Thursday, May 23, 2024

Bob Dylan Tells NY Audience He Wants to Get Jann Wenner Back in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Exclusive)


Bob Dylan didn’t really speak until the end of his two hour show at the Beacon Theater tonight. But what he said was surprising.

After introducing his incredibly talented band, Dylan said, “Jann Wenner is here tonight. Anyway, he got booted out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We don’t like that. We’re trying to get him back in.” (The audience applauded.) He also complimented the band saying, “These songs aren’t easy to play.”

Wenner was removed from the Rock Hall board of directors recently after telling a NY Times reporter that he didn’t think Black or female artists were articulate enough to be included in his book of interviews.

Not only was Wenner ousted from the Rock Hall, but Rolling Stone magazine disassociated themselves from their founder instantly. The book Wenner was promoting flopped.

The Beacon was sold out. Dylan played about 17 songs, leading the band on piano. He doesn’t seem to play the guitar anymore. The show was much better than one I saw last year, with dynamic sound, and the band more richly rewarding than ever. The entire set was a smash. Highlights included “Key West,” “Black Rider,” and “Every Grain of Sand.”

There were few ‘greatest hits’ the closest would be “Watching the River Flow,” “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” and “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”

While it’s admirable that Dylan is loyal to Wenner, I wonder if he understands how the Rolling Stone editor got the bounce from the Rock Hall.

No pictures from the show. It’s phone free, they were locked in a pouch which caused a lot of commotion before and after the succinct program. In the audience: famed concert promoter Ron Delsener.

It was a Dylan day. Earlier in the afternoon, I caught Timothee Chalamet in his new movie, “Wonka.” Chalamet, who went to the Dylan show on Tuesday in Brooklyn, is in rehearsals for “Complete Unknown,” the James Mangold film about Dylan.

Dylan is the subject of a new 600 page book called “Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine.” All the material is taken from the official archives at the Dylan Center in Tulsa. It’s considered the most accurate book about Dylan yet. Chalamet is said to be using it for his research.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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