Jason and I got a rare night out together last night. Every so often a bunch of local musicians puts on a tribute show to some major artist, and last year they did a Bob Dylan tribute show which we didn’t see, but which was apparently so popular they brought it back again this year. That’s what we went to see last night.
It was really Jason’s idea to go, and I went along willingly but without particularly high expectations, because I’m not what you’d call a huge Dylan fan. I guess I just don’t get the universal adulation for a singer with such an unlistenable voice. And yeah, he’s sometimes a great songwriter, but other times a really banal or incomprehensible one. But an evening of other people singing Dylan songs — yeah, I think I could enjoy that.
Actually, it was great. Less because of Bob Dylan, whom I don’t adore any more than I did before, than because of all the great local performers in the line-up. Frankly, any evening I can see people like Ron Hynes and Pamela Morgan singing, that’s every bit as iconic to me as seeing Dylan. (And cheaper. Dylan was actually here last year and most of the people I know who paid the exorbitant ticket prices didn’t feel he gave a great concert, so I’m glad I didn’t).
The evening had some real high points for me. The artists picked a lot of more obscure Dylan songs, although there were some iconic favourites as well. I was really happy to hear “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” probably the only Bob Dylan song I know every single word to because it was on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s great “Will the Circle Be Unbroken — 2” collection. Last night it was sung by the very very excellent Chris and Andrew Ledrew, sometimes known as Brothers in Stereo. And Larry Foley (of whom I am becoming a bit of a crazy fangirl — Alan Doyle may have to step aside from that special place in my heart) did very folk renditions of two Dylan songs: “God on our Side” and “Boots of Spanish Leather.” Awesome, awesome, awesome.
I was, however, very disappointed that in an entire evening of Dylan songs, nobody performed “Blowin’ in the Wind.” I mean, isn’t that the quintessential Bob Dylan song? (I came to work this morning to test my theory that if you ask a random selection of people to name a Bob Dylan song, most of them will say “Blowin’ in the Wind.” What I discovered is that a majority of people will stare at you blankly and go “Uh…uh…uh…wait a minute…” But those who do come up with an answer will say “Blowin’ in the Wind.”) Anyway, I thought for sure they’d come back and do “Blowin’ in the Wind” as an encore, but they didn’t even do an encore, which was anticlimactic.
Still … great show, and I’m pretty sure a better deal for the money than going to see the man himself (unless you’re a die-hard Dylan fan) … it was a good night out.