NEW YORK (AP) – After a year and a half away due to the pandemic, relentless road warrior Bob Dylan returned to a concert stage on Sunday – at least online.
He performed for fans who paid $ 25 to watch online via the live streaming platform Veeps. It was less of a concert than a stylized black-and-white film, in which the 80-year-old singer stood in front of a four-piece band in a juke joint in front of an audience that smokes a lot and has not paid much attention to him.
Dylan has not performed live since December 2019, and COVID-19 finally ended its so-called Never Ending tour. Since 1988, he had performed regularly: 78 concerts in 2019, 84 in 2018, for example.
His wardrobe change and differences in the placement of the band and witnesses made it clear that Sunday’s performance titled “Shadow Kingdom” did not run straight through. His audience were actors rather than fans; they did not clap.
Dylan’s band included an accordion player and for many songs an upright bassist. There was no drummer, with the performances more folk music, blues and country instead of rock ‘n’ roll. Dylan sometimes accompanied himself on acoustic guitar as on the opener, “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”
When he started, two women were sitting at the tables in front of him smoking and taking drinks from beer bottles. When he performed “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”, the women flanked the white-clad Dylan on stage and stared emotionlessly at the camera.
Dylan concentrated on material from early in his career, including rarely performed tracks such as “Queen Jane approx.” or “Wicked Messenger.” His luminous version of “Forever Young” was the best known of the 13-song performance. A version of “What Was It You Wanted” from the 1989 album “Oh Mercy” was the only song originally released later than the early 1970s.
He did not speak to his online audience. After a sharp version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”, the show ended in less than an hour, giving it the feel of the first part of something more. Dylan has not announced any further appearances on Veep.com and has not said when he will return to the road.