Bob Dylan lands in Christchurch

LANDED: Bob Dylan's jet arrived on Tuesday night at Christchurch airport.
Iain McGregor
LANDED: Bob Dylan's jet arrived on Tuesday night at Christchurch airport.

Bob Dylan has apparently arrived in Christchurch by private jet, ahead of his concert at Horncastle Arena tonight.

On a previous visit to Christchurch, he donned a disguise. Hoodie over his head, he wandered our streets and popped into Scorpio Books to make a purchase.

His disguise is so convincingly nondescript that Dylan, 73, was detained as a vagrant by New Jersey police in 2009.

LEGEND: Bob Dylan is playing in Christchurch's Horncastle Arena.
LEGEND: Bob Dylan is playing in Christchurch's Horncastle Arena.

Dave Cameron, of Scorpio Books, remembers Dylan as being ''personable''.

''He autographed a bookmark for someone from the store,'' Cameron said. ''I don't know if he'll come visit us in Riccarton but maybe he'll pop into Re:Start Mall this time?''

Born Robert Zimmerman, the legendary American singer-songwriter has been on a ''never-ending tour'' since 1988.

In 1986, when he came here, it was expected to be his last tour but in 1988 Dylan decided to go on the road and tour all the time. He's played literally thousands of shows since.

Typically four hotels are booked for Dylan at each city he lands in.

He likes to wander in and check out the vibe of each place. If he doesn't like the feel, he wanders on to the next one until he finds one that fits.

It's not a pretentious thing, The Press is informed, he just likes to feel comfortable.

An extremely private man, he shuns interviews. After six decades of being a walking musical legend, it's understandable.

He is a man of few words but does like to laugh.

When a reporter once asked him: ''What's your real message?,'' Dylan famously responded: ''Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb.''

It must be difficult to be Dylan.

The Press has not been permitted photography access to tonight's show. If you are hoping to snap a paparazzi shot on your phone, good luck, as typically his stage lighting is set to dark.

Dylan was once asked if he was a singer or a poet. He simply described himself as ''a song and dance man''.

These days Dylan concerts are a combination of songs he's reinventing and songs he's playing. Sometimes he'll play a song he played the night before but totally differently.

Tonight we'll probably hear Things Have Changed, She Belongs to Me, Workingman's Blues 2, Pay In Blood, Simple Twist of Fate, Scarlet Town and Long and Wasted Years, among others.

His setlists are reasonably fixed, so don't be the person who yells out for him to sing Hurricane, he hasn't done that for years.

And, if you see a man in a hoodie in a Christchurch book store, it might pay to look twice.

The Press