It was 1964, during the height of his “Protest Song” era. Bob Dylan was asked a question during a press conference: “Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or poet?” Dylan replied: “Oh, I think of myself as a song and dance man, y’know.”
Well, to me, Bob has
become that song and dance man he was so sardonically portraying in that
response. I’ve seen a lot of Dylan shows over the years, some of them
sketchy, some of them brilliant. With Bob
you never really know what you are in for. I heard a lot of negative
comments the morning after the show. That’s not new, controversy has
happened in every phase of Dylan’s career.
Monday night at the Rose Garden, Dylan seemed to be having a great time, moving around the stage in his version of dancing, playing some of the greatest songs ever written in our time. Granted, he has become a bit of a vocal parody of himself, sometimes (honestly, most times), it takes a couple of minutes to figure out what that great song he’s singing actually is. I’ve grown to expect that and actually enjoy the bit of detective work it takes to identify what he’s completely re-arranged. It’s Dylan.
He worked through
songs the span of his career, from "Blowin’ In The Wind," first recorded
in 1963 on his second album (that’s 50 years ago if you’re keeping
track) to the obscure - "Cry A While" from 2001's "Love
And Theft" album and "Thunder On The Mountain" and "Spirit On The Water"
the opening two tracks to his 2006 album "Modern Times." Here's the set list.
Mark Knopfler and his amazing 7 piece band opened up the night with the majority of his extended set being songs from his new double album, “Privateering” (which is not being released in the United States). Opening with "What It Is" from his 2000 album “Sailing To Philadelphia” and ending with So Far Away (the only Dire Straits song he performed), Knoplfer has assembled an incredible group of players and seems content to explore the new parameters of this new recording.
Dylan and Knopfler have been friends since Mark produced the controversial “Slow Train” album for Dylan back in 1979. Controversy then, controversy when plugging in, controversy at age 72. What would Bob probably say about all this?
My guess would be... “I’m just a song and dance man, y’know?”