I went to see Bob Dylan on Thursday (11/5/98) and was surprised at the amount of energy he had. He sang Forever You - the same song he sang in the clip from "The Last Waltz". It is hard to decide which version was better but I think the one from the video had more feeling. The other songs were well done. Dr. Lounsbury- he sang several older songs not the ones you mentioned but Tangled Up in Blue, Hey Mr Tambourine Man, Blowing in the Wind and Don't Think Twice It's All Right, plus a lot more He seemed more energetic than in the film and he played half an hour longer than planed. Overall I think it was a pretty good concert.
Era Revisited with Two Greats
They were surely the worst of times, the `60s. A golden-boy president was shot down before our disbelieving eyes, a sight we lived again and again on a medium which had, here-to-fore, only shown us "Father Knows Best".
Then Vietnam marched in when no one was looking. The war that would not end - that had no victor, that dealt us drugs and division. Night after bloody night of network news clips from half a monsoon-world away.
Our modern-day Messiah was struck down by the twin forces of ignorance and hate, evils he had spent his whole life turning his other ebony cheek toward. The only America we knew had died. But, in a paradoxical way, the `60's were surely the best of times in this century to be young. And to have a cause.
Causes kept us sane, "unfettered and alive in Paris." They expressed an unspoken girlish fear that "the ceremony of the bells and lace" was no longer going to save you. The prayer that the baby society forced you to give away would one day find you. That "the answer, my friend, . . . blowin' in the wind," would one day be found. That bombers would "turn into butterflies above our nation." "That even the President of the United States must sometimes have to stand naked."
That is why we came to Cole Field House last Thursday night (11/5/98). Why many of us brought our sons and daughters with us. To hear Joni, whose multi-octaved voice this night was sadly wracked with sickness and smoke. And to hear Bob, whose voice was, well, uniquely Bob's. We weren't "half a million strong," but we were the dominant presence in a sold-out arena. We balding hippies with tie-dyed bandannas, we distinguished-looking professors of government from across campus and Jerry Garcia look-alike cab drivers named "Wild Bill" from Baltimore City. We professional career women - former pot-smokers who inhaled, happy-to-be-housewives, flower children turned TV news anchors and ex-Dead Heads. Limping war vets, open and closeted gays and lesbians, flag-burners-turned-writers, house-husbands - and at least one returning campus grad students who had seen more winters than most of her professors.
We were all mesmerized by the music of this night, but only the survivors of the `60's had lived the words. Words that we have lived to see change the world. And change us.
Our heroes will never really be yours. you cannot know the chord which sounded in our collective soul, when a fledgling, acoustic guitar-playing genius first appeared among us. Nor can you recall the first time you ever heard that monotone poet from Minnesota, whose streams of consciousness saved us from ourselves.
Dylan was our generation's first poet who expressed what we could not say, what we dared not feel, what we ached to change but never thought we could.
What Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and a whole double-album set of other musical legends gave us the `60's people, those of us who have survived, is hope for the future.
Some say Bob was the individual most responsible for finally ending the war in Vietnam. Who contributed more?
Joni, who once longed for a wedding ring, has never married. But the baby she left behind all those years ago has reunited with her at last. Mother and daughter are doing just fine, thank you.
"And even the President of the united States must sometimes have to stand naked" again. Bobby, how well you continue to know us.
We flower children are your parents and grandparents now. While we weren't looking our beards turned gray. We can no longer hear all your words. And this is how it should be.
But if we've learned anything from Joni and Bob, what they gave us, and you, is the sure knowledge that the more things change, the more they will remain the same. So pick your new poets wisely. The next century is up to you. "The times . . . they are a-changin'."
--Cynthia Engle Yavinsky; Diamondback Editorial; November 10, 1998.
The above editorial reminded me of a recent road trip I took with my father. He had just bought himself six Bob Dylan cd's and he insisted on playing them all in their entirity during the ten hour trip. Personally, I had had quite enough of Bob Dylan, but my father claimed that he would never tire of listening to Dylan.
For him, Bob Dylan represents his youth. Dylan makes him nostalgic for that time in his life, like no other musical artist of the 1960's. My father feels that his music really spoke to him then, expressing all of the emotions that he felt. He was, like Dr. Lounsbury, a bit sad and depressed when he realized that he would be unable to attend Dylan's recent concert at the University of Maryland.
In another American Studies class I am taking this semester, we are reading a book entitled, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage. The author, Todd Gitlin, was an active member of the New Left, and highlights how significant Bob Dylan was to the movement. He claims that, "Dylan sang for us." He felt that Dylan, "was singing our song," when he wrote ballads , "about racist murders, the compensatory racism of poor whites, and Cold War ideology."
While I may not be a huge fan of Bob Dylan's style, it is clear that, for many, his music represents an era. His songs spoke for a generation. In light of this, I have gained a new appreciation for Bob Dylan and his music.
Just some thoughts.
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