Dylan lets music do the talking in his native Duluth, MN

Bob Dylan performs July 9, 2013 at Bayfront in Duluth. Iris Kolodji

Last night Bob Dylan played his birthplace of Duluth, Minnesota, with Wilco, My Morning Jacket and the Richard Thompson Trio. More than 7,000 people attended the show at Bayfront Festival Park, though there was capacity for up to 12,000. Despite my longtime Dylan fandom, I did not make the journey to the Zenith City for this show (reasons explained), but it was a hot ticket and many of my friends were there.

The Duluth News Tribune ran a glowing review by Tony Bennett (a different Tony Bennett, the one who works in Duluth).

“I used to care, but things have changed,” Dylan sang, his once-reedy voice now having completed its transformation into gravely Leonard Cohenness. As the show progressed, a number of lesser-known songs acted as a warmup to the famed songs, “Tangled Up In Blue” being the first one of those played. Even though the arrangement made the tune unrecognizable, the recitation of the chorus lyric sent a wave of electricity through the crowd.

Dylan’s band expertly played the material, adding banjo and standup bass when needed. But it was Bob Dylan, one of the most beloved songwriters in history, up there on a stage only a short distance from where he came into the world, that made the night magic.

The Star Tribune‘s Chris Riemenschneider was more sparse in praise.

The weather was moderately lousy, but people were jacked up anyway. Last month, howls of protestation from Dylan’s older fans caused concert officials to allow collapsible lawn chairs like the ones from family reunions. Thus, any pictures taken from farther back shows a sea of canvas-plastic chairs and stone washed ball caps.

But the whipper snappers were there, too, like my singer pal Iris Kolodji who got up real close to take the picture you see above with her phone.

From Iris:

“He didn’t say one word, but was very sassy on stage. He had his hand on his hip a lot. It was a good show. The encore was Blowin’ in the Wind, the best part.”

Fun fact, Tuesday was the 51st anniversary of Dylan’s recording of “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Today in 1962, Bob Dylan recorded Blowin’ In the Wind in NYC during an afternoon session. pic.twitter.com/N4ryWD72uC
— Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) July 9, 2013

Paul Lundgren at Perfect Duluth Day has some photos and thoughts on the Duluth show. He compared Bayfront turf conditions from 1999 to last night’s show. That alone shows you why I didn’t want to come to Bayfront last night. Looks like they’ve addressed that problem.

I see mostly positive things on social media, though people who drop a couple C-notes on something tend to say nice things, and it sounds like the show was exactly what most people expected.

There was this:

If I see one more tweet about Bob Dylan being from Duluth I’m gonna barf. He was born here. Big whoop. He’s from Hibbing people.
— Mallory Cleveland (@maljean89) July 10, 2013

To be fair, Hibbing and Duluth are working together quite nicely in our Dylan celebrations and fans tend to want to know about both places when they visit. 

People came to see Dylan, but it sounds like Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Thompson’s group were pretty dang good. The singers from Low came up on stage to sing “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” with Wilco, which I’d love to have seen. I continue to pine for an up tempo bluegrass rendition of that song. (hint hint, the Universe)

I’ve got a couple more of Iris’s photos and the set list below the jump:


Set list for Bob Dylan’s July 9, 2013 show in Duluth, Minnesota 

(gleaned from Rich Ginsburg):

Iris Kolodji
  • Things Have Changed  
  • Love Sick 
  • High Water (For Charley Patton) 
  • Soon after Midnight 
  • Early Roman Kings 
  • Tangled Up in Blue 
  • Duquesne Whistle 
  • She Belongs to Me  
  • Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ 
  • A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall 
  • Blind Willie McTell 
  • Simple Twist of Fate 
  • Summer Days 
  • All Along the Watchtower 
  • ENCORE: Blowing In The Wind
Iris Kolodji


  1. Gerry Mantel says

    He wasn’t too popular ca. 1998 in Duluth … one of the smallest concert crowds I’ve ever seen.
    BTW, I used to care too … but things have changed.

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