Friday, September 21, 2007

"Blame It On a Simple Twist of Fate" --Bob Dylan

Who can argue that Bob Dylan is nothing less than an American master. Even at the age of 66, still writing and playing his music, he is such an icon to many, including myself.

I can't remember when I first heard Dylan, I would imagine at a very early age. My older brother, John and several of my cousins were all devoted folk/rock fans and musicians right from the beginning of it all. Although I remember Beatles playing in the house more than any thing else, I'm sure there were Dylan songs thrown in there in my very early years. I truly feel moved by most of his ballads, his love songs and so many of his lyrics on social unjust. It feels right when I sing along to so many of his songs--listening and wishing more people could relate, even today, to those words of political and social disorder or feel moved by one of his wonderfully intricate love songs. I am truthfully in awe of this man's writings. I admire his unwillingness to fall into the pits of stardom when it would have been so easy to. I am entertained by his easy-going persona.

Of course, I was aware that he was coming. As usual, I did nothing in my almost-middle age laziness. But, yesterday, as I thumbed through one of our local papers, which I normally don't do, and saw that he was playing his second show last night, I had that last-minute desire to see him. I had to see him. "Blame it on a simple twist of fate." I looked online and there seemed to be tickets available. And so, after mom's MRI, we drove as fast as we could to the local Ticket Master. I left mom in the car when I ran in to get two tickets. Sold out. Whaaaa? Well, of course it was sold out. How can Dylan not sell out the 2,000 seat venue? Duh. I was bummed, to say the least. I had already gotten my hopes up. Ok. I did what I said I would never do. I looked online for what we used to call "scalpers." I found a place that had two tickets. I bought them. Paid a little less than double the face value. Not too bad, really. It is Bob Dylan, geesh.

The kid walked in from school as I was on the phone finalizing the purchase of the tickets. I covered the phone and whispered to him, "How much homework do you have tonight?" grin. "We're going to see Dylan, Bob Dylan--tonight." OMG. It hit me as I hung up the phone. I was like a giddy little kid. I was going to see my musical idol and my youngest son was going with me and be part of this wonderful opportunity. Can you see, I'm still grinning. Fate can be a wonderful thing

We had to go to the South side of Nashville to get the tics. (Thank goodness for the hub's GPS thingy!) I was still waiting for them to be fakes; but they were legit. Yay! We made it to the Ryman in time to get the above show poster, walk it back to the car and then return. We decided to go on in and sit down. When we walked on to the main floor, I was waiting to be seated behind one of the infamous pillars that I've almost always been behind in previous shows; but what a surprise. There we were, eight rows back towards the middle left of the stage. OMG. The kid and I were absolutely amazed at how good our seats were. We were grinning from ear to ear, again. To visualize, The Ryman was originally a big ol' church. The wooden floors and pews are still intact which truly add to the best acoustics I've heard and the most comfortable seating anywhere (except in church, of course). We scooted across the pew to the end towards the center isle were two people were already sitting. The guy, with longer hair than mine mind you, and his girlfriend could hardly contain themselves either. We chatted about who we had seen and where and how excited we all were to be there. (He had bought his tickets from the same guy I did in San Diego.) We were all good buddies by the end of the night.

Opening for Dylan was Amos Lee. I had heard the name but couldn't quite place any songs--I'm bad at names. I, in fact, knew several of his songs. He was great and put the audience in the mood. He's kinda bluesy, kinda Dave Matthewsy. His keyboardist was brilliant. Will have to go out and get his latest album now.

After his set, the stage hands brought out five guitars. We all went crazy when Elvis Costello stepped out and played for almost 40 minutes, by himself. It was awesome. He wasn't supposed to begin the tour until the next show in Atlanta. But, as Elvis put it, "When I heard Bob was playing the Ryman, how could I not want to come and play?" He played some wonderful old standbys--Allison, Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes, What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding and threw in some great love songs. He even put a couple of verses of the other Elvis' songs intermingled throughout. I guess it was the Tennessee thing to do? His voice was right on and he coaxed the audience to sing along--which we all did, quite well, thank you very much. Again, it really was amazing and a real treat.

