Last night I attended the Bob Dylan Concert at Clemson University is South Carolina. If you were to look at the reviews of his concerts at the various ticket outlets, you may have noticed that the reviews weren't exactly "stunning", and if by going with these reviews you decided that maybe it wasn't worth the price of admission, well, I feel sorry for you. I have only this to say about the concert: OMG!
This is not the Dylan you grew up on. In fact, it took me about ten minutes to take it all in. Bob has managed to reinvent himself for the umpteenth time, but there is just enough Dylan there to continuously remind you that you are watching a living legend. In the seventy years since he was born Robert Zimmerman, Bob's voice is deeper and scratchier, but not as bad as some of his reviewers would make it out to be. He still hits some high notes here and there. As playing the guitar, the organ and the harmonica, he's never been as good as he was last night.
The difference from the Bob Dylan of the past, and the difference from the Bob that played at Clemson last night, wasn't his proficiency with the instruments, or with his voice, it was the way he played his songs. If one were waiting for the folk-rock of old, or even a mixture of rock and folk-rock, they would wait forever. Dylan, at 70 years old, was pure rock. This is why it took me a little while to get my bearings, but get them I did, and I never once was disappointed. It was like listening to Dylan in a whole new way. If I wanted to hear the old Dylan, I could have brought out my old vinyl and CD's and while I would have enjoyed them, I wouldn't have been blown away, something that happened at The Littlejohn Theater last night.
He played many of his standards. "Like a Rolling Stone", "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat", It Ain't me Babe", Highway 61 Revisited", "Joline", "Visions of Johanna" and many others. The crowning achievement of the evening was a rocked-out version of "Mr. Jones" that had the audience on their feet screaming teenage girls at a Beatles Concert in 1964.
Dylan moved around the stage like a ghost. When the lights went out and came back on in seconds, he was at another part of the stage at another instrument. Every time he put that harmonica to his lips, the crowd became delirious. Was it a good concert? Was watching the U.S Hockey team defeat the Russians all those years ago a good hockey game? Don't miss Dylan the next time you get a chance. The only thing that I was disappointed about was the length of the show; it was only about an hour and forty five minutes. But hey, at his age, that was OK.