For the past few years, Bob Dylan has instituted a strict “no photos” policy at his concerts, and during a recent show in Vienna, Austria, the 78-year-old music icon demonstrated he takes it seriously.
In fan-shot video from the show, Dylan can be seen saying something unintelligible into the microphone, apparently admonishing someone in the crowd for taking photos with a phone. Dylan then turns away and stumbles over a piece of equipment on the stage before nearly tumbling over. Luckily, he was able to regain his balance before nearly crashing into an amp.
Dylan then walks back to the mic and speaks directly to the crowd. “Take pictures or don’t take pictures,” he exclaims. “We can either play or we can pose. Okay?”
Then, Dylan and his band stand still for more than 10 seconds, posing awkwardly before returning to the piano to perform “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry”.
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#BobDylan doesn’t address the audience at all at his gigs these days. But last night in Vienna he had to make an exception to admonish fans taking photos: “We can either play or we can pose, okay?” This was right after he tripped over a monitor and almost took a nasty fall. Rough night.
According to Rolling Stone, Dylan’s onstage admonition is actually the first time he’s spoken directly to an audience in about two years, when he stopped any sort of between-songs conversation with his crowds.
In addition, RS also notes that during a 2018 show at New York’s Beacon Theater, ushers walked through the aisles and shone flashlights at anyone they spotted using a phone, with repeat offenders threatened with being tossed out.