2003-06-19, Valle Hovin, Oslo, Norway

The Rising Tour
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Appr. 2 hours, 55 minutes.

"Where the Bands Are" makes a rare appearance.

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
Jan Olav wrote: I'm trying to make this a bit shorter than my Copenhgan review, but I'm pretty sure it will be a long read anyway...

My second Bruce show, and a little random feelings about it! Two songs shorter than Copenhagen but I still don't know which one was the best of those two. I tried last time to do my best to not become to personal, but I doubt I can avoid it totally this time.

I meet up outside of Valle Hovin around 13:30 that day, and joined the allready started line. The GA line was organised with numbers and stuff so people wouldn't have to stand there all day long day. Thanks to the person who did it, for his hard work!
Outside the stadium I finally got to meet some Lakers in person! Souldriver72 (Hey man, hope you get some GREAT shows in Sweden this weekend), Dr.Zoom & Magnus (hello again both), 'On_Fire' and hmmmm...... a couple of others to (can't remember their names right now).........
And not to forget, Eric from the USA (who bought my extra ticket I got when this guy all the sudden had to cancel...) Lucky for him, and lucky for me he bought it.
To all the great people (and Bruce fans) I meet outside of Valle Hovin, I hope I will see you again some time!

The doors was set to open at 17:00 so after organising the line at 16:00 we just stood there for the next hour. About 17:00 I could feel my stomach starting to tingle. At 17:10 the gates was still closed. And I started to worry they might open one gate before another, and we really didn't want that to happend! Finally... around 17:30 the gates opened. The GA line went pretty fast and all the sudden I was the there. I showed my ticket and run in. And did I get a good spot?! Yes, indeed! Fourth row from the fence, in front of Nils! From that spot I actually made eye-contact with both Clarence and Nils. And later in the encores with Bruce himself!
The weather was good, not any dark clouds or anything, the sun was shinging and everything looked like we were in for a great show. Luckily we was! By the way, security wasen't very good, I went in with a sack and nobody searched it. It wasen't really nccessary in my case but in some others... I think it was!
The waiting from 17:30 to 19:00 went pretty fast I'd say, and no need to mention it anymore. The concert was set to start at 19:00, so again, around 19:00..... the tingle.
unfortunotly we noticed some trouble with one of the cameras in front of Bruces mic. Now the waiting started to get painful. But enough about that. 19:40 (or 45): Danny & Roy took the stage together. And the rest of the band followed, Clarence was the second last to enter, and then... BRUCE !!!!!!!!!
Now I knew we wasen't getting the acoustic BitUSA to open with. Kinda good I thought. Now I was hoping for 6 rockers to open (like Helsinki 2nd night).

Over to the setllist:
Song number one: The Rising.
No big surprise really! Great as always. Again I will have to mention Nils' slide playing! Very good. Sound was okay, but not the best, Bruce's solo didn't sound especially good, that might have been because the sound was very loud, and not especially clear.
Next: Lonesome Day
As always great follow-up to The Rising! The allright parts with the hands and stuff worked well to get the crowd going. The bridge instrumental was the highlight for me!
After LD Prove It All Night followed immediately, great as always. I think I mentioned in my previous review (from Copenhagen) how I'd like to see Nils taking the solo in The Rising. But I can't really see an elegant Nils solo at the end of Prove It! Great guitar-work from Bruce!
Prove It didn't really end before Max' drums lead straight into My Love... This one rocked big time. I was hoping to get another high tempo rocker given that I got this one in copenhagen. But I didn't complain either.
Then... I noticed by the guitars, Bruce. *new* Fender - Nils the black one, this had to be either Ties, No Surrender or Darkness.... heavy counting from Bruce ONE........TWO...........THREE.........FOUR........ By now I knew what was comming, and YES! I was right. Darkness! I was hoping for this one, and yeah, I got it So bitter. Bruce really put alot in the performance I think. It's obvious how this is an important song too him, that he cares alot about. From all the botolegs I've heard, I have yet to hear an unmotiveted version of Darkness On The Edge Of Town. Even including the acoustic Joad version! And tonight wasen't any exception. GREAT version.

