Music review by Julia Pattison: The Bob Dylan Story at the Grand Opera House, York

The Bob Dylan Story.
The Bob Dylan Story.

Show: The Bob Dylan Story

Venue: Grand Opera House, York

Review: Julia Pattison

I’ve always enjoyed listening to Bob Dylan’s songs and have performed some of his iconic songs such as Blowing In The Wind and Mr Tambourine Man with friends at folk clubs over the years.

However, I wouldn’t describe myself as a Dylan fan, but my husband Roger is, and having also seen Bob Dylan live at Sheffield Arena he was the perfect choice to be my guest as I reviewed the show.

From the very opening of this greatest hits show, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dylan’s famous comeback appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival “when Bob“ (aka Bill Lennon) launched into a great rendition of “The Times They Are A-Changing” against a backdrop of evocative visual projections you knew you were in for an excellent night’s entertainment, and a welcome re-visiting down musical memory lane.

This was a most respectful and carefully considered tribute to Bob Dylan’s music, where you learnt about his musical career through the songs chosen by Bill (obviously a true Dylan devotee) and performed brilliantly by him and his excellent four piece band.

At the interval I asked Roger if “Bob” was convincing and the answer was a heartfelt “yes, amazingly so – he’d got the phrasing spot on too!”

Praise indeed!

It was good to hear such iconic songs as “Quinn The Eskimo“, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Lay Lady Lay” in a wonderfully intimate atmosphere where you were transported back to the 1960s, as well as getting an insight into Dylan’s life as Bill explained the fascinating stories behind some of the songs chosen.

I was familiar with the story of Dylan being vilified by die-hard fans for daring to go electric, but this thoughtful show made you see Dylan the human being, not just the musician, making you think “How did it feel to be treated with such contempt because he dared to express yourself in a different way than expected”.

He certainly had the courage of his convictions.

As his venues get forever bigger, and impersonal, it was most refreshing to hear Dylan’s songs delivered passionately by musicians who captured the young Dylan’s outrage at social injustices; such numbers as “Maggie’s Farm” and “Hurricane”, making you realise that the “good old days” were far from that for some.

Dylan was the voice that dared to speak up for them, and that came over loud and clear.

Thanks to quality tributes like this Dylan will remain “Forever Young”.