Monday, October 12, 2009


This past Saturday, I saw folk poet of my life, Bob Dylan, perform at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. At 7:30, on a chilly east bay night, he crept behind his keyboard and onto the stage. Obviously, I will share a few thoughts on the show:


Bob is forward thinking and doesn't live in the past. When he could so easily perform a greatest hits show, he picks his latest, less familiar songs to play. I really liked the songs he chose from his new album, Together Through Life. To me, the songs prove he hasn't lost his touch and isn't planning to any time soon. As the story goes, Bob doesn't look back. He takes the risk of playing brand new music with a new sound, new inspiration and new language. His innovations are commendable as they thrive within the boundaries of folk. And despite the expectations, the pressures, to continually fulfill his ongoing status as a legend--he continues to produce music that challenges and interrogates the realities and the thoughts we have.


We all are familiar with Bob as the serious entertainer who doesn't utter a word between song breaks. True this is, but last weekend I saw, dare I say, another side of Bob Dylan. He was funny! He was mischievous! There were instances when Bob was even charming the audience. Topped with a black Bolero hat, he smiled and danced in place, shimmying bent-legged towards the floor. His band mates watched as he rocked out with the music. And what music it was...


I know I went on and on about this incorporation of newer, lesser known tracks, but I must say something about the old stuff. And speaking of the old stuff, and its relationship to me, his songs flow freely and frequently through my moments and my memories. They are played on guitars around campfires in my heart. His words are with me always, which is why it's such a pleasure, an urgent desire, to hear him live. He played:

"Mama, You've Been On My Mind"
"I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)"
"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" (my personal favorite)
"Highway 61 Revisited"
"Ballad of a Thin Man"
"Like a Rolling Stone"
and "All Along the Watchtower."
Not bad.

No, not bad at all!
I love singing along to the chorus of, what might possibly be his greatest hit, and asking the iconic question:

How does it feel???

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