Dylan’s politics compel crowd


A Bob Dylan impersonator waits in line Monday outside the IU Auditorium prior to the start of the legendary songwriter's Bloomington performance. Dylan is returning to IU after performing at Assembly Hall in 2007 with Elvis Costello and Amos Lee. Alex Farris Buy Photos

The crowd’s genuine love for the rock, folk and blues legend was evident as Dylan’s band set the stage.

The crowd stood in their seats and cheered. Dylan, in his fifth decade of performing, said nothing to the audience as he walked to the keyboard. His presence was enough.

The audience consisted of both old and new fans – fans from the 1960s who wanted to relive the past and fans from a younger generation that had only heard of Dylan’s living legacy.

Freshman Brett Byron said although he didn’t listen to Dylan’s music regularly, he knew how much of an influence Dylan had through the decades.

“I figured if you get the chance to see Bob Dylan, you get to see Bob Dylan,” Byron said.

Dylan sang songs from a variety of his albums, including songs from his latest album, “Together Through Life,” released in May.

The album received a four-star review from Rolling Stone magazine and debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart in the first week of its release. He performed three songs from the album.

Dylan didn’t speak between songs either. Each time Dylan’s song came to a close, loud shrieks and cheers echoed from the audience.

“We love you!” one audience member shouted during a momentary pause.

Dylan spoke for the first time when he introduced a guest band member to perform a short solo.

Dylan sang hit songs including “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” from 1963’s “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” album, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” from 1965s “Bringing It All Back Home” album and “The Levee’s Gonna Break” from the 2006 “Modern Times” album.

Audience member Lou Stant, a singer-songwriter himself, said Dylan has been a leader in many different musical genres.

He said Dylan’s lyrics, which contain political and philosophical themes, still remain unique today.

“He’s able to articulate things that we aren’t able to,” Stant said. “He still has his moments. His lyrics are still very relevant.”

Local resident Scott Thompson said he first saw Dylan perform in 1974 in Gainesville, Fla.

Thompson said he only remembers part of that concert and wanted to build new memories upon seeing Dylan again.

“His music reminds me very much of the ‘60s and the days of protest,” Thompson said. “He’s one of the people responsible for rock ‘n’ roll.”

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