IT was interesting to watch this show in the company of a Dylan enthusiast who, as it turns out, hasn’t seen him in concert since Edinburgh, 1966 - three days after Dylan, in Manchester, was branded ‘Judas’ by a fan, furious that the singer had abandoned folk music in favour of loud guitars.

The enthusiast’s verdict on Hyde Park? It was fantastic to see Dylan, his voice and his band were terrific, but it was disappointing that so many classic songs had been reworked, sometimes radically. It was a judgement seemingly shared by parts of the 65,000-strong crowd.

But then Dylan, now 78, has done this sort of thing often: re-arranging his songs, keeping things fresh, speeding some songs up and slowing others down, drawing out new meanings from lyrics. Tryin' to Get to Heaven and Make You Feel My Love were cases in point: yes, it was a while before it dawned on you what the songs actually were, but yes, you listened more attentively as a result, appreciating Dylan’s phrasing, his emphasis on certain words.

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

Girl from the North Country featured plaintive pedal steel; Like a Rolling Stone, his groundbreaking mid-sixties classic, was rearranged in such a way that made it difficult for the traditional audience chorus singalong.

Pay in Blood, from his last album of new songs, 2012’s Tempest, sent a shiver up the spine, as it always does, while Love Sick had more grit than the original studio version had.

Some in the audience seemed to lose interest, drifting away long before the encore, but the diehards enjoyed it all. Dylan himself looked cheerful, and the giant video screens even showed him smiling several times. At the end of Can’t Wait, which he sang centre-stage rather than from behind his piano, he indulged in some showmanship, outstretching his arms in acknowledgement of the applause. All told, a fascinating performance.

READ MORE: 5 rare vintage photographs of Bob Dylan in the 1960s

“I’ve never played in daylight before,” quipped Neil Young as he strolled onto the stage. Supported by Promise of the Real, he opened with Mansion on the Hill before surging into one classic after another: Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Alabama, Walk On, Winterlong, Heart of Gold, Old Man, some played by Young with acoustic guitar and harmonica, others loud and exciting: the band in full flight, Young soloing with ragged glory on his black Gibson electric guitar. 

Rockin’ in the Free World, studded with several false endings, was a real crowd-pleaser; and the encores began with a compelling Like a Hurricane and ended with a raucous Piece of Crap.