Bob Dylan is many things to many people. What he is to most, undoubtedly, is a living legend. Despite being in his late sixties his Never Ending Tour, which commenced in 1988, thankfully continues to wind its way around the globe.
His last few studio albums such as Time Out Of Mind, Love & Theft, Modern Times, and this year’s excellent Together Through Life have arguably included some of his finest work.
There has been a huge revolving cast of musicians who have experienced being on the road with the genius that is Dylan. Tales of sudden unexpected changes in, not only set lists, but keys, and timing abound. Working with Bob must be anything but dull or predictable.
Drummer Winston Watson was one of the fortunate who have been challenged by Bob Dylan to keep the ever changing time behind the music of the Never Ending Tour. The insight that such an experience can bring has resulted in the release of a DVD cataloguing this incredible journey. It was a trip that took in over 400 shows, from the tour’s first gig in 1992, throughout the following five years.
It was a time that saw Dylan and his band of musicians circumnavigate the globe ten times. The DVD, Bob Dylan, Never Ending Tour Diaries opens the door on the world of Dylan on the road in the '90's, whilst revealing tantalising glimpses of the man behind the shades.
Firstly, it has to be said that Winston Watson comes across as a hugely likeable, amiable, amusing, modest, and entertaining man and it is his own character as much as anything that keeps this particular DVD very much on the tracks.
He tells of how he was suddenly catapulted into huge arenas occupying the ‘best seat in the house’ behind none other than Bob Dylan. It was a surprising choice as his self confessed ‘busy and heavy’ rock style was largely inspired by the likes of Keith Moon, and John Bonham.
When he received the call to join Dylan’s band he assumed it was a joke but found himself flying through a terrifying storm in the hope that it wasn’t. When he arrived he found that there was no-one to meet him, no hotel had been booked, he had no stage clothes, and there was no set list to hand.
He was due on stage to play in front of the biggest audience of his life, with one of the biggest names that music has ever produced, in a matter of hours. He was merely advised to mimic the previous occupant and nervously took his place in front of 80,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial Park.