The Daily News says in big letters HOTTEST JULY EVER and John F. Kennedy Jr.´s face is on every magazine cover. The New Haven line at Grand Central station I´m heading home. Business was so slow in July, I kept waiting to get the tickets, I just couldn´t spend $150 or whatever for a ticket. I figured one of my friends would call and invite me. July 24th comes and I´m at a party, moaning, Bob is playing in Hartford and I´m not there. I had downloaded the play list for the night before , and knew I might be missing ´Visions of Johanna´.
The next day thru MadisonSquareGarden.com I purchased whatever two seats they had left. I met my cousin Jessica at the Will Call window at the Garden. Up up up we went, to a high place in a glass enclosed moving escalator from where you could see the street below, the walls covered with big posters of sports heroes. Concrete walls.Up further and further to a place near the ceiling overlooking the stage behind where the band would play. I never went to a Dylan concert I didn´t enjoy, but we were in a dead air space. The sound came up like frozen orange juice concentrate, and I could hardly hear anything or see any of the band. Two German tourists were jumping around and enjoying the show on my right. The seats were so close together, like bad airline seats, I was stepping on the long hair of the girl in front of me. Behind me two women sat chatting like they were at a bridal shower. When I heard the first few chords of ´Highlands´ I turned around, and said ´Excuse me but this is a 17 minute song that Bob never sings in concert and I would really like to hear it.´ The women looked at me in shock. Eeeekkkk. They quieted down and I was glad to hear that song, feeling very neglected in that nether land hole of sound. Well, Madison SquareGarden should only sell those seats for basket ball games if they can´t make the acoustics work for concerts.
Bob opened and sang ´Cocaine Blues ´ then ´Mr. Tambourine Man,´ but I couldn´t hear anything . I was watching from the back , he put his cowboy hat down behind the amp upside down, and I just looked at that. ´Hard Rain´ sounded so inviting I began to relax. By the time Bob got to ´Love Minus Zero No Limit,´ I was having fun and was able to enjoy the music. When he followed with ´Tangled Up in Blue,´ I started feeling Tangled Up in Glue.
Bob did a harp solo so close and personal it was like a whispered secret that went every where, touching every one in that stadium. He went over the rainbow and straight on till morning.
The drummer wore a white cowboy hat .The audience roared when they did ´All Along the Watchtower.´ Every time a song mentioned New York City the crowd screamed. The only time Jessica and I could see Bob was when he went to pick up his harp behind the band. When he did ´Just like a Woman,´ his voice wrapped around the room like a big hungry snake and when it got up there to us we heard ´I was hungry and it WAASSSSS your world!´ Then there was a screamin´ guitar solo.
Then the band met in the middle of a the stage in a short huddle as though they didn´t know what song they were going to do next, ´Silvio´ burst out in the stadium ´When it´s time to go you got an open door,´ Bob rocked, so far I hadn´t heard him say a word to the audience.
Paul Simon joined him after ´Blowin in the Wind´ which I can´t even remember, and together they did ´Sounds of Silence,´ and the room was filled with awed faces, and harmony like light and shadow falling. When I came to, they were doing some Johnny Cash Walk the Line with a way out fiddle, and we couldn´t stay in our chairs.
´Knocking on Heavens Door´ was a great place to end Bob´s set , and he picked up the cowboy hat that he never wore as he walked out, and waved it to the people in back in the north country fair .
Walking downstairs, Jessica and I wended our way through beautiful young girls and boys buying beer and souvenirs and familiar looking bearded heads and old hippies. The music started again,and we decided to see if we could get some better seats, leap frogging around until we arrived at some lavender colored seats main floor behind the soundboard in the middle of the room, from our tower the seats had been empty through all of Bob´s set. No one was there but one guy so we sat down.
Paul Simon was so wonderful everyone was spell bound. The music was fantastic, Paul was casual and cute and his voice very beautiful, holding his arms out, doing every song we loved, ´Mrs. Robinson,´ ´Still Crazy After All These Years,´ ´Bridge Over Troubled Water,´ ´Slipsliding Away,´ and ´Diamonds on the Soul of her Shoes.´Further to Fly. A guy danced with me.
He had three drummers and everyone was up dancing and never stopped. It felt like the concert would have no end. I always get sad when Bob plays ´Rainy Day Women´ because it means the show is over. But tonight there was none of that, and Paul just got better and better.
I knew Bob wasn´t coming back after Paul´s set . I went to buy some posters and told Jessie I would meet her outside. The posters are a great design, Two Trains Coming (not too slow) kind of deco, red and black. I wondered how I would make it into some Gelastic Art and put it on my website or on Ebay. Someone told me this is called gorilla marketing. I have a bunch of my Dylan inspired art work from my website gallery on e bay . Even the dolls, ´Absolutely Sweet Marie,´ and ´Oh Sister Wen,´ and an oil painting of Bob . They all have ticket stubs. My ultimate Dylan piece is called ´Oh Wendy Saints Go Marchin´ In´, where Dylan plays a rhinestone guitar in a parade in wenDYLANd with a New Orleans looking Jesus, and my doll Beast playing the saxophone. Angels upon angels. His white cowboy hats flies above.
