It takes a long time before they are officially out. They will be released only one month before the fist show.
All the fans are relieved as some rumors started to talk of the end of the “never ending Tour”.
The reason of the delay might be that George Recelli will not be on that Tour. Bad news and maybe only rumors are spreading out, that George might be sick. Hopefully not true and if so we all wish him a fast recovery.
The Tour will start in October from California and end in Washington D.C. In December.
It is a long run but with ten shows programmed at the Beacon Theater in New York.
I already dream of the California leg as I love Cali. Also the ten shows at the Beacon within two weeks are tempting.
As usual, I don't only travel for the Bob Dylan Tour but I also take a chance to spend some 'free' time in the States and volunteer for work.
I contact my friend Dale in San Antonio but it is not useful for me to be in Texas as most of the shows will be North or East. So I contact my other friends in Philadelphia to see if they need my help for some painting. And they do. They need to fix the old house in order to rent it. They need the painting of all the ceilings and walls of six rooms, including the windows seals and doors.
I book my flights from September 20th to December 16th just to be in the 90 days tourist visa given on arrival. I will have to change my plan and book another flight on December 10th.
Steve (the Man of the house) will pick me up at the Newark airport and I will spend ten weeks working on the house, long hours everyday.
But my purpose is to see Bob Dylan on stage.
So with my friend Irene we plan to do the California leg of the Tour together.
Irene will rent a car and drive and I will be the co-driver.
It sounds great.
October 11 Irvine
It had been a long and narrow way before I finally arrived safe and sound at the “Ben Events Center” at UCI.
After a trip to Malibu, searching for the Xanadu(in vain)....this is time for the first show of the Fall Tour.
I know by now that my "little Georgie" won't be in the Band. Sad news. Take care of yourself George Recelli. I miss you.
I get a ticket and go inside the venue to check out the stage situation.
Some changes took place;
No more Grand piano. But a straight up piano center stage. The back of that piano is blocking the view of the seats on the right.
It is now better to be center or on the left facing the stage.
Another change is the presence of three full sized mannequins on the back of the stage. Weird!
A new drums set and drummer (Matt Chamberlain) and and new guitar player (Bob Britt) between Donnie and Tony.
The capacity of the venue is 5000 but not Sold out.
I have a balcony seat that I will not use. I decide to be far back on the floor, center, so I see the stage and all the musicians.
They start 15 minutes late with a musical introduction and some sort of tuning the instruments all together.
Bob is dressed in black with white shoes and it seems to me that he had been shrinking in his suit. Hat less and a fair amount of curly hair.
The first song is one of my favorite ; "Beyond here lies nothing". Same tune as before. Bob surprisingly is playing his electric guitar center stage.
Then a set list not so "new".
1 Beyond here lies nothing. Bob on guitar. Center stage.
2 It ain't me Babe. Bob on piano
3 Highway 61. Bob on piano
4 When I paint my master piece. Bob on piano. And on harp.
5 Can't wait. Bob center stage.
6 Simple twist of fate. Bob center stage.
7 Honest with me. Bob on piano.
8 Trying to get to heaven. Bob on piano. Donnie on violin.
9 Make me feel my love. Bob center stage. And harp.
10 Pay in blood. Bob center stage.
11 Lenny Bruce. Bob on piano. Donnie on violin.
12 Early Roman Kings. Bob center stage.
Presentation of the Band
13 Girl of the north country. Bob on piano.
14 Not dark yet. Bob center stage.
15 Thunder on the mountain. Bob on piano.
16 Soon after midnight. Bob on piano.
17Gotta serve somebody. Bob on piano.
Long and wasted years. Bob center stage.
“It takes a lot to laugh. It takes a train to cry”. Bob center stage.
Except for "Lenny Bruce" I heard all the songs from that list. A strange choice coming out of the third "gospel album" ; "Shot of love".
Well done by Bob with a lot of emotion.
Bob was happy to be here tonight. He said "thank you" and presented his Band. His voice was as clear as ever. He made the effort to be a lot center stage, so to be seen by a maximum of Fans.
On the negative side; I was not impressed by Britt's guitar playing. I even feel it difficult to make the distinction between the two guitars. It seems to me that they are just playing double. Maybe on the exceptions of "Pay in blood" (My highlight for tonight) and "The early Roman Kings". But Charlie was always exceptional on that one.
As for the "new" drummer. Well! He didn't impress me and was copying George beats .... I wished they had not done "Thunder on the mountain". For me it was George's moment of glory.
That was a great introduction show. And hopefully the guitars will get better.
Nothing wrong with Bob. Though maybe he did lyrics mistakes here and there. "Thunder" was a bit confused.
The encore was perfect. Great choice. We finally got rid of BITW (=”blowin' in the wind”.)
The Band made his bow.
The public was respectful.
I was happy to be here.
Sacrifice is the code of the road but with such a show it is worth the pain.
Thank you Bobby.
Take good care of yourself George. Hope to see you soon.
See you all in Santa Barbara.
Good night Bobby!
From Irvine to Santa Barbara.
We hit the road early morning after a large breakfast.
We decide to make a stopover at the Xanadu in point Dume.
This time we find easily the entrance of the Dylan's property. We can tell right away by the wilderness that spreads all the way on the road;flowers bushes, high trees and the staunch of the horses running wild inside in the distance. I picture the old cars graveyard right across the security fence. A fence that has nothing of an offensive security display. The cameras at the old gate don't even seem to function. It looks like 45 years of neglect. From the roads it is impossible to see the buildings but I can imagine the den of an old rich "bear". We move on, following the coastal road.
October 12 Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara is not far from Malibu so we have time to reach the Bowl in the afternoon, hear the sound check from the distance and relax with a cup of tea and a snack.
The show tonight will start at 7.30pm as we are out door.
The bowl is facing the Ocean and from the top we can see the sunset and the moon.
I get a ticket from a friend and spend time hanging around. The Band and crew people are dinning in a visible area; Tony is busy 'selfiing' with friends and Charlie is walking in a white hat. Matt Chamberlain and Bob Britt are not familiar figures to me so I am not sure to recognize them.
Barron is on duty.
By 7pm I take my seat in the first upward section on the left of the stage.
I see now 3 mannequins on stage. Did they add one?
If they add one every show that will be a crowd of people at the end of the tour!
The show starts the same as yesterday and Bob is wearing what looks like a stripped dark gray suit, a white shirt and white shoes (I still can't see if they are boots or not).
Same show as yesterday at the exception of "Ballad of a thin man" instead of " Long and wasted years".
Good choice as it gives the possibility for Britt to make a little solo on his guitar.
Bob is doing well. The Band is professional. Some Bobcats who I recognized have a good time in the front section.
But me....I feel tired and cold. My mind is drifting away.
It is only the second show but already it seems a routine.
After the last beat I focus of the atmosphere around. The roadies are ready to pack up the material as fast as possible. The crowd slowly moves away.
Bob is secured immediately inside his bus right back to the stage.
From the bus to the stage. From the stage to the bus and off he goes for the next one which will be .... The same.
My memory of Santa Barbara is a lot more thrilling that my immediate feelings.
Maybe the group behind me incessantly talking didn't help.
"Thunder on the mountain" put some Fans on fire but nothing like a Rock and Roll atmosphere.
We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Good night Bobby. Good night the Band. I still have to get use to the disappearing of Stu and George.
From Santa Barbara to Palo Alto.
We took highway 1, the coastal road to Monterey.
We keep on H 1. ,a narrow and winding road between the red forest and the Pacific Ocean for five hours. A little stop in Big Sur to feel the fresh air and the fog. The last few miles put me in panic as the gas gauge starts blinking red. We fill up with 40$ in Carmel and that should take us a long way.
We have dinner of fish and fries at the Fishhopper on Monterey Cannery row street and go to sleep.
The next 300 kilometers to Palo Alto are an easy ride.
October 14 Palo Alto.
