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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