After Darkness I was hoping for one more rocker (like Helsinki 2nd night) but the stage went dark and most of the band went off! Empty Sky was next (as expected). I really like this song in it's live version. Very improved from the album version, and so sad. Beautiful
Outisde of the stadim I mentioned to a couple of other Lakers how I was hoping for The river. But we totally agreed about dropping You're Missing was a 2nd night-thing. But hell no: As usual Bruce went up to the mic withouth a guitar after ES. At this moment I was holding my breath in excitement, and the the time was stading still.. but I noticed a harmonica in his left hand. And the unbelieveable beautiful intro started.
THE RIVER! Original version, in all it's glory. Almost made me cry. So beautiful. Nica harmony vocals from Patti! Steve's playing (on the acoustic guitar) was very beautiful. And at the end Soozie added a nice violin solo. A deffinetive highlight for me, along with Darkness... Nils stayed at his pedal steel guitar (or whatever it's called) and he wasen't really that important to this song, as I hardly noticed him. Roys piano playing was excellent (as always).

Ready to sing along?! Waitin' On A Sunny Day was next! Cool as always, with Bruce walking around with his mic in his hand really working the crowd, hanging upside down at his mic. the knee slide, and the crowd getting to sing the chours!

Next up was another highlight for me, and I noticed a guy outside the stadium making a sign for it, and obvious he got what he wanted, and I beth he was happy about it. It would be a lie to say I wasen't happy about it either! Sherry Darling!!! Really cool. Worked extremly good right after Waitin'. Good version, with Bruce making us (the corwd) end the song, by singing Sherry Darling, only to start it over again. A lot of fun!
Without a seconds break they went straight into Worlds Apart! I was hoping for one more oldie first, but I couldn't really complain either. I had allready got, Darkness... The River & Sherry Darling. Three classics, with one I didn't dare to hope for (the River).
I really enjoyed Nils' banjo on WA, and Soozies violin solo in the middle. Also the 'Ah-ah-ah..............' part from the band. The solos at the end, by Stevie, Nils, and Bruce was fabolous!
BADLANDS followed WA. Among my Top-5 favourites! And obviously among everyone else's Top-5. Worked great as always. Doesen't really need any more comments I think.
Now I was hoping to hear 'She's the One' as I heard Out In The Street in Copenhagen. I was aware of also that being a second night thing, but after The River everything looked possible. But I wasen't dissapointed at the time I heard Bruce and the band start OITS! When I'm listening to bootlegs I some times find this song a bit long (and boring), and I tend to skip it, but when you're there, it's so good! Made me realise I wouldn't be without it!
Mary's Place followed immediately. Not the best track on the album, and not among his finest work, but it's alot of fun in concert. Worked great with the crowd to, and perfect for the band introductions.

Now what was next... at least I wasen't expecting another outing of Point Blank like in Copenhagen. And another highlight of the show was in progress: JUNGLELAND! Beautiful piano intro, and the violin was there to! I said Mary's Place wasen't among Bruce's finest work, but Jungleland is! A true masterpiece! The intro was very moving, Bruce's vocals was great, and Stevie played the guitar solo to great effect! And then: the Big Man! About 4 or 5 minutes long solo I guess. And he nailed it pretty darn good. That has to take alot, to play a long solo like that on a saxofon! Bruce is right: You all wish you could be just like him, but you can't.... 'cause there's only one Clarence BIG MAN Clemons!
True words Bruce!

Into The fire was next! Patti does an unbelievealbe intro, hear voice is tremendous. I don't think her voice fits in that good in every song, but she is a very important block of this song. Great intro! The rest of it was okay, not my favourite, but I've started to like it.
After ITF Bruce changed his guitar and got back to the mic. I know prepared myself for Thunder Road. My favourite... but NO! Promised Land! What a surprise to get this one after ITF, that had to be the first time of the tour I guess... (?) Needless to say it worked great. I was glad to hear it at my 2nd concert to.
And that was the end of the main set. Bruce and the band left the stage in a hurry. A minute or two later they were back.