The show tonight at Stanford University is G.A. and open air. I don't except any front row as I don't have a ticket yet and I don't want to queue but enjoy the sunny afternoon on the campus. Walking around and taking photos of the beautiful buildings is a pleasant occupation.
At 6pm. they open the doors and a crowd of few hundred fans starts rushing in.
At 6.30pm. a nice Lady offers me to join her in the line for she has a ticket on her telephone for me. This is more and more common to use a mobile screen ticket.
Okay. All good.
As I walk in I realize people are spread out on the grass, more or less picnicking. Nothing like the great enthusiasm we used to have at a G.A. show. I find my way to the rail on the left side of the stage and hold the spot for one hour.
I will be able for the first time to see Bob's face.
The Lady next to me is an Artist from Santa Cruz and we have a pleasant chat for one hour.
It is dark by now when Bob and his new Band take the stage.
"Beyond here lies nothing" is remarkable with Bob on guitar.
As he puts his guitar down, the electric cord touches the floor. Bob first makes a move towards the piano but suddenly turns around , looks at the guitar cord, makes a gesture to pick it up, changes his mind and moves again to the piano. Weird!
He will pick up that cord after the song. Showing a sign of compulsion?
He keeps on singing the set list with concentration, obviously focusing on the lyrics.
I focus on his outfit! A brand new suit with white flashing embroidery, a white shirt and a little belly popping out of his tightly fitted white belt, brand new shoes looking like sleepers(no more cowboy boots). Hat-less, with hair dyed and combed as a balloon.
He is wearing a ring on his right hand.
All his energy is on the expression of the lyrics. What ever the song, the lyrics are clear and emotionally expressed. He is even using his hands and body to add some drama.
He is blowing his harp with energy on "It ain't me Babe" and "Make you feel my Love" .
I see Bob reading the lyrics of "Lenny Bruce" in front of him, on the piano. Other songs he knows well.
I am still not impress by the Band. Except a solo from Charlie or Bob Britt, here and there. Donnie being mainly on the violin, with 3 or 4 pedal steal backing up Bob's still erratic piano playing.
The public is polite and one or two wild fans scream "yeas" and "go on Bob" but nothing of the atmosphere of the past.
I even feel bored on "Trying to get to heaven" and now realize how cold I am. I am freezing.
Bob has a heater on the side of his piano and steam is coming from his mouth and the mouth of the guitar players.
"Ballad of a thin man" is exceptional but.... This is the End.
Bob presented rapidly the Band tonight.
Final bow and all is done.
I was happy to visit Stanford University, well known all around the world.
The buildings were exceptional.
I am happy that I decided to skip the next few shows. I truly don't believe there will be any improvement. It is possible that Bob will feel more tired moving on.
California was a pleasant journey.
Bye bye Bobby. See you on the east coast.
With Irene we will spend two days in San Francisco. The city I used to like so much.
I take Irene to Haight Ashbury, still colorful and hippystyle but no more hippies are living there. We bump into a lot homeless Americans, no more dreaming of a better society.
We move to the Fisherman Wharf but here too the atmosphere is not the one I used to know.
Except some tourists the Wharf is dead!
Our Motel, though really expensive, is not so much fancy. It is surrounded by a plethora of homeless bumps ; The other side of the American Dream.
I leave San Francisco, next day, by the Oakland Airport. Oakland where 20 000 homeless Americans are trying to survive among the trash and the rats!
The weather is fine and this is their only consolation!
I will spend few more weeks in Philadelphia with my Family to help again to fix the old house they are willing to rent.
Being up at 6am every morning I like to go there, two blocks away, I do what I like the most...paint. I paint the ceilings, the walls, the doors, the windows... until I am so tired I go back home (the new house), take a shower, eat a dinner and watch “NCSI” or “Law and orders” on Netflix. I am part of the Family but also all alone, dreaming about my next Bob Dylan shows.
I decide to do another leg of that Tour. The one in the North.
4/11 Columbus, Ohio- Wexner Center for the Arts - Mershon Auditorium
5/11 East Lansing, Michigan- Michigan State University - Wharton Center for the Performing Arts
6/11 Ann Arbor, Michigan- University of Michigan - Hill Auditorium
8/11 Highland Heights, Kentucky- Northern Kentucky University - BB&T Arena
9/11 Akron, Ohio - University of Akron - E J Thomas Hall
10/11 Moon Township, Pennsylvania- Robert Morris University - UPMC Events Center
I book on line all my travels by Greyhound bus. I request some hosts on the couch surfing website and I find some. For other nights I will book beds in Youth Hotels or I will simply sleep in the buses or bus stations.
This is only one week but it will be intense.
November 4 Columbus Ohio.
I arrived late morning, tired of a Greyhound bus night and hungry.
I take a walk straight to the “Mershon Auditorium” and stop for breakfast in a nice Cafe.
This is a University City. Young people are busy to and out large buildings.
I spend one hour charging my phone battery in one of those buildings.
Can't wait to see Bob and the Band since Cali.
I'm wondering if the mannequins are not too much tired of the trip.
Bobby and the Band should be alright. They are used to life on the road.
Sound check as usual and security as usual. I bump into a young Lady watching Bob walking his few steps to the back entrance. She is 23, studying medicine and sweet.
But even Charlie won't stop for a chat!
By 6pm I am ready.
It starts raining but that won't stop my good spirit. The Auditorium is small , 2000 or so. Of course supposed to be sold out but tickets are still available.
The crowd gather out of the rain and into the venue.
This is not a Campus crowd. More of my age and over ;60s / 70s. And snobbish to my test! A bit harsh too.
I still believe in my good star who will appear as a man who heard of me. His wife couldn't make it to the show.
Section A row 4 seat 3. On the left of the stage.
I'm ready for the set list that I know by heart.
Expecting "beyond.." But no, the first notes are "Things Have Change". The melody seems different from the Cali shows. Am I dreaming?
Bob is dressed in a suit I've seen before: black with flashing red embroidery, a polka dot shirt and black shiny shoes (no boots).
His hair is fluffy. No hat.
He looks tired.
First song on a guitar.
But the sound is...bad. The bass is way too loud. Bob's voice is muffled.
That will be better on two or three songs, particularly " Make you feel my love" or "Girl from the north country" but the Rock songs are way too loud on the bass.
Too bad as Bob is making great efforts on his lyrics.
"Pay in blood" is strong, with a solo from Bob Britt but I miss the:
"I got something in my pocket make your eyeballs swim
I got dogs could tear you limb from limb
I'm circlin' around the southern zone
I pay in blood, but not my own"
Did Bob changed those lines?
"Make you feel my Love" will be one of the highlight tonight.
I pay attention to "Not dark yet" and feel a pang of sadness.
Bobby's face looks old. And globally I see him moving less even center stage, his body bending more than dancing. I don't see him smiling a bit, not even at Donnie!
All his power is now in expressing his songs vocally.
Two songs will be half on the piano and half center stage with harp "When I paint my masterpiece" and "Simple twist of fate".
Great job on the harp. Bravo!
The public is polite. Even the first row won't express too much enthusiasm.
I was happy to be in Columbus.
I had a nice afternoon. A great evening. Thanks to all good people : the young waiter at the cafe, (who retrieved my earring), some Bobcats for a nice conversation, the young lady Fan who wanted to say hi to....Charlie , the Fan who gave me his wife's ticket.
Few Fans pack up after the show to wave bye to the buses.
Good night Bobby and the Band.
Now a long night is waiting for me ...
November 5 East Lansing.
Arriving late morning after a stopover in Detroit! I find a health food store for a snack of bread and humus(it used to be bread and peanut butter) and the needed shot of caffeine. I walk towards the “Wharton auditorium”, passing through the campus (I will call that Tour: the campus Tour).
It's getting cold and my main concern is to stay warm.
I check the parking lot where the buses are already parked. Early sound check today. I spot Bob walking back to his bus , one hour later....and this is it!
