Bob Dylan live in the East: The Prophet’s Farewell | free press

Maybe it’s his farewell tour: Bob Dylan’s concert on rough and rough roads in Magdeburg sounds like his own legacy.

Songwriter Legend.

The Getec Arena in Magdeburg is a modern multi-purpose building, lots of glass and steel, bare corridors, black curtains, a few open, many closed refreshment counters. No cell phones, they have to be turned off and placed in a sealed bag “at the artist’s request”, which is understandable and yet a little overbearing. Maybe the request not to use mobile phones during the concert would have been enough, because the vast majority of the guests in the two-thirds full hall would have respected Bob Dylan’s wish. But Dylan also knows the “modern times”, as his album from 2006 is called, and he knows his Pappenheimer. So ban on mobile phones, plus numerous rules of conduct by email in advance: You shouldn’t bring any flagpoles, bicycles, prams or suitcases with you.

But that’s about all the banalities of a concert that is more like a church service than a rock-n-roll show. On the main stage, with only a dark red curtain in the background, but the floor is bright, as if lit from windows, or as if the band with Bob Britt (guitar), Charley Drayton (drums), Tony Garnier (bass), Donnie Herron ( violin, pedal steel), Doug Lancio (guitar), which seems small in the huge frame, is already floating on clouds. Bob Dylan behind the piano, sometimes standing, sometimes sitting, so that he can hardly be seen. As much withdrawn as is reasonable for the audience. Once he gets up and takes a few steps, slowly, uncertainly. He is an old man, 81 years old. He is no longer on the “Never Ending Tour”, the “Rough And Rowdy Ways Tour” is scheduled for 2021 to 2024 worldwide. It could be his farewell tour – and the concert sounds like his legacy.

The sound is crystal clear, no tinkering, sometimes the band swings in to take everything pop and pleasing from the songs and let them sparkle like jewels. Hymns, Elegies, Requiems. A journey through life: It begins with “Watching The River Flow” about the insecurity at the beginning, but which immediately leads to certainty: “Most Likely You Go Your Way And I Go Mine” and “I Contain Multitudes” about the “man of contradictions “, the many sides of Bob Dylan, also those of the visual artist: “I painted landscapes and nudes” … Which Ingrid Mössinger will always be happy about. She, who brought the first museum exhibition of Bob Dylan’s paintings to Chemnitz, came to the concert from Frankfurt and is also happy about his success as a painter. Which also goes with the old song “When I Paint My Masterpiece”.

The songs alternate between personal and philosophical reflections on the Nobel Prize winner. He plays nine tracks from the wonderful record “Rough And Rowdy Ways” alone with his band, as well as some very old songs like “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”, after which he almost chattered to the audience with “Thank you, you baby lovers “, and a cover version of the Johnny Mercer classic “The Old Black Magic”.

It is the balance sheet of a life that had its ups and downs, its happy and tragic moments. From the desire for togetherness, “To Be Alone With You” or complete devotion, “I’ve Made Up My mind to Give Myself To You”, to “Key West” it’s just a few steps. Key West as a real as well as a transcendental place of longing, where there is no winter, where one finds one’s soul and perhaps immortality after a life in which one has to save someone: “Gotta Serve Somebody”: “You may be rich or poor, blind or lame, it may be God or the devil, but you have to save someone”. Then the “Mother of the Muses” hears his request to sing for him, for you and “let me lie in your sweet, loving arms a while, wake me, shake me, free me from sin, make me invisible like the wind . I’m traveling light and coming home slowly.”

In fact, Dylan’s concert is like the soundtrack to a long journey home, which he lets his audience follow to the very end. He doesn’t sing his hits, instead singing what’s important to him, which includes a nod to blues singer Jimmy Reed on behalf of all the musicians of color Dylan learned from, adored, and continues to shape to this day. Just as he has learned to see himself as part of an infinite universe like every grain of sand, “Every Grain Of Sand” in which he sings: “I went from rags to riches in the sadness of the night, in the violence of a summer dream, in the cold of wintry light, in the bitter dance of loneliness lost in space, in the shattered mirror of innocence on every forgotten face”.
It is as if the prophet withdraws into his cave and once again explains the world as he experienced it, sober, sensitive, dialectic, full of contradictions, sadness and happiness. It’s the last song after almost two hours. The audience applauds standing, there are no encores. In front of the hall, a young man finally plays the master’s hits with his guitar. And now the mobile phones can finally be pulled out to take pictures. Dylan’s music will be remembered longer than any cell phone photo.

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