Re: Bob Dylan: To See or Not To See

Bob_Dylan_Graffiti_in_Manchester_UK

Last week Manolith writer Matt Bravmann wrote an interesting piece on Bob Dylan (read it HERE), and I couldn’t help but offer up a few thoughts. I don’t doubt that Matt likes Bob Dylan, but a true fan doesn’t pose a question such as “To See or Not To See.”

Should you see Bob Dylan in concert? The easy answer is yes. If there is any hesitation, then don’t bother.

From my perspective, any legitimate Bob Dylan fan wants to see the artist perform live; needs to see the artist perform live; will see the artist perform live.

I’m from Bob Dylan’s neck of the woods (Minnesota), and saw him perform live in his hometown of Duluth last July. To be clear, Robert Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan was born in Duluth, and moved to nearby Hibbing as a young child (I don’t want to be picked apart by hardcore Dylan fans). The last concert was my fourth, and I have previously seen Dylan perform live in Fargo, North Dakota (1999), Santa Monica, California (2007) and Hollywood, California (2012).

My Dylan concert experiences have been fantastic, and the last show I saw might be my favorite for sentimental reasons. Back in 1999, I was a college student and a friend randomly showed up at my door with a couple Bob Dylan tickets (thank you, Curt Schindler). Seven years later, Bob Dylan was the soundtrack of my life as I left Minnesota and moved on to Hollywood. I’ll never forget those first few months listening to Bob Dylan over and over, and watching documentaries such as “Don’t Look Back” and Martin Scorsese’s “No Direction Home.”

Within a year or so I was able to finally see Bobby D again at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium which was AWESOME. The venue was tiny and the crowd was amazing. I’m not going to rant about favorite albums or songs (perhaps another time), but I will certainly never forget that performance in Santa Monica. Five years later I moved back to Minnesota, but just weeks before the move I saw Dylan perform at The Hollywood Bowl, which was about a mile from where I lived. My normal Bowl routine involved watching CraigsList until people were ready to unload tickets for $10, and then I would walk over. For Dylan, I bought tickets in advance and prepared mentally. I couldn’t mess around and potentially miss the concert. Although the concert wasn’t mind-blowing (I was in the back and there was no monitors), I was able to talk with all kinds of Dylan fans before the show.

Within a year, I was back in Minnesota and often visited my sister and her family in Duluth Minnesota. One day her husband texted me and said Bob Dylan was coming to town. What?!

Bob Dylan saw Buddy Holly perform live in Duluth, Minnesota two days before “The Day The Music Died” (my Aunt went to that show). Long before Bobby D changed the face of the music in the mid-sixites, he was already a legend in small circles from Minneapolis all the way to New York City. The last 50 years of performing has allowed him change up his routine from time to time.

Long story short: A true Dylan fan doesn’t question whether they want to see him in concert or not.

Matt Bravmann: You must see Bob Dylan live.

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12 Responses to Re: Bob Dylan: To See or Not To See

  1. Dylan has often been perceived as weird and was perceived as such back then- very weird. But actually he was quite normal and natural as we can see on retrospect- modest, gentle and unassuming. Those questions were a product of the time- Dylan just attained naturalness before everybody else. As we can see there was nothing freaky about him at all. We are used to long hair now but I remember back then it looked very strange because nearly everybody had short back and sides. If Dylan introduced long hair- soon copied by the Beatles. He was normal but the revolutionary hair style got the attention and imagination of the press going. That’s show biz. Two things about Dylan that are often overlooked are 1) He is a very nice modest person 2) He is great at show-biz.
    Apart from that he is just your normal genius.

  2. ah, ’tis the accursed fate of your generation to live in a time of diminished expectations where mediocrity is worshiped and terms such as genius are bandied about freely until they are devalued. is it enough just to see bob in the flesh, to peer upon his iconic presence to justify the expense? i say no emphatically and offer an analogy.

    michael jordan was, in his prime, a great (some say the greatest) player and i would have paid the money to watch the art, creativity, and poetry of his game. would i pay to watch him play now. are you kidding. no way. same with bob. it’s gone and while it’s sad, it’s also natural.

    so let’s remember the greatness that once was and send the current bob back to dorian grey. you got to know when it’s time to go and not overstay your welcome.

    but hey if this is what bob wants to do and there are still suckers who wish to shell out money and can convince themselves that he is better than ever more power to you. you can count me out

    • Which generation are we talking about? Bob Dylan changed the face of music. I don’t quite understand the first paragraph. Also, your analogy to Michael Jordan is highly flawed in that MJ’s art was based on physical performance. It’s simply not possibly for one to play at that level due to physical limitations. Most professional athletes are retired by the age of 40, right?

      • the modern hip hop generation, of course. those incapable of rational judgements. and bob changed the face of popular music (whatever that means) in the 1960s and not after.

        my analogy is absolutely the bomb cause i’d still take jordan’s legs over bob’s voice. there’s a physical strain on both due to aging. yet michael can still dunk at 50 and bob has been godawful for far too long. remember when he was 40 he was doing that wretched jesus junk. he should have quit then.

    • Tempest is one of his best albums
      Modern Times was number 1 all over the world
      Love and Theft is a masterpiece
      Together through Life was a best seller
      All late works.
      Picasso and Michelangelo did some of their finest work in their 90s
      Write him off if you like. Tempest is great buddy so no need to be so condescending to people who like Dylan’s late stuff. Suckers have always written him off; and its better to be a has been than a never was such as your erudite self.

    • Tempest is one of his best albums
      Modern Times was number 1 all over the world
      Love and Theft is a masterpiece
      Together through Life was a best seller
      All late works.
      Picasso and Michelangelo did some of their finest work in their 90s
      Write him off if you like. Tempest is great buddy so no need to be so condescending to people who like Dylan’s late stuff. Suckers have always written him off; and its better to be a has been than a never was such as your erudite self.

  3. i believe it was p.t. barnum who said no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the american public, bub. and yet those albums still suck.

    so you admit he’s a has been. thanks

    • What about your own intelligence? I never admitted he was a has been; I was answering your implication that he is a has been. And so are you admitting you are a never was? Looks like I overestimated your intelligence.
      Those albums are great and were best sellers all over the world not just America.
      You are not clever- merely disrespectful. It is unintelligent to be disrespectful especially to someone who will be studied scores of years past the time your own illustrious person will gone and comprehensively forgotten; if it is ever remembered in the first place.

      • you make ad hominem attacks and expect to be taken seriously; you must be a product of the modern education system in which mediocrity is the goal and feelings mean more than thought. learn to formulate a proper argument and you might be taken seriously.

        lots of bad albums were best sellers; don’t mean a thing.

        i didn’t imply he was a has been i asserted it. and as far as i’m concerned you can call me anything you like i will never deny it.

        what about my intelligence? very high. what about yours? do you want to compare intellectual/academic backgrounds and i.q.’s sometime. i’d be happy to. then again i don’t want to make you cry.

        it is unintelligent and disrespectful to one’s self to say garbage is a masterpiece. god didn’t give you a brain to waste it.

        if i knew what comprehensively forgotten meant i’d probably be glad to be. why would i want to be remembered by ignoroids like you

  4. picasso was a con artist who stole nickels from toll booths

    michelangleo never made it to 90

    just for the record