Monday, November 20, 2006

Don't look back...

I've let this blog go by the wayside the last few months because of some health problems. And after finally getting some good news, I treated myself to a vacation in the New Jersey countryside. And it didn't hurt that TWO of my rock 'n' roll idols would be in NYC during the visit.
I took the train in to mid-town Manhattan to catch Bob Dylan at the New York City Center and boy did the old man deliver. This show was all energy from top to bottom and had everything the April shows in San Antonio did not.
The theater was gorgeous. A renovated Mosque, it now is a three tiered performance space with a capacity of about 2,700, making it the smallest venue I've seen Dylan in during my obsessive 16 years at his feet.
After opening with "When The Levee Breaks" from his new album, he dropped right in to "Senor" and didn't look back the whole evening. Each song that followed was either played with overflowing enthusiasm regardless of its tempo. The one exception (IMHO) was "Spirit On The Water". But even a lackluster performance of that song couldn't dampen my elation.
Bob was dancing and even broke into a little jig during "Highway 61". Throughout the evening he was constantly making those weird motions with his hands and muggin for the crowd who ate up every glance he tossed our way.
The crowd roared after each verse of "Don't Think Twice" which found the band bathed in a beautiful sunset orange. His reading of "Nettie Moore" was sublime and heartbreaking. But he topped himself with a debut performance in the first encore slot. "Ain't Talkin'' was pure magic. A bit funkier and more electric that the album, the band played it as if it had been in rotation for years. Their dynamics throughout the evening were truly a thing of wonder.

Here is "Ain't Talkin'" on YouTube:

I've never seen him play a show where he played so much new material. By breaking out 7 songs from Modern Times, he fell short of playing the entire album by only 3!!!
This was one for the record books, folks. 45 years after playing at Carnegie Hall(which was only 1 block away), the old man showed that he still has the stuff that made me love him and his live performances. I'm rating this show a close second to the Austin 2002 gig which is my favorite of all time. I really didn't think he still had it in him. Tonight, he proved me wrong.

While standing in line for the mens bathroom following the show, Gina Gershon caught my eye and we looked at each other for a moment as I heard her say "Can you hear me now?" on her cell phone. She's even more beautiful in person. Tiny woman. As soon as I walked out of the bathroom, John Fuglesang walked by me. We caught each others eye and I nodded to him and he ignored me. His eyes were VERY bloodshot. We caught each others eye again outside the venue and he ignored me once again. Next, I walked up a block to 56th St. get a photo of Carnegie Hall. After snapping a few pictures on the corner, some guy next to me exclaimed to his friend, "That was Elvis Costello!" I wasn't gonna miss this chance. I scurried across the street and got a few feet ahead to snap a photo of he and Diana Krall. Just as I did, Elvis look over to me and said in his best saucy voice, "Take a picture why don't 'cha." The picture came out horribly...doh!


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