I share some of Mr. Peebles' disappointment with the recent Bob Dylan concert, having also been a longtime fan of this Nobel-Prize winning artist.
I, too, wished I could've heard my longtime favorites performed in ways similar to how Mr. Dylan had performed them 50 years ago, when he was still in his 20s. As well, I, too, wasn't clear if I approved of his artistic decision to now include several of the great standards, though must I admit I always cheered for his stubborn refusals to allow fans or music sales to dictate his creative choices.
And I definitely agree with Mr. Peebles' concession that "Dylan did a pretty good job on the old jazz classics." And, for whatever reason, those lyrics were easily understood.
As for Mr. Peebles' suggestion that Mr. Dylan should have stuck to protest songs, I think that if Bob were here to defend himself, he might snarl out a lyric from his album Planet Waves: "It's never been my duty to remake the world at large, nor is it my intention to sound the battle charge..."
That's a decision he made decades ago, much to the dismay of his folk song followers. And his spontaneous reconstruction's of his own songs follows the tradition of those great jazz musicians who often turn an old favorite into a nearly unrecognizable new tune. And, after 50 years of singing his own songs, it makes complete sense that he should do the same: new riffs on old songs.
What troubled me far more about the concert was the pervasive rudeness of so many audience members who spent much of the relatively brief concert standing, bobbing and weaving up and down the narrow aisles, unsteadily retrieving more drinks from the concession, laughing and joking as if instead of witnessing a cultural icon, we were attending a stampede.
Rob Ziegler, Prince George