The year 2019 marks the golden anniversary of Bob Dylan’s famous comeback performance at the Isle of Wight Festival. Fifty years ago, resplendent in a sharp cream suit, Dylan strode on to the stage before more than 150,000 music fans to deliver a performance that would go down in rock music history. This special moment in time is celebrated in The Bob Dylan Story’s Isle of Wight 50th Anniversary Greatest Hits Show, which hits town in the coming weeks.
The authoritative production is described as a “stunning and definitive live concert celebration of rock music’s greatest icon” by the star of the show Bill Lennon. “Music lovers are invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dylan’s famous comeback appearance and relive the moment as we feature classics performed on that heady late summer evening,” he says. “There’s the joyous romance of I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, the whimsy of Quinn The Eskimo, and the trademark venom of Maggie’s Farm.”
The aural and visual spectacular, which features visual projections and the fascinating stories behind the songs, was written by Bill, a self-confessed Dylan fanatic. “You can join ‘Bob’ and ‘The Band’ on a nostalgic trip through and beyond 1960s America as we bring to life all the hits including Like A Rolling Stone, Mr Tambourine Man, Blowin’ In The Wind, Knocking On Heaven’s Door, All Along The Watchtower, The Times They Are A-Changin’, Lay Lady Lay and many more,” says Bill.
Attention to detail is promised as the production presents a specially-written homage to Dylan’s Isle of Wight performance. “By the summer of 1969 little had been heard from the folk music legend for more than three years,” says Bill. “Following a motorcycle accident, Bob had gone into semi-retirement. “He was reportedly lured to the UK to appear at the festival with the promise of visiting ‘Tennyson country’ and what occurred was one of the most famous festival performances of all time.”
Four festival recordings were included on his Self Portrait album including Like a Rolling Stone, The Mighty Quinn, Minstrel Boy and She Belongs to Me. The Bob Dylan Story recreates the hits, along with the tales behind many of the songs, with a story arc that starts with JFK’s inauguration speech and returns almost full circle to his tragic assassination in 1963.
“You can experience the thrill and energy of a full-blown electric Dylan concert,” he says, “planted firmly in the 1960s, a time when anything seemed possible, in a show that will remind you what REAL nostalgia feels like, and have you digging out your old vinyl to sustain the pleasure just that little bit longer.”
Bill concludes with a reference to the Dylan’s famed Manchester Free Trade Hall concert – when the folk hero plugged in his electric guitar to the chagrin of “folk purists” in the audience: “Oh, and don’t forget to shout Judas!”
Tickets from £20.15
Box Office: 0844 871 3024