Bob Dylan Shadow Kingdom stream event 18 July 2021

DYLAN 0So this was another streaming event, this time by our old friend and troubadour Bob Dylan. I expected the event to be live, but it was clearly pre-recorded. However, this was not a disappointment and did not detract from the enjoyment of the concert, rather the pre-recorded setting of the event enabled a greater depth and atmosphere than would have been possible had it been a live performance. The streaming started late on Sunday night UK time and although I was really looking forward to it, I have to admit to wimping out and watching it the next morning.

Now I have seen Bob Dylan many times over the years, and in recent times his performances have sometimes been patchy. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed each time I saw him in concert, but on occasion his voice was not so strong and I know many other people left disappointed. But this time was something very different.

DYLAN 3Picture the scene. A smoky bar somewhere in Marseille, Dylan surrounded by his musicians including guitars and double bass and performing in front of a small audience. Everyone in the audience was smoking very heavily (and it looked like genuine smoke, but I suspect it wasn’t, and I also suspect that they weren’t really sitting directly in front of Dylan). However the effect was great and looked genuine. Dylan was dressed well, sometimes there was a change of suit or jacket; sometimes he would be playing guitar or mouth harp, sometimes simply standing singing. Sometimes he would be centre stage, and for other songs he would be to the left. The credits told us that the bar was in Marseille, but this was actually fictitious. I’m sure that it was all recorded within studios in America; but nonetheless, as I have said earlier, the effect was authentic and absolutely excellent.

Dylan performed a selection of some of his older songs from the 1960s and 1970s, some better known than others. I must admit, to my shame, that there were several that I did not recognise. This, however, did not spoil my enjoyment of the performance. The show was billed as Dylan “revisiting” some of his old classic songs. And revisit them he did indeed.

DYLAN 2This was Bob Dylan, in my view, reborn. No more strange vocalising, no more “up singing”; this was Dylan with a strong, deep, emotional voice that in many ways returned to the form he was on in the late 1970s when I first saw him. This was Dylan performing, no more standing still, he would make small mannerisms with his hands; pointing and moving to emphasise the lyrics. When he sang classics (particularly the ones I recognised) such as “Forever Young” and “I’ll be your Baby Tonight” his voice was deep, twisting and turning and emotional. This took me back to the Dylan I saw in Blackbushe Aerodrome in 1978. Tremendous. I had tears in my eyes. The old Bob has returned, singing to us from his heart and his soul in a way that he has not achieved, in my view, for many years. You have to see it to understand. He really was that good, in my view.

DYLAN 1Dylan, at 80, remains a unique and indescribable presence in modern music. Long may the troubadour continue to sing to us and let’s hope the never-ending tour will soon resume so that we can witness the legend perform for us again. 

Set List: When I Paint My Masterpiece; Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine; Queen Jane; Approximately; I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight; Just like Tom Thumb’s Blues; Tombstone Blues; To Be Alone With You; What Was It You Wanted; Forever Young; Pledging My Time; The Wicked Messenger; Watching the River Flow; It’s All over Now, Baby Blue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: