blew through Tucson recently: Bob Dylan
(at the Casino Del Sol's Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheatre, Tuesday 07/24/2007)
Had lawn seats in the light drizzly summer monsoon rain at this spacious outdoor amphitheater, didn't matter because I met up with some cool people and was buzzed on beer and had my 4th opportunity in this lifetime to witness the greatest songwriter and rock and roller of our time. The Old Man performed 17 songs with his red-hot and masterful improvisatory band; he jammed lead guitar on the 1st three songs and smoking harmonica solos where noted with the asterix.
Sure his voice is grizzly and wheezy but it's seasoned like fine wine...and his band sure needs to be on their toes to follow the master wherever his mind might wander (since he never goes on stage with a setlist, a trick I reckon he picked up from his time touring with the Grateful Dead; recall Dylan's euology of Jerry Garcia where he stated "to me he wasn't only a musician and friend, he was more like a big brother who taught and showed me more than he'll ever know.")
The man of many masks transmogrifies his old songs with startling and sometimes unrecognizable new arrangments because he's an artist constantly on the move, his Never Ending Tour takes us to places of the soul where familar tunes are imbued with an infinity of new meanings...for the wheel's still in spin and ole Zimmy keeps on keepin' on.
So where the hell is his Nobel Prize in Literature award yet?? (There, I got in my 2 cents.)
Concert also reviewed here:
Dylan's genius, magic not lost on AVA crowd
By Kevin W. Smith, Arizona Daily Star
Leopard-skin Pill-Box Hat
Lay, Lady, Lay
Watching The River Flow
Rollin' And Tumblin'
Simple Twist Of Fate *
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
Lonesome Day Blues
When The Deal Goes Down
Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) *
Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
Highway 61 Revisited
Spirit On The Water *
Masters Of War
Thunder On The Mountain
Blowin' In The Wind
For more details see
"Theme Time Radio Hour with your host Bob Dylan" (on XM radio)
Wednesdays at 10am ET on Deep Tracks XM 40
"Take a trip to the land of radio magic. With music hand-selected from his personal collection, Bob Dylan takes you to places only he can. Listen as Bob Dylan weaves his own brand of radio with themes, dreams and schemes."
A few insightful things said about Dylan (including by himself)...
Dylan is mysterious, elusive, fascinating – just like his music.
Over more than four decades, Dylan has produced 500 songs and more than 40 albums. Does he ever look back at the music he's written with surprise?
"I used to. I don't do that anymore. I don't know how I got to write those songs. Those early songs were almost magically written," says Dylan, who quotes from his 1964 classic, "It's Alright, Ma."
"Try to sit down and write something like that. There's a magic to that, and it's not Siegfried and Roy kind of magic, you know? It's a different kind of a penetrating magic. And, you know, I did it. I did it at one time."
Does he think he can do it again today? No, says Dylan. "You can't do something forever," he says. "I did it once, and I can do other things now. But, I can't do that."
Transcript, 60 Minutes interview by Ed Bradley, 06/07/2004
"Dylan is a strange, dubious character. He has more to do with the Lone Ranger than John Wayne--"Who was that masked man?" He keeps his distance. He is from somewhere else. He not only speaks in riddles, he lives in them. For more than ten years, he has had more in common with a dead blues singer or old-time ballad singer than with any contemporary.
I think the reason the changes in his voice have not much been commented on--and I think this because your question made me realize how completely I'd ignored the question myself--is that, despite changes in tone, pitch, clarity, etc.--any formal description--the attack, the point of view, the way in which the voice enters a piece of music, what it does there, how it gets out, or how the music gets away, if it does--has not changed. That is: it remains unpredictable. It's music as a game of three-card monte. This hasn't always been true. It wasn't true for Slow Train, Saved, Shot of Love, Infidels. But the way in which the singer works on "The Drifter's Escape," "Like a Rolling Stone," "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," and "High Water" defines Dylan as a singer, and defines his voice, in the greatest sense. As long as Dylan can draw breath, I imagine this will matter more than the actual sound he makes--because the twisting and turning that goes on in performances like these, the ability to bring a whole world into focus with the dramatization of a single syllable--the first "care" in "High Water" say--is the actual sound he makes."
“The greatest rhymer of the last 50 years.”
Prof. Christopher Ricks, Boston University
Author, Dylan's Visions of Sin, reviewed here at The New York Times: 'Dylan's Visions of Sin': It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Reading)
[Note: Prof. Ricks was a former professor of T.S. Minton blogs editor & publisher Steve Minton at the aforementioned institution]