I saw Bob Dylan!

So here is a little video from the Bob Dylan concert last night, (actually filming and taking photographs was strictly forbidden so that’s why it has a slight pirate video  feel about it!)

After the gig a few people were disappointed saying that the sound mix was awful, Dylan hit a lot of bum notes on the piano and harmonica and even his most famous songs were unrecognisable. He seemed not to make much effort to connect to the audience, and his voice is shot. Even I, as a native English speaker struggled to hear what he was singing – and I use the word singing in the loosest possible sense – so I feel sorry for the majority of French people in the audience.

That said, I enjoyed every second of it! I’m not a huge Dylan fan, and only know a handful of his most famous songs, but he is a man I can’t ever remember not knowing. He’s always been in my universe, on magazines, documentaries, on the radio, even cinema. When I started learning the guitar, Blowin’ in the wind and These times are a changin’ were in the first two or three songs I learnt and I must have played each of them hundreds of times.

He is so often spoken of as the greatest singer-songwriter who ever lived, and there I was sitting in the Roman amphitheater in Lyon, and this figure walks on stage, and I just felt a chill. Is this the man who’s now achieved an almost god-like status? Who so many musicians set out to be? A real life living legend?! Actually no on closer inspection it was his bass player walking out…

But then someone else came on, and my god it was really him this time! I was seeing the Bob Dylan with my own two eyes, and it was wonderful, and from that moment, I was just going to enjoy it, no matter what – and by the way he performed I think he knew that.

But even if the the sound wasn’t great… it’s in the verb. You go to see a concert not to listen to it, and I can now say ‘I have seen Bob Dylan!’ Live! and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Take a look at the video and tell me what you think…

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16 thoughts on “I saw Bob Dylan!

  1. I love Dylan, but in some ways the old dude has had his day as a stage act. I am so looking forward to September 11th and the release of Tempest. Dylan’s studio voice, and I never ever discount what he has to say as the poet laureate of my generation. Last thing – love the outfit, kind of a cross between a snake-oil salesman and a sunday in the park dandy.

    1. I know what you mean, I turned to my French girlfriend at one stage and said, “Don’t worry if you can’t understand a word he’s saying, because I can’t either.” His voice has seen better days, but honestly seeing him is one of the highlights of my life, so I’m happy he is still touring, and happy I could share it with you.

  2. I got to meet and talk with Dylan alone the day the made the video for Political World. Of course he even looks more like Dylan in person than in photos. He was quiet and we shook hands. He looked more like a parking lot attendant than a rich superstar. It was one of those serendipitous encounters. I think many people today go just to look at him. Afterall, sound systems are generally bad, people are noisy, his voice is rough from years of over using it, etc etc. But he is a very singular artist. Up there with the likes of Johnny Mercer or Ira Gershwin, and no one in rock even comes close to him. I’m glad you got to look at him. I wish the Brits would stay out of my dad’s country—France.

  3. I always enjoy hearing from David Desmond. Always a positive outlook on his friend.
    Is it true that you have known him a little. I have been keeping up with the shows for the
    last year on youtube. Once you get acquainted with his live performance style currently,
    it’s actually something to look forward to. Some of the best renditions come up when you
    least expect it. I’m looking forward to seeing him this fall in NY and PA.
    Obviously the studio albums, and especially recent ones, are perfection Dylan style.
    But I get the feeling he really likes the live performance art.
    Thrilled that he’s taking his hat off sometimes, it must get kind of hot out there under the lights.
    I wish he’d just where a pair of jeans and a shirt like the rest of the high rollers.
    But he’s just got too much dignity doesn’t he!
    Angie

  4. Dave, First of all I think to dig a live Dylan concert is to know and appreciate the songs on their own right. Then, after finding the words understanding them inside and out you get to experience the exposive feelings expressed all dressed up flaming before you. Now you got turned on to some wild feelings, human longing for a just world and all you can say is little critical comments? Actually if you think about it you got a sense of the freedom, the mysterious, magical and mystical healing that happened didn’t you? When you hear him sing live the feeling is close to miraculous because each song sung, each individual concert is a work of art created anew.

  5. A quick search shows Mr Desmond is a regular Dylan troller.. Well, we all have to have hobbies. Thanks for sharing your positive thoughts the rest of you, it’s 3am here so I won’t be able to approve any more until morning. Good night all x

  6. Have to agree with Alicia, sounds like we’re on the same wavelength woman.
    Some things are to surreal to explain, let alone understand. But what’s real come’s
    through loud and clear.
    Mr. Dylan speaks with a silent voice.

  7. Oh My!
    Actually my post was to you Mr. Alexander Aucott, Freelance Journalist.
    (I posted to Dave because this was my first post ever. I got no problem with Dave.)

    I am responding to your comment Mr. Aucott in your article on Mr. Dylan where you said, “He seemed not to make much effort to connect to the audience, and his voice is shot. Even I, as a native English speaker struggled to hear what he was singing – and I use the word singing in the loosest possible sense – so I feel sorry for the majority of French people in the audience.”

    So, here is my post to you, Alexander. And once again sorry to Dave.

    First of all I think to dig a live Dylan concert is to know and appreciate the songs on their own right. Then, after finding the words understanding them inside and out you get to go to a Dylan concert and experience human longing for justice and all you can say is little critical comments? Actually you got a sense of the freedom and mystical healing that happens and that shows in your article too. I truly enjoyed and appreciate your film and the feeling it captures.

  8. Hi Alicia, thank you for taking the time to comment, and I’m glad you liked the video. Actually as I said “I enjoyed every second of it!” It was really amazing to see the man in real life who I have so much respect for.

    However, in order to find the words and understand them inside and out, you have to be able to actually hear them, and as i said, even I couldn’t understand what he was saying a lot of the time.. It just sounded like grunting. I was in a group of about 8. One person walked out after about three songs and everyone else went the distance saying they hoped it would get better but it didn’t.

    What I’ve given is my honest opinion, which I think is more than “little critical comments.” What I have said is; I loved every second of a highly flawed performance.

  9. To Alexander Aucott
    First of all thank you very much for the video. A nice memory of a show
    of which I couldn’t understand Dylan’s words but I know the songs inside out. Worst was the stupid on the sound mixing table who made the bass trembling the RomanStones and whou should be dismissed. I to leave
    before the encore and travelled 700 km for this. Nevertheless I am
    thankful and excited being privileged to see the man that filled my life with his poetry and music, which voice is powerful expressive.
    Bob touches as no one else can as I saw on his shows since 1989 all over Europe and USA. Those who can’t understand this are ok of course but they would better leave so we see Bob in less big venues and more in front with soumates to share those unique experiences.

  10. So glad I saw that video! It reminded me of watching concerts in the old days, and just picking up the vibes from their clothes/posing on stage etc. As someone said, his clothes were rather good this time!

    Can’t be too sorry about his voice since it was always crap; the keen will always be able to read the lyrics, and though I’ve never got round to checking them in detail, I acknowledge that he is a top poet. I was surprised when I found that out years ago.

    Great atmosphere for the concert – the dusk emphasised the snugness and holidayness of the venue. Reminded me of PLG hols on the Beach in the S of Fr, and how I nearly went to see a concert at Orange.

    I’ll be back (here that is, not necessarily the S of Fr!).

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