24 May is Bob Dylan’s birthday. 25 May is „Youth Day“, which was celebrated in Yugoslavia as Tito’s birthday, even though it was not.
How do we bring these two facts together in one post? The answer is actually quite simple: we are reporting on Bob Dylan’s only two concerts he gave in Yugoslavia, which were in June 1991, just before the state collapsed. At that time, a referendum for independence had already taken place in Croatia and there had been clashes with deaths.
On 10 June Dylan played in Ljubljana, then on 11 June in Belgrade (His venues thus covered the mutual spectrums of political strife at the time), where in each case forebodings of the coming war were already in the air
There are comments on the Belgrade concert on the internet like
I was 17, it was my first big concert and I thought that if Bob comes – there will be no war! This concert drove me away for a while from the dark reality of nationalist horror floating in the air… Thank you Bob.
Was there. The last song Dylan sings under hard rain, we all were wet. And sad, we knew for a long time there would be no concerts or anything alike, war broke in Croatia, Vukovar front 😦
last funny thing before a terrible war
A few days after the concerts, on 25 June Slovenia and Croatia proclaimed their independence. The day after, MiG-29 fighter planes attacked Ljubljana airport from Belgrade. (Bob Dylan played in Stockholm this day.)
A Dylan fan wrote about the Begrade concert shortly after Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday:
Yugoslavia is long gone but His Bobness still here!