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Welcome to Dylan, salute to Mandela, and an historic event

A welcome to Dylan, a salute to Mandela, and a historic Hamilton event marked this Friday

"Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again"

Garden Place will be the venue for a one off historical performance. New Zealand’s biggest Dylan fan, Chris Rivers, will perform a new song he’s written about Hamilton during the 1981 rugby springbok tour, to welcome Bob Dylan to the city.

Rivers says “It seemed appropriate I write about the Hamilton event that made Nelson Mandela feel ‘as if the sun had come out’ and with his death last year, it’s more poignant”.

Hamilton was the only city, to stop a rugby game against the Springboks, during the 1981 tour.

On 25 July, 2014, 33 years to the day, Rivers wants to acknowledge the Hamilton, 1981 tour protesters. Five thousand protesters left from Garden Place to make their way to Rugby Park where a violent and terrifying ordeal awaited them. The 350 protesters who made it into the centre of the rugby field were surrounded by 25,000 angry rugby fans, who threw missiles at them and were yelling “We want rugby” and “kill, kill, kill”. The protesters chanted back “the whole world is watching” as the footage was broadcast to South Africa.

Hamiltonians mused about where Dylan should go while he was in town, in a recent newspaper article. “I don’t recommend he does the postcard tour of Hamilton. I think he should go to the Waikato Museum to see the ‘Fight the Power’ exhibition about Waikato people’s battles for social and political justice. I want Dylan to know something about the spirit of the Hamilton people. That’s the Hamilton I’m proud of.” says Rivers.

Furthermore, “The rest of the country are always having a laugh at our expense. I’m sure even Dylan’s got flack for having to play in Hamilton, because Mickey Mouse and his mates have hogged Vector Arena. The Aucklanders have put on their own show of Dylan covers. Well I know I won’t be going, I’ll be going to Dylan in Hamilton. I'm sure Dylan will be much happier with the acoustics too at Claudelands “

Rivers’ song is called ‘The Whole World Is Watching’. This chant is still used today in demonstrations, and was first used in 1968 by Vietnam War protesters outside the Chicago Hilton Hotel. Demonstrators started this iconic chant as they were filmed being beaten by police with batons. The origin of the words aren’t certain but many believe they come from the lyrics of the Bob Dylan song "When the Ship Comes In" from the 1964 album, ‘The Times They Are A Changin’.

"And the ship's wise men

Will remind you once again

That the whole wide world is watchin'"

Dylan's album is recognised for it’s heart-breaking songs about racism and poverty, and battle cry for social change.

Bob Dylan performed ‘When the Ship Comes in’, in 1963 at the most famous rally for civil rights ever held in the United States, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Martin Luther King, Jr., at that rally, stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and called for an end to racism, in his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Nelson Mandela had been incarcerated on Robben Island for 17 years when he heard, during the 1981 tour, that the rugby game had been stopped in Hamilton. He said this gave him real hope that apartheid could be ended in the future. So 50 years on from Dylan’s “The Times are a Changing “ and 33 years to the day of the Hamilton All Black/Springbok match, Chris Rivers will present his new song as an ode to Dylan. “Dylan always sang about the underdog, and right now, Hamilton’s the underdog. But we landed Dylan’s concerts so the “Times are a Changin”. It’s time to celebrate Hamilton and its people”.

Rivers says, “The 5000 Hamiltonians that gathered in Garden Place on 25th July 1981, are as historically significant as the 250,000 people that gathered at the National Mall, in Washington D.C. to rally for civil rights in 1963. Hamiltonians should stand tall. We have a very special history.”

“When I grew up in "the Tron” there were always events happening in Garden Place, skits and shows, real people stuff - not just media this, media that and corporate those. But like the Dylan song that no one’s ever heard says; “things like that don’t happen round here nowadays, do they””.

Friday July 25 - Rivers will perform ‘The Whole World is Watching’ at Garden Place, at 12.30 pm.

Monday 29 July The “Good Morning Show” 7.30 AM

Television One live performance “Love Speak” River's Edge Band - Followed by band busking at the bottom of Queen St 9.30 AM.

Saturday 2 August - The Dogs Bollix Bar – Newton Auckland. Mimi and Rivers – Superturtle - River's Edge Band.

Sunday 3 August, 2014 - Mimi and Rivers will perform early Dylan folk songs at the Waikato Museum, at 3.30 pm

Fri 8 August - The Wonderhorse Bar - Mimi and Rivers play early Dylan folk.

16 August – Gaslight show details: A ticketed 55 seat show. Tickets available by email order at Details will be sent of purchase. 40$ incl CD/food/seated tables/open bar.


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