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By Nathan M. Walters, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Bob Dylan and His Band kick off their South American tour in Rio on April 15th at Citibank Hall and the show is one not to be missed, even considering the R$500 per ticket (still available). Whether you have seen Dylan before is of no consequence; the artist is known for inventing and reinventing his vast catalog, mining the history of North American music so that every performance is unique and inspiring.

Bob Dylan and His Band play in Rio on April 15th at Citibank Hall, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil news
Bob Dylan and His Band play in Rio on April 15th at Citibank Hall, photo by Diario de un Pixel/ Flickr Creative Commons License.

Dylan’s performance continues a recent run of iconic artists visiting Rio (most recently Roger Waters and Joe Cocker stopped by), but it is not his first. The artist performed in Rio in the early Nineties and more recently at Rio Arena (now HSBC Arena) in 2008.

Originally praised as the voice of the folk revival of the early Sixties, Dylan has spent the last fifty years constructing, altering, destroying, and reconstructing the publics’ idea of who or what Bob Dylan is.

Some say Bob Dylan is just a performer, a talented artist who makes a song, sells an album, performs a show. Yet, his songs are so personal, not only to him (which many are, “Sara” as a prime example) but to his listeners.

There are many Bob Dylan songs that describe how a person is feeling better than the person can themselves. The restless exuberance of youth (see “Like a Rolling Stone”); the fight against oppression (see “The Times They are a Changin”, “I Shall be Released”, “Blowin in the Wind”, etc.), the feelings of ending a relationship (see “Idiot Wind”); the urge to make love (see “Lay Lady Lay”, “Tonight I Will Be Staying Here With You”); modern history (see “Hurricane”, “Joey”).

The list goes on and, fortunately, as the seventy year-old Dylan has shown no signs of slowing, continues to grow each year. Dylan has the agility to work through all of the artist’s past material with style, the group’s time spent together shines through during performances.

Steve Yolen, an American expatriate living in Rio, and member of the River Country Trio bluegrass band, had the chance to see a young Dylan in Greenwich Village in the Sixties mentions, “It’s a real privilege for Rio to be able to host a concert by Bob Dylan.”

Joan Baez with Bob Dylan in 1963, Brazil News
Joan Baez with Bob Dylan in 1963, photo by Rowland Scherman/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

“He has been a transformative figure in the American music scene for half a century and to this day is an icon of immeasurable importance.  This is show that should not be missed, no matter what your age or musical preference,” Yolen explains.

Dylan’s influence has touched nearly every Western music act of the past fifty years, from Johnny Cash to Rage Against the Machine (the fist-pumping rendition of “Maggies’ Farm”). 

A look at the artists covering Dylan’s work on the new four disc Amnesty International benefit CD (Chimes of Freedom) shows just how far his influence reaches.

Some say Bob Dylan changed the way the world thinks, and many would agree. Which makes the chance to enjoy a performance by the living legend worth the steep ticket price. Though as Dylan himself once sang, “When you ain’t got nothing” you can’t afford a R$500 ticket. Or something to that effect.

Bob Dylan and His Band
Citibank Hall
April 15th, 10PM
Av. Ayrton Senna, 3000 – Barra da Tijuca
Tickets from R$500 to R$800.

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