Another side of Bob Dylan

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 May, 2011, 12:00am


Recent discussion on the letters' pages of the South China Morning Post raises an interesting question: should someone who's forked out hundreds of dollars for a ticket to be entertained expect satisfaction?

When Bob Dylan played in Hong Kong last month, some members of his audience walked out before the show had ended while others were enthralled. For correspondent Alexander Zervos, Dylan's voice was 'strangulated' and 'unintelligible' and his band were 'hamstrung by Dylan's hamfistedness on the keyboard and harmonica'. Attendees familiar only with Dylan's older hits also felt cheated when they discovered that those he did perform had been radically rearranged.

In riposte, Tim Gilkison wrote that true fans 'were looking to see the artist as he is at 69, in 2011'.

'Like fine cheese or a good whiskey, Bob is an acquired taste but one that ripens with age,' he continued.

But if only 'true fans' had attended the two Dylan concerts, would they have been financially viable? Dylan, himself, must be aware of this conundrum - and so we must conclude that by not including one or two 'crowd pleasers' in his set, in their original form (or as close as his strangulated voice will allow), he cares little for his fair-weather followers.

If that is the case, should he be taking their money?