Thursday, February 29

When Judas met John: Songs of Dylan and Lennon – Online@theSpaceUK

With the Edinburgh Festival cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic some of the venues are supplying a virtual festival for those of us who are missing out on our annual pilgrimage to Scotland.

I have been going to the Fringe for over a decade. It is an experience like no other as you spend every day going from comedy to drama to music to magic and then to some act you can’t quite classify but they were really quite good.

You basically live in a bubble of creativity away from normal life and all its attendant worries. It is such a tragedy the festival is not taking place but thankfully The Space venue in Edinburgh is holding a virtual festival with some of the shows that would have been staged there this year.

One of those shows is this one exploring the music of Bob Dylan And John Lennon. They argue at the start of the film that these two artists are similar and that they influenced each other. Lennon freely admitted that some of his songs were influenced by Dylan and Dylan wrote that Lennon, “Was the best in the field.”

Irish duo the Brothers Broke recorded a 20-minute version of their show on an iPhone in a field in Surrey. Tom and Hugh were joined by Julian on keyboards and Steve drumming a ‘case’. They were helped by various other people holding up placards or wandering around putting flowers in their guitars.

They performed four songs, two by Dylan and two by Lennon. The first song they performed was Subterranean Homesick Blues complete with an extra verse about lockdown. It was well done although they did remind me of a band you might see in a pub. That is not necessarily criticism and they were performing in a field and they included footage of them tuning up and getting ready.

Next came #9 Dream, the John Lennon song from his album Walls and Bridges. Unsurprisingly, it came to him in a dream. He later remarked that he, “churned out” the song.

It has been claimed that it was at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester where remember the audience shouted “Judas” at Bob Dylan as he performed Like a Rolling Stone. Folk purists did not like the fact he had gone “electric”. This story of a woman who had it all was enlivened by some excellent harmonica work by Hugh.

Finally, they performed Lennon’s famous nonsense song I am the Walrus. He admitted he wrote it, “a la Dylan”. Funnily enough in the film Magical Mystery Tour The Beatles, if I remember rightly, perform the song in a field.

It was an enjoyable 20 minutes as I am a fan of both Dylan and Lennon. Obviously, it was not the same as seeing them at the festival, with an audience. At the end of the film it says they are going to be at Edfest 2021. With a bit of luck, I will get to see the full show in Edinburgh next year.

Reviewer: Adam Williams

Reviewed: 10th August 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★