It is too cold to enjoy the parks outside so I find refuge in one of the buildings. My presence among the youngsters doesn't seem to have a negative effect. Cool! I feel an outsider everywhere, anyway. The worst are inside the casinos! Always feel like a zombie.
By 6.30pm I start the search for a ticket. I forgot this is a tiny venue...too bad!
There is only one security gate an I wonder how they will manage to get all the folks in. But by 8pm they are all inside and I am...outside. No luck.
The public is again of a certain age but with some youngsters. Better that Columbus.
I am turning into a iceberg, so I walk inside the lobby of the auditorium.
Zoe, my CS host won't pick me up before 10pm.
I hear the stage sound muffled and Bob's voice doesn't sound too good from here.
Some folks walk out but security won't let me in with their ticket stub. Even when a nice Lady tries to negotiate for me. The rules are made for the wise men and the fools!
I have a nice chat with a gentleman also looking for a cheap ticket. He is impressed by my determination!
Zoe finally arrives and for my consolation I will have a warm bowl of soup, a warm cup of tea and a warm shower followed by a warm sleep.
Lucie, the dog, is warm too.
Goodnight Bobby and the Band.
November 6 Ann Arbor.
I arrive late morning in a nice little city. University again. I walk the way to the downtown area through a pleasant neighborhood. Nice cozy houses.
As I reach the more crowded streets I spot the trucks and roadie's buses.
The “Hill Auditorium” is a red bricks building without a parking lot. I'm wondering where Bob's bus will park.
I spend few hours drinking coffee and eating bagels in a Coffee shop right across the “Hill Auditorium”. Nothing much is happening until 3.30pm.
I wrap myself in two layers of clothes and step outside in the cold.
I check around how they will sneak Bob inside. By curiosity. I always stay far away from the buses. I see the musicians walking down the street towards the back stage door.
No Bobby to be seen. I suppose they stop the bus by the entrance before parking it on the street. Fine.
As I walk away "Security Bob" (the tall guy with the white hair) comes by me. I just wave hello. Then surprisingly he starts talking to me.
"Tonight you need to have a low profile. Keep your sign away from your mind" . oops!
It takes me a while to understand his words. I presume he is mentioning my sign that says "I need a friendly ticket. Please".
So what is the connection with security?
That will disturb my mind all afternoon. Will he call the police on me as he did against F.?
What did I do wrong?
There was nobody around those buses except me. What the fuzz all about? Justifying the salary? Bullying a Fan? For some folks I am a dedicated Fan, for some folks I am insane. That "Security Bob" must be in the second category.
They are more paranoid than Bob himself!
So now I am a wreck. Thinking on how I'll be able to get a ticket to see the show....
I go back to the coffee shop across the street for one hour or so. I try to lift up my spirit.
By 7pm they open the doors and with caution I put my sign out.
Scalpers are free to buy and sale, they are making business and it seems better than "soliciting". I've been in that situation before. Some folks are selling but my budget is limited. By 7.45pm a young man approaches me and says ," yes I have an extra ticket. "How much do you sell it for?" say I. He thinks and say "20". Okay. It might be my only chance away from "security Bob".
So we walk in together. Balcony first row. The view is weird, plunging on the stage.
The show in itself.
I will certainly appreciate this one. As I was uncertain to be in, having been rebuffed in the afternoon by Dylan security... They believe I'm a "freak"..What do they know?
Bob is dressed with a suit I've seen before; black with embroidery, pink shirt (it looks from far) and white shoes. His pants will stick in his boots after few piano plays. Who cares?
The first song and second are disturbed by folks taking their seats.
Bob started right on time.
"Highway 61" is a must. My spirit finally getting high. I am here for the show.
The sound is good. His energy is high. I am back to my karaoke time.
Even "Honest with me" captures my attention.
"Make me feel my Love" reminds me why I am here for :
" I've been to the end of the earth for you..."
Every single song is great tonight.
The public is into it.
I hear some applause after the Bob Britt solo on "Pay in blood".
And applause for "Thunder on the mountain".
The first row will stand up for "Ballad of a thin man" but will be asked to sit down. Can't be too much enthusiastic! That will disturb security people! Ah ah.
"Lenny Bruce" will stir up some consciousness. Some folks shear at the line "he was the brother that you never had"...
" Ballad of a thin man" Is a must. Too bad it is almost over. I started to be happy and warm (physically and spiritually).
I don't know if Bob could do a lot longer, he still appears stiffed body to me. A little bit static.
But the voice was powerful.
The harp was breath taking.
I say thanks to my precious Angel. (who asked me if Bob would do....Hurricane??).
I am still mad at "Security Bob" and all those "clowns".
They do a great job but a little bit of humanity would be appreciated.
Who said the Fans are ennemies?
Thank you Bobby.
November 8 Highlands heights. Cincinnati.
I leave Ann Arbor at 5am after waiting in the cold for more than one hour.
Fortunately not alone. A group of three students are also unfortunate. The Greyhound station is closed for the night.
I arrive by Greyhound bus after a layover in Detroit in early afternoon.
Cincinnati looks like a pleasant city. The sun is shining. I managed few hours of sleep on the bus. I'm feeling good.
I decide to walk the distance to my AirBandB to discover some of the city.
One hour and a coffee later I check in. The house is huge, so are the two dogs barking at me. One is about my size!
The bed looks comfy but against all wisdom I will go straight to the venue instead of taking a nap. I'll sleep when I'm dead!
The city bus trip is one hour and 1.50$. Cool.
The “BB&T Arena” is a sport arena, capacities 10000. I worry not for a ticket.
The buses are parked in the parking lot. Only one guardian is taking security measure. I spot a man and a kid who carry a Bob Dylan album and a pen. An autograph Mr. Dylan?
Nope. "Security Bob" will talk to them and they will move away. I'm sorry for the kid!
Barron walks Bob to his bus after the sound check and that's it for the afternoon. All the Dylan people disappeared in warm and comfort: food and a nap.
I find a warm building inside the campus. Unfortunately the restaurants are close, so is the “Starbucks Coffee”. I will starve a little bit longer!
By 6.30pm the doors open and the folks get in. I am confident.
Before 7pm a man walks to me and says " yes, I have an extra ticket but on my telephone." He seems kind and pleasant so I go with him.
No heavy security tonight : no metal detector and they don't even search my bag.
We take our seats all the way up, plunging again to the stage. Far far away!
He explains to me that he got two free tickets from the Veterans association. They gave away 320 couples of tickets. Whoa! More than 600 comp tickets tonight. His girl friend is sick and couldn't make it. So he decided to use the ticket for good. Me. Thanks Andrew.
Right on time...
Bob is wearing is white/cream jacket and black pants. And this is all I can see.
The sound is good and right away "Things Have Change" is powerful. The Band well together.
1. Things Have Changed (Bob center stage on guitar, Donnie on violin)
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on piano, Donnie on violin)
3. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)
I jump on my seat and dance.
4. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on piano then center stage on harp, Donnie on violin)
The changing of the lyrics are not new to me.
5. Can't Wait (Bob center stage, Donnie on lap steel)
6. When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob on piano then center stage with harp,
Donnie on violin)
Always beautiful. And if only I could paint my masterpiece and make things beautiful!
7. Honest With Me (Bob on piano, Donnie on violin)
I start to appreciate the rhythm. The Band is good tonight (or is it me?)
8. Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on piano, Donnie on violin,
Tony on standup bass)
I am in Heaven.
9. Make You Feel My Love (Bob center stage, Donnie on violin)
Sweet but never my favorite.
10. Pay In Blood (Bob center stage, Donnie on pedal steel)
Oh yeah! Strong. And I hear ;
"I got dogs that could tear you limb to limb
I’m circling around in the southern zone
I pay in blood, but not my own"
11. Lenny Bruce (Bob on piano, Donnie on violin)
Not sure I will ever like it.
12. Early Roman Kings (Bob center stage, Donnie on pedal steel,
Tony on standup bass)
I'm a little bit tired of it. What about " Mississippi "?
