Come Gather round People... Bob Dylan's in Town

The Bob Dylan Story

Walker Theatre

Theatre Severn

11. June. 2022

 

If you were around in the Sixties, maybe even if you weren’t you must be aware of the sense of revolution that was in the air. The Vietnam War was boiling away, grinding the best of American Youth to dust. Martin Luther King was shot and killed, Kennedy suffered the same fate and the air both here and stateside was full of a feel of revolt. The young had found their voice and they did not like the way things were being done. Old fashioned, traditional, unchangeable, and solid. Or so the adults thought ! But there was a voice burning inside the young. The words of the great poet Bob Dylan. Dylan arrived at a time when time when his style of protest folk was most needed. Today Bill Lennon took his audience back there with his show…. The Bob Dylan Story.

Starting with a short acoustic set one was able to get the measure of the voice and the man paying tribute to such an icon. The best test of a tribute band is to close one’s eyes and see if they are anywhere near the sound of the act they are paying tribute to. Bill Lennon has all that going on. This is a great tribute show.

Dylan fans had packed into the Walker Theatre and from first note to last note Lennon had the audience eating out of his hand and they were ready to go on this journey into the back catalogue of the man who became known as the voice of a generation. Bill Lennon’s sensitive and respectful way with these songs, make this a show to see.

Joined on stage now with “The Band,” Bill Lennon blasted his way through song after song, hit after hit and the audience, disbelief suspended acquiesced and joined “Bob“ on his journey back in time. With relevant black and white footage projected on a screen one got the impression that a lot of thought had gone into the show. Always respectfully presented the music was faultless.

So, the backline?  We had drums. Lead and Bass Guitars, Keyboard and acoustic guitar with Bob’s harmonica to complete the band. They were tight. Not a note fluffed from beginning to end, Bob was surrounded by mighty musicians.

It is refreshing to return to a time when despair and horror filled the air. Refreshing because it was great to see that like then, our times are hard, and they sure need changing. Well, things got better then, and things will get better today too.

One can’t help but feel where is the voice of this generation? Have we bred a nation of shoulder shruggers? Is protest dead? Is Protest poetry passe? Would Bob grab the imagination if he arrived now? One cannot answer that but having heard the words and felt the power of what a Dylan concert meant back then, seeing the audience tonight and watching their reactions suggests that this genre is too powerful to forget. Difference maybe between Dylan’s protest and the rap protest of today, Dylan incredible, with a skill unequalled, use of language that spoke to his generation. He stirred reaction with simple lyricism, and no-one get popped with a cap in the A.

Of course, each generation looks for their own form of expression in the world of art, it was just great to see so many people being moved by this incredibly exciting performance. Lennon never pretended to be Dylan he jokingly dressed as him for the second half, but the audience knew by then that this was Bill Lennon paying tribute not Mike Yarwood or Rory Bremner pretending to be Dylan. A well measured and sometimes breath-taking tribute.

 

This is a Four Star Review

Owen J. Lewis

 

Section:

Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. See more on www.ojlwritingservices.co.uk.

Read More from Owen Lewis