page by Bill Pagel
Review by Vil
During the day I had a sauna 3 stops away by commuter train from my home.
I did some weightlifting. After that I went
to a shopping center closer to my home, looked at some books, sat around,
had some small food. Walked home, ca.
half an hour, past a lake, sat for a while, it was sunny as it has been
all day. Went home, cooked some beans, rested for a while, then off to
Globen. I started walking at 7 pm, so I had to hurry. The Globe is not far
away, there is an outdoors football arena nearby, while there is a match
You can hear the loud cheers all the way home.
(Bruce Springsteen is on the stereo where I am now, an IT cafe, "I'm
goin' down" !)
I walked small calm roads past villas, then a big green, from where You
see the Globe. It seemed to blush some in the moonlight, it has been full
the other day. Maybe an aura. Arrived, there were still cues to get in.
Walked the circular pathway up to where I had my seat. This is the
furthest away I've beenfrom the stage, however I was lucky to have a
ticket at all. I was in the top area, in the lower part of it. Had
anticipated a stagerush all the time, to get closer. Well ...
The band' s appearance:
Bob: Black costume, silver piping it looked like. No hat. Looked 20 all
the while, powerful, fit, energetic. Was at the piano, and sometimes at
the guitar. Quite some harp. Larry: 3/4 length coat, grey, could be black
pants. Tony: Suit, saw mostly the back of him. Koella: not sure, didn't
notice really .. red and white ? George: beret.
I wasn' t intent on being overwhelmed by love, sheer strong love, for Bob.
These are not the days I figure that he has the remedy for what I am
having. It is on the inside. However I let love conquer me. There was a
sharpness in his deliverance, it's a Bob trademark to me. I am doing a
lot of spiritual discipline and sense a communication taking place. If
noone in the world except those really close can't see, affirm me, then
Bob can. The spiritual journey is a lonely one, really it involves the
isolation of the "I" from the collective. I sense a nod, very lightly,
The magic moment
There always has been one or several in every show I can recall. The way
a word is sung, mostly, or/and something in Bob' s presence. This time it
was during "It ain't me, babe". I wasn't intent on moving either - and
in Sweden we don't dance during these concerts, however I here started
swinging, smiling. "It' s alright, ma" was strongly delivered too. (I
haven't got the setlist so I don't comment each song).
It came maybe 5-6 songs into the set. "Every grain ..." sent tears from my
right eye. I would say from a deeper source. Life in Sweden has not been a
party this fall, the climate has been freezy, and more aggressive than
usually. So, it is kind of a release to experience, embrace this, whatever
it is, really. Had to go back to my seat, security told me, us. Ok,
really, had stayed there for a while. A small lady had been bumping
slightly into me with the beat down there, a delicate erotic sensation.
I looked, listened, sensed: This was something far out. Honest, lively,
intense cheering, clapping and stomping. It has been a while that Bob &
Band have been here, and now was the needed time.
Not really ... Went to this cafe to share just a little. Good friendly
atmosphère as usual around, after the show, standing around, walking
This is the closest to a love-in I have been for long.
Intrusions into the psyche are healed with love. And that happens
(intrusion), if Your web isn' t really whole. So ...this was remedy !
All good to everyone, everywhere.
Special thanks to I - M for ticket !
Review by Steinar Daler
Karlstad and Stockholm.
The 21. st of october it`ll be a year since I saw Bob the last time
(Phoenix - Arizone) and a lot of things have happend since then. Bob have
allmost abandoned his guitar for the piano, he`s left senterstage and
Charlie Sexton has left him. I have to admit I was bit worried before the
Stockholm concert. The comments from some friends who saw him in Helsinki
and told me about an average show with only one highlight; "Boots of
Spanish leather" also made me a bit suspicious that the concert (or the
next 7 concerts - Stockholm to Hamburg -that I will attend, will probably
not be up to the high standard of the 6 US shows I saw last autumn. But,
here`s what happend:
The Stockholm show was a good solid show - maybe too few highlights, but
on the other hand really no lowpoints at all. Maybe the version of "Boots"
was a small disappointment to me, not because it was bad - it was in fact
quite nice - but because it was hyped as the great highlight in Helsinki.
My highlights were Tom Thumb`s blues - have only heard that song once or
twice before in my 25 years long Bob-watching career. It`s such a great
song. Hard to spoil it. Every grain of sand could have been the big
highlight, but sorry to say - Bob`s harmonica playing destroyed the song.
