Bob Dylan at the Greek, 6.9.16

(Oh geez, now that it’s July, here’s the follow up to my previous post. Sorry it’s so late; last month was cray.)

PART TWO of epic, once-in-a-lifetime shows at the Greek Theater by legendary American singer-songwriters: BOB DYLAN

Six days after Paul Simon, Alex and I were back at the Greek to see Bob Dylan. Now, I must say, I went into this show with somewhat low expectations. I’d heard multiple accounts from family and friends that Bob Dylan tends to be unpredictable, generally unsociable, and pretty much always impossible to understand.

True, I couldn’t tell what he was saying 80% of the time, and also didn’t know a majority of the songs he played, but I was actually quite pleasantly surprised (hooray for low expectations!). Bob appeared on stage in a cowboy hat, bolo tie, and what appeared to be track pants, and proceeded to serenade us with two hours of old standards and 90s semi-hits. Even if he was pretty unintelligible, just listening to the man sing was entertainment enough (à la Tom Waits). There were times when traces of that youthful folky voice surfaced out of nowhere, or when he pulled a harmonica out of his pocket and played a few bars to everyone’s delight, that reminded me that this was the same guy who emerged from Minnesota playing Woody Guthrie songs in 1960 and man, what a crazy thing to realize.

Bob’s setup was pretty simple: minimal instrumentation accented by 15 or so yellow lightbulbs positioned around the stage, which glowed every once in while and made it feel like we were all in one big backyard party (UGH the Greek is just so cool). Luckily I’m a sucker for pedal steel guitar, because there was a lot of it. Definitely a very old timey, country vibe going on.

If you went into the show knowing he’d mostly be doing covers and recent stuff, with the occasional “Tangled Up in Blue” and “She Belongs to Me,” then there weren’t really any surprises. UNTIL THE VERY END OF THE NIGHT, when we witnessed something that as far as I can tell, has never happened before and might not happen again. Bob Dylan and his band closed the ENTIRE night with the outro to “Freebird.” FREEBIRD.

Unpredictable is right.

So yeah, it was a good concert. Also, shoutout to Mavis Staples – although we only caught the last two songs from her (lots of pre-show scrambling for food and parking), she was so much fun. Unlike Bob (ha), she really knows how to work a crowd! Still going strong after 6 decades, that Mavis.

I can’t believe it took me this long to get to the Greek (I mean, I seem to be making up for it, but still). Both mine and Alex’s parents saw plenty of shows there back in the 70s and 80s (The Dead, Dylan, Tom Petty, Van Morrison…maybe they even went to some of the same ones!), and it just so happens that now we can carry on the tradition. :)

Anyway, July is shaping up to be just as crazy as June, so my posts will probably be minimal. I suppose if you really wanted to keep up you could follow me on Twitter. Until next time!

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