Bob Dylan has had a strict “no photos” policy at his concerts for years, but that’s rarely stopped fans from taking our their cellphones and trying to snap a few images before security swarms. But on Tuesday night at a show in Vienna, Austria, he finally reached his boiling point when he stopped singing “Blowin’ in the Wind” after one verse to admonish the audience. “Take pictures or don’t take pictures,” he barked. “We can either play or we can pose. Okay?”
Prior to that, he said something very similar into the microphone that’s hard to discern and then stepped backwards in an angry huff, tripped over a guitar monitor and nearly hit the floor. He then stood still near his band, apparently posing, and then went into a truncated rendition of “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” before walking off for the night. The band finished the show with an instrumental version of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” which has been the finale throughout this whole tour.
The incident marked the first time that Dylan had spoken to the crowd in some time. Audiences used to only hear his speaking voice when he introduced the band, but he stopped doing even that about two years ago. Before most shows, audiences are informed that photographs are not allowed. At New York’s Beacon Theater last year, ushers roamed the aisles with flashlights and shined them directly at anyone using a phone. Repeat offenders were threatened with ejection. Dylan hasn’t, however, gone to the lengths of Jack White and Chris Rock by refusing to let anyone even enter his show with a cellphone outside of a sealed bag.
Dylan’s ongoing European tour warps May 7th in Valencia, Spain. After a six-week break, he heads back over there for another run of dates that wraps up with two co-headlining shows with Neil Young in London and Kilkenny, Ireland. Everyone with tickets to these shows should keep their cellphones firmly in their pockets. An angry Bob Dylan is a scary sight.
Bob Dylan Admonishes Crowd in Vienna
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#BobDylan doesn’t address the audience at all at his gigs these days. But last night in Vienna he had to make an exception to admonish fans taking photos: “We can either play or we can pose, okay?” This was right after he tripped over a monitor and almost took a nasty fall. Rough night.