You want me to review Bob Dylan? Bob Dylan the genius, voice of a generation, icon and Nobel laureate? I feel woefully unequal to the task, but, um, here it goes. First, my credentials. I am a huge Dylan fan – have been since early high school. I have countless fond memories of lying in my bed (wood – not brass) during the comfortable American 1990s, listening to tracks from The Times They Are a-Changin’ or Blonde on Blonde, contemplating the experience of living through the turbulent American 1960s. Dylan’s lyrics and imagery masterfully captured the divisive American societal issues of his time and are now a recognized soundtrack to one of the most tumultuous periods in modern American history.
Now, to the show.
For starters, the Star Theatre was an appropriate venue for a Dylan concert. Indoors and intimate, the theater was full of excited Dylan fans of all ages.
Dylan came out on time, and went right into “Things Have Changed”, followed quickly by “It Ain’t Me, Babe” and “Highway 61 Revisited” – two personal favorites. His concert set included 18 of his classics, including “Blowin’ in the Wind”. His band was competent – not exceptional – but their loud electric guitars and drums did, at times, drown out Dylan’s distinctive signing voice, which, although weakened with age, is still what fans come to hear.
This was my third (and probably final) Dylan concert. The first two I attended were during the 1990s. At the time, I learned two lessons that still ring true today:
(1) If you go to a modern Dylan concert expecting to hear songs that sound the same as on his classic albums, then you’ll be disappointed. Dylan seems more electric than acoustic these days and has a tendency to sing some of his classics in a manner very different (unrecognisable, at times) from what you’re probably used to.
(2) Dylan will never sing all the songs that you came to hear! His beloved oeuvre is too massive, and you’re bound to go home disappointed because you didn’t hear at least one of your favorites. This time, for me, it was “Like a Rolling Stone”.
If you can accept these factors, however difficult that may be, you can probably listen to a modern Dylan performance with an open mind and new appreciation for Dylan’s artistic journey and contribution to history.
For me, it was great to spend a few hours in the presence of greatness, reliving a cherished part of my younger years.
– Tim Pitrelli
The Star Theatre is located at 1 Vista Exchange Green #04-01.
To learn more about upcoming shows, visit thestar.sg/events.
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