Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan. Photo by Getty Images
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There had been a buzz in the air. For months you could overhear conversations in Tel Aviv about how much people had paid for tickets.

This is Bob Dylan. "Blowin’in the Wind" Bob Dylan. Mr.Tambourine Man" Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan, the voice of a generation. Bob Dylan who tells it like it is. And Israel was willing to pay. The cheapest tickets were 250 NIS. But this is Bob Dylan, living legend.

Uncharacteristically, Israelis formed long and orderly queues outside Ramat Gan Stadium Monday night, treating the concert with a sort of excited reverence.

Without greeting the audience Dylan appeared on stage and went straight into some easy listening driving music. True, at concerts you have to listen to the artist do his “new stuff”, possibly “off the new album” before getting started. The audience listened politely. And then there was another song. Much the same. I don’t know what the song was. No one does. And then another. People in the audience started lighting cigarettes, playing with their phones, going off to find a much needed beer.

This carried on. It did liven up…moving onto a bit of Blues. Very good Blues. If I was out for the night in a bar and the band played this, it would have been a grand night out.

We then moved onto something with a bit more of a 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll feel to it. Fine music. Well played. Just not Dylan, living legend.

About an hour into this the music ended and the lights went out. It was somewhat unclear what would happen next. Many in the audience must have hoped Dylan and the band had finally got into their time machine back to 1967.

At last.

"Like a Rolling Stone." This is what we had come to see. It was great. Then "Along the Watchtower" – well, it was something we recognized. This was followed vaguely by something else, which I was then informed was "Blowin’ in the Wind," carefully camouflaged behind a very special tempo and instrumental.

Then the lights went out. People waited to see what would happen next. Nothing happened next.

No "Hurricane." No "Sara." No "Times Are a Changing." No "Mr. Tambourine Man." No "It Ain’t Me Babe" No "Knocking on Heaven’s Door." No "I Want You." No "Maggie’s Farm." No "Just Like a Woman."

A young man on crutches with his leg in cast who had clearly made great efforts to be there, could be seen hobbling off singing “How does it feel … to be ripped off”

On the crowded and despondent bus ride following the concert, someone played Sara on a harmonica. And the bus applauded.



The set list:

1. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

2. Things Have Changed

3. Tangled Up In Blue

4. Summer Days

5. Simple Twist Of Fate

6. Cold Irons Bound

7. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

8. Highway 61 Revisited

9. Forgetful Heart

10. Thunder On The Mountain

11. Ballad Of A Thin Man

13. Like A Rolling Stone

14. All Along The Watchtower

15. Blowin' In The Wind