A STEADY stream of Dylanologists plodded before the stage seeking

their seats. Few had come to see last night's classy and spirited

support act, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, who battled gamely

against dire sound. They also had to contend with one tired and

emotional fan who shouted ''We want Bob Dyl!'' throughout the set.

Would old Bob Dyl be able to conquer the acoustic atrocity that is the

SECC? Would everyone find their seats before he came on? Would they

stand up and party when he did?

Shambling on with his young and feisty band with a fast punked-up

version of Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dyl had everyone on their

feet only for the stewards to make them sit down again. The sound never

got much better but grizzled Bob was always in potent rough and ready

form. Ripping through songs chiefly from his early catalogue with a

proper rock 'n' roll disregard for the near-religious esteem in which

they are held by some of his disciples.

Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again was hammered out a

pace younger stadium-rockers would find it difficult to match. Much

loved lyrics were spat out quickly in accents slurred and somewhat

self-parodying as if to pre-empt any easy singalongaBob.

Propelled by some slicing work from his band, the juggernaut rolled

on. A thoroughly contemporary hard rock All Along the Watchtower

banished memories of Jimi Hendrix.

Fittingly during I Shall Be Released everyone went to stand down the

front in a form of rocking solidarity. Like A Rolling Stone was awesome.

During Maggie's Farm I swear I heard a government topple. It was an

experience much more intense that I had bargained for and one I'll

always be glad I felt.

Michael Stipe still says more to me about my life and I still don't

think Dylan did very much after Blonde on Blonde. But if anyone ever

tells you other people do Dylan's songs better than their creator, hit

them. Bob Dyl rocks.