DEER VALLEY Bob Dylan didn't have to play "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" during his sold-out concert Sunday night at the Deer Valley amphitheater. That had already taken place during the two hours before the concert, as fans in rain ponchos with umbrellas braved a drenching downpour on the mountainside venue.
But as if by magic, the rain stopped a few minutes before 7:30 p.m. That's when Dylan started things off with a very appropriate "Rainy Day Women No. 12 and 35," and fans jumped right in shouting the familiar chorus, "Everybody must get stoned."
The reigning poet laureate of rock music, who never uttered a word to the crowd, offered a set list that covered every decade of his 40-plus year career.
His connection with several generations was evident, with concertgoers from teens to those well older than 60. I wasn't even a teenager when Dylan had his first hits in the early '60s, yet I came to the concert with my 18-year-old son, Lonn, who is a much bigger Dylan enthusiast than I am. Over the years, Dylan has won just about every major honor, from Grammys to an Academy Award to induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and this year, a special Pulitzer Prize citation.
The voice has become more gravelly, but the crowd didn't seem to mind as he went through hidden gems such as "When I Paint My Masterpiece," and my son's personal favorite, "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again," from the 1966 album, "Blonde on Blonde."
He also played classics such as "Not Dark Yet" and "Thunder on the Mountain" from the "Love and Theft" and "Modern Times" albums, respectively.
He did a string of songs from his 1965 classic album, "Highway 61 Revisited," including the title track, the 12-minute epic "Desolation Row" and the lesser known "Queen Jane Approximately."
Dylan seemed content playing keyboards throughout the show, although the crowd especially got pumped up when he broke out the harmonica on "She Belongs to Me" and "Simple Twist of Fate."
My personal favorite was "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," from his 1963 album, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan."
Just about everyone was on his feet, moving to the music during the 100-plus minutes of the show. All the better to keep from freezing.
About an hour into the concert, the rain picked up again. So it seemed appropriate to end with "Thunder on the Mountain." Some folks packed it up and rushed to their cars. But those who cheered the band back for an encore were rewarded with a rendition of the signature anthem, "Like a Rolling Stone." The soaked audience swayed with the music and belted out the beginning of the chorus, "How does it feel?"
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