Tickets go on sale this week. I last saw him live in the Disco Dylan Live At Budokan days, so I am naturally cautious about what I may get for my $$$.
If recently is defined loose enough to include a couple years ago, I did. I’m a huge Dylan fan and have every CD. But live, he sucks. Doesn’t put forth the effort to make the lyrics intelligible, spends too much time on the new stuff and not enough on the classics. No rapport with the fans whatsoever. To be honest I wouldn’t buy another concert ticket of his again.
My girlfriend saw him 3 years ago, and claims that he sucked hard. And she is a huge Dylan fan.
Some artists are just better on the stereo, I guess.
It’s really only worth it if you want to tick an item off that list of “Stuff to Do Before I Bite It.” If “Seeing Bob Dylan Live!!!1!!1!” isn’t in your top 30-ish on that list, don’t bother. You won’t be able to understand anything he’s singing and even if you could he won’t play a single damn song that you like, or hell, even know the chorus of. And he won’t give a tiny rat’s ass whether or not any one in the audience is enjoying the show. “Seeing Dylan live” was on my list at 18, so I’m kind of glad I did it. But Jesus-fucking-tap-dancing-goat-licking-Christ, that was one of the worst shows I’ve ever been to.
FIrst, bear something in mind: while Dylan was NEVER a great singer in any conventional sense, he USED to have a certain something that made him the best interpreter of his own songs.
I add this disclaimer because SOME Dylan fans will hear my critisicism and dismiss it, saying “People have ALWAYS said Dylan can’t sing. They were saying that in 1965, and they’re saying it now. I don’t listen to those people. They’re just morons who don’t appreciate a great artist.”
I am NOT comparing Bob Dylan to Frank Sinatra. I am not comparing him to Enrico Caruso. I am comparing him to the guy who recorded “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” and “Isis.”
Compared to THAT guy, Dylan’s voice sucks. And this is not a new development. He HAS sucked consistently for at least 20 years.
The last time I saw him, he was touring with Paul Simon. Dylan’s band was superb (it always is). His set was a delightfully eclectic mix of old and new stuff, of fan favorites and great obscure songs. If Dylan could sing even a little, it would have been a great show.
He. Can’t. Sing. Even. A little.
I have often tried to give people this warning: “Have you ever held your nose and done a joke Dylan imitation? If so, YOU sounded 50 times better than the real thing.” People who hear that think I’m joking. Or they think I’m engaging in some comic hyperbole. Only AFTER ignoring me and seeing Dylan live have they come back and said, “Oh… you WEREN’T exaggerating, were you?”
Bob Dylan has been consistant in one thing. He has always warned us, in interviews (60 minutes) and replies to inane questions from the press, that he doesn’t give a shit if we like his work. If you don’t like it, listen to something else.
But I’m a fan of that work, which does benefit from the “cleaning up” of the studio.
Excuse me, I going to go pull up Modern Times on my iPod.
BTW; that 60 minutes interview was Dylan’s best ever. He and Bradley seemed to actually have some raport, and Bradley let him answer the questions. Dylan responded by answering the questions. Mostly.
I saw him live roughly six or seven years ago, and I thought he rocked. It was much better than I thought it would be. His band was a bunch of young guys who were really tight, he was pretty energetic for a man with so many medical problems, and his song selection was a good mixture of old and new. He did a version of “Sick of Love” that was better than the recorded version, IMO. His voice seemed fine, though it may have seriously deteriorated in the past few years.
I saw him in '99, touring with Paul Simon. Bob opened, and did fine, and managed to keep up mostly on the songs they did together. Paul blew him away.
Exactly. I saw him two years ago, I think, and it was exactly as described except with a few more oldies.
The college audience applauded politely whenever they heard the start of a song they recognized and then say quietly through the rest of the harangue. Most of the time it took me at least halfway before I recognized a song and I’ve been listening to Dylan since 1965. The words were unintelligible and the band simply made noise.
It is a different band this time around from what I’ve read and that may make a difference. But I did it then just to say I went to a Dylan concert and not to enjoy it.
