Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Bob Dylan Driving Festival Crowds Crazy with Obscure Setlists, No Hits


Imagine that you weer at the Outlaw Music Festival tonight. Bob Dylan comes out and plays “Highway 61 Revisited.”

You say to yourself, Okay, last night was an aberration. We’re going to hear his best songs tonight.

Well, you would have been wrong.

After “Highway 61,” Dylan tortured the crowd with 13 obscure songs including covers of Chuck Berry, the Fleetwoods, the Grateful Dead, and Paul Davis (the singer of “I Go Crazy,” not my cousin, the radiologist).

Dylan has hundreds of well known songs in his catalog. But he also has a perverse sense of humor. He doesn’t care why you came to see him. Forget about early stuff like “Blowin in the Wind” or “Mr. Tambourine Man.” You’re not going to get anything from “Blood on the Tracks” or “Desire.” You might get “Things Have Changed,” which an Oscar.

Ypu’ll be so exasperated that by time he gets to the last two B level songs — “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”

Maybe Bob is upset Willie Nelson took a few days off. In April, at least he threw in four to six better known tunes plus a cover of “Jambalaya.”

But mostly all Dylan sets these days are rebukes of the audience. Bob doesn’t care that he Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, or that damn Oscar. Sometimes he sings, “You gotta serve somebody,” but that may be advice to a waiter. Dylan serves no one.

If you have a sense of humor, too, then okay. The band is always spot on. But if you were hoping for “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” play the records instead.

Or pick up “Shadow Kingdom,” Bob’s sop to fans during the pandemic. (It’s excellent.)
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
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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