Old dogs maybe can't do new tricks but when you've accomplished as much as Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell have in their combined 111 years, it's the puppies of this world that can stand to learn some of the old licks. Newcomers to the Zimmy-Joni universe, through recent recordings like Time Out of Mind and Taming the Tiger,will hear what the fuss may (still) be about when the soul survivors play a rare double bill Oct. 29 at funky old Maple Leaf Gardens. Dylan's appearance comes freighted with expectations as he has just released a stunning two-CD set of his legendary "Royal Albert Hall" concerts of 32 years ago. Will he fall under the weight of the inevitable comparisons -- or transcend them?
If you're looking for a Joni-Bob appetizer, check out the Oct. 24 Judy Collins concert at the Ford Centre. Collins, now 59, recorded several Joni Mitchell songs (most notably Both Sides Now)before Mitchell herself recorded them, and earned a reputation as a strong interpreter of Dylan material. She never did develop her own substantial repertoire, or have any of their unceasing creative churn. Still, it's nice to know she's still around. Her concert coincides with the publication of her new book Singing Lessons: A Memoir of Love, Loss, Hope and Healing.
If any writer can make sense of Collins, Mitchell and Dylan, of "what's been did and what's been hid," it's probably Greil (pronounced Gree-ill) Marcus, the veteran music critic and Berkeley history professor. He's written well, and at length, on Dylan -- in fact, his most recent book is Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes. So it's not surprising to find him in a panel discussion at the Art Gallery of Ontario titled "Folk and Popular Culture: The Case of Dylan" with Canuck pop culture scholars Rob Bowman and Bart Testa on Oct. 31. Perhaps more interesting will be his lecture of the previous day, "Time and Fashion," billed as a discussion of "tradition and innovation in visual culture."
Dylan and Mitchell: $32.50-$59.50, 60 Carlton St., 416-870-8000.
Collins: Oct. 24. Tickets $33-$50, 5040 Yonge St., 416-872 2222.
Marcus: 317 Dundas St. W., Oct. 30, 7 p.m.; Oct. 31, 2 p.m., $12 ($9 members). 416-979-6608.