Live at Hyde Park Bob Dylan and Neil Young

Neil Young performs as part of a historic double bill with Bob Dylan at Hyde Park on July 12, 2019 i

Neil Young performs as part of a historic double bill with Bob Dylan at Hyde Park on July 12, 2019 in London, England. Picture Credit: Dave J Hogan - Credit: Dave J Hogan

Historic double-bill is a study in contrasts as Young proves he’s an evergreen rocker while Dylan is well past his prime

Bob Dylan performs as part of a historic double bill with Neil Young at Hyde Park on July 12, 2019 i

Bob Dylan performs as part of a historic double bill with Neil Young at Hyde Park on July 12, 2019 in London, England. Picture Credit: Dave J Hogan - Credit: Dave J Hogan

Some sad sights are interwoven with pangs of spectator guilt and complicity.

Watching the severely diminished faculties of a 78-year-old Bob Dylan in 2019 conjures such emotions in spades.

A pity, since this was an historic double bill event with Dylan and Neil Young brought together for the first time ever in Hyde Park.

But although die-hards will no doubt say otherwise, Dylan offered ample proof that the time may have come for this venerable genius to call it a day in terms of live performance.


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Replete with wide-rimmed black hat and sequin-tastic jacket, Dylan looked the part at least.

But he is also evidently ravaged by the arthritis that has long deprived audiences of sight of the curly-mopped wordsmith standing with guitar in hand and harmonica rack in situ.

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Instead, he sat behind a piano and, as has been the case for many a year, could only croak his wonderful words - the voice of yesteryear a distant memory.

Famous for reworking old favourites, Simple Twist of Fate and Blowin' in the Wind provoke a 'name that tune' guessing game. he is flanked by his exceptional backing band, including stalwarts Tony Garnier and Charlie Sexton.

There is something awfully uncomfortable about watching Dylan now. Even a lovely Girl From the North Country and Love Sick can't save the impression that this music legend is now in a state of irrevocable disrepair. A sorry spectacle.

Earlier, Young had been a different matter entirely. Face and figure aside, he has the appearance of a man for whom time is a play thing - something he can freeze and reverse at will.

Molten, buzzsaw sounds spit and splutter from his guitar like a welder at a furnace. While his dextrous musicality and execution stand as a punchy rebuttal of his septuagenarian years, the grungy jams of Mansion on the Hill, Over and Over and Country Home follow one after the other.

Young makes for a magnetic presence, brilliantly complimented by Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real.

Hits is a relative term for this contrarian folk rocker, but Young tears through stunning renditions of Old Man, Heart of Gold and Rockin' in the Free World.

In hindsight it's a contrasting case study to Dylan, and so worth putting a spin on Bob's old words.

Neil may be 73, but as a live performer it seems he's Forever Young.

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