Dylan's nod to a classic too little too late

BOB DYLAN: From left to right - Stu Kimball, George Recile Tony Garnier, Bob Dylan, Charlie Sexton and Donnie Herron at Horncastle Arena, Christchurch
BOB DYLAN: From left to right - Stu Kimball, George Recile Tony Garnier, Bob Dylan, Charlie Sexton and Donnie Herron at Horncastle Arena, Christchurch

I had been joyously anticipating Bob Dylan's Christchurch concert for weeks.

Hurricane ranks as one of my favourite songs to stomp my feet to and sing at the top of my lungs, and Blowin in the Wind gets my body swaying like no other.

However Wednesday night's trip to Christchurch left me wanting.

Bob Dylan and his band came on stage and decided to take us back in time: not through the music, but through the lack of screens showing him on stage. He was so far away he seemed like an ant.

Dylan offset the dark stage by wearing an equally dark suit, so for most of the night I sat there trying to find him.

His singing was not so much singing, but more of a lyrical mumble. I questioned whether it was what he was supposed to sound like, or if he had forgotten the words due to indulging in illegal substances or quite possibly was having a stroke on stage.

All songs this legend had chosen to sing were from his latest album Tempest and he obviously did not care to pay homage to anything earlier.

One of the people in the party I was with decided to start counting how many songs he sung until she knew one. She lost count but made it the entire way through the concert without knowing a single one.

Dylan had lured the crowd there with his name and then ignored the many songs the audience had come for.

I did, however, have a fantastic night: the music was easy-listening background noise, and quite a pleasant accompaniment to the conversations I was having with the people I was sharing the corporate box with (yes, I had to drop that in).

From the noise across the stadium I believe most of the audience was treating it the same way we were.

The most entertaining part of the night was watching Dylan's cellist on stage thrust at his large wooden instrument as though he was making sweet sweet love to it. And congratulations to that cellist, he had stamina.

During his encore, Dylan did mash up one of his songs with a couple of lines of Blowin in the Wind.

Too little too late.

The Timaru Herald