Modern times, but desire remains strong for Dylan fans


IT MUST be summer – Bob Dylan is gigging Ireland. A close to sell-out crowd in Cork’s Showgrounds last night witnessed the septuagenarian songster make what by now seems an annual appearance on these shores.

It’s a little over 12 months since Dylan played to a smaller than expected crowd at Limerick’s Thomond Park, delivering what many considered one of his finest performances here in years, as if to prove a point.

You buy a ticket to Bob Dylan live though, you take your chances. For 47-year-old Blackrock native Jim O’Mahony, this was his eighth time seeing the iconic singer.

“It was another great Dylan gig. It didn’t quite have the spark that Limerick had, but songs like Simple Twist of Fateand Forever Youngwere absolutely magical,” he said.

Last night’s concert kicked off the latest leg of Dylan’s never-ending tour, which goes right through the summer taking in Europe, the Middle East and the US. Some of his newer work from Modern Times, in particular Thunder on the Mountaingot as loud a cheer as favourites such as All Along the Watchtowerand Highway 61.

And it wasn’t all grey hairs and dodgy hips in the crowd either. Twenty-five-year-old Galway native Eoin Fahey drove to Cork after work to be at the gig. “I only starting really listening to him five years ago,” he said, “I know the Blonde on Blondealbum. I thought he was great, really sprightly for his age. I hope I’m still rocking it like that at 70.”

Promoter Peter Aiken said close to 5,000 tickets were sold. “He’s been touring a long time, so it doesn’t take much for him to get back in the groove,” he said, “I deal with his people and they are as good as you meet. It’s always a good sign that every time he comes around it’s always the same people with him.”

Aiken said he notices newer and younger audience coming to the gigs, proving that Dylans appeal is cross generational.

“I’m amazed at all these young kids. I brought my own kids to him as well. To be honest, they weren’t exactly enamoured by it but I said to them one day you will be.”