Sunday, 26 April 2009

How does it feel?

So, Bob Dylan, the 02 Arena. I don't think words can express just how good this was. Maggie's Farm to open, the song he turned electric with much to the distaste of Newport Folk Festival? Check. The Times They Are A Changin, Chimes of Freedom, The Ballad of Hollis Brown, even Hattie Carrol?? Yes, protest songs were out in force. If this wasn't good enough, how about Like A Rolling Stone to end? After this we sat tentatively anticipating an encore (does Dylan do encores?) and he did not disappoint, reclaiming All Along the Watchtower from Hendrix before leaving us with Spirit On The Water and, no less, Blowin' In The Wind. Every time he broke into song I was astounded at what I was witnessing, this icon of '60s counter-culture playing all the songs that made him who he is, that defined an era. I was expecting to hear a set of unfamiliar songs, with, if I was lucky, maybe a couple from those era defining first albums. But no, it was not to be, Dylan and his band belting hit after hit, punctuated with his more recent material (Modern Times featured heavily, plus a few from Love and Theft).

A lot of critics say he's past it, and that the 'Never Ending Tour' is just a showcase for an ageing rocker mangling his old classics. This, I feel, is utter crap. His voice was powerful, matured with age, and his band definitely did the songs justice. I am still in awe of what I saw last night (even the abysmal bus service could not put a dampener on the night) and it will certainly be hard to top this.

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