There are some artists that you just have to see at least once in your life. And so it was that tickets for the great man Bob Dylan came into our hot sweaty little hands. The chance to strike another “legend” off the bucket list was too good an opportunity to pass up on, especially as at the age of 74 it was highly unlikely I would ever see him again so me and Beancounter jumped into the bangbus and we headed off to the Apollo in Manchester to see him.
We got to our seats a few minutes late so missed the first six minutes of the performance but there he was, looking frail and old and every single one of his 74 years. I had not expected him to be standing there with an acoustic and a mouth organ across his chest but the line up did surprise me. Consisting of drums, bass, guitar, steel guitar, violin and of course Bob on the piano. The music was great and well played even it if did have a feel of the Grand Ole Opry to it. Not what I expected at all. To be honest I was not sure what to expect but whatever it was, what I heard was not it. Anyway after 45 minutes there was an intermission and the band walked off as the house lights went up.
After 20 minutes the band walked on and straight back into the music to rapturous applause. He and his band played for another 45 minutes before walking off stage once more from the stage without a word. Cue standing ovations and calls for the Great Man to reappear which he duly did and performed one encore before disappearing again. It is for this reason that I mentioned we were six minutes late. He did not as far as I can recall say anything to the audience at any stage. No “Hi Manchester, it’s good to be here”, “So long Manchester, it’s been a pleasure”, nothing at all. I think this is the first concert by anyone I have ever been to where the audience was not at least acknowledged.
Beancounter asked me what I thought of the show and I said the music was good but I did not recognise a single track that was played. Some of the music was vaguely familiar but I did not recognise a single track nor understand a single word he sang or should that be mumbled all night? I have to state that I have never been a great fan preferring his tracks when sung by someone else. I cannot think of any Dylan song I have ever heard over the last 50 years or so that did not sound better when performed or recorded by someone other than Bob. Hopefully this has not come across as criticism but merely a statement of the facts as I saw and heard them.
I appreciate that diehard Dylan fans will be foaming at the mouth and spitting vitriol and death threats in my direction at my recollections of the evening and some of the comments I have expressed here. However for the record I did enjoy the evening and I am glad I went to see him and his band. Would I go again? No. One night of the great man is enough for me and I will never forget this show if only for the wrong reasons.