Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another Side of Bob Dylan?

Due to a tremendous craziness at the Center today, thankfully having nothing to do with soy bombs, Abdul wasn't able to get a Dylan post today. He'll have it, he assures me, tomorrow.

But no problem! We've got something to make you...well, dance. My suggestion is crank up the volume on "Rainy Day Women."

Rather than write much more on Dylan myself, I decided to use a fantastic anecdote from Richard Currey. (Seriously, you'll love this. Skip what I'm writing if you have to. Read Richard's story below.)

After reading this blog yesterday, he e-mailed and told me about this funny story involving his daughter and Dylan. Of course I had to ask him to tell me the whole story--and to tell all of you readers of this blog, as well. This is Currey on Dylan and his daughter Aja. This is a true story; it happened one night at a Dylan show:

It was a great show, with Dylan doing a long array of his best-known material, many in slightly different ways -- "Like A Rolling Stone" acoustic, guitar and harmonica, alone on the stage, in the manner of his first couple albums. On the other hand, "A Hard Rain" was done with the full band in a kind of rave-up/rocker mode. So the show closes, and Dylan (who, in his classic manner, did not speak during the show, did not introduce songs, did no get-familiar-with-the-audience chatting, indeed did not much look at us) gives a little wave and leaves the stage. Thunderous standing O. Which goes on and on. And then gave way to rhythmic clapping. Dylan and the band re-emerge, take up positions, and kick in to "Rainy Day Women" (aka "Everybody Must Get Stoned"). So it's rollicking high-energy in the auditorium, and -- abruptly -- Aja bolted, racing forward. ALONE. It's not like the stage was being charged or anything.

So we have this one teenaged girl hauling ass for the stage. I shouted after her, my father protect-your-child mode alerted, but she didn't hear and didn't turn around --and probably would not have even if she had heard me. The security thugs saw her coming, and went shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the stage. She got to the phalanx, and by now Bob's looking down at the scene. She yelled something up at him. He sang a verse, and then stepped back from the mike and waved her up. The thugs look up. Dylan waves at them: Let her up. With that, a couple of the security guys gave her a lift and she hit the stage and ripped into a great dance. And Bob danced with her, playing the guitar, but dancing! And, as they say, the crowd went wild.

The musicians were loving this, and the music really pulsed. But now a lot of folks have pressed forward, and the guards let several more up, maybe 10 or 15 or so, and now the other musicians are dancing with the folks from the crowd, playing and dancing. The music finally winds down and I see Dylan lean in close to Aja but I can't see much from where I am halfway back in the hall, then Dylan turns, mumbles a quick thank you into the mike and leaves with the band. I made my way to the back wall of the auditorium, hoping my kid would emerge out of the crowd. And, after a while, she did, looking flushed and, well, deliriously happy. She stepped up to me and we're both grinning at each other, and she holds something up. A guitar pick. "Bob gave this to me," she said. I asked her what she had yelled up to him when the guards first stopped her. "I just said, 'Bob, I love your music!"

She kept the guitar pick and ticket in a shadowbox in her room for years. She still has it. She's 27 now, and feels an ownership in the import and pleasure and connection in Dylan's words and music as much as I do. But very much on her own terms, in the context of her own generation's issues, and in light of her own experience with ... well, with Bob himself.

1 comment:

barbesstman said...

Awesome anecdote about your daughter at the concert! Really sorry I missed that. Last time I saw him, he came forward and bowed several times with all the fluidity of a stick figure in need of WD-40. Lots of it. My friend asked, "What the hell is he doing?" I said, "Ah, Bobby's being effusively warm with the audience. For him."