When the stage was finally set for Dylan and the lights went down, you can only imagine how crazy we all went. I could see him entering from behind wearing this big ol' white hat--looked to be a gambler hat. I had to grab the kid and shake him in my excitement. Too sweeeet. He was wearing a low-key black western suit, complete with rhinestones on the lapel--or perhaps it was his shirt that was sparkly--something was sparkling at any rate. Included in his ensemble was a purple, yes purple, scarf tie. The man is just way too cool. Any one else would have looked like a complete goof. But Dylan pulled it off. I mean it. He began on guitar and then moved to the keyboards for the rest of the night. He moved in his usual slow, smooth jerks to the rhythm. He grinned now and again like he does so well while singing. His voice, pure Dylan. After each song, he was applauded with a standing ovation. To his well-known songs and those with a great beat, we all danced. To my dismay though, I was totally unable to sing along to any of his songs. hehe. He completely changed the melody to the old standards. I would jump in at the chorus and still get all messed up! The off beats completely threw me. It was a strange experience. I wanted to show the kid how many songs I knew--and couldn't!! ha. He played Lay Lady Lay (couldn't follow it--now c'mon), Stuck in Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (that's about all I could get out), Tangled Up in Blue (nope), Thunder on the Mountain--nada. What a mess I was! Still, it was good. It was more than good, of course. Set list here.

I have to admit though, one of the highlights of the night was when Jack White (of The White Stripes and local Nashvillian) came onstage and totally rocked out One More Cup of Coffee and Outlaw Blues. OMG. Dylan just grinned through the entire songs, moving his tiny self to the music. You could tell he was truly enjoying himself. Everyone was. Jack had a little more color to his usual powder-white complexion. Not much, but he looked good. His hair was a tad shorter; and although he wore a black hat with his black suit (the norm for the night), you could see just a little curl in the back. So unlike his normal long straight, blacker than black hair, it looked like he had just driven over and jumped on stage. You could tell the younger crowd by their head banging, but the rest of us just kinda danced through his two songs. Bob went into a couple of slower songs after that which really didn't fit. I guess with White jumping in, it probably messed the flow a little. It was then the kid asked how much longer. Poor guy. We had already heard over three hours of great music. I'm sure he was tired by then. (He later told me that even though it really wasn't his kind of music, he enjoyed the show. How cute is that?)

All in all, we had over four hours of amazing music last night. It was such an exhilarating evening. One the kid and I will always remember. As we left, we walked next to Dylan's bus leaving too, heading to Atlanta I suppose. I just wanted to wave, blow a kiss and yell "I love you BOB!"; but I didn't, of course. That would have totally embarrassed the kid. Don't you think?


Mrs. Staggs said...

Oh Rosa, I wish I had been there! It truly was a night to remember! I just discovered Amos Lee a few months ago through a PBS special, and I fell in love, ran to the computer,and spent the longest time on his website, listening more of his music.
It all sounds so wonderful! I'm glad you had a good time!
I forgot to tell you last night, that I asked a room full of friends a while back, if they could just choose one favorite music man, who would it be?....almost everyone, chose Dylan, for the way that he explores music...which is what you saw at the concert. I'm a Van Morrison and Santana fan too....I couldn't choose. Oh, and I really like Neil Young. I like songwriters...poets, I guess. The ones who truly have something to say.

Artsy said...

I'm glad you had such a grand time. Great post!! Happy last day of summer to you.

Beth said...

OMG!!! Your were so freakin Lucky. I heard he was coming but I didn't know when,,dang,,I know you had a blast girlfriend,,the next time you do something wild like that let me know and I will go with you,,,wow, Elvis C. and Jack White,,,and I love Amos Lee too. Thats the best venue to see any band the accoustics are the best!!!
So glad you had a fun time!!!

Althea said...

Thanks for the review--you are listed on "Expecting Rain", the links page on for all things Dylan on the internet. Hubby and I are going to see Bob here in Michigan on Oct. 12th, can't wait!!

Look me up on if you like!


MarkMcL said...


Money well spent I would say. An evening to remember indeed.




©Living as Rosa Designed by Rosa