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Bringing It All Back Home
Bob Dylan at Slane - The music, the magic, the mayhem and so much more...
Niall Stokes, 27 Jul 1984
(Just then a bolt of lightening struck the castle out of shape. And while everybody knelt to pray, the drifter did escape . . .) . . .
Two mini-buses had pulled up into a newly cordoned off area behind the stage. A motorcycle policeman sat, engine idling, at their head. As the ringing tones of "Blowing In The Wind" faded in the breeze a small crowd of band and families with Dylan at the centre hurried down the steps and boarded the coaches. The engines roared to life and within moments they were gone.
Bono and Alison walked towards the castle, people stopping to congratulate him on his ad-lip verses. "How'd you think it sounded?" he asked, uncertain of what he'd done as the hullabaloo died down. "It went well", I said. "You had the spirit if not the word of the song!" Bono laughed: "He asked me if I knew 'Blowing In The Wind' and I just said 'yes!'" He'd sung onstage with Bob Dylan!
"Dylan's sons are big U2 fans!" said Bono with an almost triumphant smile. "He was being quite cool about it, 'I've heard your records, we've got them at home', but they were telling me afterwards that we were one of their favourite bands!"
I thought of the two boys, one probably in his early twenties, looking like a thick set version of his father, the other younger and finer featured. What a strange world they must have grown up in. If this was just a day in the life . . .
The fields were emptying quickly: spread with litter and small smokey fires it looked, in the fading light, like some forgotten scene from Apocalypse Now - beautiful, strange, otherworldly. As we left the castle behind a drunken journalist kept asking: "Was that really Bob Dylan down there? How do I know it wasn't just someone in disguise? How do I know it was him?"
The Day After . . .
The day began with Donie Cassidy's pathetic attempt to jump on the bandwagon. No one really cared or cares what Donie was or is suggesting - the big question is will the Morrisseys draw 50,000 people to Castlepollard next year? More immediately however, his sticky intervention is symptomatic: if it wasn't a bandwagon, Donie wouldn't be jumping on it. This is how a lot of people are feeling in the sticks - rock concerts should be banned.