I entered the balcony just as Thomas Dybdahl struck his first chord and an instant, collective cheer rang out from the audience. For some, this was a first encounter with the folk singer, but there was no doubt that the majority of the crowd were being reunited with their beloved Norwegian neighbour.
As a singer/songwriter, Dybdahl has mastered the art of storytelling. When he noticed that people at the back were talking amongst themselves, telling their own stories, he kindly told them: Â“If you have any questions, just ask.Â”
That was an appropriate beginning to what was a very personal concert. In between songs, Dybdahl answered questions from the audience and shared stories with his fans. Dybdahl was in no rush, taking his time between songs. Despite DybdahlÂ’s increasing international popularity, the evening felt a little like an impromptu performance at late-night house party.
?With the audience favourite Â‘CeciliaÂ’ performed as the second song, most of the crowd were singing along word for word. He even stopped singing at one point and let the audience carry on for him. Afterwards he gratefully said Â“SÃ¥ snyggt, sÃ¥ fintÂ” (So nice, so good).
It’s obvious why Dybdahl is so popular in Denmark. His deep and melancholic sound matches the Danish winter mentality spot on. But he still managed to lift the crowdÂ’s spirits through church-like hymns that significantly lightened the mood.
?For me, the nightÂ’s highlight was Â‘Give You All My LoveÂ’, a song that totally blew me away. All of Store Vega was quivering with the soft sound and he ended it in a minor key that led perfectly into the next song Â‘New York CityÂ’.
?When he played Â‘Pale Green EyesÂ’, it sounded as if he had managed to sneak in a boysÂ’ choir as he captivated the audience completely.
Following the song, he said his goodbyes and stepped off the stage. No-one, however, was ready to let go of him just yet, so the crowd kept singing the song until he came back.
Although he quickly returned to the stage, sadly he was never able to catch that same intimacy. He played a couple of acoustic numbers, including an instrumental number that felt a little flat and anti-climactic.
?All in all, the Norwegian put on a steady concert for his Danish friends. He did play a couple of songs that I wasnÂ’t all that familiar with, but I was never lost or not enjoying the concert. Dybdahl is able to establish an intimate connection with his audience, which reciprocates by displaying their own special connection to his music.?