Dylan Delivers

I know. I know I’m part of a minority. I enjoyed tonight’s Dylan concert. And I’m not ashamed to say so. It was shorter than expected (only an hour and a half), but compared to all the prophecies that were spewed in the various talkbacks and all the talk of people walking out – Dylan was above average. He gave the crowd a set-list* comprised of hits. Genuine hits. Crowd-pleasers, if you will. He just played them with different arrangements. And that’s what everyone is whining about.

Except for two songs, I recognized them all instantly and actually appreciated some of the changes made. The rhythm was lost a bit when it came to A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall, but people where shouting along “How does it feel?” in Like a Rolling Stone:

Dylan nowadays, as it has been said many times before, is not a great performer. His early days’ charisma and charm are practically non-existent [in fact, he didn’t utter a word, not even a solemn hello or goodbye] . But he is still, and always will be, a magnificent musician. Seeing a Dylan show in the 21st century is like watching a well-oiled Dylan cover band, headed by the man himself. It’s as if he got tired with the way his songs sounded and decided to give them all a tune-up. A jazzy at times, psychedelic at others, harpsichord filled revision. And I found it more engaging than I thought I would.

The production company, on the other hand, deserves to get an F. Small, minuscule screens that featured the entire band with no close-ups to be had in sight. Someone can suggest it wasn’t Dylan up there, since I don’t think anyone in the crowd actually saw his face at any point. And the location choice? Goddammit, why the hell a seating only show at a stadium? Why not a park so people could rock out? Ridiculous.
I think with admission prices being what they are, the Israeli audience deserves more respect.

All in all, a too-short experience I’m delighted I took part of. Happy belated birthday Bob.

*Dylan’s 20/06/2011 set-list:

  1. Gonna Change My Way of Thinking
  2. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
  3. Things Have Changed
  4. Tangled Up In Blue
  5. Summer Days
  6. Simple Twist Of Fate
  7. Cold Iron Bounds
  8. A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall
  9. Highway 61 Revisited
  10. Forgetful Heart
  11. Thunder On The Mountain
  12. Ballad Of A Thin Man
  13. Like A Rolling Stone
  14. All Along The Watchtower
  15. Blowin’ In The Wind
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6 Responses to Dylan Delivers

  1. YRegev says:

    We had a thought it was actually bob’s demand to not having any close ups. After all, in the previous performances there were some..

  2. Khan says:

    “a well-oiled Dylan cover band, headed by the man himself” – nice one.
    But basically you’re saying that he gave a performance for hipsters. Those whining people are just laymen who expected the “usual”, trite songs they new.

    • hadarw says:

      That’s not what I’m saying (though it may be understood that way). I’m saying people who came there expecting Dylan to play the songs like they sound in the albums, have been lying in a cave for the last decade. Hell, Dylan hasn’t played original versions probably since the 80’s.
      Not every artist gets on a stage and gives you a rendition of his “Best Of… Vol. 1”. I find that to be a good thing.

  3. Pingback: Rock Werchter 2011, Day 1 Review | Deliciously Redundant

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