Singer and songwriter Bubbi Morthens recently related the story of how he went looking for cannabis for Bob Dylan, when the latter came to Iceland to play in 1990. Bubbi, a local legend, told the story in a Facebook comment on Lemúrinn, a medium that focuses on a variety of historical curiosities.
Lemúrinn published a post about the 1990 concert, and relates how Bob Dylan bicycled down Suðurlandsbraut road, making a turn towards Laugardalshöll, the concert hall where he would play. The concert was the Reykjavík Art Festival’s final event that year.
The tell of the backstage demands made by the star and his entourage. The rider, reported as a highly idiosyncratic and telling for Bob Dylan’s diva status, consisted, according to socialist newspaper Þjóðviljinn, of Budweiser beer, Danone yoghurt and a specific brand of mineral water. Admittedly, some of those might be hard to acquire in the country even today.
The concert faced mixed reviews. Even those who praised the concert in whole spoke of a drowsy, lousy performance of the first three songs. According to Morgunblaðið’s Árni Matthíasson, the audience became electrified as Dylan turned acoustic, in his It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).
That’s the story as far as Lemúrinn knew. Bubbi Morthens then certainly added some juice as he commented below the post:
“I played before him and met the whole Dylan entourage at Hotel Esja. Had dinner with the band members. There was no pot in town. I was asked to find some hash for Dylan and his band. I had to scuttle out of the city and managed to acquire eleven grams of quality stuff. Everyone very happy. They smoked it just before they went on stage and that’s why Dylan’s start wasn’t better. He was cruising the stuff through the first three songs.”
Bubbi added that he found the concert fantastic, and that the leader of the band had told him this was the first time in a while that Dylan spoke at all, during a concert.