How do you fit over 50 years of music into a 2 hour concert without simply making it a ‘Best Of” experience? Well, if you’re an artist of the magnitude of Bob Dylan, anyway you damn well please!
(Edit: The performance was at Bonython Park, NOT Botanic Park.)
For fans that braved the cold last night and ventured out to the big marquee in Bonython Park, it wasn’t so much a recollection of hits and memories, but more of a ‘Director’s Cut’ of sorts with Dylan choosing his own setlist and sticking to it. Supported by Vance Joy, who held his own in a solo set, Dylan was ever the master craftsman as he wove through selections of his expansive repertoire, his husky voice lending themselves to the songs in classic and not so classic fashion.
Kicking off the show with Things Have Changed, one could easily have taken this as a statement for what was to come. Dylan often went off script, so to speak, with different interpretations of his songs which added a new dimension to them. At 77 years of age, he transposes his once youthful energy and exuberance into his music through the sheer passion and charisma that emanates from the man himself. He doesn’t need to say much from the stage to get his message across, in fact, he doesn’t address the audience for the entire show at all. Not that this matters, as it’s the man and his music that people have come to see, hear, and feel.
The band is tight, and complement the music to perfection as they change style and genre almost every song. Looking sharp in matching suits and wide brimmed hats against a dark velvet curtain backdrop, they play their parts with ease and precision. This is a class act!
There were a few moments that really highlighted the nostalgic Dylan that many likely came to see, notably when he played his trademark harmonica, which featured heavily in his earlier folk era. His rendition of Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right was enchanting without even trying to be, with those pained notes connecting the souls of both audience and musician. The setlist wove between folk, rock, blues, and jazz in a solid experience that gave testament to an artist that has nothing to prove.
Finishing the show with Gotta Serve Somebody, Dylan and co were summoned to return and quickly delivered a reworked version of the timeless classic Blowin’ In The Wind, followed by Ballad Of A Thin Man. And just like that, it was over. Two solid hours of not just his music and songs, but also an opportunity to become partakers of the sumptuous buffet that is Bob Dylan. We left completely satiated.