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NEW YORK — In what was billed as a concert celebration of Todd Haynes’ forthcoming Bob Dylan film “I’m Not There,” a number of performers from the recently released Columbia soundtrack hit the stage at New York’s Beacon Theatre on Wednesday night.
A handful of other artists that didn’t appear on the soundtrack also made the bill, including Dylan’s former keyboardist Al Kooper. The latter sat in with numerous artists throughout the evening, and performed “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” with his own band, the Funky Faculty.
Calexico got things cooking by providing backing band duties to Joe Henry for “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)” and Mark Lanegan’s soulful rendition of “Man in the Long Black Coat.” But it was Jim James’ blissful voice on “Goin’ to Acapulco” that garnered the strongest crowd reaction early in the show. James returned later with My Morning Jacket for the loudest tune of the night, “Tonight I Will Be Staying With You.”
Yo La Tengo were joined by zydeco legend Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural on organ for “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” Dural also chipped in when Yo La drummer Georgia Hubley took center stage for her delicate version of “Fourth Time Around.”
Other highlights included an upbeat, country version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” from Gomez’s Ian Ball and Olly Peacock. Marcus Carl Franklin, one of several actors who plays Dylan in the film, provided a flawless version of “When The Ship Comes In” and Mason Jennings delivered a solo acoustic rendition of “The Times They Are A’Changin.” Country artist Tift Merritt made a surprise appearance, taking on “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” to a near standing ovation.
Another high point came near the end, with the Roots performing Dylan’s classic, “Masters of War.” The nearly 10-minute arrangement interspersed the opening lyrics within the melody of the Star Spangled Banner and also featured Hendrix-esque guitar licks and tuba solos.
The night was capped off with nearly all of the artists performing “All Along the Watchtower.”
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