The man who ambled to center stage in Atlanta's Philips Area Saturday night didn't look much like Bob Dylan.
Sporting a rakish, pencil-thin mustache, a white cowboy hat and a sharp black Western suit, he more closely resembled an aging Doc Holliday, ready for one more hand of high-stakes poker at the local saloon, than the musical icon whose fly-away hair and lyrics revolutionized music.
But Mr. Dylan, performing tonight at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, has always taken pride in having a few aces up his sleeve.
Whether playing the beatnik-cool troubadour as a young man in Greenwich Village, hitting the road with a multi-ring rock circus for his 1977 Rolling Thunder Revue tour or performing with the likes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Grateful Dead and the long-forgotten Welsh band the Alarm, Mr. Dylan gleefully followed his own path. And after 40 years in the music business, his tendency seems to have become habit. With that in mind, here's a guide to what the audience at tonight's concert can expect - and not expect - from Mr. Dylan.
EXPECT: The hits. Although Mr. Dylan's set is seasoned with offerings off his most recent CD, Love and Theft, the bulk of his recent performances have been songs culled from his back catalog. Songs at the Atlanta concert included My Back Pages; Lay, Lady, Lay; and Like a Rolling Stone.
EXPECT: Bang for your buck. In an era when ticket prices routinely rise above the three-digit mark, Mr. Dylan keeps his below $50. And Mr. Dylan seems unwilling to leave the stage until he has played at least 20 songs. That's a lot of music for (relatively) little money.
EXPECT: A multigenerational experience. Mr. Dylan finds favor with his original fans, their children and, now, their children's children. The Philips show was equal parts Woodstock reunion, family picnic and concert event for the tie-dyed young born decades after Blonde on Blonde was released.
EXPECT: A good crowd. As of Tuesday, about half of the tickets for tonight's show had sold. In Augusta's notoriously last-minute market, that's a sign of success.
DON'T EXPECT: A quiet evening with an aging crooner. Mr. Dylan at 60 is as ready to rock as he was at 30. While there were a fair number of low-key acoustic numbers at the Atlanta concert, there were just as many occasions when the band plugged in and played authentic rock.
DON'T EXPECT: Mr. Dylan's Atlanta show to be anything to go by. If there is one enduring lesson to be learned from Mr. Dylan, it's that you can never guess what he'll do next.
|Love and Theft
Poll results Applause readers have spoken, and after a tight race chose their favorite Bob Dylan song, the soundtrack staple Knockin' on Heaven's Door, written for the 1973 Western Pat Garret and Billy the Kid. We asked you Feb. 8 to choose what songs you would most like to hear Mr. Dylan perform tonight at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. Here are the results:
Knockin' on Heaven's Door - 8 votes
Tangled Up in Blue - 7 votes
Lay, Lady, Lay - 7 votes
Like a Rolling Stone - 6 votes
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - 5 votes
Blowin' in the Wind - 5 votes
Positively 4th Street - 5 votes
All Along the Watchtower - 5 votes
Hurricane - 5 votes
The Times They Are A Changin' - 4 votes
Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) - 4 votes
Subterranean Homesick Blues - 4 votes
Maggie's Farm - 3 votes
Mr. Tambourine Man - 3 votes
Idiot Wind - 2 votes
Absolutely Sweet Marie - 1 vote
The following write-in selections also received one vote each - Blind Willie McTell, When Night Comes Fallin' From the Sky, Sugar Baby, Highway 61 Revisited, and Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.
WHO: Bob Dylan
WHEN: 8 tonight
WHERE: The Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, 605 Seventh St.
ADMISSION: $31-$36. Call 724-2400 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org