At this point I didn't really know what to expect! "We're gonna try to play this song for that guy out there" Bruce said and pointed somewhere in the crowd. I'd noticed a sign asking for either, Sandy, Kitty's Back, or Rosie, I knew it could not be Rosalita, so I thought we would get Kitty or Sandy. Bruce continued by saying: "If we f*** this one up...... then so what..." and started to laugh! And with that they launched straight into 'Where The Bands Are'! They didn't screw it up at all! A nice surprise for me. I'm almost a 100% sure this was for the first time of the 2003 leg. So.... although it was played a few times back in the states in 2002 this was an 'almost premiere'! Great version anyway. Good solos by Clarence and Stevie! Where The Bands Are rocked !!!
Bobby Jean followed immediately! I heard it in Copenhagen, heard it again, and didn't mind it! Good song, Nils was in focus alot during this song, I think he did a nice piece of work on his guitar! Kinda weird this song was focused so much on Nils, I've always thought it was written for Stevie, who left the band back then. But don't get me wrong, we don't get enough Nils I think... a matter of personal opinion I guess!
Next: Are You Ready To Roahouse ?? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ramrod. Ramrod rocks! Bruce made some jokes about the Big Man while he was palying his solo and walking around at the front of the stage! "The Big Man on the move"! The moment of silence and Bruce asking Stevie what time is it (IT'S BOSS TIME!!!!!!!!!) works for me every time, SO cool! Like in Copenhagen Roy was left alone and played a long piano solo, and at the end it was his kids (I guess) who came up and put on him a viking-helmet! The band came back on stage behind Roy and continued to rock!
The Rising tour version of Ramrod IS the best!
ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR... and the famous drum intro. 'Cause tramps like us... baby we were BORN TO RUN!!!!!!! With all the lights one, even though it wasen't really dark outside. The ULTIMATE Bruce song! No more comments needed I'd say!
Without one second of silence after BTR Bruce launched straight into 'Seven Nights To Rock'! Good version, probably a little shorter than the Copenhagen version, as neither Stevie or Nils played any solos this time! Good version anyway. And that was the end of the 1st encore.

After a short break Bruce came back onstage and started My City Of Ruins at the piano. Very beautiful. And even better with the beautiful backing vocals from the other singers! Good to finally see Danny in the spotlight for a minute with a nice solo in the middle part. Clarence & Soozie also played some good solos. The 'C'mon Rise Up !!!!!!!!!' part seems very powerful, even though he starts the song solo at the piano.
Max started the drum intro, Bruce came up to his mic: 'This is Land Of Hope And Dreams' and started his guitar-playing. They nailed the song perfectly (like they do evry night). I enjoyed every single minute of this beautiful song, but I also felt the sadness inside of me knowing that the concert was comming to an end!
Luckily they played Dancing In The Dark after LOHAD! Alot of fun, and the crowd was really into it. This wasen't really a surprise but still very good! After Ditd I knew the end was just around the corner, but I hoped for Glory Days, or at least one more. Unfortunotly, Ditd was THE END!

All together a good show, two songs shorter than Copenhagen, but still just as good! Two premieres (Take 'Em As They Come & Point Blank) along with Thunder Road made Copenahgen seem unbeatable to me. But when I'm looking back at the Valle Hovin concert: Darkness... The River, Sherry Darling, Jungleland & Where The Bands Are! I'm sorry, I guess I'll never get a clear answer to what was the better of my two Rising shows.
Before the show started I said to myself I didn't really need to hear Thunder Road as I got it in Copenhagen just a few days before. But I knew a couple of fans who were only going to this one show (and I meet one who was at his first show), and I really felt sorry for them who didn't get Thunder Road! I also kinda missed it myself!
After they had left the stage and the crew was taking the instruments, mics. and stuff down I stayed for a little while and enjoyed the acoust version of Cuntin' On A Miracle' at the big screens. Will it ever be released, or does it excist on a bootleg or something?!
I also talked to some fans.

There was this one guy who was lucky enough to get a setlist. He was very kind and allowed me to have a look at it. I noticed a couple of surprises there:
- No Surrender was on the setlist in the spot where they played Sherry Darling
- You're Missing was on the setlist, AFTER Into The Fire
- Where The Bands Are wasen't on the setlist, and neither was 7 nights to rock
- Glory Days was on the setlist before Ditd, but wasen't played!
A couple of surprises there I'd say. I did want to hear No Surrender, but if I had to choose between that one and Sherry Darling, I'm pretty sure it would have been Sherry Darling, so NO complains...
You're Missing is very beautiful and moving, but I can't imagine it would have worked any good after ITF and as the Main-set closer! I felt a little sorry we didn't get Glory Days at the end, But I doubt we would have got both WtBA and 7NtR if that one was played! And given that I got Glory Days in Copenhagen I'd rather take Where The bands are in the first encore at Valle Hovin, so that didn't matter!

The random feelings about this show?
My last Bruce show for now... I hope there will be others in the future! I have to admit I am a bit jelous at some of the other norweginas on this board who is spending the weekend in Sweden, with Bruce...
No lies to say these two nights (Copenhagen & Oslo) was among the greatest time of my life so far.

