|City/Venue:||Roskilde Rock Festival, Roskilde, Denmark|
|Date:||Friday, 29th June 1990|
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night...
”Roskilde Festival” is one of Europe’s oldest music festivals, the Danish equivalent to Glastonbury – and surely able to compete mudwise. On a bad day Roskilde equals the trenches of World War 1, only the music is better, I s’pose.
This year, 1990, the Gods seemed to smile upon Roskilde. Rain ain’t pouring down, the place is not one huge muddy swamp and Bob Dylan is the major name, alongside with The Cure, Midnight Oil and Sineád O’Connor.
Bob Dylan at this point is rapidly approaching 50, an age where many artists are content with repeating or perhaps refining their past musically and sorta coming to grips with the fact that their bellies are growing and hairline receding.
So is this the wizened mature man looking back? The satisfied artist content with his former glory? Nope, this is hardcore, electric, speeded music leaning towards what feels like desperation. This is not a man going gently into that good night, this is raging and racing against time, maybe against age, maybe against decay, in short, this is Dylan at his frenziest best. Younger musicians may have a hard time keeping up with this nights’ Bob.
At the start things seem so-so. A rather uninspired ”Memphis...”, no concert footage, instead we get a glimpse of Roskilde festival participants and a greenish looking still photo of the man himself.
On comes ”Queen Jane”.. still the performance is not really convincing...but then...Bob speaks in a rather sardonic voice:
”This is supposed to be an anti-war song...but it’s really not.... It’s a PRO WAR song.
On comes ”Masters of War” – upspeed, solid, angry, a performance to make your blood surge. Next highlight comes rapidly after: ”It’s Allright, Ma..”. Sneering, diabolic, this is not a man you’d want to be in a face to face quarrel with. ”It’s all over now, Baby Blue”, another hightlight.The gal in that song had better leave the room immediately, no mercy for her, no tears will save her. ”One Too Many Mornings”, heart-bleeding, stellar singing from Bob here. ”Don’t Think Twice”. Well, he doesn’t, the song is delivered masterfully, powerful from first chord.
More Bob-talk: ”..old song of mine, you must have heard it a thousand times” . Yeah sure, but seldom have we head "Mr. Tambourine Man" as uptemp as here.
No surprises in ”Leopard Pill Box””, and then a rocky ”Political World”, anger is coming back, it seems. A couple of brisk walks in the park, and then comes ”Like A Rolling Stone”. Indeed, one of the more spiteful versions of this song, whoever is the target of the lyrics would not want to be here. But we would!
To round off a fine, fine festival evening: ”Blowing in the Wind” and an invitation from Bob to go visit ”Highway 61”. By now the crowd in front of the stage has probably reached maximum temperature, partly from shouting and dancing, partly from having witnessed another fine surprise from the man who never ceases to do so.
Pretty dark, a wee bit blurry and mainly concentrated on Dylan’s face & guitar.
Considered this is an open air taping, pretty good. More than your usual share of crowd noise, but the music still stands out in all its ragged glory.
To sum up:
An angry manifest concert. Perhaps not his finest evening, but surely one of his most energetic. Well worth watching, though perhaps not top-ten material. 4 stars, one for energy.
Reviewed by Esdr on 20th January 2008