The Poetry Of Bob Dylan Delighted Packed Walker

The Bob Dylan Story

Walker Theatre

Saturday June 8th  2019


It was encouraging to see the Walker Theatre sold out, one knows something good is about to go down. Tonight one was not disappointed as something big did go down. The Bob Dylan Story. Led by Bill Lennon as Bob himself, the hits just kept on coming and something big certainly went down.

There aren’t enough people looking at the poetry and the work of this prolific talent. The poetry alone stands up to very deep scrutiny. As a point of fact if you went to see a Dylan concert nowadays it isn’t easy to discern what it is he actually saying, groups like this bunch of dedicated musicians not only cover the songs note for perfect note, thanks to Lennon’s vocal one gets the lyric too.

So from a purist point of view one could have a pretty deep long and philosophical debate as to whether someone in the style of someone, can do a better show than the person they are doing. Paradoxically it is possible and whilst Mr. Lennon didn’t write a single word or note of what he performed,  he opened Dylan’s music in a way that the protesting Bard has ceased to be able to do.

In my row one was delighted to see a youngster happily getting down to the sounds as well as us slightly less demonstrative grown-ups. But a poet should, through whatever medium of delivery his work takes, be able to reach his audience. Seeing the young girl having such a great time suggested that Dylan’s words are as relevant as they ever were and a beautiful crafted piece of art is just as stunning today as it ever was. Such was the vibe this show was buzzing with.

So how about the band? Well in a true tribute to Dylan’s backing band, The Band, they played note for exquisite note just as nature had intended. Naturally they field-out as a band called, The Band. Following?

 This show is a no, “here at the end of the pier all season,” sort of show. No, these musicians are a true tour de-force. They know what they are doing and it shows. At times Leigh Chamber’s guitar work was quite sublime. Eyes closed and one could hear the crowd and float away on the aroma of something potent. Naturally one couldn’t: but no crime in closing your eyes and imagining. Is there?

With a backline of Keys, Bongos, Lead Guitar, Acoustic and Bass Guitars, Harmonica and Tambourine, The Band heroically kept providing song on song, Blond on blond! The Synthesised fiddle on the, “Desire,” tracks was wholly acceptable and sounded just like the real thing.

The light show was simplistic but well driven and bang on the money. No slip ups, cues hit spot on. The back projection showed interesting and engaging pointers, facts and news reel from the turbulent 1960’s. In fact on the subject of the back screen projection, it offered a very illustrative and contextualising set of images. To understand where the Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger/Bob Dylan style of protest came from one needs to be reminded of how bleak those times were.

The British Folk Scene, Poetry Scene, Contemporary Music Scene and The Protest Scene were all born of these times , the 1960’s. Some say it was a cultural reveloution. Maybe on a superficial level yes, but one could argue that the Hippy movement was an intellectual and maybe middle class movement and for the average Joe Soap fumbling for change for five Woodbines and reading about Gays being Jailed and Enoch Powell’s approach to race relations, not much had changed or was going to!. No in truth for the average man the times were most definitely not a changing...however, the path to a new dawn was being set. It took the next decade for the changes to become more obvious, and then maybe the one after that before real change came. Without the likes of Dylan some people might still be stuck in the 1950's now!

So this show in its context is important, it is note perfect and The Band are quite, quite excellent. It was lovely being there tonight and although I hadn’t seen the great man himself I came away understanding a lot more of his words than if I had!

This Is a Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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