Not remotely like a Rolling Stone

Not remotely like a Rolling Stone

AS HIS long-suffering fans await this summer's official release of the famous 1966 concert recordings with the Hawks, Bob Dylan (above) returns to Britain for what amounts to his first full concert tour since that momentous year. Then, the history books say, he strapped on a Fender Stratocaster and recast himself as the leader of an electric rock 'n' roll band. "Judas!" someone shouted on a tension-filled night at the Albert Hall, reflecting the bewilderment that has often attended Dylan's perennial gift for confounding expectations. Who, for example, could have predicted that this once reclusive figure would feel like spending most of the last decade on the road? Notoriously inconsistent by conventional show-business standards, Dylan sings the way he feels - and sometimes he doesn't quite feel himself. At Hammersmith in 1991, for instance, he seemed terminally discomfited by the whole idea of being Bob Dylan. But a mere two years later, on the same stage, he produced a gratifyingly committed and totally absorbing performance, inviting favourable comparisons with his best years. Recent reports from around the world suggest that his enthusiasm remains high. And, after all, he now has a CD-ROM to promote. (For dates see rock listings, left.)

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