I have not seen
anything like that before.
Bob's band is excellent and Bob's voice is also as good as it can be I
believe. Not at least in Oslo his singing was outstanding the whole concet
through. He also really seems to enjoy being on stage and I feel his
pianio playing is getting better and better. I will see 3 concerts at the
end of the tour and I look forward to that. Go see him if you can. There's
always some tickets for sale outside the arenas if you have not bought a
ticket beforhand and the venue says sold out.
Thanks a lot to all my old and a few new friends I have met in Stockholm
and Oslo, not at least to Per Sandwall who invited a lot of us (fans from
England, Japan, Norway and Sweden) home for some snacks and "Dylan talk".
Review by Gary Jacobson
Quite a build up to this show. If you want to read about the show itself
skip to the third paragraph. Be warned that you’ll not read a blow by
I traveled to Norway to visit old companions who I have spent much
rewarding time with through the years since my youth. I suppose in a way
Bob is included among these old companions. I had always wanted to see Bob
in Oslo and finally my hope came true. Getting tickets for this show
included some wacky anxious efforts.This special night was shared with
Lars. (I mean the person, not the song.) He had never been to a Bob show,
had gotten reports of distant ones, and was well aware of all the hubbub
that have us all jumping up and down. Lars is a very literate person who
appreciates that aspect of Bob and the role Bob has played in social
history. I thought it was fair to explain to him` that he might experience
the evening at The Spektrum perhaps as wanting a cold beer on a hot day
but getting warm aquivit. I figured that would be a safe starting point,
and yet I hoped that Bob would bowl him over. Lars’ thirst was
The performance had some real highlights. I thought I picked up on a bunch
of new lyrics and arrangements. At least they seem new to me and I get to
a couple of shows a year and listen pretty regularly. The order of songs
from prior nights was upside down sort of with Why Try To Change Me Now as
an opener. For me, it’s all about Love Sick which was very, very
satisfying. Tangled up in Blue was strong. No harmonica tonight. Earlier
in the show Bob kicked in strong with Highway 61. Scarlet Town was
ominous. Bob was performing very well as a performer. He seems to like his
job these days, and I sense he took the role of performer a step further
than last Autumn when I saw him in Tanglewood, MA. The band is very
“musical”, if that makes sense. Arrangements and nuance were focused.
The crowd was greatly appreciative and didn’t seemed surprised by how
Bob is, and how the songs are played. It was an entirely pleasurable night
of fine music. Perhaps the American standards played and performed with
vigor and meaning are now included in Bob's vision of folk music.
Review by Al from NH
People following this page are likely curious about how thisleg of the
tour is going so far. So thisisn’t really a review, but more like a
Don’t miss a single show you have a chance to attend. The shows have
been truly outstanding!
The lack of reviews surprises me a bit: the audiences have been loving
the shows, andthe Scandanavians speak English often as well as any
American. The audience isn’t really a rock-n-rollscreaming and hand
waving type of crowd. It’s more like attending a lecture given by a
master – which of courseit is. They don’t chirp or chatter – or
evencheer until each song is over.
The Cowboy Band is in fine form. A real joy to experience. I hope they
stay together for a longtime. They seem to appreciate eachother. The
arrangements are finely tunedby this point. All the band members are
excellent, but Charliein particular has picked up his artistry a few
notches. HearingBob and Charlie playing together is witnessing history
(like hearing Bruebeckand Desmond for those old enough to remember).
And Bob. Oh my god. There have been a lot of Bob’s over theyears, but
this is my favorite. Hisvoice is clear and strong. And hisphrasing an
art form in itself and better than ever. I amglad he doesn’t ever pick
up his guitar. I do miss his harmonica playing. He displays so many
talents on stage – even his piano playing isinteresting these days. And
it seems ashame to abandon and instrument that he plays so well. But
perhaps it would be a distraction. The whole concert is of a certain tone
andatmosphere, and the harmonica might just be one ingredient too many.
So go to a show if you can. Better still, go to two shows. Goto three
shows. Perhaps not even Bob cansustain this level of excellence waiting
another year for you to show up.
Al from NH
Review by Lurette Maillet
The adventure started in Stockholm on April's fool.
2 shows that I kind of missed.
I saw only a part of the first show when security throw out a couple of
drunks and one agreed to hand me his ticket stub. I rushed inside the
venue to find myself on "desolation row ". I was happy to be in. In early
afternoon (2 p.m.) Mr. DYLAN had received his Nobel medal and diploma from
the Nobel Academy inside the Radisson Blu Hotel, right next to the venue.
He spent 10 minutes there before retrieving to his Tour bus doing...
whatever he prefers doing. Academy members attended the show that night
but it takes more than that for Mr.D. to be excited. It was no the best
I trained to Oslo with few other fans.
Grey, cold and windy Oslo.
The show is part GA and part seated at the Spektrum.
Fans are queuing (courageously in the cold) from early afternoon.
Bobby and the Band arrived early for the rehearsal and then Bob retrieved
inside his bus to do whatever he likes to do. I spend time inside
buildings (shoping centers) to keep warm until 6 p.m. Time for me to be
seriously looking for a ticket. 7 to 8 thousands fans are entering slowly
the huge sport arena. Some nice folks hand me a floor ticket and I move
slowly but surely in. The front of the stage is already packed but I find
a nice spot on the side of the piano where Bob will be for most of the
show time. I will manage to see his hat and face on and off. At least I
can hear well. Stu takes the stage as usual. Bob moves to the piano right
away for "Things have changed". Is it the sound or is it me not being used
to the crowd but the sound is muffled. I focus on Bobby's hat to
disconnect from the surrounding. "To Ramona" doesn't move me so much. I
try to get the feelings and sing along. In that Ocean of bodies no one
will care if I don’t sing in tune. "Highway 61" wakes up the Band, not
so much the public. And my favourite soon to come..."Beyond here lies
nothing". That's it! I'm in and Rock and Rolling in the few space I'm
allowed, careful not to touch anybody. This is not exactly a Hippies
party! "Why try to change me now?" Oh! So it won't be the last song. Still
a message? "Early Roman kings" . Powerful. But I can't wave my hankerchief
in the air. I can see little Georgie bitting hard on his drums. Good job
George! "Melancholy mood". I have the sound but not the image. Bob is
center stage but far in the back and my view is blocked by the piano.
