Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Dylan Pool

Dylan the Elder Statesman, by ennyman.
Last year, every night’s show on Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour was different. That is, the playlist got shaken up, re-arranged, and if you were going to a show you never knew what he'd be playing next. It kept Dylan feeling fresh and his bandmates on their toes. Same with 2011, 2010 etc. back to the launch in 1988.

But in 2013, things changed. If you check out the play lists from his most recent engagements through May of this year, you’ll find the same songs in the same order. In other words, something entirely new, at least for this veteran showman. Each night began with Things Have Changed (a favorite) and concluded with Ballad of a Thin Man (another favorite.) In between there are cuts from his earliest decade (Visions of Johanna, All Along the Watchtower) to the most recent Tempest cuts (Early Roman Kings, Pay In Blood, Scarlet Town).

SO, what will it be then when the Dylan Train rolls into Duluth in two weeks? Will his performance tonight in West Palm Beach signal the next leg of his tour? Or will Dylan revert to his former ways and give us an unpredictable future?

These are the kinds of questions Dylan fans often ask after having purchased tickets. Some even go so far as to have made a game of it, a Never Ending Pool. The Dylan Pool is comparable to the March Madness office pools co-workers produce each spring, or Fantasy Baseball player selections.

I don’t really have a strong need to know but if you are interested in taking a guess, now's the time. Because if the next series of Dylan shows follows the pattern of his spring shows, tonight's set list in West Palm Beach will likely be the one we hear July 9 in Bayfront Park when Dylan brings it all back home.

Here's the program Dylan played through May, with several cuts from his last fall's Tempest album: 

Things Have Changed
Love Sick
High Water (For Charley Patton)
Soon After Midnight
Early Roman Kings
Tangled Up In Blue
Pay In Blood
Visions Of Johanna
Spirit On The Water
Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
Blind Willie McTell
What Good Am I?
Thunder On The Mountain
Scarlet Town
All Along The Watchtower
Ballad Of A Thin Man

Selecting songs to make an imaginary program is a challenge because it's hard to divorce what you hope to hear from what you really think. Nevertheless, here's my stab at prognostication with regards to tonight's set list. 

My Back Page
Just Like A Woman
Cold Irons Bound
Simple Twist of Fate
Watching the River Flow
Early Roman Kings
Girl From the North Country
Blowing in the Wind
It’s All Good
Thunder On the Mountain
Million Miles
Tangled Up In Blue
Desolation Row 
Highway 61 Revisited

The last two would be during his encore.

Honestly, no matter what they play, it's an incredible pool of material this legend has to choose from, and it will all be good. 
 

EdNote: Wordless Wednesday will continue next Wednesday, maybe.

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