Emily Sharrer, Editor-in-Chief

When you’re songwriting deity Bob Dylan, praise comes without try. So despite the fact that his tunes are a-changin’ and these days “Like a Rolling Stone” has morphed into a much mellower melancholy anthem without all the triumphant vocals of the original recording, fans remain loyal to the 68-year-old frontman.

On Wednesday night, Dylan took to the stage with a devil-may-care attitude, delving deep into his vast pool of music to give Patriot Center patrons an eclectic 100-minute set that sampled only a handful of folk favorites reincarnated.

These days, Dylan is much more blues than he is folk, but fans didn’t take issue with the freewheelin’ Dylan’s approach to his music — even the classics, which, save the lyrics, are nothing like they were in their heyday.

He didn’t play “Blowin’ in the Wind” or “Mr. Tambourine Man,” everything was electric and if you didn’t know anything about Dylan, folk music wouldn’t have even crossed your mind. But folk be damned, it was really Bob Dylan.

Knowing full well there is a lot of great music Dylan wasn’t going to play, the crowd was enthralled with the tracks he did choose which came from almost every dusty corner of the crooner’s wide collection.

On stage, Dylan is known to be quiet, letting the songs do the talking. The legendary frontman was somewhat indifferent during his set, though there was certain nobility in Dylan’s rigidity; his demeanor commanded the audience’s attention, which the crowd offered up willingly, staring on in awe as Dylan navigated through his set list.

To accommodate his now-desolate vocal abilities Dylan quickly spoke the lyrics to his songs in a voice that is now no more than an odd croaking that at times is reminiscent of an Adam Sandler or Scooby Doo impression.

And so the set went: Dylan remained enigmatic, transitioning quickly from song to song, only mumbling to the crowd twice during his set, to say a brief “thank you” and introduce his band, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.

Backed by a truly talented group of musicians—which once again includes acclaimed guitarist Charlie Sexton—Dylan went back and forth between his keyboard and center stage where he kept the audience’s attention like a true legend. The audience looked on with gratitude as the musician played guitar, keyboard or harmonica, grabbed at the microphone, and owned his set in a black suit with yellow trim.

Dylan was at his finest towards the end of the set, reaching out to fans most notably with his altered-for-the-stage version of “Workingman’s Blues #2” off of 2006’s Modern Times. Leaving the audience heartbroken with his mournful and reflective lyrics, Dylan stood on the stage as a rock legend illuminated. “If you heard my whole story, you’d weep,” he rasped, inviting the audience to share a deeply moving moment with him just before digging into the title track off of 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited.

Playing the same encore he’s been pedaling this whole tour, Dylan rounded out the evening with three crowd favorites: “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Jolene” and “All Along the Watchtower,” but again, the songs were not as they sound in their original form. Instead of the uplifting, near shouting chorus of “Like a Rolling Stone,” Dylan recited his lyrics quickly, and as if performing a trippy poetry reading, put emphasis on the last word in each line of “All Along the Watchtower.”

Although the songs took on a new sound and the stereotypical Dylan as a visionary voice of the ‘60s has all but disappeared, for Dylan fans, it seems the rock god can do no wrong. As long as he continues to tour, it seems a certainty that Dylan will always have an arena full of dedicated followers waiting to hear what direction he takes his music in next. Seeing the hold Dylan had over the crowd and the many generations of fans present, it was evident that last Wednesday night, concertgoers were truly in the company of one of the greats.