Watching a Legend

Because I'm a music fanatic, every concert I attend is an emotional experience for me. But Saturday's Bob Dylan concert was off the charts in terms of emotions. First, I was accompanied by an old pal of mine from high school, Hannah. She was my first friend when I moved from Crete to Columbus in 7th grade. We have many memories involving music. Once during our senior year we drove to Omaha to spend the weekend with some of our friends who had graduated the year prior. Of course we stopped at Homer's music in the Old Market. That's when I picked up my first Rilo Kiley album. We drove home that trip with the music seeping out of my crappy 1983 Acura's car speakers; it was silent most of the trip home as we took in Jenny Lewis's amazing lyrics. On another trip to Lincoln, we again stopped at Homer's in the Haymarket, and because we were both broke, we split the cost of Simon and Garfunkel's greatest hits album. It was a two disc collection, and we just shared it. Eventually I think Hannah burned me a copy of the CD. I think Hannah understood me better than most people, and I think part of this stemmed from our connection through music. So when I read that Dylan would be in Omaha, Hannah was the first person I thought of.

When Dylan started playing with his band, a lump formed in my throat. He didn't have a flashy, magical moment where he made a big deal of coming on stage...they just started playing. I couldn't believe I was watching a legend like Dylan, now 71. I wish I could say I've listened to Dylan all my life, but I haven't. In fact, I heard my first Bob Dylan song during my first year of college at UNK when I haphazardly signed up for Dr. Benzel's literature of Walt Whitman and Bob Dylan class. I loved Whitman, and I had heard of Dylan and knew he was cool. I think the first Dylan song I ever heard was "All Along the Watchtower," and I wasn't impressed with his nasally tone and slurred words. But after I heard Dr. Benzel talk about these songs with this glazed over look in her eyes and compare them to Whitman and Sandburg's poems, I wanted more. I was drawn to her obsession with Dylan. Throughout the course we listened to and studied many of Dylan's songs (and Woody Guthrie's songs!). The ones I remember the most are "Man on the Street," "Who Killed Davey Moore," "He Was a Friend of Mine," "Only a Hobo," and "The Death of Emmett Till." I was intrigued by such activism. Needless to say, Dylan is about all I listened to that semester. I was hooked after that. The entire concert was like this for me: floods of memories with every tune.

I wasn't particularly blown away with his performance; I texted a fellow music nerd that I needed some sort of app to be able to use in order to decipher Dylan's mumbling. But it didn't matter...I still loved every minute. He played many of his newer tunes that I'm not as familiar with, but he did play some oldies: "Ballad of a Thin Man," "Highway 61 Revisited " Like a Rolling Stone," "All Along the Watchtower," and he ended with an encore--"Blowing in the Wind." The last song was awesome. There were so many middle-aged adults in Chuck Taylor shoes and earth toned sweaters waving lighters around for it. Each time Dylan played the harmonica, the crowd leaned forward to listen in a bit. It wasn't a particularly rowdy crowd, but there was a sort of reverence present for the legend on stage.

I should mention that his opening act, Mark Knopfler (lead singer of Dire Straits), was amazing. What an incredible musician. His set ranged from rock, to jazz, to blues, to celtic. I hadn't heard much of his music before, but I have been listening to him quite a bit since Saturday.

Unfortunately I don't have pictures to remember the event as cameras were banned from the auditorium (they seriously confiscated batteries from the devices!). But, I think it's fitting that all I have to remember the concert are memories and words.  All in all, the concert was cathartic and worth the money.


Stu said...

Wow!! Sounds like an awesome concert!

Heart's Cry said...

I loved walking that memory with you! Thanks!

Stu said...

Ok...happy now. I've got my tickets to watch the show in Washington D.C.

Looking forward to it.

Danielle said...


Stu said...

great show!!