THE buskers were out in force along the covered walkway to the venue, heralding the 25th year of Bob Dylan’s so-called Never Ending Tour, as the man who launched a million harmonica-toting troubadours rolled into Glasgow town for the first of a three-night stand, wielding new wares beside road-worn favourites.
Glasgow Clyde Auditorium
His trusty band set off at an easy skiffly canter on Things Have Changed, with a croaky Dylan adopting the stance of an awkward gunslinger when not otherwise employed behind the baby grand. That mumbly delivery was at its most frustratingly incoherent on What Good Am I and it was the band who took the honours on the polished but mischievous country swing number Duquesne Whistle, with some lovely embellishing licks from guitarist Charlie Sexton.
The current Tempest album was also represented by the brooding outlaw rocker Pay In Blood, the classic blues swagger of Early Roman Kings, on which Dylan woke up one morning and penned a slice of socio-historical satire, and a closing trio of mellow tracks. This may not have pleased anyone foolishly holding out for a brace of greatest hits but it certainly played to the subtle strengths of this group as a cohesive old-time country outfit, sprinkling Tex-mex seasoning on Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ and the sultry, soulful Forgetful Heart, a recent love ballad to rival Make You Feel My Love – just don’t tell Adele.
Dylan’s classic 60s and 70s songbook was visited far more selectively. The early anti-love song She Belongs To Me was rendered more soothing than scathing with the addition of plangent pedal steel. Dylan also upped the country credentials of Simple Twist Of Fate and transformed the biting Blowin’ In The Wind into a balmy breeze.