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The Dylan Project, The Sage Gateshead

IT may be a little rambling and shambolic at times but the message is loud and clear.

The Dylan Project
The Dylan Project

IT may be a little rambling and shambolic at times but the message is loud and clear. These guys revel in paying homage to the legend that is Bob Dylan.

The rambling introductions are almost a false start to what follows as Steve Gibbons, at 71 the same age as the man himself, leads his musical mates on a blistering trawl through the American’s seemingly never-ending catalogue.

And it is not the just the standards that are the highlights. Versions of Senor, Cold Irons Bound and Not Dark Yet remind us of the bleakness and power of Dylan’s prose along with a highly upbeat blast of Subterranean Homesick Blues and a finale rendition of Like A Rolling Stone.

The audience in the intimate Hall Two appeared to be mostly middle-aged and those who have grown up with Dylan as a soundtrack to their lives. But there was also a spattering of the younger generation, perhaps there out of curiosity rather than commitment.

Gibbons, who readily admits getting his friends together at this time of year to become The Dylan Project, says it is more a labour of love than a tribute.

His band, Dave Pegg, Gerry Conway, PJ Wright and Phil Bond, certainly seem to enjoy the shackles being off and turning their collective enthusiasm and passion for the singer on to full power.

With Dylan releasing Tempest this year, his highly acclaimed 35th studio album, these guys may have even more material to keep them going as long as the legend himself.

In the meantime, this hugely entertaining evening probably prompted many who were there to go back home and play some of the albums that may have gathered dust over the years.

It was like a juddering jolt to remind us that Dylan is still around and his words should not be lost.

Ron Clarke


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