Well, I'm back from seeing Bob Dylan perform at The Palace tonight, and it was great! Dylan has so much material that you just can't know what he's going to play on any given night, but he played a few that I've only dreamed of seeing him do. Visions of Johanna for one. Like a Rolling Stone, Tangled Up In Blue, Highway 61, and All Along The Watchtower for some others. He's majorly reworked all of the songs, some of them so much that I couldn't figure out what they were until halfway through the song. Others I recognized the lyrics to but never did figure out what exactly they were. All I knew was that I was in the presence of a true Legend, and I was soaking it all in as much as I could.
There were many striking differences between the Dylan I saw last night and the Dylan I know of from music history. For one, he stood at a keyboard all night, didn't play a lick of guitar (though he did play a bit of harmonica here and there). He's also in a major country / classic bluesy soul rock groove. Rockabilly, for lack of a better word. Usually not my thing, but Dylan is a master and you have to appreciate the fact that he's gone back to the very roots of rock & roll and is keeping them alive and vital in our generation of slickly-produced commercialized sugar-sweet throwaway music. Plus, without Dylan, we don't even have the concept of "country rock" or it's like. He was the first to do that sort of thing.
I was wondering while watching him, given how different his current show is from what you would have seen in the late 60's, if the young Bob Dylan could somehow see and meet the old man Dylan, I wonder what he would think of himself. Would he recognize who he had become? And I wonder if the Dylan of today ever looks back to those early days and wonders what happened to that kid and how did he end up here, and could all those years really have gone by? Knowing what I know of him, probably not, but I know I would be asking those kinds of questions at that age. Hell, I ask those kinds of questions at this age! But maybe that's the kind of thing that's keeping me from living the kind of life he's lived. "If any man looks back after putting his hand to the plow, he is not worthy of me or the kingdom of God... and he'll be turned into a pillar of salt for good measure"