P.S. This was at R.I.T., which is home to one of the largest schools for the deaf in the college world. Naturally they had several sign interpreters. We happened to be sitting right on top of them. (In the balcony, jokers.) My wife and I joked through the entire show that they had to be making up lyrics as they went along because no human could understand what was being sung.
I am a big fan. Followed him from his Blindboy Grunt broadsides to his famous albums. He gave a show in Detroit a long time ago. I and a couple friends were cutting through an alley when he came out the back door. One of my friends yelled her Bobby. He turned and glared. Then said who are you, I don’t know you. Who are you to call my name.
I am still a fan of his music but he is a prick.
Ask Joan Baez (love her) if Bobby ain’t a prick.
So, did you tell him who you are?
My mom said you really want to see him early in the tour since his voice gets worse towards the end dates. I saw him about 15 years ago at the Waikiki Shell and enjoyed the show. Although at the time I wasn’t very knowledgeable of his songs.
I was at post 666 so I was not going to post for a couple of weeks in hopes of working up an air of mystique about myself. Well, I feel compelled to warn the OP, and am breaking into post 667.
I saw him about 3 years ago and he sucked. He “reworked” all the classics so that they all sounded exactly the same, a homogeneous monotonous pile of drivel. I was thinking, say, is that maybe All Along the Watchtower? It sounds vaguely like it. Hmmm, is that Like a Rolling Stone? Maybe. He never picked up a guitar once. I thought there might have been a riot since it was so shitty. But, I guess there were some people who liked it. There were a bunch of old hippies clapping enthusiastically with stupid grins on their face. I was not amongst them.
I saw him last fall, and he was as everyone else described there was little show and the lyrics were unintelligible. The material was pretty much all new stuff.
On the other hand, who knew the Foo Fighters (who were opening) had all that talent and sincerity in them?
I’m gonna see him at ACL this year… sounds like it’s a good thing that I’m primarily going to the festival for other bands…
I saw him with Paul Simon, too. Bob opened and put on the best rock and roll show I ever saw. Small group, lean and tight. He even recognized that we were listening, and introduced the band in less than a cursory manner. Every song was recognizable, and the version of Highway 61 blew the house down. The songs that he did with Paul Simon acted as a nice bridge, and then the audience got a second, entireley different music lesson.
I have seen him before and after and those shows were much like others have described. I still think he is a poet, and, if the opportunity presents itslef, I’ll probably see him again.
Two years ago, at an winery outdoor amphitheater venue. He was touring with Willie Nelson that year, but they’d split and do separate concerts on some dates; this was one of them. The band was good, very tight, and most of the stuff was in an uptempo, much rockier style, even on some of the classics. Frankly, if I hadn’t been listening VERY closely, I wouldn’t have known what song he was doing. He wore his white cowboy outfit with string tie, said not one word in between songs until the very end. It was more a case of being able to say, yeah, I saw him live. (Crosby, Stills and Nash on a different date at that venue, were superb. Hard to tell in advance.)
I saw him with Simon, and on the tour he did with someone from the Dead. I also saw him around 1980 in his gospel days. He was better these two times. I saw him at Shoreline in Mountain View, and I shelled out for real seats near the front, and it paid. I had no trouble making out the lyrics, and I’ve listened to enough live albums and bootlegs to not get upset when he changes things. I like the new stuff, so that was no problem either.
If you want to hear him banter with the audience, buy the Live at Carnegie Hall 1964 bootleg. He did a lot, but he was drunk, which might have explained it. He wasn’t bantering at the 1966 “Albert Hall” bootleg. He didn’t in 1980 either. That’s Dylan.
BTW, I understand that he doesn’t play guitar on the latest tour due to health reasons, but only keyboards.
I’m really looking forward to Austin City Limits this year. I hope he sticks to covers of the old roots songs he loves so much on his radio show or to his (mostly) own new music. Love & Theft and Modern Times are fantastic.
I have seen Bob many times in a surprisingly large number of countries (as in number of countries in which I have seen Bob/number of countries I have visited = approx .8) and I have always been disappointed. Too much “travelling jukebox” not enough focus on the songs that made him great. I don’t complain too much about the voice, but really, I’m not there to wave a cigarette lighter and sing along with “everybah-dee mahs geh stehrned!” I want to see the great artist work his great art.