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Bob Dylan is still good for an encore

I READ with some confusion Tom Sykes’s column headlined ‘Dylan show proves he’s some jokerman’ (December 7). Mr Sykes claims to have spent €80 per head for tickets to see Bob Dylan at the 02 and returned to watch Kasabian there “almost a year after I watched Dylan”.

Perhaps Mr Sykes knows of another gig (or gigs) but the only time Dylan has ever played the 02 (as The Point is now known) was just a few months ago (May 5/6) and tickets (the pricing of which are generally not in the artist’s control, by the way) were a rather more modest €55.

This was €10 less than the price charged for his previous Irish gig (The Marquee, Cork, June 25, ‘06). If memory serves, it was also cheaper than the charge for his gigs at The Point about two years before that.

Your columnist also suggests that Dylan did not play an encore at the O2. Might I respectfully suggest to him that when Dylan left the stage on May 5 and returned a few minutes later to sing three more songs – including a world premiere live performance of If You Ever Go To Houston – this was, in fact, what’s generally known to the rest of us as an encore. Furthermore, he played a four-song encore on May 6.

I’m sorry if Mr Sykes was disappointed that Dylan did not indulge in the fancy dress that so excited him at the Kasabian gig. As a “long-time Dylan fan”, Mr Sykes will of course know he left all of that, and the face-painting too, back in the 1970s. Since the ‘80s Dylan has been on what has become known as The Never Ending Tour averaging 100 gigs a year. This hardly represents the actions of a performer who doesn’t “care about his audience”.

That the man saves his voice for singing and doesn’t resort to unctuous platitudes about it being “wonderful to be here” is actually seen as a virtue by some of us. Unlike the rest of us, if Dylan so much as remarks on the weather, somebody somewhere will be jotting it down as a great profundity. Such scrutiny for a self-confessed “(just a) song and dance man” must be a right pain in the proverbial. As for complaining that Dylan played his hits in “unrecognisable forms”, I’m speechless. Firstly, they’re his hits after all and, secondly, as the man himself said “there’s only so many times you can sing Wichita Lineman before you become the Wichita Lineman.

So Bob doesn’t sell his work on Spotify? Wow! That guy whose Modern Times album was used to launch a little gadget called the iPod must be way, way behind the times.

Sam Windrim

Hillcroft Close

off Dublin Road

Limerick


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