Concert review: Bob Dylan in Oslo Spektrum

Concert review: Bob Dylan in Oslo Spektrum
Concert review: Bob Dylan in Oslo Spektrum


Oslo Spectrum


About 7000 (sold out)

«For a man!»

See all reviews


Dylan’s so-called “never ending tour” can now come to an end. “The Rough And Rowdy Ways World Tour” will last until 2024! The Oslo audience gets 100 minutes during a concert that gets better and better almost song by song. .

When he visited Bergen (and a few days later Oslo) in June 2019, it certainly felt more like a jam than a concert with talented musicians. That’s how it is in Oslo Spektrum tonight too. It rattles off and occasionally sounds slightly sour. But – fortunately, it is gradually happening.

The band and Bob play up and, as so often before, correct the overall impression. It’s almost a good thing that a band made up of such good musicians can “mess it up” at the start. That is to say, it takes an hour before they are as coordinated as they should be when they are called Tony Garnier, Don Herron, Bob Britt, Charley Drayton and Doug Lancio. The first two have played with Dylan for a number of years and should know him inside out.

The voice, that is!

But there is always something reconciling about Dylan. Tonight he sings like I’ve never heard him before, clear and distinct and as far away from his occasional mumbling as you can get. Moreover, he talks more than he usually does, he wishes Oslo “good evening” and asks if he is saying it correctly – and follows up with an approved “thank you”.- before introducing the band. It seems that Dylan has become more open over the years and therefore more generous with his words.

There is otherwise much that is not usual with a Dylan concert. You never know what you’re going to get. The fact that he practices a complete ban on photography has, on the other hand, become a habit, but the new move that all audience members must put their mobile phones in a bag with a lock that is opened after the concert will hopefully not be. More on that later.

“Rough and rowdy”

In 2019, old classics came in a row. This evening, Dylan & Co. focus on the – for now – last album, 2020’s fabulous “Rough And Rowdy Ways” (all but the 17-minute long “Murder Most Foul”), interspersed with a few older “good tunes”.

The opening “Watching The River Flow” is, for example, over 50 years old, and the only rocker of the evening, “Good Serve Somebody”, has passed 40. There is no room for any “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” or “Like a Rolling Stone”, because, like the album, the concert is unusually blues-oriented. The evening’s sunny highlight is nevertheless the slow one “Key West (Philosopher Pirate)”. «If you lose your mind, you can find it there»sings Bob – and the approximately ten minutes the song lasts does not feel a single minute too long.

Little “song and dance”

Dylan has characterized himself as a “song and dance man”, but there is little dancing tonight – too! “Show” is not Dylan’s thing. The stage set-up is as simple as it can be, a reddish carpet that is lit in the same way throughout the concert. Dylan sits a bit withdrawn behind a piano, and the band of five is more visible than himself.

Congratulations, the world’s best Bob (80)

In recent years, he has been more predictable when it comes to the songs he plays. With a few exceptions, he sticks to the same ones every night. The fact that he devotes so much space to “Rough and Rowdy Ways” is perhaps surprising, but it shows an artist who is actually looking ahead at the age of 81. It also shows an artist who writes better lyrics than in a long time, and in Spektrum tonight is it possible to hear every single word he “speaks”. As the concert progresses, it becomes like a festive moment to be reckoned with “Every Grain of Sand” as a perfect ending. Extra number? It’s not for Bob Dylan.

Photography and mobile phones are prohibited

Dylan does not make it easy for his audience. The photo ban is, to say the least, annoying for a press that wants to do a job and that thinks photos are an important part of a concert review. This time Dylan goes even further. Those of us who have been to concerts a lot in recent years have noticed that quite a few members of the audience seem more interested in filming, transferring or taking pictures on their mobile phone during the journey than experiencing the concert itself. Dylan, or perhaps just as much his management, has grown tired of this. Like a few other artists, he has therefore decided that no one will be allowed to bring their mobile phone or iPad into a concert. It works, because it is, with few exceptions, a mobile-free concert. But it goes without saying that it could become a problem for freedom of expression if everyone thinks like Dylan.

But then I guess it’s like that there are slightly separate rules for His Bobness. That is why we are reviewing the concert even though we are strongly against the photography ban. And after all, he does as he pleases, and his concerts, with prices of up to NOK 1,500 for the best seats, are usually always sold out.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Concert review Bob Dylan Oslo Spektrum

NEXT Culture, What’s happening | A tasty cultural Christmas plate