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Comrades From The North

After a suitable breather yet another touring year got underway in March. This time, though, it was with a twist. Dylan packed his bags and headed for Mexico and all points south as he took in the various delights of cities in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. These are locales that he has rarely or never played before so clearly this looks like being an interesting year at least from the geographical viewpoint. That thought was partially confirmed with the publication of further touring schedules that take in an unusual-looking European jaunt to include a number of cities and even countries which Dylan has not played previously. Rounding off this activity is a mini-tour of Spain - ten shows book-ended by gigs in Andorra and Portugal. There is no doubt that he is spreading it around these days so for all of you who thought that might never play your home town, you just never know! Unless you live in the UK that is where the favoured venues are arenas, more's the pity.

The song selections in the South American gigs were never dull but never that interesting. It's probably the best we can get these days. After so many years and so many shows, the set lists tend to familiarity even when they genuinely contain songs rarely played. It's all about the performance, of course, and reports suggest shows which are always professionally performed but, to some ears, sound like Dylan shows by numbers. Perhaps it's time for a new band to shake things up - not much chance of that it would seem? Whatever the touring year brings, concert-goers are always waiting for those moments of magic during the show when they connect with the band and it all becomes real once again and they remember, if they needed to, why they love Dylan's music. To his credit Dylan always provides those moments.

It has been recently announced that Dylan has received the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary power".

Here in the UK we have been wrestling with a final fling from cruel winter just as the days get longer and spring has officially sprung. Now that is something we are well used to!

May you climb on every rung ..........

Mike & John

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