The big news from the first few dates of Bob Dylan’s current concert tour in Europe is that his main instrument of choice is now a grand piano. No candelabra like the great Liberace, but he is keeping the Oscar he won for “Things Have Changed”—or a facsimile—perched atop, draped with beads of some kind. (There are currently a variety of fan video clips on YouTube, like the one embedded at right with a great version of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” from his show in Bonn, Germany).
It was back in 2002 that Dylan first shocked concert-goers by taking to an electronic keyboard on stage and mostly setting aside the guitar. He played it as a piano for about a year (if I recall correctly) and then switched to the organ sound with which he stuck until these latest developments. He still has the electronic keyboard on stage, and has used it for a few songs on this tour, but largely he is either sitting at the grand piano or standing center-stage and singing with just his harmonica in hand.
For my money there’s no doubt that the real piano makes for a welcome change of pace and sound. At 71-years-old, Dylan’s still got gas to spare in his tank, and that’s surely a blessed thing.