Saturday 24 February 2018

Brilliant Dylan pays outstanding debt to loyal Bobcats in full

Dylan owes us one: his 2006 LATM concert was wishy-washy, disappointing even hardcore Bobcats. This time, 'casuals' are less evident, but Bobcats, youth brigade through to veterans wing, are here to collect on that debt.

Lights rise, revealing Bob vamping the organ for a rollicking, bluesy 'Gonna Change My Way of Thinking'.

With Dylan, the voice is the thing: if you don't get the voice, you don't get Dylan. Tonight, the 70-year-old raspy holler, though not overly troubled by melodic nuance, is promising.

Quitting organ, he moves centre stage for 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue'. Without the rhythmic constraints of an instrument, he is freer to 'interpret', adding startling, new dimensions.

The dirty, drain-gurgling rasp renders lyrics so indecipherable, cheers of recognition are still arriving through the chorus. And it's great.

Even on harmonica, he flirts with dissonance, shrill as an irate seagull. One particularly 'unique' take on the 'Tangled Up In Blue' chorus melody comes off like Scoobie Doo on a mescaline bender. And it's great.

It's a crowd-pleasing set: 'Hollis Brown', 'Tweedle-Dee & Tweedle-Dum', 'I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine', underpinned by a keening lap steel.

He gives a rock solid 'Highway 61', 'Ballad of A Thin Man', the lights go down but the crowd certainly won't.

A pedal steel flourish, lights rise again and the band, superb all night, drop 'Like A Rolling Stone' to delirium, the crowd assuming vocal duties.

We then get 'All Along The Watchtower' and a heartbreaking 'Forever Young'. I overheard someone say afterwards, "Brilliant, wasn't he?"

Yes, he was.

Irish Independent

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