Friday, February 24, 2006

Bob Dylan: Austin, TX 2/24/02

"Along came Brady in his 'lectric car."

"Does anybody know anything about cars?" That was the question I posed to my car load of friends who were joining me on a journey to see Bob Dylan in Austin as it stalled out before we even got out of the city limits. I heard them all sigh, knowing that they thought this was not a good sign. However, we did make it to Hollywood, TX(my term of endearment for Austin) and were rewarded with the show of a lifetime.

"Sugar baby get on down the road..."

Arriving at our hosts house(Matt & Mo) we all began our festivities in earnest. Many things were consumed by all in celebration of our good fortune. I had scored some mighty fine seats for my friend Jason and I and we had high expectations for the evening. Not 2 days before we had seen Dylan perform at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo in the Astrodome from what seemed like a mile away and knew that it could only get better with our floor seats. A whole slew of friends would be in attendance including Tamarie, Dewitt, Matt & Mo, Tony & Emily, along with Emily's mother. The energy was potent but we tried to keep our cool as the hours slowly ticked away. With knowledge that this was the final show of the Spring 2002 Tour and that Bob would be performing at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles just three days later gave us even higher hopes for that evenings show.

"I'll be your baby tonight."

Arriving at the UT Erwin Center we all went our separate ways with Jason and I heading to the best seats of the bunch. I don't recall waiting long for Bob to take the stage. And when he did, he never looked back. Starting off with a short acoustic set, we knew he meant business when the second song of the night was "Boots of Spanish Leather". And with a powerful one two punch, Bob and band then socked it to us with a blistering "It's Alright, Ma". I must have blacked out shortly thereafter, because the rest of the show was like some beautiful dream. And when they finally got to the meat of the show and delivered "Lay, Lady, Lay", "High Water", "Visions of Johanna", "One Too Many Mornings", and "Tangled Up In Blue" in succession I was floating on cloud 9.

"How does it feel?"

You see, for the last 20 years I been chasing the dragon so to speak. I've been searching for that elusive "magical" musical performance that is so sublime and so perfect that I could finally say that I had been to the mountain top. That one performance where everything falls in to place. Where the artist builds the cosmic puzzle, piece by piece before your very eyes. And I'm proud to say, this was one of those times. I guess I've been pretty lucky too. For I have been witness to several moments where the "X Factor" has been in play(Grateful Dead 12.28.91, White Stripes & Flaming Lips 12.31.03). But having chased Dylan for so many years(this was year 12) it was made all the sweeter by its vintage.

" might as well keep goin' now."

As the show came to a close after a massive 20 song set, Jason and I must have looked like two deer caught in the high beams of an approaching eighteen wheeler. We had been to the peak of Mt. Sinai together and lived to see another day. It was indeed glorious, beautiful, inspiring, and all the other delicious adjectives you can think of to describe it. As we stood there at our seats for a few moments, not quite believing what it was we had just seen, Jason captured the moment perfectly. He said, "That's the first Dylan show I've seen where I can walk out and say I'm full."


"....blowin' in the wind"

As we walked out in to the cool evening air, we caught up with Tamarie, Tony, Emily, her mom, and Dewitt. We all agreed we had seen a tremendous performance and as if a knowing wink from the Gods, Dewitt presented me with a poster from the evenings performance. Life is sweet, ain't it? And like little kids coming down from a sugar high, Tamarie and I giggled our way to sleep that night at Matt & Mo's.

"You ain't got no brains no how."

Driving home to Houston the following evening, our brains were still smoking from the show we'd seen 24 hrs before and so were we. And in a brilliant moment of insanity, Jason purchased a cassette copy of Foreigner's "4" at a truck stop and we listened to it all the way back home.

"Jukebox hero! Stars in his eyes!"
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It's been 4 long years to the day since that glorious outting and I'd like to dedicate this entry to the loving memory of Steve Barnett who was with us at the Dylan Rodeo performance and passed away just a few months later much too early in life. Here's to you, old pal.

iPod Song of the Day: Nirvana covering the KISS classic "Do You Love Me" from the ultra rare Australian import Hard To Believe
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, dude. You have a crazy good memory. In 16 years and probably 30+ Dylan shows, that was definitely the finest. Thanks for sharing it with me and for the trip down memory lane.


11:35 AM  

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