Manyconsider Bob Dylan the greatest songwriter of all time, but being a goodsongwriter does not always mean being a good stage performer.
For reasonsunknown, this concert started a half hour late, at which point Dylan opened witha series of harmonies and simple chords before launching into a song that few, ifany, recognized. The second song was equally bad and unrecognizable. The crowdbegan to warm when Dylan launched into the 1960s staple, “Hey, Mama, I’mOnly Bleeding,” though his 61-year-old voice showed its age as he mumbledthrough the first few verses, bewildering the crowd until he hit the recognizablechorus and everyone cheered.
Dylan then powered through “Just Like aWoman,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” and “Rainy DayWomen #12 & 35.” He revived these songs by turning them into electricand acoustic jams, sometimes clocking in five minutes of instrumental breaks perpiece.
The mumbled lyrics seemed a theme for the night, leaving the crowdclueless as to what song he was actually playing after getting lost in thelengthy jams only to be clued in time and again by the chorus.
After ashort break Dylan retook the stage and launched into a high-energy version of”Like a Rolling Stone,” making it the most enthusiastic song of thenight. It was followed by a long acoustic jam version of “Knockin’ onHeaven’s Door,” and closed by playing his best-known song, “All Alongthe Watchtower.”
While the lyrics were the same and the messagehadn’t changed over the years, the songs seemed over-rehearsed and moremechanical than I expected. I would recommend seeing Dylan more for his legendarystatus than his stage show.
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