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Bob Dylan and Neil Young roll back the years at Hyde Park

Bob Dylan performing at British Summer Time (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Bob Dylan performing at British Summer Time (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Bob Dylan and Neil Young rolled back the years at a sun-soaked Hyde Park, bringing a combined century worth of hits to a buoyant London crowd.

Though he’s not known for his sunny disposition, 78-year-old Dylan was at times beaming as he led a highly accomplished blues band through his decades-long songbook.

And, on more than one occasion, the US folk hero – dressed in a white sequin jacket and brimmed black hat – ended a song by walking slowly to centre stage, placing one hand pointedly on his hip, and simply drawing in the adulation.

Those hoping to see a 78-year-old Dylan play out the classics on guitar were to be disappointed, though.

Many of his most famous songs – including the likes of Highway 61 Revisited and Blowin’ in the Wind – were in truth nigh on unrecognisable from their original recordings.

British Summer Time festival – London
Neil Young performing at British Summer Time (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Nonetheless, there were still some extreme highs to savour – not least the joyous Like a Rolling Stone, which set tens of thousands singing along.

In a rare support slot, Neil Young was not to be outdone.

After a slow start with choppy sound, there was a stunning run on electric guitar, peaking with a euphoric Rockin’ in the Free World.

Young – at a modest 73 years of age – was perhaps more generous with his crowd pleasers than his headliner. Heart of Gold, Old Man and Like a Hurricane all being rolled out as the early evening sun beat down.

Notably, despite both artists being known for their protest songs through the years, there was not a jot of politics on show during either set.

But on a Friday night, in turbulent times like these, perhaps that’s just what everybody needed.

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