A little over 12 months ago Dylan played what many considered to be one of his finest performances here in years at Limerick’s Thomond Park, so understandably expectations for his return gig in The Marquee Cork were high. Thankfully Bob pulled it out of the bag in what is sure to go down in history as one of his best ever Irish performances. His first performance since turning 70, it proved to doubters that there is no sign of him slowing down or losing his touch.
Arriving at the marquee I didn’t know what to expect. The venue itself was located not far outside Cork city and walking in to the marquee it was difficult not to think you had mistakenly arrived at a circus instead of a Bob Dylan concert. The venue was perfect and it was easy to view the stage no matter where you decided to stand or sit. Old and young alike crowded into the circus-esque tent in eager anticipation for the man himself. Shunning the need for a support act he arrived on stage just after eight o clock to a rapturous applause. Gonna change my way of thinking signalled the start of the show and Bob seemed to be happy and in good form throughout.
The set was packed with fan favourites and hits alike. Most songs were approached from a new angle and if you were looking for songs exactly as they appeared on record then you weren’t going to get it. Apart from the finale the stand out song was a terrific rendition of Tangled up in blue, sung in a way that gave it a whole new meaning, which added new layers to the song. Some of his newer work from Modern Times, in particular Thunder on the Mountain got as loud a cheer as favourites such as All Along the Watchtower and Highway 61. He closed the set with Ballad of a thin man but treated the audience to a surprisingly hit filled encore consisting of Like a rolling stone, All along the watch tower and a blinding rendition of Forever young, the last being many people’s stand out track of the night, myself included.
Bob Dylan is certainly not a man whose music is in any danger of losing its charm, his music will always continue to gain him new fans and his songs will always be known for their poetic lyrical beauty. Tonight was a great glimpse in to his genius, he may be past his peak but there is plenty of life left in him yet.