Roskilde, Denmark
Roskilde Festival
Orange Stage
June 30, 2006

[Klaus Malling Olsen]

Review by Klaus Malling Olsen

The usual middle-age male Dylan-freaks wearing Stetson´s  were almost absent
from this show, the first of the European Continent ones this summer. Firstly, 
you had to pay the full prize for entering the Roskilde Festival - maybe Europe´s 
oldest and definetely one of the best and most well-organized; secondly, tickets 
was reported sold out several weeks ahead of the festival.
For the majority of the 50.000+ head big audience, Dylan´s main rule may be as 
someone heard from their parents. However, the audience treated the strange 
performance with respect. Strange, not so much due to the performance being 
a strange one by Dylan standards. Of the 12 shows I have previously seen after 
my debut in 1981 this was a solid, rocking one, in some way average, in other 
ways outstanding - when it comes to re-arranging, no-one matches Dylan.

At 9:30 p.m. the band, looking like a collection of undertakers in their black suits 
and hats, entered the enormous orange stage, Dylan as usual behind an organ, 
the guitar and Oscar around him - the guitar as usually left untouched. Dylan is 
cited "I am only happy when at stage" - wonder how he looks in real life. Looking
like a dead man, hardly any smile or movement and with little communication with 
his superb band, that played a rougher and more electric set than in the previous 
years. The songs and words are almost cutten into pieces and then re-collected - 
a very interesting way of performance, but hardly worshipped by most of the 
audience.  However, looking old and bored, Dylan hardly calls for any 
communication with the audience, and the orange stage (Canopy) at Roskilde is
indeed very big and takes something extra to play up. Not all legends are able to
match Neil Young here, and certainly not this black-dressed band, playing intense 
but seemingly for themselves. However, to let the music speak is no bad idea 
when playing this notorious hard stage. 
At first, "Maggie´s Farm" sounded like played in Hell - the song was almost
inperceivable. Sound became slightly better during "The Times They Are A Changin´"
and "Down Along The Cove" - most welcomes superstitions from from "She Belongs 
To Me" and "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum" (who followed Maggie´s Farm in the 
previous  British shows). The set have a stronger bias thorought the 60ies that I 
previously have seen, highlights being a rarely heard "Blind Willie Mc  Tell" and  
especially a moving, semi-acoustic "Masters Of War", making the whole festival 
worthwhile to visit, the classical words delivered with a rarely heard passion. Another 
no longer obligate highlight was "Highway 61 Revisited", delivered in the middle of 
the concert with very strange, almost out of tune playing by the guitars. But I 
wonder why Dylan have to play "Stucked Inside Of Mobile" every time he is in 
Denmark - no-one here recognize it as a classic. Play "Highlands" next time, please!

After the usual show-stopper these days, "Summer Days" (the only newer song of 
the show), the band left the stage to moderate applaudes - clearly none but the 
Dylan followers recognized that the show was over! Unexpected shortly after,  the 
band, hardly applaused to encores, went on stage for the usual, but especially here 
most welcomed  "Like A Rolling Stone" and "All Along the Watchtower", strong 
performances with "Rolling Stone" causing mass-singing from the big audience.
"All Along" had a more than usual touch of Jimi Hendrix´ classic cover than I have 
seen before. 
Sadly, Dylan missed a rare opportunity. Exactly one day earlier at the Roskilde 
Festival, Axl Rose with a band named "Guns N´Roses" performed "Knockin´On 
Heaven´s Door". This would have proven the perfect occasion to bring the song 
back to where it belonged, but who cares less than Dylan about such everyday 

Seemingly, we will never again see an electric guitar in the hands of the old master, 
now looking really old and far from the sometimes surprising young-looking guy 10 
yares ago. The black dress (enlivered by a smart lime-green shirt) and the stone face 
has rarely looked more refused, but luckily the music spoke hard and simple. Barely a
party-pleaser but a worthy concert from the old loner and legend - not a bad 
supplement to Roger Waters, the Wainwright children, Tool, Killl, Franz Ferdinand 
and all other newer names. For few, however, the concert would stand out as the 
Roskilde highlight - more probably regard seing Dylan live as going to a zoo for 
observing some unique strange animal.


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