An enthusiastic, sell-out crowd packed Mexico City’s Auditorio Nacional last night to watch Bob Dylan open his twelve-gig Latin American tour. The concert marked Dylan’s comeback after a short hiatus (save for three warm-up gigs last week at the House of Blues in Dallas) as well as his long-awaited return to the region — the last time Dylan embarked on a major tour of the region was in 1998, as the opening act for the Rolling Stones.
Dylan began the evening on electric guitar for his first three songs, “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35,” “It Ain’t Me, Babe” and “Watching The River Flow.” He dipped into his most recent studio album, 2006’s Modern Times, and reworked classics that took the crowd a moment to recognize. Sunday night’s Oscars may have been on Dylan’s mind as he played “Things Have Changed,” his Academy Award-winning tune from 2003’s Wonder Boys. (He had his own Oscar or a replica — no one seems to know for sure — in its customary spot atop his amplifier.) The set concluded with “Summer Days” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” the latter prompting the entire crowd to rise and sing along to the chorus. As usual, Dylan returned for a two-song encore that finished with an altered, but nonetheless powerful version of “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
Dylan plays Mexico City again tonight followed by shows in Guadalajara and Monterrey. “The Never Ending Tour” will then wind its way through Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.