Thomas Dybdahl’s British fan base had a religious experience in more ways than one last night (26 November), when the widely-acclaimed Norwegian singer-songwriter played a sellout London show at the church of St-Giles-In-The-Fields.
The concert was part of the current acoustic European tour by Dybdahl, on which he has been performing solo, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, since early October. Dates continue in Stockholm on 1 December, concluding in Oslo on the 20th, and if you’re anywhere nearby (dates and details are on his Facebook page here), we urge you to go and take part in what is a remarkable and intensely intimate musical experience.
“What a place to play,” said the artist, as he took his place in the ornate and spectacular setting. To an attentive and responsive crowd, Dybdahl, 36, played music from all of the six studio albums he has released since 2002, the last four of which have reached No. 1 in his home country.
Highlights included the title song from the first album in that sequence, …That Great October Sound; ‘Adelaide,’ inspired by the birth of a friend’s daughter; and another rousing title track, from 2004’s One Day You’ll Dance For Me, New York City. He added a new song (“I’m not sure it’s even finished”), and we understand that Dybdahl has plans to make another album with previous collaborator Larry Klein, highly respected for his production work with Joni Mitchell.
Even in this stripped-down setting, Dybdahl’s elegantly supple vocals and expressive guitar playing perfectly expressed songs that conjure a unique ambience with their artful combination of romanticism and reality. The rapturous reaction at the end of the 90-minute set was warmly deserved.