Okay, so Bob Dylan is a legend... I get it. I don't consider myself one of his hardcore fans. I was too stupid as a kid to get it, his voice kind of sucked, and it took me a while to finally appreciate the more acoustic or folky stuff. But I came around. I'm sure the day I did meant a lot to Bob.
So when he announced three shows in town, literally right around the corner from my place, I briefly perused the listing, saw the $160 ticket price, and then went back to looking at free porn on the internet. I had seen Dylan with Tom Petty back in 1986, long before I could fully appreciate it, and at a festival outdoors last year which wasn't exactly conducive to a Dylan set.
However when a friend won tickets to the show that she couldn't use, I gladly accepted them, put on some pants and decided to honor Bob with my presence. Notes from the show:
Bob Dylan dresses like a gaucho now. Not Groucho Marx, although that would be amusing. A gaucho. A South American cowhand. Like the guy on those crappy frozen beef containers from the grocery store.
Bob Dylan sounds more like Tom Waits than a young Bob Dylan now. I kind of like it. Makes him sound more badass than whiney.
Bob Dylan seems to have rearranged all his songs in a country swing style. I like the sound. He has a solid backing band. But they don't sound like Bob Dylan songs to me anymore. Maybe he or his fans got bored with the traditional arrangements. I wasn't.
Bob Dylan doesn't play guitar anymore. He alternated, almost every other song, between playing piano and just singing while letting the band handle the guitars. That's fine, and I suppose he's earned that right, but my image of Bob Dylan is that of the folk troubadour strumming his tunes on an old acoustic. Probably not necessary, but throw on an acoustic and strum along for a couple to placate dumbasses like me. Or maybe just do one acoustic number... just him and the guitar. That said, seeing him rock along on piano was impressive and refreshing.
Two forty-five minute sets and a two-song encore. Not bad. We all got the early bird special at Denny's and made it home before 11pm.
Bob Dylan doesn't do banter. At all. Zero. No hello, no thank you. The dude has been around for fifty years and I wouldn't mind some insights or anecdotes about the songs on the setlist. Or that night with Joan Baez in the Village... crazy! Not that I would have been able to understand him. But it was worth a shot.
Bob Dylan fans fucking love Bob Dylan. I felt like a fraud being there, and to be honest, I kind of was. Despite all my ridiculous observations, I did enjoy the music and feel pretty lucky to say that I got to see him live. A few times he stepped out from behind the mike and did this little marching in place, swaying side to side thing, ever so subtle, but evoking a response from the crowd as if he were Shaun White landing a frontside heelflip 540 body varial.
Rock on, Bob. Your fans love you. And they should.