field report no.110219

LOCATION: Thomas Wolfe Auditorium AVL.NC
SUBJECT: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan in Asheville

Going to see Bob Dylan in 2018, you ought to have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. Such a concert-goer is likely well-versed in his catalog—certainly the classics and probably some of the newer, late renaissance work as well—and his live performances have been consistent for years now. I knew I was going to see a pale shadow of what I was too young to ever see, but it was my first and possibly last chance to see the one and only Bob Dylan.

Nowadays, his voice is a more of a husky rasp, halfways to between the Dylan of the 80s and Tom Waits. He still wields immense interpretative power. Having released no new original material in years, and coming off . a complete lyrics book and the Nobel Prize, he seemed more willing to engage with his storied past than I expected—but it was still strictly on his own terms. Even songs burned into my memory didn’t register as familiar until a few lines in—classics were reimagined with entirely new melodies or phrasing.

The only real drawback is his backing band. I guess they’re reliable, but in the blandest way possible. It felt like watching a legend sit in with the 90s-era Saturday Night Live band.

NOTES: Bob Dylan and band