The Return of a Legend: Bob Dylan is Back in the Valley

By Brent Bigelow

The man from Duluth, Minn., made a visit to Youngstown to play his music and tell his story. Bob Dylan played to an almost packed Covelli Centre on Nov. 13, performing for exactly two hours.

This is not Dylan’s first time traveling to the Valley for a concert. He has played three shows in Youngstown in his long and legendary career. Dylan performed in Stambaugh Auditorium in 1992 and the Covelli Centre in 2012.

The mood for the concert was an interesting one. Before the show started, a voice came over the speakers and said, “There will be no video, photos or recording of any kind. Violators of these rule will be removed from the venue. Please turn off your cell phones and enjoy. Thank you.”

However, this didn’t stop a large number of 40- and 60-year-olds from busting out their flip phones and attempting to take pictures in a pitch black auditorium with their flashes on. No one was thrown out, but security was on them like wolves, flashing them with a flashlight and telling them to stop, which was more distracting than the cell phones.

Dylan came out precisely at 8 p.m. and started the show with “Things Have Changed,” which is ironic because this song was the most loyal and straightforward song of the show. Every song he performed was heavily altered. They would be in a different key, arranged in a unique way and overall nothing close to the original recordings.

Sometimes attendees had to wait until the last line in the first verse to know what song he was playing.

For example, his next song in the show was “It Ain’t Me, Babe.” The song is originally recorded as a snarky, fast-paced and comical love song about knowing what your loved one wants, but you are not the one who is able to give them what they want.

Dylan slowed it down, pounded on his piano and played it as a sad and depressing heartbreak song.

The musical stylings can change the way the song is perceived, but the meat of the song is still the lyrics. Dylan is a mediocre musician at his core, but he is a poet with his words. But, let’s be honest, if you played the same song over 1,022 times, you would want to change it up as well.

Dylan, the Nobel Prize winner for Literature, continued to play some of his more obscure songs and would sprinkle in a classic every so often.

Some of his classics included, “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Make You Feel My Love,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,”  and he ended with “Gotta Serve Somebody.” After every song the crowd would stand up, cheer and sit right back down.

Once Dylan and his band left, people begged for an encore and with ten minutes until 10 p.m., the crowd got their encore. He came back out to thunderous applause and performed his last two songs, which included “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Once the songs were over, he and the band stood there for a bit as the audience applauded. Then he left the stage with no words and he was gone. The lyrics said it all.