Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dylan Concert Review: Part I

I was one of those who bought Modern Times from iTunes and was able to book early for the Nov. 17 Dylan concert at the Patriot Center, Fairfax. I ended up in third row center and in a chair. No more mashed in the mosh-pit of a dusty ballpark trapped behind tall bearded men and chatty fratty boys. This was the real deal. And what a deal it was!

Started off the day dropping by the Patriot Center to pick up my ticket from Will Call. I thought I was feeling rather non-challant, sort of blase and I'm thinking, well, maybe I'm over this Dylan-thing. Maybe after two years of "let's figure forty years of Bob Dylan out in two" I had finally reached the end and ready to move on to the next thing. I picked up my ticket from the Will Call window and headed back to my car feeling fine when I saw the Dylan Show busses parked near my car and I had a zinger-moment of fangirl bliss. Zoomed out for a moment "OH MY GOSH!!! (no, didn't say it, just thought it, felt it) and it lasted only a moment, zingggg. AHHH!!! For twenty seconds I was fourteen years old. Then it passed and I was back to being forty-something, getting in my car, off to do errands, ladida. Guess I'm not over it, BabyBlue.

A few weeks ago, after I made it known that I would be going to this concert, I got an e-mail from BabyBlueOnline blog reader, Thomas, from southwestern Virginia. He and his wife Mary Alice were driving up to the concert and would I like to meet them for dinner? I thought it was a great idea and so we met at Brion's Grill across the street from the Patriot Center. It was so much fun meeting them - we talked about the Episcopal Church crisis and Bob Dylan. What more could we ask for? Actually, we had a great conversation on both topics, including getting into discussing the meaning of the news songs off Modern Times. It was really great to engage at that level of conversation and I felt like we all would be friends for years to come. Thomas said that NT Wright is going to be speaking a local church down there in a few months, so maybe I will get a chance to head down to their territory and pick up the conversation where we left off.

We walked over to the Patriot Center after dinner and the cars were still pouring into the parking lot, though it was now past 7:30 p.m. We said goodbye and went to our seats inside as the Raconteurs blasted off the stage. Guess what - I thought they were fantastic. Sitting so close I could see their amazing guitar technique, the tightness of the arrangements, and the power of the music (and though loud, not nearly as loud as U2, which took me weeks to get over). I don't know much about them beyond what the Starbucks Guy Who Makes My Chai Latte has told me about them - but they were very impressive - sort of "The Who" or "Pink Floyd" meets "The Clash." I did think they looked young, which was scary.

They were on until a little about 8:40 and then Dylan took the stage at 9:00 with "Cat's in the Well," which I'll be honest, I don't really know. But he followed it with Senor and thing just took off. What a changed man he was - hints of it were apparent this summer when he stole glances into the audience (a major change from the summer before when he barely even looked at the audience and you felt sort of like you were intruding on one of his rehearsals). But the man we saw last night was reminiscent of the one we hear on Theme Time Radio Hour. Serious, half-serious, self-mocking, playful, and sneaky. The Joker.

I have to go to a Surprise Birthday Party now so I'll write more later - especially the part when he did High Water, which those of you who read this blog know, is the "Song of Choice" when it comes to the Episcopal Church crisis. More on that later. In the meantime, here's another photo from the trusty cell phone. Thanks, Sprint!



tdunbar said...

It was a great concert. Although MaryAlice & I were back up in side stands, the sound was excellent and Dylan sounded the best we've heard in 3 years.

The surprise of "Love Sick" as first/extra encore song was great and straight out of Canticles, I think.


Václav Patrik Šulik said...

I had a zinger-moment of fangirl bliss.

I know the feeling - I stayed in the Massachusetts hotel where the 60 minutes interview with Ed Bradley was filmed, the night it aired. My friend and I (who is also a Dylan-nut) made a respectful pilgrimage to the room where it was filmed. We even went so far as to ask the desk clerk which room the Poet stayed in. It turns out he sleeps in his tour bus -- although they rented a huge block of rooms, Bob slept in the parking lot.