Last weekend, I was thrilled to be a part of a memorable musical experience when I saw Bob Dylan perform live in concert for the first time. Dylan performed in Kelseyville, California about a 150 mile drive from where I live in the San Francisco Bay area. The venue was the charming 5,000-person capacity Konocti Outdoor Amphitheater on the banks of the Clear Lake. It was a beautiful, warm summer evening and the concert was an absolute treat.
I certainly cannot claim to be one of those lifelong Dylan fans who know the lyrics to every Dylan song and can reliably narrate every twist and turn of his long and remarkable performing career but I have been an admirer of his music and songwriting for a long time. Some of Dylan's songs such as "It's all over now, baby blue" and "Shelter from the storm" make the list of my all time favorites. However, to be fair, my desire to see Dylan in concert was also based, in part, on experiencing first hand a performance of this unique 60's counterculture icon.
Dylan is 66 years old and since 1988 has been on a "Never Ending Tour" performing more than 100 concerts a year. His voice is now more gruff and raspy than in his famous studio recordings but it still retains that quintessential raw quality. The performance was extremely lively and energetic. Dylan and his Band have refused to turn these live concerts into nostalgia acts so even the classic oldies are typically performed in newer arrangements. For those like me who don't follow the band around, it would have been nice to hear some of the familiar arrangements for songs like "Blowin' in the wind" but overall it was still an exhilarating experience.
Here's the set that Dylan and the Band played that evening:
1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on electric guitar)
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on electric guitar)
3. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on electric guitar)
4. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)(Bob on electric guitar)
5. Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
6. Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
7. Boots Of Spanish Leather (Bob on keyboard and harp)
8. Lonesome Day Blues (Bob on keyboard)
9. Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard and harp)
10. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
11. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard and harp)
12. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again(Bob on keyboard and harp)
13. Ain't Talkin' (Bob on keyboard)
14. Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
15. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
17. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
(With thanks to Bill Pagel's Bob Dylan tour webpage for details on the set)
Here's one of my Dylan all-time favorites: