Saturday 30 November 2013

'You Old Rascal...' - Bob Dylan Live at the Royal Albert Hall

There's Bob, clear focused all around, moving between centre stage and the shadows of his keyboard retreat. After a strong opening, I'm mentally prepping for the 'Tempest' fest to come, first though, 'Beyond Here Lies Nothin''. Dylan, concentrating on one of those repeated piano phrases that he likes to lose himself in, suddenly stops playing and gazes out into the audience, all pursed lips and hand on hip (a favoured pose these days) as if to say '...did you hear that...?' I laugh out loud. Tension and release.

'Duquesne Whistle' and 'Pay in Blood' knock their recorded counterparts into a cocked hat, but it's 'Love Sick' that stops me in my tracks. A towering performance. The audience seems caught off guard by this one and there's a micro-silence between the end of the song and the explosion of applause, no-one wishing to break the spell we're under. 'Forgetful Heart', if anything, is even more intense. This is masterful stuff. I guess I must have breathed at some point during the song, but I don't remember doing so.

All too soon we're in 'Scarlet Town', knowing the end is near, but first, 'Long And Wasted Years', undoubtedly the song of the tour. Dylan as grizzled narrator and his band at their best. No 'Roll On John' for us tonight. Not a song I'm overly fond of, though I nevertheless welled-up on hearing the Blackpool rendition. 'Watchtower' and 'Blowin'' allow us all to kick back and let our hair down - we're in familiar territory. Bob high-fives some lucky front rowers, takes a last long look around and is gone.

(Stockholm, October 13th)


Old Pa's Corner said...

Oh my God! I have just been reading some of the reviews of these concerts and it looks like they have been some of the best ever, and that is some statement. I bet there will be a live album of the RAH concerts, I for one can't wait....great review, and oh! boy, how I wish I was there. Bastardos!

The Swede said...

I'm still getting over it Old Pa. Easily the best Dylan show I've seen since 2003.

Anonymous said...

I'm chock full of envy. I am now kicking myself for not getting a ticket. The US summer shows seemed to be only so-so and I thought it may be safe to miss him this time around. Stupid? Yes. From the first European shows it was clear that something special was happening. Well done for catching him hit another peak. I'm seriously worried that this may have been the last time we'll see him at his very best. The man always surprises.

Old Pa's Corner said...

The Swede said...

Singing Bear. How many times over the years have we feared that we'd never see him on great form again? The distance in quality from the last European dates in 2011 to the best of this current run is immense. No wonder the last verse of 'Spirit on the Water' always gets such a reaction.

Old Pa. Thank you!

Old Pa's Corner said...

In case you have not seen this:

Greatest Hits