Bob Dylan “superfan” Fredrik Wikingsson just had an experience he likely won’t soon forget.
On Sunday afternoon, the legendary artist and his touring band performed a concert at the 2,509-seat Philadelphia Academy of Music. However, there was only one person in attendance: Wikingsson.
“At this point I still thought I was about to get Punk’d,” Wikingsson told Rolling Stone of the moment he sat down alone in the theater. “I thought some asshole would walk onstage and just laugh at me. I just couldn’t fathom that Dylan would actually do this.”
The exclusive concert was reportedly conducted as part of the Swedish film series, Experiment Ensam (Experiment Alone), where people are filmed experiencing events that are usually attended by large crowds. According to Rolling Stone, previous films in the series explored solitary people at comedy clubs and karaoke bars. Dylan was apparently receptive to the idea of the film series and received an “undisclosed” amount of money to participate.
The crowd size wasn’t the only thing different about the performance; Dylan reportedly did not play any of his own original songs, opting instead for covers of Buddy Holly’s “Heartbeat,” Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill,” Chuck Willis’s “It’s Too Late,” and an unknown blues jam that closed the show.
Wikingsson told Rolling Stone that it was a bizarre experience having to choose a seat in the entirely empty theater.
“I thought the first row might freak him out,” Wikingsson said. “I was like a guy picking the next-to-most expensive bottle of wine in a restaurant, which is a very Swedish thing to do. I figured the second row would be ideal. Malcolm Gladwell would probably have all sorts of theories about this.”
When Dylan and his band finished the first song, Wikingsson applauded loudly, but nobody said or did anything.
“I figured that maybe it just sounded phony or weird,” Wikingsson explained to the magazine. “During the second song, ‘Blueberry Hill,’ I realized I had to say something. It was just too weird. I screamed out, ‘You guys sound great!’ That caused Dylan to burst out laughing. Now, I have two kids and their births were great, but him laughing onstage at some lousy f**king comment of mine was unbelievable.”
Dylan played a full, public show to a packed house later that same day, but Wikingsson told Rolling Stone he just couldn’t go.
“It would be weird and nothing could top this,” Wikingsson said.
Footage from the concert will reportedly be incorporated into a 15-minute documentary that will be released on the Experiment Ensam YouTube channel on December 15th.
“Fans might detest the fact that I’m sitting there, but it’s going to be really cool and great looking,” the lucky fan told Rolling Stone. “The sound was just incredible.”