Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Bob gives new meaning to ‘one more for the road’

Bob Dylan realised that the music business times were a-changin’ a long time ago. An advert for his forthcoming Irish show, which ran in various papers this week, is proof of that. It lists Dylan’s Irish shows down through the …

Fri, May 14, 2010, 10:16

   

Bob Dylan realised that the music business times were a-changin’ a long time ago.

An advert for his forthcoming Irish show, which ran in various papers this week, is proof of that. It lists Dylan’s Irish shows down through the years, starting with his first appearance here in May 1966 at Dublin’s Adelphi Theatre, one of two Irish shows in the 1960s.

That was it with Dylan and Ireland until 18 years later when he visited Slane in 1984. He made up for lost time with two more shows

in the 1980s, eight in the 1990s and a whopping 12 in the last decade. It’s safe to say that anyone who wanted to see Dylan live has now had ample opportunity to do so.

Howver, the number of decent albums from Dylan went in the opposite direction during this period. While you can chalk this down to the fact that he creatively peaked many years ago (though there have been sporadic flashes of his old self on new material), there is also the fact that Dylan knows there’s more cash to be made from touring than recording.

He’s not alone. Every year sees another batch of heritage acts visiting Ireland for the umpteenth time. Once upon a time, you’d see Neil Young or Eric Clapton or Lenny Cohen once a decade at best. Now, you worry about their health if they don’t show up for the annual meet and greet with Irish pilgrims.

But diminishing returns are bound to set in at some stage, as audiences realise they’ve seen that show before. The acts and promoter, though, will be hoping that there’s still a few decent box office grosses to come before that inevitable day dawns.

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