For some reason I can`t explain, I also found the Stockholmversion of LARS
as a standout. It reminded me of a LARS-version in Malmø (south in
Sweeden) in 1996. Usely I`m a bit tired of LARS, but from time to time it
gets through to me as the masterpiece the song most Dylanfans think it is.
Otherwise I have to say I liked freddy Koellas playing - luckily I did`nt
missed Charlie too much (except for the harmonysinging)and Bob`s voice was
better than average the whole concert through. All in all a solid
performence, with a potencial of getting better. (Why do Bob allways have
to start his European shows in Scandinavia? - We have had our share of
Jet-lag- Bob!) But then, on to Karlstad. A small town in the middle of
nowhere. And I`m really happy to say this night the potencial from
Stockholm really came through. I`m travelling with a bunch of really
experienced Bobwatchers (or what the hell you call us). Some of them have
seen more than 200 shows (myself about 70)and a lot of us agreed that
tonights version of Desolation Row was the best one we have ever heard (or
at least witnessed). Perfect singing! Bob nailed allmost all the lines in
allmost all the original verses - well, what more can I say? Nice
sologuitar/picking by Koella and the other guys up to their best. What
stories we will tell about that song in 10 years from now you can hardly
imagine. But it was allmost clear that this was gonna be a great show from
the beginning. Bob was ON from the very start and allmost up there all the
way. "Boots" was really great, Every Grain of sand, Moonlight, Mr
Tambourine man (as usual), a Summerdays up to the high standard of
latterday Sexton-band and Forever young which allways remind me of my two
first Bob-concerts in Gothenburgh back in 1978. What a show? Today as I
write this, there`s only a couple of houers before I`ll see him in Oslo,
my beloved hometown. It`s possible to get even better than last night and
I cross my fingers that he will. (Oslo was in my and many others opinion
the very best show on the 2002 European show - my wife who have seen 10 or
15 concerts through the years was convinced it was the best concert she
had seen ever - what a lucky man I`ll be if she says the same thing
tonight. (Then I can travel on with my companions without the bad feeling
of leaving her back home - did you undesrstand that?
At last I want to thank Jørgen and Micke for all the excellent tickets in
Sweeden and I hope all our Swedish friends will be happy with the tickets
we have managed to get here. And to my dear friend Magne Karlstad (+200
Bob-shows) you really deserved a show like this in the town that have your
surname. Keep on - keepin` on!
Steinar Daler ("sunset")
Review by Markus Prieur
There we were, in Sweden, two native Germans living in Ireland, my wife
and I, to see two more Dylan shows. It was our first time to the continent
since moving to Ireland in September 1999. After meeting most interesting
fans from Sweden and beyond, we ended up with second row tickets for the
Globe, and I must say, it is an impressive arena, and we did see one
I had not seen "Every Grain Of Sand" since its fourth ever live outing in
Hamburg 1984. Since leaving Germany four years ago we had missed out on
three German performances of these finest lyrics Bob Dylan ever wrote, and
this favourite song of mine was on top of my wish list before the tour
started. Since Bob already played it in Helsinki, I was not expecting a
second performance in a row; so it was quite surprising to hear in
Stockholm an extremely wonderful version of this sublime gem. But a very
nice surprise it was, this most perfect gift on my 40th birthday that day,
as Bob told the audience that he is "hanging in the balance of some
perfect finished plan".
Other high points of the show for me were the strong opener, "To Be Alone
With You", (Bob’s voice was great from the start), the new version of
"Boots Of Spanish Leather", and a fine rocking "Cat's In The Well", with
Bob making sure the band would end the song while he delivered the last
line "May the Lord have mercy on us all". And of course I must mention the
surprise addition during the encore set, a most beautiful "Forever Young",
which I took the liberty of taking personal on this special day for me.
All eighteen songs I had seen before in concert, but most of the
arrangements were fresh and new to me that night.
It was also the first time I saw Bob on piano, and he played a lot of harp
too. His singing was very committed, and his moving around on stage quite
amusing. For example when the band started the intro for "Don't Think
Twice, It's All Right", Bob was on electric guitar (even though he played
piano during the previous song). But his Bobness did think twice, it was
not all right obviously, and he put the guitar down, and went over to his
piano before starting to sing this song.
