Upbeat Dylan rocks Cork for Live at the Marquee

Bob Dylan was more entertaining last night than he was 30 years ago in Slane Castle, in better voice and mood than here in the Marquee four years ago.

Is that a surprise? Yes, to be honest. A bit akin to a pilgrim on a barefoot hike up Croagh Patrick, his fans rarely go to his concerts for the pure fun of it. But last night he really was fun, upbeat and rocking.

Usually, you don’t come to Dylan to be wowed by his beautiful voice, blown away by his charm offensive, or, let’s face it, to be even mildly entertained.

Last night was the best I’ve seen or heard him; arguably one of the best nights in the tent. Honestly!

While hat-wearing Dylan hovers laidback in the half-light, and rarely speaks directly to the audience, this low-level showmanship is offset by the inclusion of some old classics in the setlist — ‘Simple Twist of Fate’, ‘Tangled Up in Blue’, the Oscar-winning ‘Things Have Changed’ and ‘All Along the Watchtower’ for an encore.

Of course, Dylan continues to write great songs, with gems like ‘Duquesne Whistle’, ‘I’m Sick Of Love’ and ‘What Good Am I?’ the highlights last night.

And of course, Dylan always has a fantastic band, notables last night were Charlie Sexton on lead guitar and Donnie Herron on pedal steel, lap steel and electric mandolin.

Dylan’s voice is very ragged at this stage. Personally, I’ve always liked his raspy sound, but there’s no denying that his vocal chords have aged a lot.

But this jaded glory still has huge charm, evidenced by a near capacity Marquee crowd.

Many of us hope the Dylan circus keeps honouring this deep southern tent with his presence. If he came next week, most everyone there last night would go again.

That said, there was no disagreeing with one observer (hopefully ironic, though you can never be sure), who said at the interval: “He’s good, but he’s no Cliff Richards, is he?” Thankfully, the comment was met with silence. Such a debate really had no good place that it could end up.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Nóirín O'Sullivan ‘inherited a poisoned chalice’ with An Garda Síochana

Brothers contradict HSE evidence on Grace case

Seán FitzPatrick Trial: Failure to tackle white-collar crime is ‘demoralising’

Quick-thinking gardaí save life of little girl in Limerick city centre


Breaking Stories

Wife of Captain Mark Duffy issues letter of thanks

15-year-old boy arrested following teen girl's death in North

Man 'thrown in air' after being attacked by bull at Clare cattle mart

Cannabis, cocaine and cash seized in Dublin

Lifestyle

What I’ve learned from watching detective shows

A self-confessed shopaholic tries to give up buying clothes for a month

Lorraine Kelly never felt better as she heads for 60

LauraLynn provide numerous services to families and support that is 'absolutely fantastic'

More From The Irish Examiner