At the age of 76, Bob Dylan has no intention of putting his guitar down or exiting the stage. He’s announced 21 new tour dates, extending what many have called the never-ending tour he’s kept steadily afloat for years now.
The musician will visit everywhere from Boston, Massachusetts, to Valley Center, California, between October and November. During his month-long road trip, the documentary “Trouble No More” will also premiere at the New York Film Festival. The film reportedly documents Dylan’s “born-again” era and his love of gospel music.
While Dylan can still bring out crowds and draw more attention than most other entertainers, many people have questioned whether the singer has worn out his welcome — a question the laid-back, interview-allergic artist likely doesn’t spend too much time thinking about.
“[T]his tour is maybe Dylan’s cruelest. In the past, no matter how he spun them, or how few lyrics you understood, you could at least depend on hearing Dylan playing his songs … In his Sinatra-tribute era — ‘The Voice’ is a terribly ironic choice considering the state of Dylan’s pipes,” read a Denver Post review of a 2016 Colorado concert Dylan put on.
The New York Daily News published a story last year with the pointed title, “At 75 Years Old, It’s Time for Burnt Out Bob Dylan to Retire.”
In a 2010 review of a New Jersey concert by Dylan, The Wall Street Journal asked, “Should Bob Dylan Retire?”
The piece described his voice as “now deteriorated to a laryngitic croak.”
Detractors say Dylan is only hurting his legacy by continuing to play with a deteriorating voice, while supporters say it is the man’s lyrics themselves that have always drawn more praise than his actual singing abilities.
Considering that Dylan has been touring nonstop for years and mostly avoids interviews and the press, one can expect this artist to forget about any notion of “retirement.” He’ll perform on a stage, for better or worse, until the day he dies.
Dylan actually discussed retirement with Ed Bradley in a rare interview on “60 Minutes” back in 2004. The exchange went as follows:
Bradley: … You’re still out here doing these songs, you’re still on tour …
Dylan: I do, but I don’t take it for granted.
Bradley: Why do you still do it — why are you still out here?
Dylan: Well, it goes back to the destiny thing. I made a bargain with it a long time ago and I’m holding up my end.
Bradley: What was your bargain?
Dylan: To get where I am now.
Bradley: Should I ask who you made the bargain with?
Dylan: With the — you know, with the Chief Commander.
Bradley: On this earth?
Dylan: On this earth and in the world we can’t see.
(photo credit, homepage image: Paparazzo Presents; photo credit, article image: Francisco Antunes)