Positively Bay Street

Bob Dylan plays to please himself

BOB DYLAN at Air Canada Centre, Wednesday, November 14. Rating: NNN

There’s something satisfying about Bob Dylan’s willful disregard for maintaining his own mythology or furthering nostalgia for hot dog-eating Boomers and their distracted offspring. He played a lot of hits, including Like A Rolling Stone and All Along The Watchtower. But the simultaneously comforting and contentious nasal voice is gone, replaced with a gravelly rumble that renders a lot of his lyrics unintelligible. His current cadence and phrasing puts a stop to stadium-sized sing alongs. About three songs in, a steady parade of disappointed Q listeners started making their exit.

Dressed in a military-styled suit that from my vantage point looked like pajamas, Dylan’s only words were “Thank you, friends!” and an introduction of his band, including guitarist Charlie Sexton who injects some welcome dissonance to these beloved songs. Visions of Johanna particularly satisfying.

At 71 years old, Bob Dylan has a piano, a top-notch band and a catalogue of songs from which to compile a set list. Take it or leave it.

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