Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bob Dylan: Still has it going on...


I am a huge concert goer. Not so much now as in the past but I still manage to get to 5 or 6 concerts a year in. I'll go see just about anybody. The atmosphere, good loud music and the people are reasons I go. I like the cool heads of a Dave Matthews Show, where sea of people are grooving to the music. I also love the intensity of the front row of a Social Distortion concert and the pretend violence that goes along with expended all of that energy.

I saw Bob Dylan last night for the second time. He played down in Stockton at their new arena. It was a small show, maybe 7,000 people tops. He had his little band which consisted of rhythm, slide, and lead guitarists, bass, drums and Dylan on keyboards and harmonica. It was a real compliment to have solid musicians playing those classic songs.

I took my parents to this show. They recently have grubbed up a lot of the new release compilation cd's Dylan has released. It is not uncommon for me now to go to their house on a Sunday with Dylan or the Stones blasting away by the pool. They missed the whole "hippy" thing in the 60's with Dylan going "electric", Vietnam, Hendrix. My mom was a Beach Boys-early Beatles fan. In 1966 at 18 and 20, they started having kids and have been married for 40 years. Dylan played the music of their generation much like Nirvana or U2 has played to my. I am so glad they are embracing Dylan's stuff as they approach their 60's.

It felt good to get them to go to the show. My mom had called a fews months back to tell me Bob Dylan was playing in Stockton. Without flinching, I immediately brought up Dylan's site to see if there was a pre-sale. And there was and by the end of the call I had us on the floor about 20-25 rows back, center stage. They wouldn't have gone on their own.

What got me about the show was the amazing sound his band had on that stage. Stockton Arena is new but it was nothing special. It looked like Sacramento's Arco Arena or Oakland's Arena or pretty much any other arena you'd see in an NBA or NHL game. But the sound, that's what's hung with me all day. Unlike most concerts, you heard every note. Every part of the drum set. Dylan's diminutive vocal range and timbre was actually crisp and clear, like it came out of a Bose System. His harmonica sent chills down your spin. Dylan rocked out world last night! He had the sound of Old Nashville, the sound of Sun Record's in the 1950's and that chilling sound of protest in 1960's. At 64, that man is still making magic with his timeless songs. His rendition of Lay Lady Lay sounded nothing like the original but as new as it probably did back then.

The other thing that got me was the crowd. There were a lot of grey heads, an abundance of blind and disabled older people in wheel chairs. The crowd looked drab. Lots of flannel, old sweaters and worn jeans. There was no diversity to speak of. Everyone was polite and they were really into the show. There was the abundance of pot smoke which freaked out my innocent 58 year old mother. It was quite hilarious when the guy next to her fired off a blunt. The look on her face.

I am very fortunate to have parents who can go to a Bob Dylan Concert with me, and have a good time. But I am even more fortunate that Vietnam did not effect my family. And that my parents have been married that long, even with having kids at 18 and 20. I am also fortunate they did not get into the 60's drug scene. I don't know what it is like to have a father who went to Vietnam. I don't know what it is like to have divorced parents or a step mother or father. I don't know what it is like to see a parent addicted to drugs. I missed a lot of what people my age spent a life time going through. It is really perplexing to get to this age and meet people who had Baby Boomer parents experiencing all that adversity and knowing absolutely nothing about it other than what I read.

We are all fortunate to still have the opportunity to see a man like Bob Dylan, still putting on a great show that is still relevant today. The songs will always mean a lot to us.Here is a list of shows. I highly recommend going.

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