The spotlight falls. And Dylan begins to sing.
I say sing. Imagine an Old Testament prophet come down from the
mountains of the desert. Imagine he has 70 years’ worth of visions to
impart in rich and vivid verse - visions comprised for the most part of
searing and timeless human truth about love and god and man. But imagine
that he has neither heard nor spoken a single word during his many
decades alone - that his voice is therefore as cracked as the tablets he
bears and as croaky as the rocks among which he has lived, and that
furthermore he has no sense of the speed, nor the sound, nor the
stresses, nor the syntax of conventional speech. Now imagine that an
unusually convincing joker selling ecstasy tablets and helium balloons
has waylaid him on the way to the amphitheatre. And, finally, imagine
that when at last he steps up before you to discourse upon what is
undoubtedly the quintessence of existence, he chooses to do so by
intoning through a hookah pipe using only the five notes of the
pentatonic scale. That’s what I mean by singing.