Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ringleader of The Death Carnival

Last night, I went to see one of the performers that have been on must-list for in, bands or artists I must see before it's too late. I've been lucky enough to shrink that list over the past few years. There was really only one last glaring glitch...Mr. Robert Zimmerman.

Two days ago, I was offered the chance to see Bob Dylan play. (Thanks Danimal!). I had to shuffle around some things, but how could I say no. So yesterday, I packed a shoulder bag and bussed it down to the Big Apple to see Dylan play in my old neighborhood of Washington Heights.

Now, I'm no stranger to seeing some legends far beyond their prime. I've seen Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, and others who were far removed from the iconic albums that I obsess over. So, going into this, I wasn't expecting to see "Don't Look Back" era Dylan. That said, I wasn't quite expecting to hear all those songs I know inside out having morphed over the years into a wall of sound interpretation that nicely compliments Bob's voice which has been reduced to something near a growl. It felt like I was hearing something new, and that was almost better than something I've heard a million times.

Dylan himself was great to behold, looking the part of an old outlaw sheriff that stepped out the Rock N Roll Circus, my initial thought was..."Wow, he looks like the ringleader of the death carnival." And it held up throughout. "Ballad of a Thin Man" was delivered with an almost William Burroughs air about it.

It wasn't a perfect was pitchy at times...the sound was a little too loud in places..."Baby Blue" was awful...but it hit a stride and there were a lot of A+ moments that more than outweighed the B- moments. I was never unengaged and never without the feeling that I was watching one of the greatest performers and artists of my shared cultural heritage.

"There's something happening here, but you don't know what it you? Mr. Jones?"

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