milano: singing with bob dylan

Posted on November 20, 2005

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by peter gillies
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dylan rocks milan

I resurrected a bit of my youth over the weekend when I went to see Bob Dylan in concert at the Assago Forum on the outskirts of Milano. Quite a memory jogger it was too. I have seen Bob Dylan once before in concert in the UK – in 1969. A lifetime ago, or so it seems now. He was good then. Very good. On Saturday, however he was fantastic. I have been listening to Bob Dylan since the early 1960s, from the time I started learning to play the guitar in fact. What a lot of memories were stirred gently during the evening.

It was an amazing evening featuring both classical Dylan songs, such as Tamborine Man, together and some of his more recent work – with a few musical surprises as the Dylan standards were presented in some very different ways. Dylan has continued to develop as an artist over the years, always presenting his work in wonderfully fresh and different ways to give a sense of continuing excitement and relevance to his words and music.

It was good to see that he still enjoyed himself during his performances as well, with Dylan getting a fit of the giggles during “Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”. Very rarely for Dylan, he encouraged the audience to sing along with him during “Just Like a Woman”, resulting in a truly electric performance.

One thing I noticed was how mobile phones have largely taken the place of waving cigarette lighters these days – at least that is how it looked from the posh seats. Hundreds of mobile phones waving around, emitting their eerie glow seemed a bit out of place to me, but then I am old and decrepit these days, although I have to admit that my own eerily glowing phone was one of them as I tried to take a couple of photos of the scene in front of me. Sadly, not very successfully, as you can see from the photo I took above.

An excellent night which finished with the usual scrummage for the buses back to the Metro station. Bozzetto is so very right in his analysis of Italian crowd behaviour!