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Monday, October 11, 2010

Just Home From A Bob Dylan Concert at the Civic Center

We just got home from a Bob Dylan Concert at the Civic Center about one mile from home. It was a pretty night - we first had supper at Andrews 228 downtown - then walked to the arena from there.

It all started a month ago when I was sitting at the breakfast table in various states of dress. Lulu and I have breakfast every morning face to face - usually over cereal and juice and the Tallahassee Democrat spread out all over the table. Lulu read, "Bob Dylan to be in town next month - tickets to go on sale at 10 AM." It was 9:30 - so I pulled on some shorts - hopped on the scooter - and was in the ticket line in 3 minutes. I got to the window - and picked some excellent seats. They were $50 - so I bought 8 - figured always can sell extras.

We wanted to take two of our best friends - the others I would sell on Craigslist - hoping to make a few bucks. The closer the concert came - the lower I had to drop the price. Finally - this afternoon - just 3 hours before showtime - the phone started ringing like crazy. I had already sold them - some for face value and some at a $10 loss.

We went to supper at 5:30. When we got to the arena - there was a long line of people - some with canes - some with walkers - and some with those little electric chairs (not the killing kind). Bob Dylan is 69 now and this crowd was not much younger.

Back in the 60s - I bought 12 of Bob's albums. He was the poet of our time - his words were both baffling and beautiful at the same time. He is the perfect example of, "the writer - makes the money - and the singer - makes the song."

One of the main reasons I went to Woodstock NY was that Bob Dylan had a home there - and we were hoping to see him there. Lulu's Mom refused to allow her daughter to go along with me - imagine that.

Since then - Bob has made 61 albums and 58 singles. I have not purchased one since 1969. I have been to other concerts recently - some in the civic center. Although his band has some of the best musicians - things sounds garbled to me. I could not understand a word - I took out my hearing aids - a little better - but could not make things out. I imagine I am not the only grayhead in the crowd that did that.

I was hoping for, "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Blowing in the Wind," "Times They Are A Changing," "Don't Think Twice." I would have even settled for, "Quinn the Eskimo." No luck. He only played two or three songs that I knew - and they did not sound a bit like his records - full of instrumental asides - and overbearing solos by the band. I feel a bit like the time Bob blew off the Newport Folk Festival and showed up "electrified."

But heck - Bob is 69 now. He was in Orlando last night and will be in Birmingham tomorrow night. He has to pace himself. At his age - the concert started at 7:30 - no warm up act - he played for about two hours - most of the time with a Hammond Organ for balance to lean on. He did a few harmonica pieces - and also did some guitars/microphone spots.

Bob enriched my life - I am not complaining about the show - but we all get old. I am glad I showed up - paid my $50 - and saw a true icon of my time. He protested the Vietnam War before it was fashionable. He just wrote and wrote and wrote.

$50 times 6000 seats would be about $300,000 for 2 hours of work.

Finally during the encore - he started into a tune - which when I was a kid was about a 1/2 hour long. Most of the folks in the arena did not recognize it until the chorus - but finally there was something to sing along to. The lights went up - everyone got a really good look at Bob's face for about 5 seconds under his broad brimmed hat. Then the lights went down - and Bob was gone........"like a rolling stone."

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