I love Bob Dylan to an unreasonable degree. This summer me and my wife went to Greenwich Village and I cried happy tears drinking a Guinness in the Whitehorse Tavern. My love of Bob Dylan has grown exponentially in a short amount of time. I am 37. Until three years ago, Bob was not a part of my musical landscape. I always thought that I should love him but I never got what the big deal was about. Boy do I get it now. I have never had such an insatiable hunger for one person’s music. I never tire of Bob.
My journey through the land of Bob encountered another milestone when me and my pal saw him in concert for the first time in Toronto November 14, 2012. This is my review of his show. Here goes…
First off, the show was great. Based on recent reviews I have read, we got current Bob at his best. High energy. He was bouncing around all over the place. Giving us all that he can muster to put on a good show. Reviews of recent Bob shows are always mixed. Some people love them and some people are greatly disappointed. I was not disappointed. Truth is that my love of Bob is so unconditional that he could have just walked out alone on the stage, sat down in a rocking chair and ate bag of chips for two hours and I would have thought it was a great show.
If I were to step outside of myself and look at the show without my horn rimmed Ray Bans on, I might have a different perspective on the show. I don’t think you can deny the songs are great. His voice is the small elephant in the room. It is grizzled with no tonality, but it works with what he is doing now musically. I think the bigger issue with the haters is based on misguided expectations coupled with a lack of appreciation for his work over the last decade or so. Perhaps even more, I think it speaks to how powerful his songs are. The Dylan originals are imprinted on people’s psyche. Variations may sound dissonant.
That aside. Back to the show. He played a good mix of old and new. The more recent stuff like Rollin and Tumblin sounded great and didn’t stray to far from the original. The band was tight and clearly comfortable to Roll and to Tumble. From Tempest, he played Early Roman Kings demonstrating his knack for writing rock-hard blues songs under blistering lyrics. The highlight for me was Ballad of a Thin Man. As atmospherically powerful as ever and at times he and his band blazed a wicked modern rock groove proving he can demonstrate a current sensibility while remaining steeped in tradition. That great blues rockabilly throwback style that he has remained strong through the whole show. I think in the latest Rolling Stone interview, Bob referred to his music as ‘traditional’ and I think that is exactly right. Traditional Music. Some innovative. Some reflective. All engaging. All relevant.
In summary, I loved the show. I loved just being in the same room as Bob Dylan.
Well pal. That is it. I am grateful to have shared such a special night with you and I am really interested to read your review. Maybe you hated it. If so, you are dead to me.