"Duquesne whistle ". People get on board. No mistake on the lyrics. All is
rolling good. And the train is right on time! "Love sick". First strong
reaction from the crowd. That will not be the last song neither. "Tangled
up in blue". Finaly the public is alive! No harp??? "Pay in blood" on
piano. Could be better center stage. "Spirit on the water" . Piano again.
Could be more .... spirited! "Scarlet town" yes! Beautiful job from Donny!
"All or nothing at all". .... "Desolation row". I look at the spot lights
and get lost in the Magic Land. I can't feel my body anymore. "Soon after
midnight" ... and I don't want nobody but you. The one coming now I've
never heard. "That old black magic". I love the tempo. I want to hear it
more and more and more. "Long and wasted years" and " Automn leaves". I am
a little bored with that one. Lights are off. The public is between
leaving and clapping. Some left already. "Blowing in the wind" doesn't get
much reaction. I am curious about the next one. Yes!yes! I recognize the
first notes of "Ballad of a thin man"... Unfortunately Bob is at the
piano. He was more theatrical doing it center stage with the echo. Well!
Good show all together. Slow at the start but warming up. Good night
Review by Hallvard Østrem
I can't roll away the stone
Well, it is so obvious that something has changed. Newspapers now praise Bob
Dylan for his predictability, his diciplined performance, his recognizable
arrangements and the more or less fixed repertoire from night to night. People
cheer at Dylan's crooner covers as if the man finally got it. Something is
burning, but what is it? For one the many times depreciated artist finally has
become popular in a way he never was before.
First of all, I've got nothing against it. It's a good thing that many people now
finally get their Dylan moment. But for me it just doesn't work anymore. I'm
not disappointed or heartbroken, I don't feel betrayed or let down. For me
old classics like "Why Try To Change Me Now" and "Autumn Leaves" are great
songs, and I think Dylan performs them well. But they just don't break my
levee, move me, make the robin sing, fly me to the moon. I could say the
same about Dylan's current live treatment of his own material, from
"To Ramona" to "Scarlet Town". Great songs, Dylan's performance immaculate,
but they just don't fly. Have we reached the edge of the road, baby, where
the pasture begins?
Maybe it's only me. But I suspect I'm not alone.
Dylan has been part of the popular rock'n roll scene from the beginning, a
recording artist alongside many others, from Beatles to Joni Mitchell. As a
popular artist he has been delivering hits, selling millions of records and drawing
large crowds from San Fransisco to Tokyo. But he has never been popular in
an ingratiating, market-adapted, crowd-pleasing way. Needless to exemplify,
Dylan has through his whole career typically not met common expectations,
but have constantly been exploring new avenues in his work, often
provocative and unpopular.
His live performances has unfolded in a similar fashion, contrapuntally popular
and countercurrent -- popular, but antipopular. A Bob Dylan concert has never
been without some kind of resistance or challenge. And they used to be
unpredictable. There were constantly changing repertoires, evolving
arrangements -- often milestones away from the recorded original -- and there
always were an element of improvisation and spontaniety.
I have never been a Lardass, investing weeks on the road with Dylan, but I
believe it was the unpredicatability of it that drove quite a few of us out on
the road to experience not only a single Dylan gig, but the living organism
that a Dylan tour became into the 1990's and beyond. To attend several
shows in a row felt like becomming a part of that organism, participating in it.
The unpredictability of it became internalized and enriching.
Dylan's integrety is one thing, the energy he puts into his concerts another.
I'm thinking not only of his restless, mercurial stage presence, but also the
raw, energetic "punk-metal" musical expression and his intense and ever
changing vocal interpretations. This is what I feel more than anything is lacking in
Dylan's shows in 2017: the charged, erratic intensity of it all.
I think it's fair to say that Dylan has remained charged and energetic through
all the phases and changes throughout his career, but there is less energy in
the performances of the 2010's. The turning point, I think, was when Dylan
moved from center stage to the piano and began arranging and conducting
the live versions of his songs in a more refined manner. From 2002 on he slowly
and gradually slowed down into something more attenueted and premeditated,
ending up with his easy listening swing-jazz project over the last couple of years.
Dylan still does his own thing, but in a quiter, slower, softer style.
It is what it is. I can feel it in the dust as I get off the bus on the outskirts of
town. Dylan is getting older, and with old age comes unavoidable physical
setbacks that forces every older human being to slow down. Not that Dylan
seems to be notably plagued by such physical degradation, but he does
undeniably appear his age. Somewhat slower, a bit stiffer in the hips, not so
energetic on stage. His voice is not as vigorous as before, although I suspect
there are latent reserves.
In the bigger picture it is interesting that Dylan, unlike many of his peers,
integrates life and art and lets his music evolve and age with him, bringing it
down, giving it a more distinguished feel. For sure he's not trying to duplicate
what he has done before. Even the accentuated nostalgia could be seen as
part of the aging process, looking back, exploring the roots. Beyond here lies
nothing but the mountains of the past.
What's next? Dylan's artistic phases usually turns out to be transitions into
something else, and whatever it may be, the old man is not likely to throttle
on into the 2020's. But who knows? I believe in the impossible, you know
that I do.
| Click Here
to return to the
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists