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Bob Dylan - Palladium, London, 19/10/2022

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 20 / 2 / 2023

Bob Dylan - Palladium, London, 19/10/2022

Bob Dylan last played live in London three years ago - in Hyde Park. The sheer scale of that event plus Dylan's notorious reluctance to engage with his audience at larger venues left many who attended a little underwhelmed. The opening night of his current tour, intimately and expertly staged at the London Palladium theatre was so much better - a thoroughly absorbing evening for all! Not surprisingly, the current ‘Rough & Rowdy Ways’ tour draws heavily on Dylan's recent (2020) album of the same name. At 81, Dylan is at a stage where he pleases himself in all he does. But, fortunately, that 2020 album was a good one - and, throughout the evening performance, there was no escaping the fact that the audience were in the presence of greatness! At times Dylan's “death rattle rasp” (as some critics have unkindly called his singing tone) was apparent but his vocal delivery was simply superb on ‘I've Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You’ and, perched behind a wood-panelled piano, he also crooned beautifully through Johnny Mercer's standard ‘That Old Black Magic’. Several treasured Dylan classics got an airing. Sometimes Dylan irritates his purist fans by fussy and over-elaborate new arrangements of his biggest hits (“Just to stop myself getting bored,” he has sometimes explained, adding, “And, anyway, it's up to me, isn't it? - They're my songs!”). But, on this occasion, all the new twists worked brilliantly. ‘I'll Be Your Baby Tonight’ was delivered as a bluesy romp whilst ‘Watching The River Flow’ was a rollicking opener. And his big finale with a harmonica solo practically raised the roof. “This is the place where you London Palladium people are supposed to rattle your jewellery.” Dylan joked - referring to the line John Lennon famously used in this same theatre during The Beatles' appearance at the 1963 Royal Variety Performance. As Dylan himself has commented, he is at his best when performing in the more cosy surroundings of a theatre. His current British Isles tour through October and early November includes performances in London, Cardiff, Hull, Nottingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Oxford, Bournemouth and Dublin. It is a great opportunity to see one of music's greatest living icons, still at his magical and intimate best – a chance not to be missed!

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Bob Dylan - Palladium, London, 19/10/2022

Bob Dylan - Palladium, London, 19/10/2022

Bob Dylan - Palladium, London, 19/10/2022

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Nick Dent-Robinson finds Bob Dylan on fine form at an intimate show at the London Palladium on the opening night of his ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ tour.

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