Selected by Dan
Twenty-two years after he
first visited the country and three years since his most recent stopover, the Tambourine
Man returns to Japan for a national tour that will take him to three Tokyo area venues,
including the venerable Budokan.
Rather than attempt to summarize the career of someone Time magazine calls one of
the 20th century' 200 most important people, or reflect on his influence on today's
protest bands like Rage Against the Machine, it is enough to consider what the man has
been up to of late.
After returning from a 1997 brush with death (due to an inflamed heart muscle), about
which he uttered the priceless comment, "I really thought I'd be seeing Elvis
soon," Dylan issued one of his finest albums in years. Time Out Of Mind was
a bleak, stark recording, with Dylan pondering the subjects that have always been the
goldmine for his best songs: Lost love and death. Debuting in the Top 10, it earned him
three Grammys in 1998 for Album of the Year, Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Male
Early in 2000, meanwhile, the release of the movie, The Hurricane, provided an
occasion to take a fresh look at one of Dylans landmark songs, "Hurricane."
Telling the story of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter who spent nineteen years in
prison for a murder he did not commit, the song was featured in the movie.
More recently, Dylan spent the summer of 2000 co-headlining a tour with former Grateful
Dead bassist Phil Lesh, before launching a North American one that ended in November.
On October 31, Columbia Records released The Essential Bob Dylan, a limited issue
digitally remastered two-disc set of, er, essential Dylan tracks including "Blowin'
in the Wind," "Tangled Up in Blue" and "Knockin on Heaven's
J. Bob Dylan
plays Omiya Sonic City on February 25, Pacifico Yokohama on March 2 and Nihon Budokan on
March 14. See listings for details.