The band was new for me as well, except Larry and Tony, who were brilliant
as usual. I like those guys. As we saw during last year’s European tour
"only" the eight British shows, I had never seen George in action, and
certainly not Freddie. When Bob was on piano (on all but about three
songs), the whole band formed a perfect half circle
[Bob~Freddie~George~Tony~Larry]. So Freddie got many a nod from Bob, and
delivered many a fine guitar solo. This guy is good, he is very good. I do
like his stage presence a lot; and Bob seemed to be very pleased with his
work. Well, I certainly was pleased with Bob and his band that night, this
concert alone was worth the long journey.
Review by Eyolf Østrem
About guitars and kissing.
Stockholm and Karlstad
I've spent some time thinking (and talking) badly about Larry lately.
Before the current tour, and especially after the Stockholm show. I heard
about this great version of Boots from Helsinki, and had some
expectations, which were all thrashed after hearing it in Stockholm.
Usually, I welcome a new arrangement, but this? A dull run of parallel
thirds and sixths, with some dubious part writing (yeah, well, music
analysis is what I do for a living, so what can you expect?), and my guess
is it comes from Larry - he's the one playing it, and it fits well in with
what I consider to be his style: very professional, very stylized, pretty,
pretty, but, hey, there's something missing in there, isn't there? He
probably has a bag of tricks and licks that is bigger than most guitar
players alive, and he is capable of piecing them together in a way that
both works musically in their own right and holds the back-bone of the
song. But still - his playing is a musical reflection of his clothes
style: impeccable, elegant, in style, but where is the deep involvement
with the world, with experience, blood, guts, love, dirt under finger
nails? Larry has no dirt under his finger nails. Cue to the other guy, the
scruffy little bum standing on the left, the slightly old, slightly bald
punk who looks like he slept in his suit. His playing is unpredictable.
Not that he doesn't repeat himself - he has his bag of tricks as well, and
it wouldn't surprise me if Dylan will get bored by them after a while: the
asymmetrical rhythms, the quick pull-off ornaments, the odd sustained
notes. But still, they are subversive rather than conservative. Here's a
transcript from the brainwave recorder placed on Koella's skull:
Wonder what happens if I put my finger somewhere around here on the
fretboard and strike the string now?
Hm. Interesting sound.
What if I just move the finger up and down a little? Yeah, I'll do that.
Wow! That was cool! I'll do it some more.
Hey, there's a thick string way up here on my guitar, wonder what kind of
sound that produces. Fascinating! It's really dark! Once more!
Etc. Something like that. Sometimes it doesn't work and falls flat. But
surprisingly often, one is left with a wide grin on one's face, and a
bewildered feeling of what on earth just happened? Cue back to the tall
guy with the fancy beard again. Transcript again:
" C Dm C C#o Dm G F G
: . . . : . . . : . . . : . . .
[Looks to the right:] Why is he moving his finger up and down like that?
Odd. Bob seems to like it, though. Well, it sounds just like Bob too -
jeez, I thought we would be spared that ploink ploink when he decided to
buy this toy piano (how long will we have to tour before he can afford a
music stand too? I want my steel guitar back), and then he brings in a
guitarist who plays in the same way ... OK, my turn again, I have to play
some notes. Don't I have just the perfect lick for this particular
situation? Let's see... key of A, going to Bm, square time, tempo 124 bpm
- OK, got it, lick A-214b-J897678-(1978)."
I cannot reveal my source for these brain transcripts, but they are
accurate. An important point is that they were made in Stockholm.
Karlstad was a completely different thing, for several reasons.
Strangely enough (given my assessment above), the show was superior to
Stockholm on all or most songs, but Koella could hardly be heard, owing to
a bad mix and him taking only a few solos. I can't judge quite how bad the
mix was, because I was standing up front, right in front of Larry - and
Larry's monitors, which was all I heard during the second half of the
show. This of course made the musical experience (as opposed to the
concert experience) slightly odd, but I must admit that it was fascinating
to hear exactly what Larry did all the time. Tweedly Dum, for example -
he's really at work throughout the whole song, and the way he keeps the
riff going, while at the same time playing solos ... impressive. It was
also interesting to hear how many different things he does during
Watchtower, not in his solos, but in his rhythm playing.