13. Girl From the North Country (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel,
Bob Britt guitar with bottleneck, Tony on standup bass)
Bob Britt is doing a good job.
14. Not Dark Yet (Bob center stage, Donnie on pedal steel)
Tonight I hear some lyrics' echos bouncing on the top of the arena. Is this new? It gives an even more sinister effect.
15. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)
I can't stop stamping my feet.
16. Soon After Midnight (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)
I do my karaoke. That song is so sweet!
17. Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
Might be the Devil, it might be the Lord!
I signal Andrew that I have to move down. My last bus is due at 22.15pm I don't want to miss it.
I go down the floor.
18. Ballad of a Thin Man (Bob center stage with harp, Donnie on pedal steel)
Incredible version. He should do this one before in the set list.
19. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
(Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
I wait for the final bow and run out.
Waiting with me at the bus stop is a young Mexican student. This was his first Dylan show and he is satisfied.
(The two Dylan buses are passing by us. I wave bye to the drivers. Dylan's driver answers by blinking his lights! Cool!)
We talk more on the bus ride. Axel is studying philosophy. I recommend him to focus of the Bob Dylan songs from the 60's and he recommends me to read Hume(the philosopher).That bus takes me right to my home and I go straight to bed with.....a satisfied mind.(but an empty stomach).
Cincinnati was a pleasant trip. I met great people. The weather was agreeable.
Bobby is still in full capacity.
So see you in Akron.
This morning I had a conversation with Ben about Art and Business.
He mentioned to me that song by Joni Mitchell. And I was thinking how far Bob Dylan had gone from rags to riches, from humanity to glory.
"his sense of humanity had gone down the drain"
At what point an Artist will decide between creativity and money?
And what Glory will bring at the end,
when you refuse even to see the ones who glorify you,
when you feel the need to be protected from the ones who make you who you are.
A hotel luxury bus, two Bodyguards and a bunch of jewels...
Others play their guitar for free....
"I slept last night in a good hotel
I went shopping today for jewels
The wind rushed around in the dirty town
And the children let out from the schools
I was standing on a noisy corner
Waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood
And he played real good
On his clarinet for free
Now me I play for fortunes
And those velvet curtain calls
I got a black Limousine and two gentlemen
Escorting me to the halls
And I'll play if you have the money
Or if you're a friend to me
But the one man band
By the quick lunch stand
He was playing real good for free
Nobody stopped to hear him
Though he played so sweet and high
They knew he had never been on their TV
So they passed his music by
I meant to go over and ask for a song
Maybe put on a harmony
I heard his refrain
As the signal changed
He was playing real good for free" Jonny Mitchelle
November 9 Akron.
Arriving on time at 5.55pm.
I walk the 20 minutes to the “E.J. Thomas Auditorium”, again on a campus.
The buses are parked on the streets but no guardians are watching them. I spot Charlie outside and later Tony.
The capacity is 3000 and so. I am hoping for the best. The crowd is middle age. Nothing like a campus audience!
By 7.30pm a gentleman just hands me a ticket. No question, no answer. I walk in and take my seat on row H seat 35 ( Later I will realized I had two tickets). Actually really good seat. No one will claim the seat on my right (it was the second ticket).
I am ready for a good comfy show.
On time they play the intro music they used to.
Bob picks up his guitar and start THC (=”Things have changed”).
His suit his black with white embroidery. White shirt. White shoes.
The set list will be the same.
The sound is perfect, clear and loud.
Bob gets some drinks between the songs. Maybe he has a cold but his voice is powerful.
He picks up the wrong harmonica for MYFML(=”Make you feel my love”) but changes it without freaking out.
I love every single song.
That show is the best for me so far.
The public is reacting greatly.
Bob is ready for “Ballad of a thin man” and I watch him with surprise and delight picking up his guitar. Yea!
He will do “Ballad of a thin man” on guitar. Whoa!
I almost cry.
Thank you Bobby for the effort!
It takes me a while to get out when I realize there is no WIFI in the area. I can't get UBER. So I call Julie who will rescue me. She is a friend of my CS host in Ann Arbor. So nice!
I stay at her house with three cats and three kittens.
I'm happy to see that the show didn't lose its power.
Thanks for all, good people.
Next one is Pittsburgh.
November 10 Moon township. Pittsburgh.
I arrive at 2.50pm on a Sunday.
I catch a city bus and then UBER.
The venue is a sport arena, away from all civilization!
Bob's bus is parked in the street with no security. I'm pretty sure Bob is not inside that bus.
I bump into Kevin, a young guy of 21, who came all the way from New Orleans on....Greyhound buses! And I thought I was crazy!
We chat for a while.
Barron is out talking on his telephone.
I say hi and he greats me with a sweet smile.
By 7pm the folks arrive and pile up in front the metal security gates.
A gentleman with a cowboy hat says he has an extra ticket. He asks me if I am a Fan...half hour later and many of my stories about Dylan...he gives me his ticket.
We walk in and I find Kevin next to where I am seated. Weird situation: on the very right side of the stage. The view is from Donnie to Charlie, way in the back. The sound board guy right in front of us.
Bob on piano will be facing us. When he is center stage we see him on the side. Not too bad though! Pretty close.
The seats next to me are empty. The entire row is empty and lot more. I will enjoy the show as a private person.
Barron is down below, observing the first row.
I focus on Bob.
His suit is plain, kind of purple light color. Not sure if I like this one. It looks two sizes too big. Maybe Bobby shrieked?
His hair is weird. Like mine today. The conditioner didn't work to well. All fluffy in all direction.
His face is pale.
He drinks between some songs. His cold didn't cure?
Other than that...the show is again breath taking.
I see Barron swaying on "Soon after midnight". Ah ah. I caught you enjoying the song!
I feel like Bob is playing in my living room and I am observing the audience through a window.
The first row stands for the encore as Bob will again plays his guitar on “Ballad of a thin man”.
I have a lot of fun all by myself, singing along.
This was my last show of this leg of the Tour.
So I say bye to Barron passing bye.
With Kevin we take a UBER to the airport, where he will be staying. I catch a city bus to downtown Pittsburgh. My bus to Philly is due at 1.35am.
Back to Philly where I start again my work routine. I want to finish painting the entire house as I will not be coming back to work here.
I also have the idea of painting some canvases of Bob Dylan portraits to see if I could exchange a painting for a ticket or maybe just sell.
I enjoy myself and the family really like what I do. Fine!
I prepare the last leg of my trip:
19/11 Lowell, Massachusetts- UMass Lowell - Tsongas Center
20/11 Providence, Rhode Island- Providence Performing Arts Center
21/11 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania- The Met Philadelphia
23/11 to 6/12 New York, New York- Beacon Theatre
08/12 Washington D.C.- The Anthem
November 19 Lowell.
I took the 'Megabus' to Boston and the train to Lowell. It is raining at 9am on the 19th of November 2019.
Luckily my friend Ben (from France) is sharing his AirBandB with me and I am able to stay dry.
I check the venue, take a quick breakfast and after a little nap I walk again the 30 minutes walk to the “Tsonga's Arena”.
I arrive at the same time as the buses and spot Bob (all wrapped in a warm gray winter jacket) walks the small distance to the back stage door all by himself. Even Barron is surprised! Bob seems talkative with his entourage.
Nothing more for one hour sound check.
He will walk again, this time with his Bodyguard back to his bus.
And for my ego I have the feeling Bob and Barron are looking at me, standing far away in the distance on the parking lot, facing the bus!
At the front door of the venue I am waiting for Ben to join me. We are both looking for tickets when a man who introduced himself as Jack walks from the Box Office and asks if we need tickets."yes, two" and Jack hands us two complimentary tickets from his company. Cool!
I still want to try another tactic: I did some small Bob Dylan portrait paintings and I want to see if I could sell or exchange for a ticket.
I spend one more hour outside, exchange a painting for a ticket, sell the ticket for few bucks. Cool! I made some cash for the road. New Work will be expensive.
