Lund, Sweden

Sparbanken Skåne Arena

April 9, 2017

[Erik Ringmar], [Laurette Maillet]

Review by Erik Ringmar

Of all our family members, it is really only Uncle Bob who comes to visit
regularly. He visited us when we lived in Shanghai, in north London and
now in Lund. Yes, he was in Lund last night, our little medieval
university town in southern Sweden. I brought Diane and two daughters.
Blood is thicker than water.

Bob has once again reinvented himself. “Why change me now?” he asks in
a borrowed Sinatra lyric, but it is not us trying to change him as much as
he continuously changing himself.  At the age of 75 that’s pretty
remarkable. Those who are not busy being born are a-busy dying.  And Bob
Dylan is not dying.

He has, however, gotten quite a bit older since we saw him in Helsingborg
three years ago. He moves more slowly on stage. He dances — yes, dances
— but it’s all a bit awkward.  And he has to leave the keyboard and
stand in the middle of the stage with his legs wide apart in order to be
able to belt out the jazz standards which now feature as a regular part of
his repertoire.

The jazz standards are not bad. Dylan’s raspy voice works well in
combination with the silky smooth arrangements. And yet, I can’t help
thinking that he is doing karaoke. Dylan karaoke is better than most kinds
of karaoke, and I respect him deeply for doing what he wants to do, but it
does sound to me like a hobby project rather than something to take with
him around the world.

The real reinvention, however, concerns his transformation from a blues
and rock ‘n roll artist into a sort of vaudeville performer. He and the
band are playing circus music, in a Sergeant Pepper vein, or in the style
of Bertold Brecht  and Kurt
Weill . You fully expect
acrobats, jugglers and bearded ladies to come on stage. Yet it is not
festive as much as grimy — “After Midnight” — grim — “Paying
in Blood” — and sad — “Long and Wasted Years.” The furrows in
the face of the clown have grown deep, the make-up of the septuagenarian
prostitute is running. It’s a remarkable world into which Bob inserts
the songs from his 1960s song-book as well as the new Sinatra classics.
Yes, they all fit, and thanks to the tight accompaniment of the band and
the imaginative arrangements of the songs it’s always interesting.

But how good is it?  I like my blues rock and the Dylan who stopped by
here in Sweden only a few years ago was a first-rate blues and rock man. I
liked his harmonica playing, for one thing, but there was no harmonica in
sight last night. All in all, the vaudeville musician is less interesting
to me, and when I listen to Dylan today this is not the music I listen to.
Yet, OMG, he remains endlessly creative, enigmatic and remarkable.  We are
lucky to be alive at the same time as he.  We are lucky that he still
comes to visit. Come back soon uncle Bob, we already miss you.

Erik Ringmar


Review by Laurette Maillet

I woke up early in a really warm room at the Youth Hostel in Copenhagen. I
took a shower and relaxed until 11 a.m. I walk to the train station to
figure out how to reach Lund. I buy a train ticket and I get confused
about the destination.  In fact there is a changing of train at the
airport and passport control. Fine. I arrive in Lund in early afternoon.
To my surprise this is a pretty city. The Architecture is eclectic. I walk
to the venue to check out. There is already a line at the doors. Bobby and
the Band arrive for the soundcheck,  so all is well. I find myself a
panini and a cup of coffee and I appreciate a nice sunny weather before
heading to the venue around 5 p.m. The usual Fans are queuing for an early
entry and the usual Fans will look around for a cheap ticket. It should be
easier than Copenhagen as there is a GA section : cheaper tickets and more
people to come. It is not THAT easy but a couple of guys accept to
exchange a ticket for the promise of a painting. All is well. So, I am in
for the beginning of the show. In the far back of the floor section but I
can see Bobby on and off, either at the piano or center stage. The sound
is not the best for the venue is a sport arena. Notheless Bobby's voice is
clear. I can sing and dance all my soul as no one will pay attention to my
craziness. Setlist starts the same then "I could have told you"  will
replace "Why try to change me now?". Bob starts "Tangled up in blue"
before the Band can react. There is a little bit of a confusion. Some one
tells me that at the Opera in Copenhagen Bob had missed the intro of that
song. So.... he is catching up. No more harp on that song. No harp at all.
The same will happen with "Scarlet town". He rushes for the lyrics before
the Band catches up. Other than that...the usual. "The early Roman kings"
are powerful. Donny is excellent on "Scarlet town". "Ballad of a thin man
" will end the show. Bobby is standing at the piano. Nice performance.
Bobby was professional and clear. Maybe he was wearing a blue shirt? I
rush to the train station to catch a train back to Copenhagen. Well....a
train and a bus and a metro. I meet 2 beautiful women from the U.K. and we
have a pleasant conversation about ... Bob Dylan ... all the way to


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