Okay...gotta say something on this one ! I have been going to Bob Dylan concerts since the late 70's.....I have seen him being backed by multiple bands from Tom Petty to the Grateful Dead. Some shows were great to good, others were just fair. But, with him touring all the time I got to accept the good with the fair. That means I was catching him anywhere between two to four times per year. With that said, I saw him with ''his new band'' in April with Merle Haggard. This was the first time I ever saw Merle and he brought the house down.....he voice was like seasoned smooth single malt Scotch. Then Bob,.....it was a joke !!!! He can no longer annunciate any of his words anymore, he rushes through the songs and lets the Band be the dominate part of the show and with Larry Campbell and Cherlie Sexton gone .....The show stunk for $100 a ticket. As I said I am / was a big Bob Dylan fan. This was the 4th time in a row in the last year that his concerts were just plain terrible !!!! He plays the keyboard ( which if you listen is not really turned up or I was questioning is it even on !!! ) due to carpel tunnell.....get it fixed Bob it is a simple operation. I had to get used to him playing keyboards and not the guitar and thought it was just a another of Bob's phaseses but it looks like it is a permanent move. I think that it is all ego now....as if to say ; ''see I'm still the best''....you were and still are, but now after the last show, you are ruining the songs that made you famous and it is time to stop touring and stay in the studio. The people next to me at the last show I went to actually left after 4 songs stating they couldn't take it anymore !!!!! Love ya Bob, but I think that it may be time.
I too have seen Dylan twice in the last few years. I have also seen him another four times in my life. The satsifaction index has varied all over the map through my experience. Of all his concerts I've seen (and forgive me for not remembering the dates) the one tour he did when he was broadcast from, I think, Australia during the Grammys was his best by far. He rocked, and nailed every song with stunning vocals rivaling his best recording. Very true to the originals. Less than one year later when String Cheese Incident was his opening act and he was playing the piano I considered it the worst of his concerts I've heard. No doubt the piano was turned on as I could clearly hear it. He's a genius and I wish him well but I sense that he doesn't give a hoot about his fans and never has nor never will. In spite of this he remains one of my all time favorites for giving us what we need by sharing his/our pain in a poetic fashion with tunes that will last forever. Remembering as I do the guitar battles he was having with the other lead player at his best concert and how exciting it was I wish someone would convince him to return to that instrument. With the piano set to stage left he never even looked at the audience once. Besides, his facial profile is not complimentary at all. Gimme a full facial with a guitar in his hands any day.
I saw him twice this year, once on his college tour and once on his tour with Merle Haggard. Yes, it is true that his words can't be understood. Personally, I see his voice as just another instrument in his band and don't worry about the words. I like the sound of it, goes well with the rock-a-billy music he is playing. I hope to see him more in the future.
Some people go to a Dylan concert in spite of his voice; some go because of his voice. This night Dylan was on. On all but a few songs the words in large part were understandable. When I heard him a year ago, he was not quite so good. Sometimes he changes up the song arrangemants too much for my taste. I guess one of the things we need to keep in mind is that he is 64 years old. Men half his age find it hard to get it up every night (figuratively and literally.)
I first saw Bob Dylan in 1965 and many times since, you never know which Dylan will show up. It's like the opening line in The Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times and the worst of times" But whatever it was it was it is always entertaining. See Dylan while you can, once he is gone we will never see the likes of him again.
Have been a Dylan fan since his first album in the early 60s. After the last two concerts, I have to say he played on automatic. IMHO he is essentially a troubadour traveling the country at this stage of his career. I admire him for letting people hear him in all the little venues he now visits. His endurance is amazing. You are hearing and viewing a legend. But often his concerts are uninspiring muscically even though he is inspiring as a professional musician who is still willing to make the show go on regardless of whether he is having a good or bad day.
Bad live music still has an ambiance that is different than canned music. I certainly sympathize with people who no longer are moved by his live performances. In an interview a couple of decades ago in Rolling Stone or Playboy, Dylan said he was not sure how much longer he could be on the road because of all the drugs you have to take to be "up" every night. Well, like Neil Young says, "He is a survivor." Dylan, amazingly, just keeps on going even if he often looks like warmed over death. I guess you assess the man as a whole including his pluses and minuses. Many of us still feel a debt of gratitude for his early on standing up to protest the abuses of power. And he always did so in a most poetic way. He is a driven soul. May he find peace.
Dylan is a troubadour in the finest sence of the word. Think Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger. His album, Love & Theft, IMHO is as important as was Blonde on Blonde. What a body of work he has produced. Can you imagine what treasures have never been released?
I saw Dylan in Lansing Michigan in the early nineties and his vocals were illegible but his guitar playing surprised me, it was a terrific performance. I am glad I got invited, at the last minute, to this show and it was front row center to boot!
Saw him a short while back and I truly must say it was a pathetic performance. It's though when one of your idols is found to have feet of clay. Well maybe there was nothing wrong with his feet, but his singing was, even by his own standards, gawd awful. I guess I will put Highway 61 Revisited on the turntable and pretend this is 1965...
his vocals were illegible
Guess he should have hung on to those cue-cards from that famous Pennebaker video!
So what if he is 65? There are many rockers out there nearing that age that still Rock it up...Why would anyone tour when they cant be understood..I dont think he needs the money...
I'd like to think that he is tired of doing the same old songs in the same old way and is reinventing himself so to speak. I too prefer the songs sang in the old way, that I know and love but, its still Dylan, and he is the legend though I am not sure he ever wanted to be one...
Wow...the guy sucks lately and due to his legend status, its ok to be barely understandable?
I saw him on TV a few years back, and it was so embarrasing, that it turned me off completely to the guy..he looked wasted (drunk, or drugged up, i dont know), and you could see others looking at him like WTF..?)
My fav guitarrist sucked a few times, and it bugged me,,but then came around...but i wouldnt go see him if it was a constant state of affairs.
I have to agree with Garebear. I saw Dylan four times in the last year and a half. I last saw him this April with Haggard, who was smooth and delightful. Dylan's band before the recent changes were made could compensate for the loss of range in his voice. The new band couldn't. I saw him with Willie last summer and when I heard he was touring with Willie again this summer I first thought I would go again but changed my mind.
Like the line in "Mississippi" from Love and Theft:
"Well, my ship's been split to splinters
and it's sinking fast."
I hope for a rebound but considering he is sixty three or so I don't look for it.
I've seen Dylan live some 11 or so times in the last 16 years.
I'm no apologist as his vocals can be terrible at times ( the early 90's were particularly bad) .
Since the mid 90's he has imho got a better,much better grip on things.
However he clearly would not be for everybody as his voice has clearly aged and it was never that palatable to many people anyway.
He hasn't hit Europe this tour but I saw him three times a year ago at the keyboards and his singing was clear pretty much 99% of the time.
Garebear states it's all ego now somehow that doesn't tie in with anything I've ever seen Dylan do in a live context.
He may be hitting a bad patch but I doubt ego has much to do with it, as for his age Jsujo you are right it is irrelevant and no excuse for sub par performances.
I think you've taken one opinion (apparently not your own) and turned it into a bigger thing than it actually is.