Bob Dylan Electrifies Outlaw Festival Debut with Fresh Hits and Unexpected Covers

Dylan Reinvents Tour, Electrifies Alpharetta with Surprising Musical Shifts.

by Nouman Rasool
Bob Dylan Electrifies Outlaw Festival Debut with Fresh Hits and Unexpected Covers
© Staff/Getty Images

Bob Dylan kicked off the Outlaw Music Festival tour with a show at the Ameris Bank Amphitheater in Alpharetta, GA, that drew the crowd to their feet and began the Never Ending Tour era anew. Regarded for his revolutionary influence in the music industry, Dylan did not only sing; he shifted the expectations with a drastically changed list as expected by his dedicated fans.

Even prior to him being on stage, there was talk of major shifts in his band and its direction. Jerry Pentecost was replaced by veteran drummer and fellow gospel-era component Jim Keltner – a massive change in rhythm – while pedal steel Donnie Herron, who had been with the band for nineteen years, was another hint at a new sonic direction.

Here it was possible to get ready for a number of changes that preceded the beginning of one of the most unexpected nights in the whole history of Dylan’s numerous tours.

Dylan's Vintage Vibes

As for the hits, Dylan left them aside to perform songs from the fifties, both well-known covers and compositions he has made over the last 20 years.

It started with Willie Dixon’s “My Babe,” which, given that it was composed in 1955, set the vintage mood. After that, Dylan went on to play more classics such as Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie,” “Mr.

Blue” by the Fleetwoods, “Cold, Cold Heart” by Hank Williams, and Sanford Clark’s rockabilly number “The Fool. ” This is the first time he attempted these songs live and such ingenuity is quite impressive.

Songs from his 2012 album “Tempest” presented to the audience were “Early Roman Kings,” “Long and Wasted Years,” “Pay in Blood,” and “Scarlet Town,” enriching the event that already brought the flavor of history.

These performances stressed the fact that Dylan was still a force to reckon with and, at the same time, emphasized his ability to introduce new elements into folk. While these musical changes were taking place, the festival saw yet another twist in their fortunes.

Originally scheduled to perform every night, the headliner Willie Nelson became sick and could not make the first four shows, which were canceled due to his health issues. Instead, Lukas Nelson and the Family Band filled the stage and made sure the music continued to play.

This shift was that the crowds failed to catch the planned Nelson performance and instead were subjected to unexpected performances by other icons. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss also made memorable renditions of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll,” “The Battle of Evermore,” and more to the culturally rich experience of the festival.

As the Outlaw tour awaits to shift to the West Coast at the end of summer with John Mellencamp and Brittney Spencer and Plant, Krauss, and Celisse leaving, one wonders what other musical marvels are in store. What is quite evident, however, is Bob Dylan’s continued ability to dazzle and captivate his audience, suggesting more terrific shows ahea