In an interview in 1988, Leonard Cohen made one of the most intelligent approaches to the figure of Bob Dylan- artist who will perform at Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence (http://www.mandelaforum.it/notizie.php?ID=483 ) next 11th of November – that has been done before. In it, he compared the music and the paint worlds to conclude on one hand that his genius mind and the importance of his work can only be compared to those of Picasso (with respect to the exuberance of his talent, the wide spectrum covered by this unique, colossal, almost monstrous assimilative capacity of the legacy of the entire history of art) and on the other hand regretted that music critics continue anchored in a merely figurative approach that prevented him from appreciating the high degree of sophistication achieved by Dylan as a singer, his immeasurable talent as a composer and songwriter has seemed forever beyond any doubt.
The citation appears in the magnificent and highly acclaimed two-volume book, Paul Williams, Bob Dylan Performing Artist, from the very extensive and incomprehensible bibliography devoted to the enigmatic and elusive artist from Minnesota perhaps, one of the most unique and outstanding in the world. It is very difficult to talk about Dylan, first ,because it was hard to say something about him that someone had not already published before. His influence on popular music has been so extraordinary and so many of his albums in six different decades and two centuries deserve to be called absolute masterpieces, that paralysis occurs to anyone who tries to approach a study of his work that aspires not to be expendable. On the other hand, however, Dylan continues to be an impenetrable mystery who can only be approached in a multi-faceted and fragmented way, as he has always been presented himself, saying the richness of his multiple and elusive masks. That may not be least of the many virtues of I `m Not There, the Todd Haynes formidable film conducted four years ago.
Williams´s book is fascinating, because it brilliantly goes deep into a mystery through a precise prose that spread its enthusiasm to explore Dylan´s work not only through his official recordings but, above all, the registration of its endless activities, convinced after hear that almost all the best and largest of his work has taken place outside the confines of the recording studio in his live concerts, invested with an ephemeral quality that so very narrow links with the spiritual value always associated with the music and drama.
Famous, puzzling and astonishing is the magic of Dylan´s refusal to play the same song twice in the same way, which not only makes their incomparably exciting concert events but it raises key questions concerning the nature of the art, the artist and the public could experiment in live performances.
For this European tour, Dylan will be accompanied by his powerful band and the prestigious Mark Knopfler, responsible for the distinctive guitar sound that adorned Infidels, one of the best Dylan albums in the eighties. Do not miss this concert if you rent apartments in Florence durings those dates.
Translated by: Hans