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By James Cerche
20th August 2014

The opportunity to see a living, breathing piece of musical and cultural history of this magnitude has grown increasingly rare. As the 60s get further away, the likes of Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones are in short supply, and 2014 is very likely the last we will see of both. The ‘Never Ending Tour’ has been chugging along since 1988, and included six previous visits to Australia, making Dylan perhaps the most seasoned touring veteran ever. Boasting 35 studio records, his work ethic - and canonical impact - cannot be doubted.

Known for constantly (and sometimes contentiously) reinterpreting his own work throughout the years, Dylan’s latest visit is heavily informed by his latest release, 2012’s ’Tempest’. This year’s fine selection of touring musicians realise the material magnificently, turning out the compositions with great brightness and warmth. The flavour of ‘Tempest’ is applied to a pair of cuts from the classic record ‘Blood On The Tracks’ (1975), completely transforming ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ and ‘Simple Twist Of Fate’ into almost unrecognisable yet deeply satisfying renditions. These revisited classics come off as the highlights amongst a largely dynamic setlist of post 2000s material.


Dylan himself is as quiet as always between numbers, addressing the audience only once to say “thank you” and introduce the show’s intermission. Musically he is in good voice, and as creaky as those vocal chords may be after all these years, his charm, warmth and expression remain intact. The onset of arthritis has sadly left Dylan unable to handle the guitar, although he still commands the piano with great agility. He spent the evening drifting between the ivory and the centre of the stage, where he treated us to several powerful bursts from his signature harmonica. The diverse but ageing crowd greeted these moments with delighted cheers, while otherwise remaining respectfully quiet in a silent awe of reverence.

Hearing the fifty-two year old anthem ‘Blowing In The Wind’ performed by the man himself was indeed a surreal and moving experience after all this time, and was met by a standing ovation from every seat in the sold-out house. Being treated to this kind of history was a once-in-a-lifetime sensation, and it feels significant to be a part of it.

ARTIST: Bob Dylan
BEGAN: 1961
FROM: Minnesota
SOUND: Folk / Jazz / Blues
FACEBOOK: bobdylan
TWITTER: @bobdylan
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