Last week in his Right Wing Bob blog, Sean Curnyn mused over a Bob Dylan concert review, where a critic simplistically interpreted an Election Day set list – where Bob Dylan happened to play “Masters Of War”- as a political statement. Curnyn noted that Dylan has been playing “Masters Of War” on Tuesdays as a regular matter of course, and the selection of that protest song could not be interpreted as anything out of the ordinary. (Unless Dylan is, of course, always ready for any election by playing the song almost every Tuesday. But I digress).
On this leg of his fall tour, Dylan has performed 30 concerts, with nine to go. So far he has sung/played 59 different songs for a total of 483 performances, according to the Desolation Row Information Service. “Masters Of War” has only been performed three times – the last three Tuesdays, including the week before Election Day. For what it’s worth, “This Wheel’s On Fire” has also only been performed three times, all on Tuesdays.
It’s no secret to anyone who follows Dylan’s set lists that there are patterns where one can get a sense of what he’s going to play before the start of the show. However, he’s rarely played the same set list twice, especially on consecutive days.
Five songs seem to be mandatory, all near the end of the show: The eleventh song, “Highway 61 Revisited”, and the final four – “Thunder On The Mountain”, “Ballad Of A Thin Man”, and the encores “Jolene” and “Like A Rolling Stone”.
What is interesting is that Dylan seems to have certain songs scheduled for a specific day of the week. On Tuesdays, “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” has been the opener (as it has been on about two-thirds of the shows) and “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” (15 shows) also shows up in the third or fourth slot. Some other songs have been performed three times on Tuesdays, including “Just Like A Woman”(22 total) and “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” (8).
After that, there doesn’t seem to be any specific Tuesday pattern. Are there other songs slotted for other days of the week? What does it all mean? Not much, probably.
As Curnyn noted, of the 16 songs performed on November 2, thirteen were repeated on the 9th.
Now I’m wondering . . .Was that a Tuesday night thing? Or did Dylan read the same review?
Maybe tonight’s set list will shed some light . . .
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