Dylan in Dublin 2017

Walked down after work on Thursday evening to the large arena that used to be called the Point. It was a short pilgrim walk to see and hear a sort of sacred relic. That’s meant in the kindest and most admiring way possible.

Saint Bob was in town.

In theological education we are always encouraging students to combine faith and worship with critical thinking. This post is going to err, unapologetically, on the side of uncritical adulation.

I’m not right over there with the Dylan fanatics to whom the great man never can put a foot wrong. But I do love the man and his music.

The arena was sold out. The show was 1 hr 50 and the set list was:

Dublin 11 May 2017


  • (intro) the foggy dew
  • Things Have Changed
  • Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
  • Highway 61 Revisited
  • Beyond Here Lies Nothin’
  • Why Try to Change Me Now (Cy Coleman cover)
  • Pay in Blood
  • Melancholy Mood (Frank Sinatracover)
  • Duquesne Whistle
  • Stormy Weather (Harold Arlen cover)
  • Tangled Up in Blue
  • Early Roman Kings
  • Spirit on the Water
  • Love Sick
  • All or Nothing at All (Frank Sinatra cover)
  • Desolation Row
  • Soon After Midnight
  • That Old Black Magic (Johnny Mercer cover)
  • Long and Wasted Years
  • Autumn Leaves (Yves Montand cover)


  • Blowin’ in the Wind
  • Ballad of a Thin Man

Dylan seems at peace. He’s having fun at 75. It was a deep pleasure to be in his company for a couple of hours and to hear those songs.

Roll on Bob.


A good choice that doesn’t matter very much

He’s been a companion for decades, so it feels like news of when something good happens to a friend – congrats on the Nobel gong Bob!

Not of course that he probably cares less (?) or that it needs the artificial exercise of a prize to somehow affirm true greatness 🙂

His catalogue is so rich there is always more to discover and fall in love with – my current one is the epic song ‘Tempest’ about the sinking of the Titanic from the 2012 Album of the same name (his 35th). For some reason I just love playing it for the last 14 minutes or so of a road trip … turned into a little ritual.



Speaking of the bard

Speaking of the bard here’s a cool visual from a cool series by artist Noma Bar (thanks DB)

A true cultural icon, Bob Dylan is no stranger to being interpreted. Bar keeps this one simple, using three of Dylan's tools of the trade: musical notations, guitar, harmonica. That Bar can invest such age and mystery into a face that is primarily white negative space is yet another example of his ability to see subjects as more than just people -- they are their careers.

if there’s an original thought out there, I sure could use it now

Tell Tale Signs

I had a birthday recently and was kindly given Tell Tale Signs by Bob Dylan. Series 8 of the Bootleg Series. Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006.

First time I’ve confessed this on the blog – but if I had to listen to one singer / songwriter for the rest of my life it would happily be the man from Minnesota. No competition.

The best song on the album? Red River Shore. A magnificent ballad, unreleased from Time out of Mind.

My internet sleuthing skills aren’t up to finding a version online to link to, so instead here’s an audio link to probably my favourite song by the bard, Brownsville Girl from the otherwise undistingushed Knocked Out Loaded album.

Includes a great line for blogging, teaching and writing…

“if there’s an original thought out there, I sure could use it now”

Not an obvious choice maybe, but if you don’t like it, you must be dead already.