Bob Dylan club gig in Stockholm

I will never see Bob Dylan live again. And, please, let me tell you why: last night me and my brother had the unique opportunity to see the legend in a club gig(!) in Stockholm! And, knowing I’ll never get such an experience again, there’s no need to take that risk.

Against all imaginable odds, we got two of the 600 tickets available to see Bob Dylan in a small club called Debaser Medis in Stockholm. On forehand, and then around the club, there was a great hype around this spectacular occasion; people hanging out behind the venue to get a glimpse when he were to arrive, desperate people outside who were going to pay almost anything for a ticket. Walking up to the entrance, I felt like some kind of movie star, with peoples’ longingly eyes after me (or, well, my ticket).

And after the concert, people were actually buying the ticket stumps from anyone who was in there, or trying to trade it for pictures taken of Bob Dylan. Such an amazing interest!

The gig

Everyone’s expectations were so high, and as already stated in many magazines and forums, this was a legendary night even before it took place. As most people know, it’s always a gamble when you go to a concert with Bob Dylan. If he’s in the mood, it will no doubt be a memorable moment, but more often than not, there’s the risk that he’s in a gruff mood and will sing his songs in some weird, impulsive way, which will seldom be a pleasant evening. And, given that he’s almost 66 years old, I guess it’s ok to have an off night or two…

So, with this in mind, the crowd expectantly saw the band come onto the stage a little after 20:00, with cheers to accompany them. And, lo and behold, Mr. Dylan was in a good mood! He actually smiled several times and sincerely seemed to enjoy himself. Against all odds, he played the guitar for the first half of the concert, something unheard of in a long time. For the latter half he played the synth, which was ok, but personally I would have preferred if he had just kept to the guitar all night through.

A picture of my ticket to the Bob Dylan club gig

One other thing is that he sang the songs as they are best sung (or, as some people would say, are supposed to be sung), making it a lot better than other versions he has played live of the songs at other occasions. He played tunes like Highway 61 Revisited, Lay, Lady, Lay and A hard rain’s a-gonna fall, and the gig ended with the best song in the world, All Along the Watchtower, and this time it was delivered in a satisfactory manner (though, my personal preference will always be the Jimi Hendrix version).

It would have been nice to hear something like Things Have Changed, Hurricane, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door or Blowin’ in the Wind, but I guess it can never become perfect. And, as my brother stated, it seems with Dylan that the more famous the song is, the more prone he is to deliver some kind of weird version, so maybe it was for the best not to hear any of those. Afterwards, it was great to hear quotes like:

Dude, he played the guitar! And sang properly! Wonderful!

And that attitude seemed to be the general consensus; Dylan came, saw and delivered. Good things, this time. :-)

Man, I wish every gig for any artist I like was in a small club!

The song list

Regular set

  • Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine
  • Not Dark Yet
  • I’d Have You Any Time
  • It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
  • Tears of Rage
  • Highway 61 Revisited
  • Lay, Lady, Lay
  • Rollin’ and Tumblin’
  • To Ramona
  • Country Pie
  • Tangled Up in Blue
  • A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
  • Summer Days

Extras

  • Like a Rolling Stone
  • Thunder On The Mountain
  • All Along the Watchtower

 

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21 Comments

  • bruce says:

    You lucky, lucky bastard.

    I once went to see one of my idols, Lou Reed, play live. He was rude, perfunctory and shit – so I'd be a bit scared to go and see His Bobness in case he let me down.

  • Owen says:

    Excellent to hear Bob's on good form. He's coming to Birmingham, UK in April for a stadium gig and I'll be there for my fourth time around. Here's hoping he brings the spirit of Stockholm with him.

  • I love Bob Dylan. But I've been to one too many bad Bob Dylan concerts. So I've become very picky. The smaller the better. He gets drowned out in the bigger venues and seeing that he has always been a bit acoustically challenged, it doesn't help with echoes and reverb. Keep on Keeping on.