OK. So Larry was the star of the Karlstad show, guitarwise (even though
the greatness of the show did not lie in the guitar playing). Oslo was
something else again. Significantly enough, the three string-players wore
identical suits, and it's hard to tell which of the two guitarists who
"won". Not that that was an issue. The word 'concert' has often been
mistranslated as a concourse, a competition, while the real meaning is
more in the direction of concord, playing togehter, and that's what they
did in Oslo. (I sadly had to skip Gothenburg, but according to reports,
the interplay between Freddie and Larry was the special thing about that
show.) The special occasion in Oslo was that during the darkness before
the encore, somehow a third guitar player had materialized on stage - a
long, blond, slightly nervous-looking character, who turned out to be
Mason Ruffner who plays on some tracks on Oh Mercy. I wouldn't say that
his playing made whole lot of a difference, but his presence did. Whether
it was, as has been suggested, that Koella's ego made him step forth just
a little bit more frequently (and just happened to be stopping right in
front of Ruffner, not taking the extra step towards centre stage that he
usually does), or that the presence of another music maker on stage
sharpened everyone's attention and concentration, or simply that the extra
sound source called for a different approach (I personally like the idea
that the reason Tony changed from upright to electric bass during Summer
Days, was musical - because the way the music developed called for a more
forceful bass sound - and not something as trivial as a broken string). Be
that as it may, it was the best encore set I've witnessed, for these
I should perhaps say something about tonight's show too. I must admit it
is slightly difficult, since I've been having Desolation Row from Karlstad
on auto-repeat, so that my face occasionally contracts into what feels
like what I used to do when I was four and ran barefoot through grass that
was greener (and warmer - this was in the summertime) than anything I've
seen ever since; or my stomach feels like a stone that reminds me of a cat
that has curled up like a stone, just as weightless and deprieved
(liberated) of meaning as a stone. That kind of a stone. Copenhagen, as I
was about to say, was for me the best show so far. Thereby, I intend to
say that there was not a single low point, all the way through it was
wonderful, in the same way as in Beethoven's first string quartet (I'm
sorry, I don't have anything better to compare with, and this is a
compliment both to Dylan and Mr. Beety), where the tension that is
generated from the first motif, keeps one floating/airborne right through
the half (or two) hour(s) the quartet (or the show) lasts.
I don't know how the rest of you feel, but me myself, I have to confess to
often thinking, when the intro to forever Young or LARS is intoned, that,
shit, I could do without this - if I exchange the $5 that these minutes
have cost me, I might afford one of those fast-forward buttons. Not
tonight. Every minute mattered. Even during LARS (or, as a matter of fact,
especially during LARS, which was treated by Koella just like a
40-years-old antique should be treated: hard and lovingly), I had no other
thought than that this could go on forever. And yet, lo and behold, never
have I welcom'd more the cut of one encore. (neat shakespearian internal
rhyme, eh?) than when I heard the Highlander-intro to AATW, where Forever
Young would have ruined everything, but where Watchtower was perfect as a
Beethovenian final theme. Sometimes it's right to descend into the quiet
compound right before the end - sometimes it's not. Tonight it was not,
and Dylan did the right thing. So it goes. I haven't mentioned any
highlights yet. I could do that, of course. HWY61. AATW. Love-0 was
wonderfully slow. Summer Days was as good as I ever heard it. Even Memphis
Blues, which I otherwise can hardly stand, was extremely enjoyable, almost
incredibly good. I could go on, but that would just ruin my point (which
I've already indicated): that it was a brilliant CONCERT. Fair enough, we
didn't get any D-Row, and I can't really point to places where Dylan
proved himself to be the demi-god, the descendant of Orpheus and
Terpsichore, of Jubal and Erato, of Zeus and some cow in Gallup, New
Mexico that he certainly is, and, by way of a phrase or a plonk from his
divine piano, turned it into an unforgettable evening; that it still
turned out that way was a happy coincidence involving a highly human icon
(who had one too many harmonicas to keep track of), two guitar players who
just keep on exciting with their differences; a rhythm section who somehow
uphold both tact and tone; a magnificent sound on the 56th row; and great
My conclusion, whether it conforms with what I've written or not, is
that I enjoy Koella tremendously - in Stockholm he was the only thing I
really enjoyed - and the moral of this story is that there's got to be
some spit in a kiss, in order for the beauty of it to work.
Postscript: This is probably not a concert review; I haven't listed all
the song and the solos and the lyric variations, or the instruments (heck,
there were instruments there that I don't even know the name of; there was
a huge pile of things that looked like kettles and pots, with a guy with a
funny hat beating on them like they were a beast, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!?
- and another huge wooden construction with some kind of metal cords
attached to it, which this other strange guy kept PLUCKING in a strange
way; - hey, it was a genuine wax cabinet, man) - so it can't be a concert
review. Take it for what it is, whatever that is.
page by Bill Pagel
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