BOWLING GREEN — Perhaps Bob Dylan — or at least the Dylanophiles who care about such things — should call this the Strange Bedfellows Tour.
The 71-year-old Greatest Songwriter in the History of Modern Music (there, I said it) has been on the Never Ending Tour since sometime in the deep dark ‘80s. He’s visited minor league ballparks, toured in China, and generally tromped around the world as the most iconoclastic, iconic, and interesting self-proclaimed “song and dance man” of his era.
So it makes perfect sense that his current jaunt is taking him to small colleges such as Bowling Green State University where he will play Sunday.
What seems weird though is that the concert also is a fund-raiser for the American Red Cross Northwest Ohio Region.
Bob Dylan and the Red Cross?
According to Ben Spence, the general manager of the Stroh Center at BGSU where the concert will take place, here is how it works: Dylan and his band will get paid, the arena and facilities will get their share to break even, and then all the money made above and beyond that will go to the Red Cross.
Amanda Aldrich, communications specialist with the local Red Cross chapter, said that technically the show is not considered a benefit. “It’s kind of like ‘presented by BGSU in association with us.’ It’s like any other concert but we are able to receive the proceeds and they will go to the disaster relief and recovery,” she said.
The Stroh Center holds 4,235 people, so the more fans who show up to hear Dylan and opening act Dawes, the more money the Red Cross will make.
The tour has him playing in places like Bethelhem, Penn., Kalamazoo, Mich., Akron, Springfield, Mo., and Asheville, N.C. Reviews have been uniformly good, with the requisite cautions that A) if you’re used to hearing a song performed one way, expect it to be radically different, and B) his voice, while expressive, is not exactly a thing of beauty.
Because he is working in new guitar player Duke Robillard, a member of Roomful of Blues who is an A-list jazz, blues, and rock sideman, his set lists have been virtually identical for the first eight shows of the concert. This is of course an aberration for Dylan, who in the past played radically different sets for each show.
By the time Sunday rolls around he could be changing things up again, so as always it’s difficult to predict what he might do, but the recent shows have featured “All Along the Watchtower,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Blind Willie McTell,” “Visions of Johanna,” and a number of newer songs, including a healthy selection from his 2012 album “Tempest.”
If his show two years ago at the Toledo Zoo is any indication, though, he is most definitely still worth seeing and hearing. That concert featured an animated Dylan and a hot band working their way through the blues, old time music, folk, rock, country, and all points in between.
Opening band Dawes, a harmony-heavy folk rock band out of Laurel Canyon, Calif., is expected to play for about 40 minutes.
Tickets are still available and are $35 and $45 for reserve seating at all Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com, or the Stroh Center box office. Anyone with a student ID (not just BGSU) can get seats for $25. Additional ticket options are available through the Red Cross by calling 419-329-2573. Doors open Sunday at 6:30 and music from Dawes is supposed to start at 7:30, according to Ms. Aldrich.
Contact Rod Lockwood at email@example.com or 419-724-6159.