After a year and a half away because of the pandemic, relentless road warrior Bob Dylan returned to a concert stage on Sunday (July 18) — at least online. He performed for fans who paid $25 to watch online through the live-streaming platform Veeps. It was less a concert than a stylized black-and-white film, with the 80-year-old singer fronting a four-piece band in a juke joint before audience members who smoked a lot and paid little attention to him.
Dylan hasn’t performed live since December 2019, COVID-19 finally concluding his so-called Never Ending tour. Since 1988, he had kept performing regularly: 78 gigs in 2019, 84 in 2018, for example. His wardrobe changes and differences in the placement of the band and witnesses made clear that Sunday’s performance, titled “Shadow Kingdom,” did not run straight through. His audience was actors rather than fans; they didn’t applaud.