Bob Dylan Live by Emma Flynn

As the low lull of the final soundchecks finished, Limericks Last Days of Death Country confidently delivered their set to the assembling crowd in Thomond Park and were met with vigorous applause at the end of memorable favourites like ‘Words’ and ‘Strung Out’.

As the low lull of the final soundchecks finished, Limericks Last Days of Death Country confidently delivered their set to the assembling crowd in Thomond Park and were met with vigorous applause at the end of memorable favourites like ‘Words’ and ‘Strung Out’.

Coming out the winners of the ‘Battle for Bob’ competition, though beginning apprehensively, we didn’t have to wait long for them to storm through some solid rock songs, before Alabama 3 revved it up a gear with their truly original fusion of acid house and blues rock.

Amiable American bluesman Seasick Steve was undoubtedly the best of the support, with his authentic off-kilter style and array of home made instruments, he conquered the thousands awaiting Dylan. His rough salty voice juxtaposed to the energetic drumming of Dan Magnusson completely transformed songs like ‘Burning Up’ into dynamic stadium fillers. Alternatively, David Gray did what he always does; mindlessly resurrect his plethora of greatest hits. After he had butchered a Thin Lizzy song he moved onto the harmonica for the last notes of ‘Babylon’, something that was more often miss than hit with the crowd. However, spirits remained exceptionally elevated as Bob Dylan and his band graced the stage.

 

Opening with a spirited rendition of ‘Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat’ from 1966’s Blonde on Blonde, Dylan greeted the crowd with a cheeky grin and a nod of his trilby hat. The classic was stretched out and interspersed with generous guitar riffs and exuberant keyboard playing and set the bar for what was to be a first-rate concert. He sang passionately and buoyantly, and against a plain black backdrop, he and his band shook the stage as they launched through the best of the extensive back catalogue. ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’, a frequent inclusion in live shows, was as heavily rearranged as ‘Lay Lady Lay’ and ‘Just Like A Woman’, much to the crowd’s enjoyment. The deep rumble of a bass guitar from George Recile met with Dylan’s raw rasp and signalled the opening chords of ‘Trying to Get to Heaven’ which lit up the stage and went down a storm. As the sounds of a harmonica blistered through the balmy summer air, ‘Cold Irons Bound’ from 1997’s Time Out of Mind was transformed by Dylan’s gravelly drawl, into a fantastically lively aural portrait of old America. This was unquestionably the highlight of the evening.

‘Thunder on The Mountain’ was wonderfully embellished with Dylan himself on guitar and the crowd revelled in the gruff lyrics of ‘Ballad Of a Thin Man’, which were as raw and pertinent now as they were in ‘65. ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ began the encore and lead wonderfully into two songs from last years album, ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Feel A Change’, before concluding with an infectiously vibrant version of ’Blowin in the Wind’. Overall it was a performance filled with gusto, and never afraid of restructuring the classics, Dylan succeeded in delivering another stellar live show in his ‘Never Ending Tour’.

 

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