Back at my auntie (in Oslo) that night I fell asleep listening to the sweet sound of 'Paradise' from the CCat's bootleg from the 7-30 show! The perfect ending to a perfect night with Bruce. After the two concerts I felt like I'd been in Paradise and got a taste of it. Paradise tasted good.

With that, it's only one thing left to say:
THANKS Bruce, I hope I'll get to see you again!

Christian Falck Olsen wrote: This was Bruce's best performance in Oslo ever, too bad not many realized this.
The setlist was very good, the crowd mostly lousy (except for the people from approximately the mixing desk and to the stage), Steve was very anonymous, clearly having an off night, but Clarence, Max and especially Bruce were having a great night. I've never seen Bruce this intense and energetic before, the songs up until Sherry Darling were performed with incredible energy and passion. The energy level continued to be high throughout the show, with great band intros in Mary's Place, an absolutely incredible Jungleland (Clarence did a magnificent job) a tight, but loose Where The Bands Are (I love this song and was thrilled to get it) and the best Ramrod I've seen to date (this is including the two Swdish shows).

That said, the crowd appeared to be tame (and I think I'm being kind, here) and it was not in lack of Bruce trying. According to my girlfriend who had seats at the side, people were relatively responsive during the "old" songs, like Dancing, but weren't even clapping along to Lonesome Day, for instance. People in the front were going absolutely nuts during most parts of the show, so at least we did our job.

I almost - almost - hope he skips Oslo next time around. The venue he has to play must be the worst on the entire planet, the crowds are usually way too reserved (bordering on rudeness, IMO) and the media coverage and overall attention sucks. I'd much rather see hin in Sweden.

Conclusion: very good show (thanks to Bruce, Clarence and Max), mostly bad crowd (at least 2/3 of it), incredibly bad venue. It will probably be one of those shows that will sound very good on boots. It had the potential to be one of the top 3 Scandinavian shows, I think, but the crowd failed to make it that.