I walk in, all frozen by now.
I persuade Ben to stand on the left side of the stage, all the way up. At least we will be able to dance without disturbing the public.
Bob is dressed with his black (with white stripes) pants , the white/cream jacket and his white "brand new" shoes.
He will perform all very well with a special version of "It ain't me Babe".
He is smiling at Tony at the end. That was probably an improvisation.
He will be talkative with each one of the musicians and even will present the Band. Whoa!
I spot my friend N. in the front row. She is dressed sexy and dancing up on "The early Roman Kings " and I swear Bob was focusing on her while performing the song. I never saw him so "attracted" to the first row! Ah ah!
Ben is enthusiastic and so will be some fans joining us on our row, dancing and shouting but polite.
The sound is not the best but Charlie's guitar is clear.
Bobby was in a good mood tonight. Maybe he visited Jack Kerouac's tombs? But no one saw him there.
Lowell was a strange town : a little bit on the side of a depression? Some red bricks buildings are impressive but in bad shape.
That day was a new adventure for me.
Bobby didn't lose his strength and spirit.
That show still brings me a lot happiness. So see you all in Providence.
Waving bye at the buses leaving the parking lot was the cherry on the cake!
November 20 Providence.
We arrived by car and we (Ben and I) have a lunch by the waterfront.
Ben drops me center town by the "Providence theater" and he goes for a nap.
I feel like checking around the downtown area.
By four the buses pull in the street and Bob and the Band start working on the sound check.
By now I wonder why they need a rehearsal as they will certainly do the same songs, they know by heart.
It's raining now and Ben join me for a cup of tea.
By 7 pm I step out expecting a miracle ticket.
Again tonight, a man has two extra tickets to give away, one for me and one for another poor Fan.
I walk inside with Ben as it is cold outside.
The theater is magnificent. Christmas decorated.
My seat is on the balcony but the capacity is 3000, so the view on the stage is great, anyway.
At 8pm they take the stage. Bob with the same black with white stripes pants but a silver/ gray jacket.
The sound is bad for the first two songs and Bobs voice is rough.
After "highway 61" that will be better.
This time he is doing a modulation of the melody on "Simple twist of fate". Playing with his voice!
Other than that the show is equal to Lowell.
The public is nicely reacting.
"Trying to get to heaven" sounds again boring and "Gotta serve somebody" is lacking of energy.
Ben is out before the end and I join him with few others for a "goodbye" departure to the buses. Of course far away from any disturbance as Barron keeps vigilance!
We had a nice day and a pleasant evening but the night will be short as Ben needs to drop the car at JFK Airport and we'll catch a bus to Philly.
Good night Bobby. See you there.
November 21 Philadelphia.
Back to where I started beginning of September this year but this time a Bob Dylan show is programmed at the 'MET' again, the same as last year.
Ben and I managed to drop the rented car at JFK Airport just on time and full of gas, a miracle by itself as the traffic jam started 50 miles ahead of New York NY crossing The Bronx and The Queens.
We have few hours to kill before our bus to Philly so we seat outside on the stairs of 'Penn Station',(with a crowd of pigeons) facing the 'Madison Square Garden'. We share memories of the "Hurricane Tour".
We split arriving in Philly; Ben goes to his hostel, I walk straight to the 'MET'. Just on time to see the buses pulling in for the soundcheck. Cool! They are all here.
I spend time recharging my phone batteries in a Cafe and walk back to the 'MET'.
Ben and I need tickets (again!). We are confident. The crowd is friendly and relatively young, younger than the "campus" crowds(?!).
I manage to sell one of my little paintings.
A couple of nice friendly Fans, Josh and Michelle, offer Ben and I two tickets side by side. I immediately propose one of my paintings as an exchange and we are all walking inside happy and joyfully. The spirit I like! No struggle today. “Security Bob” and Barron, I saw them, in a good mood too!
The theater is nice and comfy and we have seats on the first row of the balcony. All the best as the pit seems to be low in front of the high stage.
On time, they take the stage.
A roar from the entire theater makes me feel that will be a tremendous show.
"Things have changed" is opening as brand new to me. The Fans on the floor are standing up the entire song. The applause is deafening (for good).
"It ain't me Babe" is clear and loud.
"Highway 61" put the theater on fire. Many youngsters are dancing and bouncing even on the aisle, on the floor, showing that security is relaxed and cool.
Bob is torching the night.
The Band is tight. Even if Donnie at some point had a problem with his violin and Britt made a slight mistake at the beginning of "Honest with you" (Bob didn't start singing on time, the Band was ready for another intro). The same on " You've gotta serve somebody ". Bob missed a couple of words.
But that just show the spontaneity of the performance.
With Ben we accompany Bob on some lyrics. Specifically screaming out
" I ain't dead yet. My bell still rings..."
The echoes of "Not dark yet" are more subtle tonight, giving a nice resonance to the words and making the atmosphere even more sepulchral.
"Thunder on the mountain" puts the public on its feet.
The solos of Charlie and Britt are appreciated and applauded. And of course the Bob's harmonicas solos.
This is the best public for a long time.
That show is definitively set for a small theater connoisseurs public.
They know what to expect and they like it.
It is over way too soon.
An immense roar accompanies Bob back to the curtains.
He knew and spent few more seconds on his bow.
He doesn't want to leave US neither!
What a show! What a public! What a day!
My good Friend David already wrote a review.
Yes. We had a great time.
Thank you so much Bobby. Thank you the Band.
Thank you all the good people of Philly.
See you next year at the MET?
Excellent show. Great public.
One of the best.
Thanx to Josh and Michelle for the tickets.
Thanx to Ben for the company.
November 23 NEW YORK Beacon 1.
I arrived in NY just on time for the sound check.
Nothing extraordinary. Of course impossible to approach Bob. He was sneaked in....incognito!
I saw all the musicians though.
Also kind of incognito except Charlie who seems to like a little bit of notoriety.
I run to check in in my Hostel in Brooklyn. It looks like a "colorful" area. A lot of animation.
But the hostel is clean and for now I do have a private room.
Back to the Beacon with the underground M line and then any of the red line ; 1 2 or 3. Easy.
I try my chance with my paintings to exchange for a ticket. They attract the eyes of some Fans but not as much as expected. The folks just want to get in to see Bob Dylan and His Band.
Nonetheless a kind gentleman just hands me a ticket. At first he doesn't want my painting but then changed his mind and take the young Dylan I painted yesterday. Cool!
My seat is orchestra 'row w'. A little on the back of the theater but the Beacon is small so my view is good. The stage is set far back. Bob will be away from the first row.
They start fifteen minutes late.
Where I am the sound is not so good. Bob's voice is muffled. All my friends Bobcats said the show was great.
Well! Compare to Philadelphia...the public was mellow. Though polite and knowing what was going on.
So...it was probably my mood, not too high.
No change in the setlist. That might be 10 shows alike.
"Pay in blood" was the highlight (for me).
No echo on "Not dark yet".
A good show but the atmosphere today was not my cup of tea.
I check the backstage door right after the end. Some fans are piling up by the bus. I know Bob will not get out this way. Too obvious and not secured enough. I see no car waiting for him. No Barron.
Some Bobcats came from all over the world but it is "hello and bye" except my good friends from Australia.
Each and every one is dreaming his own dream or am I being "ostracized"? Or "paranoid" today.
Tomorrow is Sunday. We'll see what it brings.
Good night from New York NY.
November 24 NEW YORK Beacon 2.
My day starts in the rain. The streets of Williamsburg are flooded.
I walk one hour through the Hassidic area of Brooklyn looking for the Art supplies store.
Even the 'Lubavich' are covering their hats with plastic.
I buy some canvases and paints to do more Bob Dylan portraits. It is now my way to get tickets.
After a moment of rest I decide to go to Manhattan, where the fun is.
By 4pm Bobby walks in for the sound check.
And I take a walk to ... Times Square. Too much rainy and cold for the Park.
