The night is cold and the line for the bar is long. The crowd is a mass of Kathmandu jackets, Squid Inc. cones of calamari and chips, and glasses of red wine. We are gathered in Bonython Park on a Saturday night in August, ready and waiting for something pretty damn magical. Bob Dylan is in town. For one night and one night only he is set to take the stage, introduced by lovely law dropout Vance Joy.
The venue for the night is a (thankfully) heated marquee, which provides some much needed respite from the winter air. The crowd is an eclectic group; on one side of us a pair of elderly men share beers and banter about the last time Bob was in town, on the other a mother and her millennial daughter compare favourite Vance tunes.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen Vance Joy and it certainly won’t be the last. He's endearingly awkward and a certified songbird to boot. He performs solo, often pausing to make conversation with the audience, and tells a particularly charming story about his English teacher mother who helped him write the chorus to the happy go lucky Mess is Mine. It’s a solid set, rounded out by summertime bangers Riptide and Fire and the Flood.
The tent is brimming with anticipation by the time Bob Dylan takes the stage. The performance is humble, and completely and utterly music-centric. Dressed in an elegant grey suit, Dylan rarely takes his eyes off the instruments. It is as though we are watching through a glass window. Whilst unusual in this day and age of increasing audience/artist engagement, it’s passionate, mesmerising, and a bloody good time. The set list is all-inclusive, with Dylan crooning classics like Blowin’ in the Wind and modern offerings such as Pay in Blood. It’s awe-inspiring and easy to see why he has made his mark as a musical legend.
Needless to say, it's a satisfying night for music-lovers in Adelaide. We’ve witnessed something special under the stars. Sure, The Times They Are A-Changin’ but as long as Bob and Vance are around, We’re (Not) Going Home.
Header image via Adelaide Now