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This past weekend Bob Dylan and his band walked onto the stage at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music and began a very special concert performance, playing to an enamoured audience of just one. Yes, one very lucky Bob Dylan superfan Fredrik Wikingsson.
“At this point I still thought I was about to get Punk’d,” 41-year-old Wikingsson told Rolling Stone. “I thought some asshole would walk onstage and just laugh at me. I just couldn’t fathom that Dylan would actually do this.”
The concert was part of a an ongoing Swedish film series Experiment Ensam (translated as Experiment Alone), where individuals experience things that are usually reserved for large crowds, completely alone.
Wikingsson, a Swedish TV personality who lives in Stockholm, is lucky enough to be friends with Anders Helgeson, the director of the series, and said when he heard about the Dylan experiment he begged to be the subject. “I’m very passive and I always picture myself as the guy that wouldn’t be able to save himself on a sinking ship. I’d just lay down and die,” explained Wikingsson.
“I have no real ability to grab the moment, but when I heard about this I thought, ‘For once, I have to stop everything in my life and go for something.’” It seems the filmmakers were convinced enough about his superfandom and made arrangements for the private show, paying Dylan an undisclosed amount of money.
“I was a f**king wreck,” continued Wikingsson. “Part of me was thinking, ‘Maybe this won’t happen and it’ll be for the best. I don’t want to impose on Mr. Dylan. I don’t want him to stand there and be grouchy, just hating it.’”
According to the Swedish superfan, Dylan eschewed his current trend of only playing songs released in the past 15 years and opened up with a series of covers including Buddy Holly’s Heartbeat, Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill, Chuck Willis’ It’s Too Late (She’s Gone) and an undisclosed blues jam.
“During the second song, Blueberry Hill, I realised I had to say something,” recounts Wikingsson. “It was just too weird. I screamed out, ‘You guys sound great!’ That caused Dylan to burst out laughing. Now, I have two kids and their births were great, but him laughing onstage at some lousy f**king comment of mine was unbelievable.”
For the rest of us, a 15-minute documentary of the event is due to be released on YouTube on December 15th.
Watch: Bob Dylan – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Unplugged)