  • J. A. B. says:

    Big D, The Gospel King, RockaBob…..attach a moniker and it washes away in an instant. I am well near his age and have seen him……..Jeez……..got to be ten or eleven times, first time in the 60's. There is only one thing I have come to expect from a collision with Dylan, that unexpected electricity that surrounds him. I agree, it is always better upclose and personal. But, at my age I have started to realize I better take what I can get. Hope to see him on the other side.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    bruce,

    Oh, I know! :-)

    I think there is a risk with Dylan to be let down, but then again, if you're lucky and get an evening like the one I had, it's fantastic! :-)

    Owen,

    Yes, I just hope that he will be in as good mood in a stadium as in a club.

    Jason,

    Yes, I think the best bet to see him in a good is in the smallest venue possible.

    J. A. B.n

    It is a unique opportunity to see Bob Dylan and to experience that electricity you mention. And I do hope you get to see him one day.

  • Zimbo says:

    Boy, I am beyond jealous of you guys who managed to get a ticket for that club gig in Stockholm! When I read about it in the Swedish newspapers I cursed the fact that I don't live in Sweden anymore and have to survive with his concert in Brussels next week. Still can't wait! This is the 3 time I see him here and both times he was really good! Truly looking forward to seeing him with an electric guitar again! He is just cool beyond belief with it! He is as unpredictable as anything, and lightyears from his colleagues of the same generation (e.g. Stones who are prancing around doing covers of their own songs and how they sounded 40 years ago).

    Go Bob, go!

  • Ice X says:

    There have been a few periods in Dylan's past where the quality of his shows were inconsistent (even in some of the early legs of the Never Ending Tour), but in the recent past, his concerts have been consistently excellent. In the last 3 to 4 years, I've seen him over a dozen times with only one real "dud" show and that had as much to do with the venue as anything.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Zimbo,

    I hope it will be a good concert for you in Brussels!

    Ice X,

    I agree, he's definitely more consistent nowadays than before.

  • RenÃ&Ac says:

    Zimbo,

    Bob's always excellent in Brussels; saw him there three times as well! I, being a Dutchman, decided to skip Amsterdam and go see Bob in Glasgow. Why not?

    Regards,

    René Voncken

  • J. A. B. says:

    I developed a great affinity for Joan Armatrading and long before Van Morrison. Two exceptional examples of talent from within a small circle. But, with Dylan it is somehow so very different. Does anyone else see him that way? I will always respect Van Morrison as one of the greatest songwriters ever, but even he pales in Dylans wake. Maybe, it is my age and knowing I will not be around to see him again.

  • mike reynolds says:

    Hope he is in the same mood at Sheffield on the 14th of April. I saw him in the 80's with Tom Petty's Hertbreakers at Birmingham NEC. I was gutted, my idol was grumpy, off key and delivered an extremely short set…people booed when the lights went up!!

    He explained why in Chronicles Vol.1. I felt a lot better. Please Bob don't let me down. The man is a genius, his music gets in my soul.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    mike,

    I hope he will be as great as he can be, when in Sheffield!

  • oh mercy says:

    I am so jealous, and so happy for you.

    Well, I can hope a bootleg comes out for this gig.

    This is really the one way I want to see my man! lol

    Even as old as I am I push my way up front at concerts and rock on… it has been a 40 plus year affair after all.

    He never plays such small venues in the states, or at least not where I ever hear of.

    I so hope that I'll get to see him in a small place at least once. If not I sure hope I see him a whole bunch more times before its either of our times.

    Someone talked about Van Morrison, who I have seen in small clubs many years ago and he was always great… but he isn't Bob, still it is a rarified atmosphere, Bob, Van… Joni Mitchell… who else?

    Well, I hope you all have great concert experiences with that crazy old coot that I call my imaginary boyfriend.

    Have a blast.Drink in that wild mercury electricity.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    oh mercy,

    Thank you!

    I sincerely hope you get the opportunity to see him in such a small venue one day. It's definitely an out-there experience.

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  • w.walker says:

    trying to get a bloody ticket for his gig at berlin nxt thurs (may 2nd?3rd?anyideas/thanks.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    w. walker,

    Good luck!

  • Arturo Australis says:

    I wrote these lines when I was so much younger then:

    "Dylan's just a rhymer

    but he does it oh so well…

    awhining an' awailin' so

    Secrets to our souls to tell"

    I'm currently toying with writing an imaginary roadmovie trip by me an' Bob through Australia. Long way to go.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Arturo,

    Sounds interesting!

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