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Johannes Holmberg

UI developer & designer

So it happened. I got to see Bob Dylan live. Hadn't thought much about it actually. Just occasionally, the thought would pop up in my head "Would have been cool to see Dylan live one time, before it would be over I mean", then I would google around for his upcoming concerts and start making some plans that would eventually peter out. It happened a couple of times.

Bob Dylan

But I got a ticket for my birthday and off we went to the Marktplatz in Lörrach. It took time before he came out on the stage and the town square was full. It was hot and you could see that people wanted it to start.

After the pre-band, the stage was left empty for a long time and at some point I started wondering if he would ever turn up. But then he came. Staggering out onto the stage wearing his usual hat.

It's hard to point out exactly what makes me so excited about this guy. Mostly because he's so down to earth and to the point. He walked around the stage for a while, checking his footing. Never once looking at the audience. Then he came straight for the mic and pulled of "Things have changed". In a raging tempo. His arms along his sides. No movement, he just stands there. When he's finished, he goes straight to the piano and starts "She belongs to me".

For him, the audience is not there, he could as well do this in his own living room, except it wouldn't be the same thing.

And it goes on like this, he's alternating between sitting at his piano and going out on the stage. Between songs, he's wandering around quite slowly, checking how his band is doing, never once showing any kind of attachment to the audience. Strangely, this is exactly the kind of thing I like about him. He doesn't owe anyone anything. He does his thing. We've paid money to see it. That's it.

The night goes on and I start noticing a pattern, for every new song the next would then be one of his old "classics". This surprises me since from what I've heard he is not doing old songs anymore. I hadn't expected this but when he starts playing "Visions of Johanna" and "Desolation Row" it feels like I could as well be back in the 60's. Just that it's a more battered voice performing them. Still the same.

Hard to explain the feelings for an evening like this. The highlight was the lowdown version of "Shelter from the Storm". I've never heard it that way before. I'm happy I got to be part of this.