Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Bob Dylan 'Forever Young Tribute concert' at Celtic Connections festival January 2011

Cast of singers: Thea Gilmore, Josh Rouse, Gemma Hayes, James Grant, Justin Townes Earle, Kris Drever, Rab Noakes, Laura Cantrell,  Hart and his band the Lonesome Fire.  One aspect that draws me to Celtic each year is the interesting collaborations - and this night was certainly one of them. A concert packed with not only talent but the genius that is Mr Bob Dylan.

The Show was introduced by mellow-toned Bob Harris. First up was organiser of this concert Roddy Hart and his band the Lonesome Fire with 'Homesick Blues.'  With thirteen songs each set the concert was certainly pushing the boat out.  (Full set list below, which I hope I got right)  The artists performed songs from several of Dylan's' albums - 'Blood on the Tracks.'  'Nashville Skyline' 'Time Out Of Mind' 'Blonde On Blonde' - with Roddy's band provided a tight backing unit.

*There were several stand out performances -  Scot James Grant's vibrant finale of the first half with a rousing Hendrix version of 'All Along The Watchtower; Scot's veteran Rab Noake's with his character depth and challenging selections of songs -  'Absolutely Sweet Marie' and ' Mississippi;'  American singer Nell Bryden performed a song from Dylan's romantic side, 'Just Like A Woman'; while Thea Gilmore's sang his darker side with 'Masters' Of War' and 'Lay Down your Weary Bones'  - songs that are still as relevant today.
Bryden spoke of how she admired that Dylan's writing often followed this fine line between innocent, fresh, naive and sweet with lilting arpeggios and lyrics that can be so vulnerable - yet at the same time lyrics that were often ironic, strong and dark. 
'I was so much older then I'm younger than that now.'
O'Brien spoke of Alison Krauss asking Dylan to sign his large book of Lyrics - he said that it came in handy for him!  Gilmore spoke of how Dylan often took old folk tunes, and Scottish ones too, and wrote new songs around them (amateurs imitate, professionals steal!)  Some few get the 'heart' of a song and it is not something that can be taught.

Dylan is 'deep' - an often over-used word!  It is not easy to explain in mere words, and only truly though the emotions of art. I guess what it is NOT is about being thin, superficial or fake, and Dylan sees through all that!  That is not what Dylan is about - more than any other artist Dylan is about 'individual voices' and how those voices might work together to create beauty and sometimes miracles.  I only discovered Dylan in recent years after watching Scorcese's illuminating Dylan documentary 'No Direction Home' - and also reading Dylan's brilliant autobiography 'Chronicles'.  I saw Dylan perform with his Highwaymen band at the Glasgow SECC in 2006 - he takes no time to introduce himslef, but simply plays his songs with the band - and I guess he doesn't need to!  His audience was all ages, and all walks of life, and he may be turning 70 this year but he is still on that artistic road.... Words to describe Dylan - substance, elusive, questioning - a true troubadour is one who lives through music and art. Some of his albums (of which there are many and not all are great) are now like old friends of mine. If I need sustenance - he provides; if I need answers - his lyrics inspire and take me home. 
Noakes said that 'Dylan's creative longevity was one of the wonders of the 20th century.'  A concert packed with not only talent but the genius that is Mr Bob Dylan.

'Time is an Ocean it isn't the Show'

Order of Performance - Set List
Roddy Hart - Subterranean homesick Blues
Rab Noakes - 'Absolutely Sweet Marie'
Tim O'Brien (and band) -  'I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm no More'
Eddi Reader -  'Buckets of Rain'
Thea Gilmore - 'Lay Down Your Weary Tune' 
Thea Gilmore - 'Masters of War'
Gemma Hayes - 'Times They are a Changing'
Gemma Hayes - 'Most of the Time'
Kris Drever - 'Hard Rain Gonna Fall'
Nell Bryden - 'Just Like a Woman' 
James Grant - All Along The Watchtower'

II Roddy Hart - 'It's Not Dark Yet but It's Getting There'
Josh Rouse - 'The Man in Me'
Josh Rouse - 'Lay Lady Lay '
James Grant - 'Simple Twist of Fate'
Laura Cantrell - 'I Threw it All Away'
Laura Cantrell - 'Mr Tambourine Man' 
Tommy Reilly - 'It Ain't Me Babe'
Gemma Hayes and Roddy Hart - 'Oh Sister'
Rab Noakes - 'Mississippi'
Rab noakes and Thea Gilmore - 'Blowin In the Wind'
Rosanne Cash - 'Licence To Kill' 
Rosanne Cash - 'Girl From The North Country'
Rab Noakes, Tommy Reilly, Gemma Hayes - 'My Back Pages'
Assembled Cast on stage Finale - 'Forever Young'

Roddy Hart- 'Baby Blue'
Assembled Cast on stage - 'I Shall Be Released'
'Like A Rolling Stone'
(This is as accurate a list as I could make without asking for the set list!)   

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