Blogging Bob Dylan

I went to the concert alone, at Beth’s urging. She didn’t feel well enough to enjoy it, but she didn’t feel poorly enough to want me to stay home and care for her. People around me saw that I was jotting notes and they asked if they’d be “reading it in the morning.” In other words, was I reviewing the concert for one of the dailies? No, I said. I’ll just be dumping this to a blog.

I wonder what “this” is, that I’m dumping.. The never ending Dylan tour is fully blogged and reviewed by amateurs like me who focus on the hats. Between Brian’s observation and my own admission last night that I was merely blogging, I’m feeling subdued.

The set list is out there. We all loved the show. Sometimes Bob mumbles the words we all know. The smoke that surrounds us and the storm front of sound are equally contrived to do the big bad wolf number if you need a rhyme with all that rhythm. The decibels relieve you of your reason. Garnier has a double bass with a pick-up and amplification that is almost cruel. Playing “When the deal goes down” someone warped the song so far out of tune that only the pedal steel following it and normalizing it made it anything but bad. Soon the harmonies were some kind of distorted but distorted in harmony, the band drifting together to that place they’d rather not be, following the monster bass’s out-of-tune direction like leaves blown and tumbling in the street sucked along following the passage of a city bus, they were drawn by the power of that monster bass. There was much smiling and eye-contact and body language on stage as they pulled new chords out of their minds to shore up the erosion at the bottom that had left everyone a half tone flat.

I have all kinds of arch observations like that, things that seem true to me but absent mind reading abilities are meaningless from my side of the proscenium.

We’re a week away from a critical election. John Kerry is out there trying to mess it up for the working class. He’s got to be a provocateur for the oligarchy. Nobody is that inept. Peace candidates struggle to gain traction against the good old boys. GW (Global Warmer) Bush wags the dog with a missile strike against a madrassa on the Pakistan border. The Pakistan oligarchs are cool for now but the people are pissed.

I want to say smart stuff about the industrial music, the big band blues chords and the driving rhythms, the relentless attack, execution, finale to every number. But I think I’ll just buy the CD. There’s too much going on in the world to retreat to the blogger’s internal music appreciation wanking ceremony. But there is one story…

Foo fighter fans found seats behind me — a woman and several men all in their early thirties. Before the Foo set and again during the intermission, I chatted with the woman while the men fetched beer. She said she was there for the Foo but would stay for the Dylan because her parents had urged her. They used phrases like “living legend.” Dutiful daughter, she hung in there, even once calling mom on the cell and filtering those 20 kiloherz of complexity at a bazillion decibels down the narrow pipe of the cell phone connection. “Didja hear that mom?”

She was from Bessemer, a little town on the upper peninsula of Michigan. Her dad has never left, but she got out after high school and moved to Chicago. A few years ago she went to LA with her mom, and they visited Rodeo Drive. Mom wanted a Harry Winston tennis bracelet. The door man would not let them in to shop. Tourists. Middle class at best. Not “our kind of people.” After sharing this sorrow she talked about Michigan Avenue’s miracle mile, a real concentration of luxury goods and the thin rich people dressed stylishly in black who shop there and are not at all discomfited by sharing the sidewalks and the stores with the middle class. We agreed that the LA thing just sucked. But I felt so sorry for mom. She was willing to put down big bucks for a bracelet and the vile retailer wouldn’t let her in the door.

What kind of people have we become?

2 thoughts on “Blogging Bob Dylan

  1. Merely blogging, dumping? It’s all the little ‘merelies’ and ‘dumps’ and ‘hats’ that add up, though. Feeling subdued? I’m sure you’re just coming down with whatever it is/was Beth has/had. What kind of people have we become? Same as it ever was. I’m now aware of some dude named Denny Freeman. See? I’ve grown. All of us that read your blog religiously were sitting in that empty seat beside you. Now on to the triplets.

  2. Being exposed to poetry always brings on some soul searching for me, Frank. Doubts, epiphanies, regrets, resolve — all that stuff. It seems to be that way with you too. It reaches places we don’t go very often in the comsumer spectacle. The only sad thing about it is losing the ability to go through it. You’re in good shape.

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