Bob Dylan Proves He's Still Got It in Tel Aviv

It was not a perfect performance, but it exceeded the expectations of the most optimistic of Dylan's fans; those who were disappointed had unrealistic expectations.

Ben Shalev
Ben Shalev
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Ben Shalev
Ben Shalev

Those who cast doubt on Bob Dylan's ability to perform were forced to eat their words after his excellent performance on Monday night.

What hasn't been said about the old-timer's performance skills? They said that he was tired, they warned that his voice has gone, they predicted a catastrophe similar to his 1987 performance, but all their warnings were unfounded.

Bob Dylan performs weeks after his 70th birthday at the London Feis Festival, in Finsbury Park, Saturday, June 18, 2011. Credit: AP

It was not a perfect performance, but it exceeded the expectations of the most optimistic of Dylan's fans.

Whoever left the stadium disappointed arrived initially with unrealistic expectations.

The first positive surprise was Dylan's voice: Hoarse and rusty, but in the best sense of the words. He sang powerfully, potently, relatively clearly and above all, there was a real vitality in his singing, one may even say joy.

He was not doing us a favor standing on stage, and it was a delight to see and hear him that way.

The repertoire was fantastic: a relatively new song, an eternal classic, a new song, another timeless classic, and so on. The new songs were played as they were originally recorded, as rackety blues, while the classics were completely transformed and also flowed into the blues rhythm.

It sounds problematic in writing, but it sounded surprisingly good in practice, also thanks to his killer band.

As these lines are being written, Dylan is singing the encore "Like a Rolling Stone," in a partial performance. The version of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" was also slightly unconvincing.

But these are trifles.

All together, it was a very good show. In one of the lines in the song "Tangled Up in Blue," that Dylan sang beautifully at the start of the show, he sang: But me I'm still on the road; Heading for another joint; The only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keeping.

Dont stop, Bob, the wind might sound a little strange today, but the answer is still blowing in it.

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