Throughout his years as a musician and songwriter Robert Allen Zimmerman (now legally known as Bob Dylan) has been a rebel with a cause. Confrontation with the establishment started at an early age and he remains defiant to this day. Early signs of this came whilst playing music at a school talent show in the late 1950s with several of his classmates. During the set, he felt the wrath of the headmaster who cut the sound system because his band were playing too loud.By the time he graduated from Hibbing High School in 1959, his scorn for the orthodox was beginning to further emerge.Through his music he continued to be a pioneer for change, writing provoking protest songs and supporting anti-government causes as his popularity grew.
From the Cuban missile crisis song ‘A Hard Rain’s A- Gonna Fall’ to ‘Oxford Town’ that chronicled the tensions in the American South, when James Madison became the first black student at the University of Mississippi, he made poetic statements that resonated with many in the United States.
The iconic ‘Hurricane’ track released in 1976 tells the story of the boxer Ruben Hurricane Carter. He was falsely imprisoned for a triple murder in New Jersey, ten years earlier than the record was published. Released as part of the ‘Desire’ album, it gave much needed publicity to the case. Benefit concerts took place to raise funds for Carter’s appeal. A film starring Denzil Washington gave even more purchase for acquittal. Carter was eventually released from prison in 1985, proclaiming his innocence throughout the time he had spent in jail.
As well as his music, Dylan has ventured into other aspects of the arts with great success. In 2019, his art exhibition opened in Shanghai showing much of his paintings and iron sculptures.
Three years earlier, he had also become the first singer-songwriter to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Other accolades include America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, Sweden’s Polar Music Prize and the Legion of Honour from France.
The last time Dylan performed extensively in Spain was in 2019 when he included a performance at the ‘Plaza de Toros’ in the city of Valencia. This tour will include 12 dates and eight different cities in the country. Alicante will host the “Rough and Rowdy Ways” Tour on the 15th June at the Plaza de Toros.
This specific tour opened in Milwaukee in 2021 and is planned to continue throughout the world until 2024.
As the title suggests ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ continues to produce thoughtful tunes for his audience. ‘Goodbye Jimmy Reed’ pays homage to the American blues musician Jimmy Reed, and ‘Murder Most Foul’ is a 17 minute ballad about the assassination of JFK.
The 82 year old artist has not lost any of the teenage spirit that was evident when playing with his high school band. Many others have tried to silence his genius…since that principal at a talent contest at mid-west school in Minnesota…but have met with little success.
Bob Dylan, then like now, remains one of the premier performers to write and play statement songs that have influenced people’s life choices and decisions. Long may it continue!
Report by John Howden
Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’
‘Rough and Rowdy Ways Tour’
Plaza de Toros
Plaza de España, nº 7 3012