Now it is 6.30pm. The crowd slowly comes for the show.
As yesterday I have in my hands some paintings, hoping to attract the attention, when my two good friends from Australia say they have a ticket for me. Whoa! No struggle today!
So we walk inside to admire the decoration of the Beacon Theater. We chat with two other Bobcats (friends of mine) and I move front right of the stage to check some empty seats availability.
By some kind of second miracle four seats are empty and will be until the end.
I am 4th row extreme right. This is a terrible seat for the one show Fan. Impossible to see Bob when seated at the piano or even center stage. I would never pay 400$ or more for those.
But for me....it's alright. I can see Bobby's face clearly when he stands at the piano and when he moves front stage.
I am in a good mood as I managed to say hello to Barron in the afternoon and he answered me with a sweet smile. Cool Barron!
Ben (my good friend from France) wants to stand on the side and dance but the security man will only allow him to do it on "Highway 61". The Beacon security is cool but still vigilant. A girl, in front, dancing on " Thunder on the mountain" will be asked to sit down. Of course NO photos. A couple of patrons are getting a warning but no one is thrown out.
They start a little late. An habit by now?
Bobby's wearing a nice white shirt and a medallion (Native American style) his "eternal white stripes black pants" (should try something else?!) and white flat boots. Those pants will be stuck in those boots for the entire show! Who cares?
"Things have changed" has a muffled sound but "It ain't me Babe" is great. I see only Bobby's top hair and I sing along.
Ben is next to me for "Highway 61". Powerful with a wild reaction from the public.
Bobby drinks a lot between the songs and has a laugh with Donny every time he is picking up his cup of...tea?! Maybe he has a cold but his voice is clear.
'Pay in blood" is loud and clear. My favorite for this night.
Charlie's guitar and Britt's guitar are in harmony and get applause from the public.
I get wild, stand up and dance on "Thunder on the mountain". The security man let me do it. Cool! Some more Fans on the left side are dancing in the aisle.
Bobby presents his musicians, with some jokes I don't quite catch; Mentioning the bow from Charlie and the hat in the air for Britt!
Calming down on "Soon after midnight". Getting wild again on " gotta serve somebody".
It takes a while before Bob and his Band appears again for the encore. An habit by now as well.
All standing in front for "Ballad of a thin man".
I focus on Bobby's hands on his stratocaster. He is doing well. Maybe missing a cord, here and there!?
But certainly he is making mistakes on the lyrics. The last verse is confused.
The " It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry" is loud and the show is over.
Weird position but great for me. It might be the only time I'm able to see Bob so close.
I have the feeling I could come every night forever for that show. But....tomorrow is off.
Thanks to all the good people: from Australia, France, Italy, Japan....
What Bob and the Band will do on their free day?
Me I know. Paint...my Masterpiece!
November 26 NEW YORK Beacon 3.
No show for me tonight but what a strange day.
I 'met' Bob Dylan!
He was walking down Amsterdam street with Barron.
By an impulse I crossed 74th street where I was standing on the corner. I fixed his face and looked straight in his clear blue eyes. As I appraoched him he made a sign with his head. Whoa! He acknowledged me. An electric stroke made my heart bit fast. Bob Dylan certainly has a charismatic aura. Not a word was said as the respect was mutual.
I saw him getting ready for the show and saw him leaving the show but...I didn't see him on stage.
Sold some of my paintings and prints....talk to nice people.
So, all together not a bad day.
We'll see what tomorrow brings.
November 27 NEW YORK Beacon 4.
Tonight I heard the show from....outside. Against the door. Pretty good quality sound but no....image.
I saw Bob walking down the street again but this time he didn't see me, across the street.
I sold some paintings.
I wished happy Thanksgiving to Security Bob and Goodbye to Barron. So...
All is well.
Good night folks.
Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans.
November 29 NEW YORK Beacon 5.
but only Beacon 3 for me as I missed 2 previous shows.
But I had some excited moments "bumping" into Bobby in the street and looking straight in his clear cyan blue eyes.
I also started to be quite popular selling my little paintings out.
So I spend my show mornings and my days off painting in the dinner room of the Youth Hostel in Williamsburg Brooklyn.
Friday brought joy and happiness. After the Thanksgiving break the Band is back and all the BD "family".
I spend some time chatting with Fans, here and there.
Still wonder why some Fans are still waiting to get an autograph or insist for taking photos when Bobby steps inside the venue for sound check or for the show. But this is not my problem.
I now present my paintings to the crowd coming in, expecting to exchange a painting for a ticket. Tonight it works. A gentleman from Washington D.C. will take me in with two tickets on his telephone. He likes my blue portrait of Bob.
The seat is way up on the balcony. The view is clear. A fan behind me reads my reviews and buys a painting from me. Thank you. He also hands me his binoculars. Yes Bobby's face looks tired and pale.
Bob is wearing a flashy black shirt and a white/cream jacket with flashy silver embroidery. The same pants (again?) and the flat white shoes.
“Things have changed” is not the best. The sound is muffled.
“It ain”t me Babe” is just alright.
“Highway 61” will get better.
Bob starts to wake up on “Pay in blood” remarkable with the Bob Britt guitar solo.
But the highlight is “The early romans kings”. He is putting his guts out..." I ain't dead yet. My bell still rings" will bring a stir from the Fans behind me.
“Lenny Bruce” is definitively not my cup of tea.
“Thunder on the mountain” moves the audience up, when "Girl from the North country" brings tears in my eyes. “Not dark yet” is sepulchral when “Can't wait” was jumpy.
“Soon after midnight” as sweet as possible.
My favorite on this set list being, of course....”When I paint my masterpiece”....everything will be diiiiiiferENt. Everything will be beaueautiful!
“Make you feel my Love” is from me to Bob. I indeed went to the ends for the earth to make him feel my Love.
My Good Samaritan from D.C. is in awe and the Lady next to me asks how she could get a ticket for tomorrow show.
The public on the floor is up for the encore.
“Ballad of a thin man” totally on guitar. And “It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry”.
Bob did introduce his Band again before
“Gotta serve somebody”.
A great show with great Fans around me.
The Beacon attracts the right kind of public:attentive and reactive. Young and older.
I move out in the cold. Wish good night to Security Bob (we are "friends" now) and catch my underground trains back to Williamsburg.
Good night Bobby and the Band and the "family". See you all tomorrow.
November 30 NEW YORK Beacon 6.
I spend the morning making a new painting then get ready in the early afternoon.
I join another "stalker" by the BD bus and we are sure Bob will be walking for the sound check but I am also sure that “Security Bob” will play a trick on me.
Effectively Bob arrives by the parallel street as the usual one and enters right away by the back stage door. No eye contact today.
We go hear the sound check through the back door. The sound is clear. They practice "Beyond here lies nothing" which I wish to be playing tonight. Shortly later Bob will step inside his bus and that's it for the next few hours.
It is cold so I spend time in a Cafe before joining my friends Jack Fate and his wife who offer me a bowl of French onions soup. Thanks.
I am now out trying to exchange or sell my paintings. Four other poor fellows are also looking for cheap tickets. None of us will get one, not even to buy. Even the scalpers are desperate!
I know I can hear the show from the back door so I spend one hour and a half in the cold listening to a good show. The sound is clear and loud.
They started late and I don't know what Bob is wearing.
His voice is clear, I can even hear every single word.
“The early roman kings” sounds again powerful and I do cry on “When I paint my Masterpiece”. I do wish I had painted my Masterpiece today.
I dance and sing along ...out... in the freezing cold... and yes tonight I feel more an insane woman than a dedicated Fan.
Two guys listen with me at the beginning but they rapidly leave with their bottle of Vodka. The temptation was strong for me just to get drunk and die in the gutter but... I listen to "It's not dark yet but it's getting there" and I imagine Bobby fighting with his demons (also).
So I shake my hands and move my feet to get warm and my companions go drink away.
The show seems to be the same as yesterday.