Magnus Lauglo wrote: It was clear from the moment that Bruce took the stage that he was in great spirits. He was not alone, but came onstage after the full band, and they kicked into The Rising, which works far better as an opener than the acoustic BUSA they have been using for a while now. By the time they were playing Lonesome Day, I could tell they were on fire. Bruce seemed to have a lot of fun speaking Norwegian to the crowd at several points. If anyone seemed sub-par, it was Steve, who was much less energetic than usual, and looked like he had eaten too much lutefisk. But as the band went into a tremendous My Love Will not Let you Down, I saw Max?s face break into an all-to-rare grin. He always plays like a machine, but it isn?t always so easy to see how much he enjoys playing with the band, and this song really showcases him. Garry, I also noticed was more animated than he usually is. Clarence in particular, was consistently excellent for the whole show; more on that later.
Darkness on the Edge of Town was the first real highlight of the show for me. Compared to the tepid version they offered in Manchester, this one cooked. Bruce sang the first part of each verse slowly, before crashing into the ?Well if she wants to see me??/?Til one day?/?TonightI?ll be on that hill? lines and the chorus with impassioned fury. Bruce wrenched the guitar solo out of himself deliberately and almost agonisingly, note by note. It all came across very well. By this time several people had already been taken out of the crowd. It wasn?t very uncomfortable around me, but lots of people seemed to have had enough further back, and were lead out via the communications canal.
I was pleasantly surprised when we go a full band The River in the place of You?re Missing. The Norwegian crowd recognized the song from the first note of the harmonica intro and roared in approval and recognition. I?d never heard the traditional version played by the ESB before, and it sounded magnificent - much as one would expect. At the end Bruce sang that ?Oooohhhhh? bit in that high ?border howl? he has been using since the Joad tour, and Suzi got a chance to shine as she played the same melody on her violin or fiddle. Waiting on a Sunny Day followed, and at one point Bruce actually dropped his guitar by accident, before throwing it to Kevin. (On the topic of guitars, I noticed that Bruce has stopped playing his original scratched up fender. We can all hope it is just on vacation rather than retired.) He ran out on the sides of the stage and hung upside down on his mike stand as usual, doing his best to engage the people sitting down far away from the stage.
Sherry Darling was played in response to a request sign (we were supposed to get No Surrender here according to the setlist), and I seem to remember it was a little better than it had been in London. Clarence nailed the solo, and Bruce danced around the stage goofily at the end. The ?Let there be sunlight let there be rain? line seemed to me very appropriate for the fans who had waited out in line. During the actual concert there was no rain at all, but there was a steady breeze for much of the show.
As expected, Mary Place had Bruce exhorting the Norwegians further away from the stage to get up from their seats. The crowd in general seemed better to me than the London crowd, but according to people who stood further back, they really weren?t particularly animated at all. The Norwegian papers the next day blamed the lack of enthusiasm on poor sound, which might have been caused by the wind. At the front where I stood, it all sounded fine enough of course.
Jungleland was an audible, and it replaced the interestingly setlisted Promised Land/You?re Missing in the pre Into the Fire slot. Considering the excellent shape that the Big Man was in, Jungleland, was the perfect choice. Valle Hovin doesn?t have a roof, but if it had, his Jungleland sax solo would have blown it clear off. If this show belonged to any one band member after Bruce, it would have to be Clarence. I don?t believe I?ve ever seen him play better. Compared to his uneven performance on for instance the London stand, he was ten times better. You could hardly tell he had aged at all - he nailed every solo that was thrown at him. Perhaps the changes to the written setlist reflected that Bruce could tell that the Big Man was in form, and wanted to showcase him as much as possible.
Promised Land ended the main set (replacing the setlisted Thunder Road). It?s clearly an important song for Bruce, and it nearly always sounds great. I?m glad that Bruce seems to have realized that there are better ways to close the main set than Into the Fire. It?s interesting to see him experimenting with different songs for this vital slot every night.
The encores kicked off with another impromptu request; Where the Bands Are. Together with My Love earlier in the set, this made for 2 Tracks songs in one show, which was pretty nice. This was another song that Clarence has had had problems with in the past, but in Oslo, it sounded just fine. Bruce must have liked how it worked, as it was on the setlist (but not played) for the next show in Gothenburg.
Ramrod and Seven Nights were played to perfection, probably even better than they would be in Gothenburg. Ramrod saw Bruce standing as if petrified in stone with his mouth open for a minute or so, as Steve asked the crowd ?What time is it?? Bruce joked about playing until ?The sun goes down. Does the sun go down here?? Later, as I had anticipated, a plastic Viking helmet - complete with the historically incorrect horns was placed on Roy?s head as the band sneaked back onstage. Seven Nights to Rock, which saw Bruce throw the guitar around his neck four times in a row, was an addition to the setlist. Notably, Bruce had initially decided not to play the song at all. It would be a shame if this song were to be lost, the show needs a standard cover, and few songs can fill the post BTR slot in the encores.
The second encore consisted of the standard songs, and ended on a high point with the high energy DITD, a song that everyone knows. By this time, it was actually pretty dark outside. If Bruce wanted to play somewhere where the sun truly doesn?t go down, he would have to play above the Arctic Circle somewhere. I don?t know if they have any big outdoor arenas up there, but I?m sure that a show that far north would be quite a spectacle. On another tour perhaps?
The press were less ecstatic about the show than I had expected. VG, which gave him a 5 out of 6, was generally positive about the show without being glowing, noting sound problems due to the wind, and suggesting that the concert got better after a while. (Conversely, in my opinion, it was perhaps the first hour which was the most spectacular). Aftenposten, gave the show a 4 out of 6. The reviewer used the term ?nostalgia? a great deal - and not an a exclusively critical way. This reviewer thought that the show back in ?99 had been better, because that had been wonderful nostalgia, whereas this time, that wonderful nostalgia was tempered by the new material which wasn?t as good as the old songs. Still, overall a positive review, calling Bruce a very energetic rocker, who is still worth seeing live. Dagbladet also gave it a 4 out of 6, agreeing that the show was good, but not as good as the ?99 show had been, and saying that the new material really brings down the show overall.
I guess you can?t please everyone. In my opinion, we got a terrific show, although the setlist and length of the show might have you believe otherwise. A friend of mine who had seen several shows before through the years, stood as far back as the soundboard and he said he thought the show was great. At 24 songs and just under three hours, Oslo got an overall a very fun performance, which maintained a consistent energy level throughout. Clarence as I have said, was at his peak, and both the unconventional written setlist and the multiple requested songs played, indicated that Bruce was in a loose mood. The crowd, though I have seen worse (cough, London), could have been much better, and would be put to shame by the Swedes only a few days later. But I left ?Europe?s worst concert stadium? feeling emotionally and physically tired and fulfilled at the same time. What more could I ask for?


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