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Review by Markus Pantsar
An unbelievable show. Bob in a dark suit and white boots and in a very
good mood (possibly because of the Polarpriset yesterday, who knows?)
Roving Gambler was a good start. In "Times" Bob forgot some of the lyrics
and his guitar picking was bad. That was definitely the worst song of the
MOW was very good. I loved the way Bob stretched the last words "make
sure yoour deeeaaaad". In GOTNC Bob played an unbelievable lead guitar.
One of the best versions of one of my favorite songs. TUIB was rocking as
always with great phrasing. "Taaangled, Tannggled Up, Tannnngled Up In
Blueee". It's All Over Now, Baby Blue was good but nothing spectacular,
gotta love Larry's steel guitar, though.
Then the electric set started with a good Country Pie. Next for the
biggest surprise of the evening. I saw a roadie get a violin and I started
to think "Hurricane, perhaps, or even better, Seņor" And Seņor it was with
Larry playing a nice violin. A great version, one of the absolute
highlights of the show. And surprises continued with Stuck Inside Of
Mobile and Maggie's Farm. Both very, very good rocking versions. Just Like
A Woman was brilliant all the way and then LSPBH made the crowd leave
their seats. All three soloed, and all the solos were fantastic. After
that the encores were a bit of an anti-climax, which was the biggest minus
in the evening.
Love Sick was good with the now-familiar lyric change. Crowd digged Like
A Rolling Stone, but the version they played was nothing special. I didn't
expect to hear KOHD but it was a great version, with Bob adding "Like I
have done so many times before" to the chorus. I'm not sure about Not Fade
Away. I kinda like it, but still it seemed out of place. Rainy Day Women
and Blowin' In The Wind were business as usual.
I was surprised that he played only one song from TOOM. I would have
liked to hear Not Dark Yet, but I guess you can't have everything... Bob
was in a very playful mood, once he even made an actual Chuck Berry
duckwalk. In conclusion, a very energetic show with great guitar solos and
Bob's voice was in superb condition.
Review by William Moore
He came, he sang, he conquered - Dylan in fine form
Perhaps it was the sense of responsibility after collecting that Polar
Music Prize (though he looked pretty glum in Stockholm), or perhaps he
just had a good day here in the spring sunshine, but Bob Dylan's set at
the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki yesterday evening was a killer, and clearly
the best of his four performances in Finland to date.
The often quirky Dylan seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself, even in
front of a somewhat subdued and besuited house - we live in an age,
remember, where many no longer pay for their "spectacle" concert tickets
and where a sizeable share of the hospitality audience come expecting to
hear copies of the records they dimly recall from their youth - and he was
focused and working hard throughout. Hell, he even launched into a Chuck
Berry duckwalk at one point: how many people can claim to have witnessed
Right from the opening acoustic set, which featured a rather faltering
Times They Are A' Changing (he dropped a few lines here and there and his
picking was a bit off) and lovely versions of It's All Over now, Baby Blue
(plus harp) and Tangled Up In Blue, Dylan fans knew they had been right to
trust the old man one more time.
Those who had come wanting a string of old favourites were only
disappointed in the sense that the arrangements made it impossible to hum
along, and those who lost touch with Dylan when he went electric - well,
they had a chance to catch up now as he and the band rocked out in
excellent style and finally got people out of their seats with
barnstorming versions of Maggie's Farm and Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat,
before the show ended in poignant renditions of Knocking on Heaven's Door
(where the harp came out again) and Blowin' in the Wind and a totally
titanic Rainy Day Women #12 & #35.
All credit to Mr Dylan - too often big-name artists have come here without
knowing much more than that it's Tuesday and this isn't London, but he
will have won a good many friends on the strength of last night's
appearance. He may not flagrantly woo his audiences like a Tom Jones or
invite people to "singalongaBob", but he wins them over just the same, and
even if you aren't a devotee it's awful hard to fault his commitment to
the music, or his contribution to late 20th century culture. Now if he'd
only gone and played Forever Young and Watchtower, too...
Helsingin Sanomat's International Edition
Review by Jan Semneby
Ah, this was the way to travel to a Dylan show - a cruise &
hotel-package. We entered Silja Serenade, a huge luxurios ferry, in the
harbour in Stockholm on Monday afternoon about the same time when Bob
accepted his Polar Prize award at Berwaldhallen. Nice weather, some beers
at the suny upper deck, a good-tasting buffet in the evening. We were
quite relaxed when we arrived in Helsinki on tuesday morning and checked
in at the Grand Marina Hotel.
The pre-show gathering took place in a hotel bar near the venue. This was
a memorable moment for the finnish fans. It was only Bobīs fifth show in
Finland and his third in the capital. And some of the finnish fans hadnīt
met before, they only had contact through the internet.
The venue for the show was the huge hockey palace Hartwall Areena. It was
built a couple of years ago prior to the world championship in ice hockey
in Helsinki. With the Stockholm Globe Arena arena in mind the aim was to
to build an even more elegant and exclusive arena with plenty of
restaurants, bars and fast-food outlets. And the corporate lounges and
boxes even has saunas!
There was a corporate feel over the Dylan show as well, at least in the
front rows on the floor. The front rows was sold in advance to companies
who paid extra for the tickets just to get the best seats. Lots of suits
and ties and the so-called stage-rush was very quiet at this show, not
even near the chaos in Gothenburg.
I donīt know if Bob was aware of this ticket-selling policy but he
confronted the suit-clad folks with a very upfront rock and roll-show
which at times left their ties blowing in the wind. Apart from en uneven
opening where Bob forgot some of the words in The Times... this was an
hilarious musical ride and personally I think it was the best of the four
shows I saw in Lund, Gothenborg, Helsinki and Stockholm. Not only because
of Bobīs inspired performance but also for the excellent sound even if
Bobīs guitar were a little too strong in the mix at certain times.
He gave us a nice and tender Girl of the north country, an excellent
Senor where I finally got to hear Larry play the violin, a Just like a
woman which was even better than in Lund with Bob hammering on his guitar
to underline the frustrations of his lost love and some terrific phrasing
on Stuck inside of Mobile.
After hearing Forever young twice at the previous shows it was also a
treat to have Knocking on heavens door in the encores with beautiful
interactive singing between Bob and Larry/Charlie.
A brilliant show and with some relaxing sightseeing in Helsinki the day
efter and a nice ferry trip home to arrive on thursday morning in time to
the Stockholm show I would say that this was a highlight in my Bobwatching
travelling during the last thirteen years.
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