My earliest memories of Bob Dylan music are from days spent at my cousin Denise’s house up the road from my house. I remember standing on a bed in her room – both of us scream singing the lyrics to Lay, Lady, Lay. His voice was exotic and different from the glossy pop of the Beatles and the Monkees.
Growing up in Vermont, folk music and protest songs were familiar and part of the earthy landscape. The older I got, the more I appreciated the poetry of his lyrics.
Now as a grownup I find the lyrics of these songs were really important to my world view. Dylan’s songs align with my views and state of mind.
When the chance to see him came up and he became part of the Cheap Seats Tour, it was more than hearing him sing the latest thing he’s into – Sinatra covers. It was about being in the same space as a legend. It was about witnessing how things turned out for this poet.
For someone so connected to the pulse and mindset of his generation (and generations after under his influence), he seemed very reclusive on stage. He’s not a vivacious, immense presence in the same way I imagine George Harrison would have been. He’s introverted. Big Hat with chin dipped down. No eye contact with the audience. No recognition or credit to the band. Just a “Thank You” when he finished his second set.
His voice is still gravelly and course – a little more so with age. He does not have the moves like Jagger. He reminded me of someone doing the “I’m a Little Teapot” dance.
His setlist was mostly his contemporary stuff
- Set 2:
(Frank Sinatra cover)
I think my favorite was Forgetful Heart. It stayed with me after the concert and into the days beyond. I loved that he played Blowin’ In the Wind, but it was arranged differently and was slowly recognizable.
The rearrangement of his songs gave me the impression that he is rejecting his past success. Maybe it brought him pain. Maybe he is bored. Maybe he is angry.
I saw a clip from an interview he did for 60 Minutes years ago. He’s a uniquely gifted songwriter and singer. His talents remind me of Mozart and the Long Island Medium – it flows through like a channel and you learn to live with it and those who can tolerate to be around that.
Being in the Cheap Seats, literally the back row (there are no bad seats in DPAC), I was able to record Blowin’ in the Wind on my iPhone for personal remembrance – I was in the same room with Bob Dylan. I heard him deliver the poetry as he was feeling it that night.
A quiet thrill lingered for days. I appreciate song tracks recorded in his younger days even more so now. They still carry meaning for me.
I confess to being a yoga teacher. I use music to connect to the people I teach and to lead them on an energetic journey. I played A Hard Rains A Gonna Fall in class the other day and a client was singing along under his breath. After class we talked about his interest in Dylan and he sang me Bob Dylan’s Dream.
While riding on a train goin’ west
I fell asleep for to take my rest
I dreamed a dream that made me sad
Concerning myself and the first few friends I had
With half-damp eyes I stared to the room
Where my friends and I spent many an afternoon
Where we together weathered many a storm
Laughin’ and singin’ till the early hours of the morn
By the old wooden stove where our hats was hung
Our words were told, our songs were sung
Where we longed for nothin’ and were quite satisfied
Jokin’ and talkin’ about the world outside
With hungry hearts through the heat and cold
We never thought we could ever get old
We thought we could sit forever in fun
But our chances really was a million to one
As easy it was to tell black from white
It was all that easy to tell wrong from right
And our choices they was few so the thought never hit
That the one road we traveled would ever shatter and split
How many a year has passed and gone?
Many a gamble has been lost and won
And many a road taken by many a first friend
And each one I’ve never seen again
I wish, I wish, I wish in vain
That we could sit simply in that room again
Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat
I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that
He sang about half of the song and then looked at me wistfully and said, “Its about friends.” It’s clutching me as a lump in my throat today.
So glad I got to put Bob Dylan on the Cheap Seats Tour.