Powerful again and desperate, maybe! To reach Heaven ....
Bob presents his Band before “Gotta serve somebody” and they take a long break. Out in the cold it feels tooooo long. Security Bob comes around the corner with two other guards as Bob is doing “Ballad of a thin man”.
By the time they start "It takes a lot to laugh, It takes a train to cry " the security rails are in place.
One of the Vodka guys is back with his telephone out. Two other fans arrive with posters .... and me...this is it for the Goodbye Bobby "menacing" crowd!
Right after the bow, Bob is rushed to the car by Barron, followed by Suzie. Jerry is driving.
Security Bob says nothing about the telephone filming but Barron makes an angry face. Who cares?
I suddenly feel sorry for Bobby and all that "circus". There is obviously no menace of any kind. Not a word is said. Not a " thank you" or " good night Bobby".
Of course a pack of Fans are waiting by the backstage door. Not even the musicians will dare "salute" the Fans who make them who they are. Sad story!
I move back to the front and present my paintings. Four persons say they are nice paintings, only one inquire for the price, none will buy.
The only comfort is from a police woman who asks me if I was inside for the show. When I say no she is sorry for me. Whoa! A police woman sorry for my distress!
I take my underground trains in a zombie mood.
As I pass the Williamsburg bridge I look through the window.
The downtown Manhattan appears like a postcard ; all the skyscrapers lighted in the dark night.
Yes! This is New York NY And yes! Bob Dylan played at the Beacon tonight.
I feel like on another planet.
December 2 NEW YORK Beacon 7.
4th for me.
The day started with a bad news ; a "friend" had tickets to give away but gave them to someone else. At the moment I was really mad...but people do what they want with their extra tickets and money. I just consider him not my Friend. My Friends should know me better than that.
Alright so I made myself a nice breakfast and went back to bed, just to swallow the humiliation.
By 2.30pm I move to the venue. Seeing Bob walking down the street should be a nice consolation.
I arrived early but the car was already parked and “Security Bob” and Barron were chatting across the street. I was in good term with Barron until now so I moved to him to say hello. To my surprise he moves away from me.
Whoa! What a chock.
I move away from both of them but keep my watch on the bus. I know Bobby is inside and will step out for the sound check.
He does some 20 minutes later, well "wrapped" by his two bodyguards. What paranoia!
And steps inside his bus some 30 minutes later, well "wrapped" by his two bodyguards.
This is exactly when I think ; I don't want to be rich and famous. I want to be FREE.
Oh well. It is so early that I decide to walk the streets of New York all the way to 23th street and back. I am a Zombie among the zombies. Feel okay then.
I arrived after 7pm at the Beacon knowing that Bobby already walked back inside to be ready for the show. “Security Bob” and Barron were happy not to deal with me. Ah ah!
I start looking for a ticket with a painting out.
By now and all day it had been raining/snowing but this is the least of my problem. I don't feel the cold , just the humiliation from "friend" and Barron.
A nice Lady has an extra ticket for 50$. I bargain 40$. I stay a little bit longer in the snow to sell one of my paintings. But without success.
I move in, go to the restroom, take my seat on the lodge. Not a bad seat, but not an excellent one neither.
They take the stage a bit late.
Bob dressed with his large silver light gray jacket. The pants he loves so much (hopefully Suzie is getting them washed every day!). White shoes.
“things have changed” is ....bad. The sound is muffled again. Why they can't get this one correctly right away?
In the afternoon I heard no sound check from the outside door. Weird.
“It ain't me Babe” is ... average.
“Highway 61” is great. For the first time I focus on Matt Chamberlain. I have to admit he was good on this one, though I still miss my "little George" and I hope he is doing well!
For my opinion, Bob is tired and his voice not so clear.
He mumbles on “Simple twist of fate”.
Actually all the soft songs are average , the Rock songs still powerful.
excellent “I can't wait” and “The early Roman kings”.
My mind drifts away on "Girl from the north country".
I am totally somewhere else on "Honest with me" and "Trying to get to Heaven".
I focus again on "Not dark yet".
"Thunder on the mountain" wakes me up.
The Band introduction is the same, with the same jokes ah ah.
Sometimes I prefer when Bob doesn't speak. It doesn't sound "real" tonight.
“Gotta serve somebody” put the public on the floor up. Bob points to a girl who had been dancing in the front before leaving the stage.
I move out.
I want to say goodnight to Bobby this evening as I used to do in the past.
I hear "Ballad of a thin man" and the "It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry" through the back door of the venue, out in the snow.
Right after the bow Bob is rushed to his car by Barron. “Security Bob” is keeping an eye on me and my poor soul friend (he had no ticket for the show).
I shout "Bobby, good night. See you tomorrow".
But I doubt he heard anything, all 'wrapped up' by Barron , “Security Bob” and Suzie.
They may hate me for being here...why should I care. I even say " goodnight Barron" and to my surprise he answers with a sign of his hand. Whoa!
I move to the front door and try to sell my paintings in a stormy snow blast.
I sell one for 40$. Just the price of my ticket.
So all together not such a bad day.
My good luck star should be back.
Still can't make out all the paranoia around Dylan.
Still can't make out the game the security is playing with me.
I've been a Fan for 45 years. Been around before all of them. Never done anything wrong.
They must justify their job and paycheck! Ah ah.
So long Folks. Good night.
Tomorrow's another day!
December 3 NEW YORK Beacon 8.
Beacon 5 for me.
I spend few hours in the morning walking the streets of Williamsburg. A specific area with murals and grafitis. Free street Art.
Before my review of the show I have a story to tell;
The story of Sean Junior. Sean J. has a father Sean Senior. This father is a huge Bob Dylan fan and he is really sick. The mission of Sean J. is to get an autograph for his father. So Monday afternoon Sean J. is by the BD bus in early afternoon. In the rain and snow. “Security Bob”, surprisingly, addresses Sean J. and asks want he wants. More surprisingly, “Security Bob” is kind to Sean J. and gives him some tips; "the best time to get any attention from Dylan is when he comes around for the sound check. After the show he is too much tired". Whoa!
So Sean J., who is a young boy in his 20's , believes the kindness of “Security Bob” and waits patiently by the rail, next to the bus. On Monday Sean J. managed to see Bob walking by and stepping in and out the bus but could never get Dylan attention. Sean J. spent all afternoon in the rain and the snow and waited again during the show and after. In vain.
On Tuesday, believing the good heart of “Security Bob”, Sean J. is again by the bus early afternoon (even before me). I am across the street, far away from the bus.
Dylan walks the corner of Broadway avenue and 74th street , secured by Barron. As soon as they see him Jerry and Security Bob step also by Dylan. They are now three bodyguards. At that moment only Sean J. is by the bus. Sean J. manages to call Dylan who looks at him but keeps on walking and steps inside the bus. Unfortunately that day Dylan will not step out for the sound check. “Security Bob” and Barron walk away to get their lunch.
I go to Sean J. and we start a discussion. Sean J. is a nice boy respectful and quiet. He truly cares about getting an autograph for his Dad and believes in the good heart of the Dylan people.
They have been watching him for two days. Sean J. believes Bob Dylan will take pity on him. He had been out for hours in the snow yesterday, in the freezing cold today. I, ME, have pity on him. I bring him a cup of coffee and give him one of my posters. I warn him about “Security Bob” being mean but he doesn't believe me so much.
As I was away for coffee “Security Bob” and Barron pass by the bus and Sean J. hear “Security Bob” saying : " that kid had been waiting in the cold all afternoon. Can you believe that?"
We spend two hours in the freezing cold.
When the security people ( the venue security and “Security Bob” and Barron) take their position around 7pm I move away from Sean J. to give him a better chance. He is by now the only Fan waiting by the rail, by the bus. Known by all security people.
Bob Dylan steps out of the bus Barron on his right. “Security Bob” rapidly crosses the street and positions himself on the left side of BD , blocking the venue for Sean J.. Sean J. has just the time to say "Bob" when he is already rushed inside by three Bodyguards.
