Last night Bob Dylan appeared on David Letterman’s penultimate show. I was overawed by Dylan’s performance of the aptly titled, The Night we called It a Day from Dylan’s latest album masterpiece, Shadows In The Night. He was like an old craftsman of music on stage. His demeanour was not unlike a boxer getting pumped up for a big fight. His jittery ways have always been there and why he’s remained so fresh and innovative. The fact that many of Dylan’s own fans thought he was miming his own performance just tells you how grand this was.
As Huck put it from Expecting Rain:
For 50 years Dylan has been cursed by those who lock him into one style of music, one particular voice, or one decade.
The Letterman video has prompted more posts about how demented or terrified he looked than how great the performance was, too good in fact to be live. A 73-year-old guy who has just completed numerous live gigs does not look the way people want him to look, he did not sing what they wanted to hear. And according to some he did not thank the host when he clearly did. No wonder he says nothing during live shows, just too many experts, with not much happening in their lives, to please.
1. Five memorable moments from three decades of David Letterman’s Late Show – ABC News Australia
2. Dylan’s Desert Island Revue – Final Compilation Release
3. The greatest cover up in history – The unheralded Robert Zimmerman