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Blog: Nowlan Park Bob Dylan gig was something to cherish

Music Inside Ireland


'Co Antrim actor-and huge Bob Dylan fan- Glenn McGivern writes about his experience of attending the Dylan/Young gig Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on Sunday 14 July 2019, which was ‘something to cherish’. Nowlan Park Dylan/Young Gig was something to cherish By Glenn McGivern Nowlan Park was an incredible venue to hold an event so hyped and so awaited as the Bob Dylan and Neil Young gig.When you see a poster for a concert of this scale, you really think that this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity – and it certainly turned out to be exactly that.Nowlan Park was transformed from it’s usual Kilkenny GAA layout.The large grass pitch was covered over with temporary flooring.Pop-up bars, speakers and merchandise stalls filled the area in which the fans were congregated.The stadium looked like something straight out of a Guns N’ Roses music video, the ideal setting for a rock concert.Glenn Hansard-a real killer of a warm-up Around 35,000 eager fans had booked to see these two music titans, all manner of Dylan and Neil Young t-shirts could be seen all around.Everyone was chatting excitedly to strangers beside them, reminiscing about the last time they saw these two stars, or guessing what hits they might perform that night.The magic began at around 5pm, when Glen Hansard walked on stage and sat down at a piano; the audience warmly cheered the talented Dubliner.Glen delivered a few downbeat piano ballads before switching the tempo by picking up a guitar and breaking into a few very emotive, powerful songs.His lyrics were very raw and often spiritual, and he was happy to share the inspiration behind some of them.Glen Hansard’s singing voice was outstandingly good, it was a real killer of a warm-up act.Top Notch After a short break, the audience went wild when Neil Young stepped on stage with his band The Promise of the Real.Slick as anything, they went immediately into their set.The audience really started to sing along when the band strummed the first few chords of Heart of Gold – the sound of every instrument was so clean and crisp, almost as if it were from a CD.The musicians were immaculately in sync with each other, and it was clear that the stadium’s sound system was top notch.Neil Young’s voice hasn’t changed in decades and he moves around the stage like a man half his age.He plays the guitar with such vigour, and sings with such a cool ease, that it’s difficult to believe he is 73.From Folk to Rock ‘n’ Roll Young’s set was initially quite folk rocky with large chunks which were purely instrumental; toward the end, a lot more rock ‘n’ roll crept in and the audience screamed with joy when he ended on Rockin’ in the Free World.The opening riffs sounded like a steam engine cutting through the cheer.Ever the showman, Neil and the band baited the audience into thinking that it was all over before diving into another chorus.He did this four, if not five times, each time to rapturous applause.From start to finish, this veteran showed that he knew every trick to stir up an audience and enjoyed every second on stage.An unforgettable performance.Audience went wild for Bob Later in the evening, the audience went wild again as Bob Dylan sauntered on stage with his band.He looked a picture of coolness and elegance, style dripping off him.In a sharp black suit, a wide brimmed pale hat and a neck scarf – a familiar visual tone was set before he even played a note.As a huge Dylan fan, the build up to this special moment was momentous for me, and I think most in Nowland Park felt the same.The whole set had a very soft feel to it, it felt somewhat intimate in that big space.Becoming visibly glassy eyed, the audience were soon lulled by the mellow music.Confusion Though when Dylan started to sing the first verse of Simple Twist of Fate , there were a few murmurs of confusion amongst the crowd.It became apparent that he was changing the tune to almost all of his songs, some of them were partially unrecognisable.Fans tried to sing along and just couldn’t.This was soon forgiven though and people were won over to things being a little experimental; when a very different rendition of the famous Like A Rolling Stone came around, people seemed to welcome this fresh, quite romantic version.History in the making There came one moment during the set which was truly history in the making – Neil Young was invited on stage and together they sang the gospel hit Can the Circle Be Unbroken.This was the first time these two artists had played together for 25 years, and something which may not be seen again.Without a doubt the highlight of the entire evening!Toward the end of Dylan’s set, darkness had settled, the stage lighting adjusted to really accommodate this.It felt like something that you could imagine had been planned and timed, it was a beautiful and poignant finish to the gig; the last couple of tunes had a real soothing, idyllic quality to them.Bob Dylan, in keeping with his sometimes mystical public persona, gave no audience address whatsoever and bowed just slightly to his adoring crowd before leaving the stage with his band.All in all, the entire gig was something to cherish, a rare treat which will be a source of fond nostalgia in years to come. . The post Blog: Nowlan Park Bob Dylan gig was something to cherish appeared first on Inside Ireland .'