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Dylan Plays Israel: A Suggested Setlist

Appropriate songs for his Tel Aviv gig

Liel Leibovitz
Marc Tracy
March 24, 2011
Bob Dylan and Tzipi Livni.(Len Small/Tablet Magazine)

Bob Dylan and Tzipi Livni.(Len Small/Tablet Magazine)

The man himself, Mr. Bob Dylan, will be playing Ramat Gan Stadium outside Tel Aviv on June 20, in what will be only his third concert in Israel and his first since 1993. Dylan is notoriously reticent during most of his live appearances, abstaining from chatting up the audience between songs. Over the last decade, moreover, his setlists have fallen into fairly inflexible routines (he nearly always encores with “All Along the Watchtower” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” for example). However, we thought that he might make an exception in Israel and dedicate a few of his hits to the local luminaries. Some respectful suggestions:

“Simple Twist of Fate”: For every Israeli sports team that has tried, and almost succeeded, and eventually failed to advance in any important international tournament.

“Maggie’s Farm”: For former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is always on the lookout for a good real estate deal.

“Somebody Touched Me”: For former President Moshe Katsav.

“I Shall Be Released”: For Marwan Barghouti, the popular Palestinian leader, currently languishing in an Israeli prison.

“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”: For Defense Minister Ehud Barak, quitter extraordinaire.

”You Gotta Serve Somebody”: For the evangelical Christian tour groups.

“It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding”: For every child, Israeli and Palestinian, needlessly dying while leaders keep on missing opportunities and breaking promises.

“Subterranean Homesick Blues”: For Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier held in some subterranean basement in Gaza, homesick and, more importantly, probably actually sick.


“Gates of Eden”: For the Messiah, who has not come yet.

“The Mighty Quinn”: Because when He does come, everybody’s gonna jump for joy (and maybe he’ll even be an Eskimo).

“Girl From the North Country”: For Golda Meir, Wisconsin’s own and still a rock star.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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