Sheffield date for tribute act Simply Dylan
It’s coming up to 50 years since Bob Dylan played the Isle of Wight Festival.
And there he was again – sort of – on the Big Top Stage at last month’s festival on the island.
Well, at least the spirit was rekindled as Simply Dylan, led by frontman John O’Connell, interpreted some of Dylan’s back catalogue.
From what started as a modest project to celebrate his 70th birthday in 2011 the band have continued to explore the extraordinary range and richness of the archive, recently completing their fourth UK theatre tour.
The message is that this is “a tribute to Bob Dylan not a Bob Dylan tribute.”
Following on from the Isle of Wight festival, the latest string of dates includes the cosier environment of the Greystones in Sheffield on Saturday (July 6).
O’Connell remembers when they were at the Greystones last year on a very hot day and says the six-piece band are looking forward to performing once again at the intimate venue.
“You can engage more with people at these smaller gigs and so we always put a few of these shows on our calendar every summer.
“It means I can choose some of the songs I haven’t played for a while and be a bit self-indulgent given that there are just so many to choose from!”
The band comprises John O’Connell (vocals, guitar & harmonica), Helen Seymour (bass), Chris Cookson (keyboards), Kath Ord (violin and saxophone), Treva Goldup (second guitar) and Martin Douglas (drums).
They have an avid admirer in playwright Alan Bleasdale (a Liverpudlian alongside O’Connell), who saw the master in Liverpool in 1965 and the following year during the infamous electric tour.
Bleasdale sais: “No-one can ever go back in time to recall the wonder and near disbelief of discovering Dylan for the first time, but I can make no finer tribute to Simply Dylan than to reveal that they allowed this old man to go back and listen again with love to his first and only hero."