May 5, 2007
Review by Jakob Brønnum
After the German concerts, the setlist in the last concert of the European
leg, in Herning, Denmark, shifted back to something closer to the earlier
venues on this tour, primarily signified with Cat's in The Well as a dynamic
opener. Also, the audience of about 8000 were treated to a rare 5 songs
(instead of 4) on guitar, before The Man retreated to his electric piano.
As noted in these pages, the new arrangement of It's Alright, Ma is
stunning in its daring tonality, as is the rocky version of Tangled.
The surprise of the evening came in this song, with two new lines in the
4th verse, originally like this: "She was workin' in a topless place/ And I
stopped in for a beer,/ I just kept looking at the side of her face/ In the
spotlight so clear." In Herning, Bob Dylan changed lines 3 and 4,
commenting to his band on the concerts behind them and the tour ahead,
which will begin in Atlantic City after a seven-weeks intermission: "She was
workin' in a topless place/ And I stopped in for a beer,/ She said: Do you
wanna go to Atlantic City?/ I said: I wanna stay here."
There could be comments on a number of other songs from this truly
memorable event, but they wouldn't part much from those made in many
other rewievs from the European tour. So I will try to focus on two
unsolved mysteries: Why does Dylan tell us where his band members come
from, when introducing them between the two encores, and why is the
Oscar-statuette placed on the yellow amp behind Dylan to the right?
One answer to the first mystery could be is that it is symbolic. The band is
brought together from all over the nation, Texas, New Orleans, Boston,
and if I'm not mistaken, California, himself being from the Midwest,
signifying an all-over representation, as a symbolic expression of the totality
of the American culture that Dylan aimes to set his personal mark on.
This could seem to be a far fetched observation. But in these minimalistic
concerts, with the minimalistic stageshow with otherwise no remarks from
Dylan to the audience, the minimalistic light-setting (blue curtain for
Tangled, bright light for Summer Days and so on), the minimalistic
arrangements of classics songs, mixed in with the minimalistic new songs,
it is all about semantics, little signs of something that work together,
adding to the timelessness and mythology, in which a concert with Bob
Dylan takes place.
What then is the statuette a sign of? Accepting the timelessness of
Dylans concept of a "neverending tour", potentially containing all of his
work, the Oscar is actually (apart from last nights addition to Tangled) the
only signifier on stage, that connects to something not entirely timeless.
The Oscar - allthough somewhat timeless and mytological itself, marks a
certain point in time and lifeachievement for Dylan and his music. But what
point? The point where his version of the American culture meets,
consumes and as an artistic expression arguably superseeds, the one thing
that signifies the global influence of American arts: The Hollywood film
industry. Way to go, Bobby.
Review by Knud Moltrup
Bob was hot he was sharp and clear, sparkling and rocking through the whole
concert. He moved(was rocking his body all the time while playing the electric
keyboard and also while playing his guitar he moved as he does when he's
feeling good, a little down in his knees and we got 5 songs with him on
el-guitar). I think he was in a really good mood Saturday night in Herning.
I heard Bob 2005 in Ålborg, the sound was terrible in the room in the
beginning, couldn't hear the words, the acoustics wasn't right. I don't know
if he is planning it but for me it sounds like he's beginning to say good bye to
his fans, like he says there's not much more to say or be said or maybe he just
wants to entertain because there's something very interesting in his music,
hope he continues playing with words in what form it might be and he
probably will. It was a fantastic concert and To Ramona was played, I wrote
something to Columbia about my "Dylan story", think he reads it and hope
he does :-)
Review by Ole R. Brandt
This could easily be the best vocal performance in my 29 years career as a Bob
Dylan concert-goer. Every one of them words rang true. Peter, a fellow Dylan
aficionado, puts it this way: Bob was telling stories - not just twisting words and
lines for the sake of it. I agree.
A set list without any real surprises but wonderful versions of To Ramona
(country waltz style), When The Deal Goes Down (you could almost see Scarlett
Johansson), and the strongly rearranged It's Alright Ma.
Denny Freeman is no great rock guitarist but he has this funny awkward way of
playing which may be why Bob (himself a little awkward since the day half a
century ago when he broke the piano pedal doing a Little Richard impersonation
on stage at Hibbing High) wants to have him in the band - and before him Freddy
Koela. Anyway, with a drummer like George Receli in the band nothing can go
quite wrong. That man plays drums.
Ain't Talkin' another highlight with Bobs almost ghostly keyboard phrases, and
even Watchtower worked out well.
But the sound was bad and muddy, especially during the hard rock numbers. A
strange way to treat good music: To put it into a big hall designed for exhibitions
(agricultural machinery and stuff like that) and absolutely not for concerts. Like
letting Real Madrid and Manchester United play on a ploughed field.
Ole R. Brandt
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