This is my favorite picture of Dylan, ever. I think because he’s smiling, which seems to be a rare thing when there’s a camera around him. He seems kinda cranky in most of his photos. We weren’t close enough at Monday’s show to see his face, but I’ll just bet his blue eyes were all laser-beam intense, his thin mustache all villainy, and we could see he was dressed all in black like a gentleman gun slinger. Epitome of Cool. This person does a decent, song-by-song review, so I’m just going to give you a couple vignettes from the Lori-cam.
• I was experiencing some serious clothing envy all night. I think women, in particular, like to dress up a little for a show, and I kept seeing dresses, blouses and coats I wanted. Needed, even. An ankle-length black crushed velvet coat lined in purple, that swirled behind dramatically like a cape. A Japanese evening-jacket draped on the chair in front of me, black silk on the outside, and a delicious yellow silk inside, quilted for warmth, yet light as a pillow (I surreptitiously touched this one while the owner was away…a little OCD when it comes to touching sometimes). A red strapless fifties poufy-skirted dress, and a chartreuse batik blouse that draped oh-so elegantly.
• I seem to be in a period of transition at concerts these days. It’s taken a couple of decades to figure this out, but I’m not really a floor-crowd person at a show. I used to love being part of the energy, the mass, jostling my way to the front and connecting with the performer: “He’s singing to me!!!!” (Ecstatic bounce bounce bounce.) But now…first, and foremost, there’s the height. Unless we’re crammed right up next to the stage I won’t be able to see a thing but the big screen of nothingness that is someone else’s back. Second, it gets tiring these days standing for a couple hours on concrete, the threat of Charley Horse constantly looming in my calves. (I’m getting one right now just thinking about it.) Then, there’s the smell of increasingly ripe armpits, gagging on the cloying smell of perfume, hair product and cigarette-breath. Also, it is definitely not a love fest down there on the floor. Your music loving floor-mates tend to be kind of pushy, shoving, incredibly selfish, and totally oblivious to the likes of middle-aged 5-foot tall women. Like, aren’t we all here to see the show? Come on! I could be your mom! Let me see, let me see! I turn into a little atomic bomb, a tiny vial of nitroglycerin, a seemingly friendly balloon at a child’s birthday party – it’s only a matter of how many times I get bumped, jabbed or stepped on before I explode. So, we opt for the bleacher seats and plop our bottoms in chairs in the thick of the Grey Hairs, the Wrinkle Section (WS), where I can feel young and see every band member in their entirety, but with no detail, because we’re never smart enough to bring the little binoculars that are always in the car, unlike the 60ish woman I’m sitting next to who has a charming pair of ivory and gold opera glasses. (She actually was a near-victim of my touching compulsion as she was nervously, and noisily, bouncing her knee for a while before the show and I so wanted to reach out and steady that leg! I grabbed Joe’s instead.)
• The seats are freestanding at the WAMU theatre, so that as every person huffs and puffs their way up the stairs the bleacher section sways, like a boat, like after you step off an elevator, like extremely motion sensitive me is seriously going to barf. I start looking at the floor mob below us with my Considering Face. Joe and I devise this very dastardly scheme of purchasing a used wheelchair so that for shows like this he can wheel me in and we can both sit in the handicapped section, where the view looks to be great. Then we speculate there may be some handicap-socializing going on and they’ll ask what happened to me. “I’m sorry, I really don’t want to talk about it.” Then change the subject. “How about you? How long have you been…um….” We throw out the idea before we truly hate ourselves.
• Once the music starts and the lights go down and my distractions are (more) limited, I rock and I roll in my seat, and I get some major foot tapping, boot stompin’, hands on thighs drumming, shoulder rolling, hootin’ and hollerin’ and I join the motion of the bleachers, and I still feel the energy of the crowd even in the WS, because there is BobgodDylan! He’s somehow incorporated Tom Wait’s voice with his own, but it works. He’s 69 years old, after all; it’s not the Sixties anymore, Baby Blue. When they play a sexy-gravelly-bluesy-dark Ballad of a Thin Man, and the deep yellow lighting comes from below and the band members are all 10-foot tall shadows on the back of the stage wall, all hats and guitars, and Dylan plays his harmonica, knees together and passionately bending towards the floor with each powerfully sustained note, I know that if this was the only song I heard or saw this night I would be happy. And I am. Even if I don’t have a long crushed velvet coat.