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Bob Dylan Is Not a Fan of You Taking His Photo Onstage

Rolling Stone logo Rolling Stone 4/17/2019 Andy Greene
Bob Dylan standing on a stage: 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Show © Provided by Penske Media Corporation 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Show

Bob Dylan has had a strict “no photos” policy at his concerts for years, but that’s rarely stopped fans from taking our their cellphones and trying to snap a few images before security swarms. But on Tuesday night at a show in Vienna, Austria, he finally reached his boiling point when he stopped singing “Blowin’ in the Wind” after one verse to admonish the audience.

“We can either play or pose,” he barked into the microphone according to multiple reports. “It’s your decision!”

He then stepped backwards in an angry huff, tripped over a guitar monitor and nearly hit the floor. The band helped him steady to his feet and he then went into a truncated rendition of “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” before walking off for the night.

The band finished the show with an instrumental version of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” which has been the finale throughout this whole tour.

The incident marked the first time that Dylan had spoken to the crowd in some time. Audiences used to only hear his speaking voice when he introduced the band, but he stopped doing even that about two years ago. Before most shows, audiences are informed that photographs are not allowed. At New York’s Beacon Theater last year, ushers roamed the aisles with flashlights and shined them directly at anyone using a phone. Repeat offenders were threatened with ejection. Dylan hasn’t, however, gone to the lengths of Jack White and Chris Rock by refusing to let anyone even enter his show with a cellphone outside of a sealed bag.

Dylan’s ongoing European tour warps May 7th in Valencia, Spain. After a six-week break, he heads back over there for another run of dates that wraps up with two co-headlining shows with Neil Young in London and Kilkenny, Ireland. Everyone with tickets to these shows should keep their cellphones firmly in their pockets. An angry Bob Dylan is a scary sight, though video of the Vienna incident has yet to surface.

Related video: See the Converted Church that Will House Bob Dylan's Whiskey Distillery (via Radio.com)

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