Going to see Bob Dylan live in concert is worrying – very worrying.
He’s old and his musical ability could be retreating from him, folks say that he’ll reinterpret all his old stuff and you could find yourself aghast, and the kicker is that you really haven’t paid that much attention to his new stuff. All in all, it leaves even the most optimistic punter in a state of trepidation.
But luckily – gleefully even – none of this was true at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Monday 25th August.
Sure he was old. It’s probably the first thing everyone noticed. A slight 73-year-old in a frock coat ambling on stage, with limbs in overall disagreement on the correct way to the microphone.
His voice was even more Dylan-esque than usual, alternating evermore dramatically from burbling throaty lows to shrill nasally highs. (Honestly, at times, it’s lucky that everyone knew the words.) And, every time he’d fetch the harmonica from his pocket there was a slight fumble.
But as it turns out, old age, a touch of arthritis, and Dylan songs are a natural fit.
Now here’s something controversial for you. Bob Dylan was good, but at times he may just have been out shadowed by his band. At times even, you could have been happy enough to hear a few instrumentals.
Heresy you say? No, they were really that good. This made reinterpretations of those old songs gratifying and interesting, whereas they could have been heartbreaking for a legion of faithfuls.
This was especially typified by the reinterpretation of ‘Tangled Up In Blue’. Have a listen to a live rendition from 2013.
Bob Dylan New Version
Bob Dylan Old Version
Dare it be said that this version is preferable to the original?
Pretty good going from the 73-year-old troubadour.