The easiest way to travel through time is to purchase Bob Dylan concert tickets.
Dylan fans run the gamut, and while at the concert in Fargo this past weekend, I witnessed a motherly grandma in a matching lavender jogging suit set shaking her hips and grooving against the handrails of the Fargo Civic Center balcony. In front of me was a pleasant elderly couple who looked as if they’d just left a Lutheran potluck dinner to catch the concert. They were silent and still during the concert until Dylan began singing “Like A Rolling Stone.” At that point, they began nodding their heads to the beat.
And when I say “Dylan began singing”, I use that term very loosely.
Noise came from the stage, but I cannot say for certain that it was singing. A good portion was talkrasping. I would estimate that I understood about 3 percent of the words Dylan sang.
The concert was fantastic.
“I DON’T THINK HE’S PLAYING THE RIGHT NOTES!” my friend hollered into my ear during the third song of the evening. Dylan was pounding away at the piano.
“HOW CAN YOU EVEN TELL?!” I yelled back. At one point, I am fairly certain I made out the words “ragu” and “lemonade” but it’s tough to say.
Dylan didn’t do much moving around, or much standing. He spent most of the time sitting at the piano. Once in a while, though, he stood up on what seemed to be extremely frail legs and ruptured my eardrum with his harmonica, sending the piercing notes right into my brain.
The guy can play!
As with every Dylan concert I’ve been to, he doesn’t have an opening band. He doesn’t talk to the audience. It’s song after song, stage lights dimming between, the sound of a band wandering around on their instruments to find the key for the next song all you’d hear. Then, lights come up and music blares forth. At the end, he introduces the band.
That works for me. I didn’t pay money to hear him talk.
Bob Dylan could fall asleep with his head banging down onto the piano keyboard, and the audience would cheer for an encore. He’s got that kind of fan base.
I suppose the most unsettling incident involved a little person materializing suddenly at the rail in front of us, crawling on the floor between people’s legs with a cup of beer before disappearing down the stairs. You just don’t expect to see that outside of MTV’s Jackass. That’s hardly Bob’s fault. He can’t regulate that kind of behavior. He’s busy on his way to the bank.
My only disappointment was the lack of Aaron Copland’s Rodeo Hoe-Down music while we waited for him to take the stage. That’s been his “opening music” of choice at every other concert of his I’ve attended. It makes the audience remember that beef is what’s for dinner, and that’s classy.