The Bob Dylan Solution – How Richmond’s Premiership Can Save Music

The Bob Dylan Solution – How Richmond’s Premiership Can Save Music (with apologies to George Megalogenis)


A Week is a Long Time in Brisbane, Football and Music


“In a characteristically sweeping and entertaining story, Michael Cunningham reveals how football has been shaped by the nation that invented it and how the game we love, in turn, might help resolve music’s impasse.” (apologies to the Penguin Books PR Dept.)


Thursday morning, and there’s a lot of yellow-and-black in Terminal 4 at Melbourne Airport. Cheapskate Richmond supporters – the best sort – are escaping the winter; you didn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind was blowing.

Brisbane airport. Jump on the train to the city? That’ll be $66 return for two, thanks. Twice the distance in Melbourne will set you back around $25. Hmmm…

They do things differently in Queensland. Constant pre-recorded messages remind us that the buttons to open the train doors are in the middle of the doors. This is manifestly evident by the very clear markings pointing to said buttons. We are reminded, for security, not to leave any possessions on the train. This is good advice, and likely to be heeded, unlike that at our footy venues which instructs us not to use mobile phones in the case of an unlikely emergency. We negotiate the railroad gate, without jumping it. It’s Showtime in Brisbane (the affectionately-named “Ekka”), so station attendants are straw-hatted, and the cowboys are in town.

Evening drinks at the nearby Irish pub. The pinot gris is on tap, but the barrel is exhausted. Takes longer than 46 seconds to change that one.

Cultural day Friday. Ibis replace sparrows as street pests. Art galleries, libraries, City halls. We are reminded of the crash on the levee in 2011 – hard to believe the water levels reached. An impressive River, all the same, watching it flow.

Saturday, it’s off to the footy. Our $35 seated tickets give us free public transport to the event – win-win, and kudos to Queensland Rail. Will this encourage punters to turn up? On board at Central, and at Nerang 70 minutes later, after picking up thousands of yellow-and-black clad supporters en route. The odd Suns merch is visible, but not much. Buses await the the station to ship to Metricon – five minutes later, we’re at the open air stadium, and I mean “open” – no walls necessary, just the stand, a la Kooyong. One can carry bottles of water, wine, and whatever of a domestic airline flight, but don’t try bringing in an open bottle of water to the footy in Queensland – it might be vodka, we are told, so must be emptied at the gate, and refilled once inside. The irony of the Qld Government announcing a public appeal for money for drought relief for farmers the same week has somehow escaped the Metricon Stadium administration. Made me feel like starting out on burgundy.

Merch caravans – the Richmond one has three queues 50-deep; the Suns have no-one, not one, no alibis to sell. Sad, but telling. Yellow-and-black in the final crowd outnumbers the locals 10-1. If capacity of Metricon is 25,000, hard to believe the gate stat of 17,000, given the number of empty seats. Promises of paradise, but no laughs. Pay a bit extra, and you can sit in an area with its own bar – a corporate-type un-box for the common folks. Queenslanders sure know how to party.

Game-time, and we all know how that panned out. Jack had the courtesy to kick his 10th from right in front of us – the tongue was on fire.

A very satisfying win, although did we really need the percentage? Given the dearth of clouds in the sky, not sure why the stadium lights were on. They certainly didn’t help the home team.

A leisurely stroll back to the station avoided queuing for the bus, and back to city. Dinner at Japanese restaurant where all ordering interaction was via electronic tablet provided on table. They think of everything! No need to even summon the bill with the customary writing in the air with raised eyebrows – just hit the button. I never engaged in this kind of thing before.

Sunday, and the Carole King musical was in town. In the same way as watching “Q.I.” is quite interesting, it was, well, beautiful. Did notice a Hawthorn t-shirt in the audience.

Monday, and back to Melbourne. The town has no need to be nervous. Excepting that….

Tuesday night, and Bob’s at the Margaret Court Arena. Standard metal-detecting gauntlet run at entry. It appears that either the stadium or the artist does not approve of photography or recording – this is made quite clear, many many times over. But three different Coopers on tap in the bar – a good start. Merchandise typically outrageously priced. What’s new? MC’s lovely kangaroo-embossed tennis frock and white cardy under glass. A half-kilometre walk to our seats, against the back wall, stage right.

Right on 8pm, lights down and Bob and the boys take off. He’s chopped up his delivery into short chunks, rather like the Tigers’ backline bringing out the ball with a succession of hand-balls and chips. Like Dustin Martin, Bob is wobbly on his feet, but firm when planted, and vocally understated. Not a word to the audience, and few chats with his teammates. Little Richard-like, standing at the baby grand piano, bouncing off a few runs, while the rest of the team brings it home. Twin-guitar setup and sound is reminiscent of The Eagles (no, the other ones…)

100 minutes, about the same as a short game of footy. Set-list is the same as the six previous shows. Think the past 37 years at Punt Rd. – “Things Have Changed.” “Simple Twist of Fate.” “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” “Honest With Me.” “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven.” “Make you Feel My Love.” “Pay In Blood.” “Tangled Up In Blue.” “Desolation Row.” “Gotta Serve Somebody.” “Blowin’ In The Wind.” Sound familiar? He could be writing the history of the RFC.

You know it makes sense. If he’s not already, sign that man up. As of this writing, he would be Member No. 100,719.

Everything was delivered.





  1. Witty and clever Michael. His Bobness has been on high rotation at home for 40+ years, but vowed never to go back to see him live after West Lakes circa 1978. Eventually recognised the lyrics but not the melodies. His choice – and mine to.
    I get the feeling his current playing style would be great in a smoky bar, but not a mega stadium.
    Richmond? “The festival is over, and the boys are all plannin’ for a fall…..”

  2. george smith says

    I think like 2011 and 2008 there are two outstanding teams and they will meet in the grand final. But for all us tipsters:

    “you know somethin’s happenin’, but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr Jones?”

    and for all the Mr Joneses of this world:

    He thinks that he’s witty it’s sad that he does in the end
    for a fool he will always remain
    for Rupert will teach him
    to hunt in a pack
    to stab in the back
    with his lips in a sneer
    with Andrew and Piers
    but it will remain his epitaph plain
    only a prawn in Rupert’s game”

    with apologies to Mr R. Zimmermann

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