In fairly typical if frustrating fashion, Bob Dylan seems to have treated his gig today in Israel like any other gig, not playing any special songs (e.g. “Neighborhood Bully”) or making any big pronouncements. (I think Bob believes all his songs are special.) The most amazing thing about the set list is that it is identical to the one from his show in England a couple of days ago. When was the last time Dylan played two consecutive shows with exactly the same set list? For the record this is what he played in Ramat Gan stadium today:
1. Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking
2. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
3. Things Have Changed
4. Tangled Up In Blue
5. Summer Days
6. Simple Twist Of Fate
7. Cold Irons Bound
8. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
9. Highway 61 Revisited
10. Forgetful Heart
11. Thunder On The Mountain
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man
13. Like A Rolling Stone
14. All Along The Watchtower
15. Blowin’ In The Wind
The AP story on the concert which is already on the wires says that Dylan disappointed the crowd by “not addressing them” (although I would assume he introduced his band like he always does) and “refusing to perform encores.” In fact, he obviously did come back for one encore as is his almost universal practice. One 21 year-old concert-goer is quoted as saying that Dylan’s music is “more real, more authentic, more powerful than what we have today.” On the other hand, a 28 year-old attendee is quoted as saying, “The whole thing was strange.”
So it sounds like a normal night to me. We’ll see if anything more interesting develops in later reports.
Addendum: There’s a very positive review in the Jerusalem Post.
Addendum II: That AP story that erroneously accuses Dylan of “refusing to perform encores” in Tel Aviv (when in fact he came back for his usual single encore) is now all over the place, in a million different news outlets. It’s irritating that it will be by far the most read account of the event.
Addendum IV: Another appreciative review is the one in the Jerusalem Post today by David Brinn. While not faulting Dylan for his lack of chattiness at all, he does assert that Dylan did not even do the band introductions at this gig. So that would make the AP correct that Dylan didn’t address the crowd verbally at all.
… and two more interesting reactions to the show in Israel, both from Haaretz. Bradley Burston on Dylan’s importance in the fabric of Israeli culture, and Scott Krane on his idea that Dylan stands not for freedom so much as for iconoclasm.