Review: Times Have Changed but Rock Still Has a Genuine Rolling Stone; Bob Dylan at Vicar Street

By Antrim, Rob | The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), September 15, 2000 | Go to article overview

Review: Times Have Changed but Rock Still Has a Genuine Rolling Stone; Bob Dylan at Vicar Street


Antrim, Rob, The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)


THE tousle-haired student - Caterpillar boots, Gap combats, black tee-shirt and red bandanna - said it all.

"I need a miracle" his placard proclaimed. As did the ticketless man from Italy, with his Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat: a devotee who tours the world in Bob Dylan's footsteps, seemingly for the purpose of throwing his battered headpiece on stage whenever the band strikes up the song of the same name.

The miracle they wanted was entry into Dylan's Vicar Street gig near Dublin's trendy Temple Bar, and some were prepared to go to any lengths.

An American in Hawaiian shirt (it was raining) paraded along the queue of ticket holders, offering anyone who would listen "a vacation" in exchange for an audience with Bob. There were no takers.

We who had tickets surely were the anointed, the chosen few, selected for communion with an artist who, even at 50-something, retains a masterly ability to recapture the spirit of rock's golden age.

It was the rare and irresistable prospect of seeing their idol in a venue smaller than a church hall which fanned desperation. Last week the 800 tickets were snapped up within a minute, some later changing hands for pounds 1,000.

And this despite the fact that anyone who really wanted to see Dylan had already booked their place for last night's more accesible Point Depot show.

No-one who made it into the hallowed chamber was to be disappointed.

While his off-song rapport with the audience amounted to a few courteous bows and a single "thank you", Dylan connected from the moment he walked on stage and launched into an upbeat, unrecorded song. It sounded suspiciously like a homage to a gentleman, name of King Billy, who met his fate from being "on the job too long". Hmmm.

With a now familiar and versatile four-piece ensemble around him, Dylan delved for two hours into his illustrious back pages. …

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