Reviewer: Matt Forrest
“If anyone has brought friends with them who don’t know about Bob Dylan, then you may not be friends by the end of the night” jokes John O’Connell the front man of Simply Dylan. It seems an odd introduction to the night ahead as O’Connell takes us on a journey through the extensive back catalogue of one of the greatest song writers of all time.
Kicking the off the set with Positively 4th Street, we were treated to a two-hour set drawing from over 4 decades of Dylan’s back catalogue: a mixture of some of his greatest hits and some well-known album tracks. Stand out songs included the powerful Masters of War and the beautiful love song Buckets of Rain.
Backed by a four-piece which included Kathleen Ord on saxophone, violin and back vocals, Ord performed two of the many highlights of the show. The Dylan penned Make You Feel My Love, most recently covered by Adele, is outstanding: While a duet between O’Connell and Ord of Boots of Spanish Leather highlights the undeniable chemistry between the two and is a pleasure to watch.
As the band’s website states, this isn’t a Dylan tribute band but a tribute to Bob Dylan and his music. O’Connell is by no means doing a Bob Dylan impersonation, and certainly makes each song his own: occasionally there is the odd line sung with Dylan’s unique twang but this is more done in jest than anything else. The backing band are on good form as they handle superbly the various musical genres employed throughout the years, including folk, country, rock and gospel to name but a few.
Following the interval, the second half of the set sees some of Dylan’s more epic tunes receiving an airing: the crowd-pleasing Hurricane and Desolation Road sees the hardcore fans in the crowd appeased as well as the more crowd friendly Subterranean Home Sick Blues and Like a Rolling Stone. This was a great night of music which had something for everyone, from the more casual listener to the Dylan ‘die-hards’. Great songs performed by musicians at the top of their game, with O’Connell assembling a highly entertaining and show which had something for everyone.
Reviewed 29 January 2017 | Image: Contributed