Reliving Bob Dylan’s 2019 Never Ending Tour Chicago Stop

When you think of great American artists, Bob Dylan should come to mind – and for good reason. With a career that has spanned nearly six decades, Bob Dylan has cemented his position as a true icon. Even other legendary musicians like founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, has done a number of Dylan covers in his own live performances. Dylan’s reputation as a masterful lyricist has garnered him recognition worldwide.

In 1982 he was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame, yet he was destined for an even greater recognition. Gala Bingo recalls how Dylan was also awarded the highly prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016. He was the first songwriter to win such an accolade for his original poeticism in the American song tradition. It’s evident that Dylan has a special gift, as his songs seem to effortlessly tell stories with folksy melodies and his smooth signature voice. Even with no new album release since Tempest in 2012, Dylan has shown no signs of slowing down at age 79.

Quite literally a never ending tour

His Never Ending Tour has been running for thirty years and counting – truly living up to its name. Commencing in 1988, Dylan has played an estimated 3,000 shows. Chicago was lucky enough to have been graced by his presence again, as he performed at the Credit Union 1 Arena on October 30, 2019. His Chicago performance was part of the North American leg of his 30th year of the Never Ending Tour which began in Irvine and wrapped up in Philadelphia.

A generous performance

The Chicago Tribune has deemed his Credit Union 1 Arena performance as one of his “most generous Chicago sets in recent decades.” He breathed life into his set, with a voice as clear as day and a certain bounce to his walk which had been absent in previous tours. Dylan appeared to be right at home with his new band – drummer Matt Chamberlain and guitarists Bob Britt and Charlie Sexton.

A living legend

Although Dylan didn’t address the audience at any point while on stage, his concert was nonetheless remarkable, performing everything from “Highway 61 Revisited,” to “Things Have Changed,” “Girl from the North Country,” “It Ain’t Me, Babe” and “Thunder on the Mountain,” with “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” as encores. Anyone who has seen Dylan live may feel like they have witnessed a part of history – and they have. It’s not everyday that you get to see a living legend right before your eyes. With circumstances as uncertain as they are, we can only hope that Dylan will be back on stage soon enough.

Times may be a-changin’ but Bob Dylan will forever live on as one of the greatest musicians of all time.

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Bob Dylan’s career has lasted the better part of fifty years now. That’s pretty remarkable. What is more impressive is that Dylan has remained not only active for almost all of that period, but controversial. He has never gotten by on sentimentality or nostalgia. He has never repeated his successes. For better or for worse, Dylan has always pushed his work ahead.

Bob Dylan is as great a songwriter – ah, let’s not beat around the bush – as great an artist as America has produced. But he’d be the first to tell you that he is part of a long line, one link in an endless chain. You can follow his influence backward or forward according to your own inclination. Or you can spend a long time just listening to Dylan’s five decades of contributions. Wherever you go into it, and whatever you get out of it, your time will be well spent – Bill Flanagan – New York, 2007



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