Bob Dylan lives his life like a shark, wending his way around the world on a seemingly endless tour, appearing almost fearful that if he stops, he stops for good. Dylan returns to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in early September, with support coming from Ben Harper.
For years, Dylan was knocked for his unorthodox singing, his seeming abandonment of being put on a pedestal by his generation or his varied non-musical whims, which leaked into his music anyway. He has lost a step, his critics say, and he doesn’t even bother to play the guitar anymore. But for the millions of fans who turn up for Dylan’s famously freewheeling shows, where classic songs are sometimes delivered in unrecognizable versions, critics be damned.
This was how Dylan’s show went in 2009, and it went down a storm; so why should 2012 be any different? Except, of course, that somewhere in the midst of all that touring, Dylan found the time to record a new album. Tempest, released a little over a week after Dylan’s show in Bethel, may or may not turn up live. As recent history has shown, Dylan himself may not know the answer to that until just before taking the stage.
Though he has tried to downplay his connection to the Woodstock generation, Dylan’s return to Bethel – a site that wears its rock ‘n’ roll history on its tie-dyed wizard sleeve – is enough to make one wonder whether he doesn’t feel a deeper pull than he lets on. No matter, because Dylan fans are going to turn out in droves for what promises to be an unforgettable concert.
Bob Dylan and his Band with support from Ben Harper play the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel on Sunday, September 2 at 8 p.m. Reserved seating tickets range from $55 to $141.50, with lawn seats available for $31.50. For more information, visit www.bethelwoodscenter.org or www.bobdylan.com.