Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Tonight was the night I've been looking forward to for a few weeks. Bob Dylan and His Band, not to be confused with "The" band, played at Nashville's old barn, the Municipal Auditorium. I've seen Bobby a few times, in venues ranging from big festival downtown, to small club in Detroit, to Starwood, but something told me I had to see this one. I'm glad I went.
I knew my usual ticket finding hustle would be hard pressed with the crowd being a little older, and boy were they, but I also know never to give up hope until about an hour after showtime. Luckily I ran into a friend with a college I.D. that was more than happy to get me a discounted student ticket. I was walking up to my seat in the upper deck when the lights went down and the Man was introduced, with words like Poet Laureate and Generation and so forth.
He came out big with "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" and the only song from The Band's era, "This Wheel's On Fire", which was the highlight of the night for me. I noticed right off the bat that this particular venue might not be the best to see this act. Being that you really had to focus on the lyrics and chord progression to figure out what song was actually being played, the muddy mix and all around echo chasm of the Muni, combined with Bob's gravelly delivery, made it hard to make out some of the songs.
After a men's break during "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again", it was "Just Like A Woman", which again took me until the hook to realize which song it was. Up next was an abbreviated "Tangled Up In Blue" and "Rollin' and Tumblin'", which rocked out pretty hard. The rest of the set, excluding "Highway 61 Revisited" and the closer "Ballad Of A Thin Man", were songs I didn't recognize, but were great all the same, as I got down to the front row for a few minutes. The encore consisted of "Jolene", which again I didn't recognize and I'm pretty sure wasn't the Dolly Parton hit, and "Like A Rolling Stone", which I'm pretty sure is the one of the biggest Dylan hits out there. Then they all lined up like bands usually do for a bow, but there was no bow. It was just them soaking in all the applause and then poof, they bolted. No bow. None needed. For the complete set list, click here.
Imagine going to a show put on by an act that you have been listening to in one way or another for your whole life. You know a huge amount of the catalog, but when the band starts playing, even your favorite songs, it takes you a few minutes to figure out which song it actually is, due to completely different arrangements and mumble-sang words. But you love it anyway because you've heard these songs a million times and a different take on them is not necessarily a bad thing. Then you catch the groove and you can kind of sing along and then you can say you saw Dylan play a Band song in Nashville. Even having seen Bob a handful of times, it was still an honor and a pleasure to see this living legend again. Whether he's playing his organ keyboard, harmonica, Strat, or just singing empty handed, he's still putting on a great show after doing it for damn near 50 years.