Bob Dylan, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, 31 August 2014

Not a review, just a homage from a grateful and breathless fan:

It’s true that His Royal Highness did not play ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ (although he did play ‘All Along the Watchtower’). What he did do was roar and whisper and coax and breathe, one nasalled phrase at a time, through some of the highlights of his most recent albums — with just enough classics to stop a riot.

The aged Dylan voice is a thing of damaged, compromised wonder: it’s still him, unmistakably, and yet it’s a sort of mosaic: coloured shards of broken beauty glued together to make something new. His unwillingness — whether on stage or in the studio — to be a living, breathing Bob Dylan tribute show is a gift, despite the whinging I heard on the tram on the way home: ‘He started with crap and ended with crap. He didn’t play any of the classics’. Actually, he ended with a reinvented ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’.

He never strapped on a guitar. He either hovered around a microphone stand — occasionally participating in something that I took to be dancing, occasionally seeking out a harmonica — or he sat at the piano. He seemed much more at home behind the piano.

As the final song ended, his band members took a couple of steps back, isolating him out front.

He didn’t speak a word to us for the whole show, except when he said something like, ‘Thanks, here’s an interval’. When we cheered him at the end of the concert — and I’ve got no idea how many people cheered the show, as opposed to how many people cheered the man, the legend, the legacy — he stood with the band for a decent(ish) moment, looked out at us, and then wandered off.

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