SUMMER is the time for rock music. The last notes had hardly died at Glastonbury before the first chords were struck at TRNSMT. Summer festivals are a bonanza for topliners. Stormzy, Lewis Capaldi, George Ezra and Ed Sheeran are in more countries than the Black Death.

Yet, the festivals are not exclusively the preserve of youth and transient culture. They are an Indian summer for the setting suns of the rock firmament. Last week, 65,000 of us crammed into Hyde Park to celebrate the musical longevity of Neil Young and Bob Dylan, combined ages: 151. It’s all down to we baby boomers. In our desperation to remain youthful in mind if not body, we can’t allow our idols to age. However, is that really a kindness?

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

To be fair, Neil Young’s powers are largely undiminished. As he left the stage he must have thought, “Follow that, Dylan”. Unfortunately, the grand old man was largely unable to rise to the occasion. We were willing him on, but something has gone.

More has been written about Dylan than any other rock artist. Our late colleague Ian Bell produced two definitive volumes subtitled The Lives of Bob Dylan. However, despite the millions of words, Dylan remains an enigma. A lifetime of reinvention and dissembling leaves even himself wondering who he really is. He was at it again in the recent Netflix documentary, inventing an elaborate fiction concerning a 16-year-old Sharon Stone joining the Rolling Thunder tour.

The persona has always been reflected in the take-it-or-leave-it stage presence. That was fine when the musical and creative powers were undiminished. Hyde Park suggested the seam has been mined to near exhaustion. The set consisted largely of back catalogue classics reworked to destruction. We were slow to recognize even the timeless Like A Rolling Stone. Sadly, some of the audience’s attention wandered. Many stood in groups chatting or making for the exits.

Not surprisingly, at 78 and at the end of yet another tour, Dylan is not as robust as he was. His keyboard was a literal and metaphorical prop. It was hard to tell if he was smiling more than usual or breaking in a new set of dentures. He looked shaky on his feet, although the sense of hubris is as strong as ever. A few days earlier in Stuttgart, it nearly brought about his downfall. As the video shows, walking backwards, he stumbled over a speaker and would have fallen had he not collided with a band member. An unfortunate roadie is probably looking for new employment.

READ MORE: A salute to Bob Dylan: this star’s reign’s never gonna fall 

Most of our rock idols of the 60s and 70s have not died before they got old. The trouble is that the baby boomers’ expectations have turned them into fragile caricatures that threatens their contributions to popular music and culture. It’s time to be brave and let Bob, Mick, Rod and Paul go.