I waited outside Madison square garden watching the faces . My eyes wandered thru the crowds, up the street of yellow cabs to see a colorful neon sign, ´Wendy´s´, the hamburger place. Instantly the old man who had been playing his jazz trumpet behind the cement wall begins to play ´Oh Wendy Saints go Marching in oh Wendy Saints Go Marchin´ in, oh Lord I want to be in that number when the Saints Go Marchin´ in.´ I laughed out loud standing alone in the hot New York night, and the heat felt very good. My imagination-driven life was satisfied. I had to hear that song for the night to be complete. It didn´t have to be Bob or Paul singing, but I just had to hear it. Then the old man played ´Hello Dolly.´ I was still laughing when Jessie found me and we went to have a drink down the street. The moon was almost full. She said she thought they leave seats open for the people who have to dance and can´t stay in their seats so they won´t rush the stage. I was just glad we got there, I wish we´d gone earlier. The music was clear, loud and brilliant and we danced like crazy people, and there was so much room, no one was there. I have to be careful when I dance because my big heavy wristy bracelets could break someone´s nose.But there was plenty of room like a vortex.
A guy at the bar near our table said he just shook Bob Dylan´s hand.´ ´Well sit down let´s hear about it´, I said and he sat down . We had fried calamari and I drank kier. This guy Joe had a back stage pass because he knew one of the musicians and hegave it to me for a collage. He liked my funny purse which is made out of a stuffed animal, a camel with jeweled eyes and a cherub on its head named ´Josephine Camel,´ she smokes and reads mythology . After a long night I start to look like Shari Lewis with it. Lots of the kids in the concert stopped me and asked about it. It was too late to go home so I stayed in the city at Jessie´s near the 26th Street flea market.
On the train, I´m going home to my sanctuary, my computer, the glue gun, the little white dogs and Rosie the parrot, and the Quiet. I´m dreaming and singing to myself, ´There´s a lonesome freight at 608, headin´ thru the town , I´ll soon be homeward bound. I´ll be homeward bound.´
People on the train talk on their cell phones so loud, and one guy just wants everyone to know his business, but I´m trying to concentrate and write my review. On the other side, a stage mother and child actress I can´t see are practicing the dialog from an audition they must have come from.
I feel a wave of Tennessee Willams or Woody Allen, the characters are here. Is there a script? A concert is so in the moment, every heart beat in the moment, can´t be recaptured by memory. ´Memories of God´ sang Paul. While the train rolls I think of the train posters. The little girl goes to the first seat in our train car . She is performing her act with a plastic water bottle as her microphone. She must be about 7. She sings, she vamps, makes faces and holds back the sounds of the words so we can´t hear them. The landscape outside now is salt marshes and then parking lots and train stations and small towns. I was thinking of the guy we met at the restaurant. He said he owned a recording studio. He didn´t talk about Bob, but about a guy named Charlie . I was talking about my website. Jessie was talking about her life in New York. Jessie said I might be the biggest Bob Dylan fan there was and I said maybe but there are people who love him as much, I just can express it with my artwork. If not for glue. So the sound was bad where I was, it was still a W´endessential experience, I´ll be inspired for months. I hope Bob will come to the Palace Theater in New Haven where he sounds so great and the seats are so nice and comfortable and you can really see each other. I like flashing my wristies at Bob and the band on stage, I know they sparkle, I know he couldn´t see them from way up there last night. And I like looking at things reflected in there mirrored facets while I listen to the songs, sometimes I see reflections of the band.
For Halloween buy her a trumpet and for Christmas give her a drum. BD
I went swimming when I got home and worked on my review and a dragonfly landed on my toe and my pen, a dragonfly in wendyland.
Not a lot of information about old shows on here, so here´s my humble contribution. This was my first Paul show after hoping for years he´d tour again so I could see him ´“ what better place than in NYC, where I was living for the year. I was in the middle of the first level, to the side and almost behind the open arena stage. Nice veiws there, actually.
Dylan went on first. I´m not such a fan (like his songs when other people sing them, could never enjoy his voice that much), but it was a pretty good show ´“ he really ripped this song called Silvio that I had never heard before, but has now become a tune I like a lot.
Paul and Bob did there slightly awkward duet and then Paul´s set: he played a lot of Saints material, including Can´t Run, the Coast, and Further to Fly. The songs from that record sound so good live! The percussion in Further to Fly really made me like a song that I usually skipped when listening to the CD ´“ great lyrics there, too. Can´t Run But worked very well in the number 2 slot. Very mysterious, hypnotic sound to draw people in. The crowd was pretty good on Paul´s home turf overall. A couple things made this show special, besides just being at MSG. For the first and only time, Born in Puerto Rico was played live with special guest singers from the show. It was played (I think) as an encore and sounded great ´“ too bad this was a one-time deal. Also, Paul´s son played on the Boxer (I think this has happened a number of times since).
A great first-time experience in New York ´“ I was just a little down about having to share time with Dylan and not getting a full-length set list. Great band, good sound. Would love to have a live album from that tour!