waid: (violin land)
[personal profile] waid
When you are watching one of the greats of twentieth century music performing live under a summer sky, you are not supposed to be thinking "I would be better employed writing fanfiction at home." And I don't mean that in an "Oh God look at me I'm so dorky and obsessive" way. I mean Bob Dylan was literally that bad. He did not sing. I don't say "he can't". He chose not to. It was a little like incredibly bad rap. He crammed each line into the last half of the bar, pitching the final syllable an octave above the rest in a kind of yelp, the others all on the same, basically spoken note. "DadadadaDAH! DadadadaDAH!"It all sounded like that. You couldn't even sing with/over him, because he chopped up the rhythm so horribly. Occasionally one would be tantalised by a phrase he hadn't quite remembered to screw up. The best it got was "Like a Rolling Stone" where he graciously allowed the audience to sing the chorus. I thought -- remove Bob Dylan, and we could have a much better time having a nice crowd singalong by ourselves. We have a decent vocal range and can carry a tune.

Just as I was desperately telling myself "no, okay, he's just jamming, wait till he does another classic, then, maybe..." I realised he was actually two thirds of the way through Ballad of a Thin Man. It had taken me that long to recognise the lyrics - the tune was completely indiscernible.

He never acknowledged the audience. The image on the  the big screens never changed from the same long shot of the band -- which we guessed at the time and later confirmed is  a condition of Dylan's contract. It just added to the sense of stagnation. We'd had plenty of close ups of Ray Davies - who, by the way, was delightful.

Part of the reason I wasn't just disappointed but actually angry -aside from the fact that tickets were hideously expensive -- was that before the set began I saw a little girl, perhaps  five years old,  sitting on her father's shoulders, craning forwards and repeating eagerly, "I want to actually see Bob Dylan!" And when I met her dad's eyes with "aww" written all over my face, he grinned and mouthed "She's a huge fan."

But Bob Dylan wasn't there. I think he might not be anywhere, any more.

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September 2010

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