June 30, 2011
Review by Steinar Daler
Back in my hometown in the middle of first row - can it be better? Yes,
it can be better - it was better in Odense and not at least Bergen. But
this was a very good concert as well. Just a little less guts and Bob
not as much at centerstage - where he should be most of the time in my
opinion. Read my review from Bergen and all I have to add on the
concerts of this tour and from Oslo particulary is that for the first
time in a few years I guess, it took me more than a few seconds to
recognise one of the songs; It ain't me babe. A brand new arrangement to
my ears - I'm not sure what I think about it. My highlights were Simple
twist of fate, Hard rain, Forgetful heart and Thin man. A lot of others
I talked to after the concert mentioned Tangled up in blue, Like a
rolling stone and Things have changed as well. Yes, things have changed,
I feel. After beeing 70 it seems like Dylan have started caring more
again. Well, go se him as soon as you can!
Thanks to all my freinds for some really nice days together, and thanks
to Bob for your very engaging concerts. May you stay forever young, and
may your song always be sung!
See you in the autumn, somewhere in Europe, I hope.
Review by Espen Aas
After being quite happy with the show in Bergen (although most people
I spoke to seemed to enjoy it more than I did), it was time to go
back home and see him in Oslo Spektrum for the ninth time. They
tickets said show start at 7.30 p.m., and already 7.40 the lights
went out and the introduction came.
I admit being slightly disappointed by getting Rainy Day Women as the
opener tonight as well, although it works, it is fun and people
recognizes it easily. I wonder if he sometimes makes it into a bit of
a parody of the original though, the way the he repeats, "the stone
you, they stone you" and so on. The band sounded much tighter tonight
though, and Dylan's footwork came quickly into place..! His voice
didn't use much time to warm up either.
A tour-debut was next, It Ain't Me, Babe, sadly without Dylan on
guitar this time around. Fine version and of course a crowd-pleasure
as well. Like last night, Charlie Sexton struggled with his guitars
and/or amplifier. He was very low in the mix as well, whilst Dylan's
organ was fairly loud.
Like last night, Things Have Changed was up next, with the same
boom-chicka-boom rhythm, it had grown quickly on me, and it was great
fun seeing Dylan center stage, and Donnie Herron's lap-steel filled
out where Charlie's guitar wasn't in place.
When they launched into Tangled Up In Blue I started to suspect that
the setlists would remain more or less like yesterday, but I was
positively surprised by a very good version this time around. As I
wrote in my Bergen review, the arrangements haven't been all that
great for some time, but tonight the pieces seemed to fall more into
place than earlier. It was less of the singing upwards towards the
end of each linen, and it sounded more similar to the arrangements
from around ten years ago. His phrasing and overall vocals where great.
The setlist remained the same as yesterday once more when Dylan
strapped on the guitar and we got the ragged and dirty Beyond Here
Lies Nothin'. As Sexton's guitar was so low in the mix, it worked
excellent with the second guitar, and they played up against each
other throughout. Glad he kept this one in the set tonight as well.
Then it was time to move to Modern Times and Spirit On The Water, a
jolly nice up tempo song which he did here in 2009 and 2007 as well.
It is a fine song, but not much more than that, I like the way he
pushes the vocals towards the end though.
A great performance was up when I heard Donnie Herron plucking the
banjo, I was expecting High Water tonight as well, but instead we got
a great Hollis Brown with once again Dylan center stage. He had a
harmonica in hand, but didn't blow it. He did a fantastic version of
this song at the very same venue back in 1996 too. The combination of
the strong story in the lyrics and the thriving music was a highpoint
tonight. Great singing once again.
Yet another Simple Twist Of Fate was up. Still no big fan of the
arrangements on this one, but worked better tonight. I sometimes got
a bit too distracted by Charlie Sexton's obvious trouble with the
guitar, but Dylan was also on guitar for this one, so musically it
worked ok. Dylan played some very good guitar on this one by the way.
It all got very up tempo when they launched into Summer Days, a song
he tends to do here (fifth time he plays it in Oslo Spektrum). Not as
much fun and jam as before, but it got people swinging in their seats
no doubt. Dylan had several organ-passages where he played around on the keys.
Hard Rain replaced yesterday's Desolation Row in the tenth spot. He
has often tended to fall into the sing-song voice way out in this on,
but once again it was obvious that he had much more to give vocally,
and gave us a great performance. He stayed center stage for the first
verse and chorus, blowing a few tones on the harp, but then moved
over to the keyboard again. And he delivered those strong lyrics with
Full throttle again on Highway 61 Revisited, ok version, but nothing
special (he plays it more or less in every show, and has done so for
My highlight tonight, along with last night was the stunning
"Forgetful Heart", this has certainly grown into one his best
performed songs in later years. And the way he treats the harmonica,
so soft and haunting at the same time..! Wow. I spoke to someone who
never have heard the song before and absolutely loved it.
Then we knew the rest of the songs of course, Thunder On The Mountain
was like it always is, followed by Ballad Of A Thin Man as always.
What I noticed both tonight and in Bergen was how they put on some
echo on Dylan's vocal on this one, giving the song an even more
haunting effect. "Do ya? (do ya?) Mr. Jones" Works greatly, and I
haven't noticed this before. After the regular Like A Rolling Stone,
I was expecting band intros, but that didn't happen. Instead, Dylan
kneeled down in front of the drum-kit and picked up a guitar. With
the back to the audience, he finger-plucked the first few bars of
Watchtower and the band followed while Dylan went back to the
keyboard. No band introduction after that either, but instead the
regular "new" Blowin' In The Wind, which does sound a bit
tongue-in-cheek to me... I'm glad he doesn't do it alone with an
acoustic guitar fifty years after its release, it would've been a cliche...
When they grouped and bowed, Dylan brought with him a hand-held
microphone, and it looked like he was going to use it, but no. They
walked out, and we all stood in the dark thinking, "hm, why aren't
the lights put on, are they coming back..?". But of course they
didn't and it was fine. Dylan had delivered possibly the best show in
Oslo since the explosive 2002-show. Few people have agreed, but I
rate this show higher than Bergen - both were very good performances,
it was just that the band sounded tighter tonight. Too bad about
Sexton's technical problems, I had really looked forward to hear him
again, but he still have a great impact on the band. I remember those
salt-statues standing in one-place two years ago. A lot has happened
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