Autobahn 61 revisited
Bob Dylan's Stuttgart gig on Monday showed the old trouper in
Bob Dylan's newest song,
from the soundtrack of the Michael Douglas
movie "Wonder Boys", is called Things Have Changed.
But they haven't
really. A new century finds Dylan doing what he has always
done - a new
tour, a new album on the way and still playing the songs that
define the latter half of the 20th century.
On Friday he collects
the "Polar Music" prize from King Gustav of
Sweden in Stockholm and he decided while he was in Europe he
well play a handful of dates. Sadly there are none in Britain
will be back in September for an appearance at the Albert
then he should have a new album to promote, his first since
acclaimed Time Out of Mind, his best record in years.
There is currently an upbeat mood in the Dylan camp, which
he is about to kick off the millennium with a real stunner. We
see. Certainly in Stuttgart on the second date of the current
was in fine form. He disposed of The Times They Are A-Changin'
early in the proceedings. Then he was straight into Desolation
radically restructured with a melody that was barely
Tangled Up in Blue was another classic which bore only a
resemblance to the original. Dylan long ago tired of being a
jukebox and, to the irritation of many, has often mangled his
songs. These were at least properly worked out and rehearsed
arrangements but it was not always immediately apparent what
songs were until the words gave them away. Most unrecognisable
all was Gates of Eden, which was stripped of its old anger
given a lovely lyrical treatment.
Halfway through the
evening he exchanged his acoustic guitar for an
electric and the four-piece band moved up a gear. Country Pie
the Nashvillel Skyline album was followed by a stirring
and a throwaway I 'll Be Your Baby Tonight. But he sounded
engaged on the newest material and he played three songs from
Out of Mind. They haven't yet suffered from the
having been sung a million times and the bluesy Can't Wait
he haunting Not Dark Yet had a greater passion and commitment
some of the earlier songs.
Over the years Dylan
concerts have become hit-and-miss affairs and
it has often appeared that he was trying to debunk his own
ranked as one of his better nights, although a cover of Not
displayed the old perversity and was a strange choice from
who has written so many of the world's greatest songs.
It was perhaps his way
of saying that it's only rock 'n'roll. There was
a time when it was much more but these days it is enough.
no longer the voice of a generation. But he still knows how to
on a compelling show when the spirit moves him.