Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Musical legend Bob Dylan returns to UMass

By Steph Cann

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Bob Dylan may be turning 72 next month, but instead of putting his feet up after a rather prolonged yet successful musical career, he’s going back on tour.

His “Never Ending Tour,” which has run consistently since 1988, is bringing him back to the Mullins Center for the sixth time, performing this Saturday at 7.30 p.m. He may be a senior citizen, but Bob Dylan is still alive and kicking in the world of rock and roll.

Dylan hasn’t performed at UMass since November 2010, and many music fans are overjoyed that the “godfather of folk-rock music,” as it says on his official website, is back in town. Since the beginning of his career Dylan has remained an iconic singer/song-writer who has devoted his life to creating everlasting music, evolving in genre and style from decade to decade. However, it has become apparent within the music industry that Dylan has begun to swing from greatness to grandfatherly. Even Rolling Stone magazine has recently said, “It’s unlikely that Dylan will ever eclipse the renown of his explosion of music and style in the 1960s.”

Although the American musician is included in the Yahoo! Voices list of “Top 20 Classic Rock Stars over 62,” his age is catching up with him. During his last concert at the Mullins Center, Dylan won praise for performing classic hits such as “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” but fell slightly flat due to his colorless stage presence. This coming Saturday’s show will determine, for UMass students at least, whether Dylan still has the ability to give a captivating performance.

As set lists go, Dylan is sure to perform an array of songs from his latest album “Tempest,” which was released on Sept. 10, 2012. His 35th studio album is a lyrical gymnasium comprising verses, one-liners, observations, couplets and imagery to create 10 influential folk-rock songs. In celebration of Record Store Day 2013, Columbia Records will be releasing a vinyl of Dylan’s unreleased demo “Wigwam” backed with a previously unreleased recording of “Thirsty Boots.” Avid fans will be able to pick up a copy on Saturday, April 20 at independent record stores nationwide. A full list of participating stores can be found on recordstoreday.com.

Other than performing tracks from his recent record releases, the old time rocker is rather unpredictable when it comes to song choices. His habit of changing up his sets each show in order to keep the audience, and probably himself, on their toes makes each show a unique experience. Dylan’s faithful band consists of longtime bassist Tony Garnier, multi-instrumentalists Stu Kimball and Donnie Herron, guitarists Charlie Sexton and Duke Robillard, and drummer George Receli. All have accompanied him on the “Never Ending Tour,” playing more then 2,400 shows since the tour began back in June 1988.

It is incredible that Dylan has never gone more than three months without playing a tour date, and it is no wonder he has won numerous awards throughout his career. For his contributions to the arts, Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in May 2012, as well as having 11 Grammy Awards, one Academy Award and one Golden Globe Award under his belt. Dylan is one of the most famous performing artists to ever perform at the Mullins Center, so be sure not to miss this legendary musician who has captivated audiences for decades. Tickets for his show this Saturday are still available for $49.50.

Steph Cann can be reached at [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Musical legend Bob Dylan returns to UMass”

  1. E Pancsofar on April 6th, 2013 8:30 am

    Please note that Charlie Sexton is not on this current tour and Duke Robillard has not been a previous member of Dylan’s band on the Never Ending Tour. Also, having attended the 2010 show at Mullins Center, I would not classify his performance as “slightly flat”.

  2. Zimmy on April 8th, 2013 5:07 pm

    Prolific poet and writer and the voice of a generation. Worst live act ever.

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