Sean J. is of course chocked, emotionally distressed. I propose to find him a ticket for the show but he disappears from my view.
And I do need to find a ticket for myself.
By this time I am totally frozen: head to toes.
But I am an old 'freak' and I know the sacrifice.
Until now ...I am not sure what to think.
Did they play a dirty trick on that kid?
I never saw Bob signing an autograph for many years. Saw “Security Bob” menacing anyone with a paper and pencil. Saw Barron menacing anyone calling Bob or taking photo.
Saw both of them playing tricks with me or any stalker.
Why Sean J. couldn't get that autograph?
December 3 NEW YORK Beacon 8.
Beacon 5 for me.
After Sean disappeared I am looking for a ticket with my paintings out. By now I am all frozen and if I can't get in I will not stand outside to hear from the back door.
By chance a young man has an extra. He first try to sell to the scalpers who start a fight.
(But tonight there is no bootleg T-shirts sales. The cops had been called.)
So he will agree to give it to me for 20$ and one of my paintings. Cool.
Floor row U. Not too bad. The sound is great.
Bob changed his pants. Alleluia!
The songs are good.
The show is good.
The public is good. But I can't get Sean out of my mind.
Why oh why this kid couldn't get an autograph for his sick Daddy?
I see Dylan with another mask.
The public came to see the Legend but they don't know the Man.
The songs are rushed. One after another.
My Good Samaritan asks me which is my favorite when Bob start My Masterpiece. I say "this one".
My heart is not there.
For a one Show Fan, this is certainly a great show. With emotions. Real or fake?
The public is up for Serve somebody.
And you, Mr Dylan, who do you serve?
I leave before the end. I want to see who will say " good night Bobby!" Tonight.
Absolutely no one. Not even me. I stay away to watch Barron rushing his Boss in the car even before the public is out.
Security Bob is happy. No autograph, no photo to deal with.
What a solitude and loneliness!
This was the strangest day I ever lived on the road for Bob Dylan. And I have been through a lot.
It's not getting any more .... Human.
December 5 NEW YORK Beacon 9.
I wake up late and have breakfast with Nahoko. Then I decide to take a walk to Central Park. The weather is cold but dry.
By 3.30p.m. I walk to the Beacon and wait for the car to bring Bob for the sound check.
The care pulls in without Barron or Bob. I know he will be walking. And yes! I spot Suzie and behind Barron and Bob crossing the street. I follow from far and Bob steps inside his bus.
Security Bob and Barron take their positions but 10 minutes later enter the venue. No sound check for Bob today.
I check around the front of the Beacon. Spot Tony and say "hi Mr Garnier" . He answers with an amused smile. I spot Bob Britt and for the first time addresses him "Hello Bob Britt. I like you playing with Charlie. See you tonight". He also answers with an amused smile, not knowing who I am to recognize him.
I then join Dave and Kim who offer me a dinner, buy one of my paintings and give me a Christmas gift. Thank you so much!
I advice them to check around the bus to maybe see Bob stepping out for the show.
I see absolutely no security. So I suppose Bob is already in. We wait few more minutes when the bus door opens, steps out Suzie followed by... Bob. No Barron, no Security Bob, no Jerry. Whoa! For the first time I see Bob with no security!
I move to the front doors to find a ticket. I bump into Bill Pagel who gives me a ticket for...Washington D.C. Great. No more worry .... I can relax for the last show! Thanks Bill.
After two hours in the cold I give up. No luck tonight. No ticket. Not even to buy.
I walk to the back door to hear from outside.
Bob is already on "I Can't wait".
The show SOUNDS good.
The public SOUNDS enthusiastic.
"Pay in blood' is loud. “The early roman kings” is loud.
I enjoy the show in the cold winter of New York but I don't feel any pain or sadness. I feel privileged. Each day is different.
I dance on “Thunder on the mountain” and the passersby and security people are amused. This is New York, craziness is normal.
(The Bobcats will tell me later this was the best show of all Beacons.)
By the end of "Ballad of a thin man" “Security Bob” is moving the rails around the corner to stop the Fans for getting to close to the car.
A Lady has a book in hand and a pen. Autograph again?
A young Man is also waiting.
When I spot on the rail a Lady, Afro-American, well dressed and quiet. Security Bob adds another rail in front of her and the two others.
I stay behind the car. I am sure Bob will be rushed inside the car by Barron as usual.
Bob walks outside slowly. Spot the Afro-American Lady at the rail and says "let see who we got here tonight!". He then cracks a smile saying " Delores". Then start a chat with the Lady. I am watching his face all the time. A big smile lights his face. He finally gives her a kiss before moving to his car. By that time “Security Bob” and Suzie stop the two anonymous Fans.
Suzie passes right in front of me. I murmur "Good night" then say "bye Barron" who looks at me with a serious face.
What could I make of this?
How come that woman was not Backstage but out in the cold if she was so close to Bob?
I ask her if I can take a photo. Ask her who she is. She answers Delores (Dixon, as I found out later ). And adds " it's a story way back".
I move in the front facing the public moving out to try to sell my paintings.
Some Fans recognized me for writing those reviews. Some one hands me 20$ bill. Oh thanks!
I sell a poster for 5$ and a painting for 40$.
Not a bad night for business!
I spent some time in the bar with some Bobcats, Dave and Kim before running my trains to Brooklyn.
This was also one of those days.
This one really positive.
By accident I also bumped into “Security Bob” and with a good spirit I say "thank you Sir!". Thank you for me. Letting me watch Bob being so happy with Delores!
Good night folks.
See you all tomorrow.
December 6 NEW YORK Beacon 10.
I spend the morning painting my....masterpiece.
Then it is already time to go to Manhattan when I realize I made a mistake on my hostel reservation and I have to check out today...right away. Oh my!
Nahoko will help me a lot on that disaster. Thank you.
So I still want to go to the Beacon to...'spy' on Bob. He will arrive in his black car, walk inside the venue, then move inside his bus early.
His people are loading the bus in the afternoon.
I meet Dave and Kim and we have a drink.
By 6.40pm Bob walks inside the venue surrounded by three bodyguards. Yesterday he had none.
I start my search for a ticket, but in vain. We must be ten looking for free ticket and the shown is totally Sold Out. No chance.
But a lot of Fans recognize me and encourage me. Thanks people. I also had a V sign by Charlie. Cool!
And Barron passing by, I ask him if he is mad at me. "not at all" he says with a big smile. Cool Barron!
I listen to the show from outside in the freezing cold, eating bread and salami!
The trucks are parked right in the back of the Beacon and the boys already move the boxes around.
I am told that the show was fantastic.
I had the sound without the view but I danced on “Thunder on the mountain” hearing the crow shearing loud.
I am wondering how Bob will leave tonight when I realize the bus is gone!
He will fly tomorrow to Washington D.C.?
They pull the car around the corner. The Lady with the book is here again. Plus five others.
This time Bob is rushed to his car and bye bye all of them see you in D.C.
I sold for 100$ merchandise: paintings and posters and that will make my day.
My dream for Japan starts to take form.
But let see what DC will bring.
December 8 Washington D.C..
I have a show ticket from Bill Pagel so I am free body and mind.
I spend some time at the 'National Art Gallery'. My head is all clear when I look at the paintings, trying to catch the feelings of the Artists (and their technics).
I walk to the 'Anthem'.
Two years ago I had a terrible experience with outside security.
Today I won't even try to sell any paintings.
I spend time at the 'Shake Shack' next door.
I wanted to say goodbye to the security people with a good heart.
As soon as I approach them, “Security Bob” puts a hard face and says : "you are not supposed to be here". You mean on the pedestrian walk, public and free?
I say :" I just want to say goodbye".
I shake his hand, turn to Barron, shake his hand and say :"See you in Japan". I know what they think..ah ah.
They will pull Dylan bus so tightly to the backstage door that...they can't even open the bus door.
One step and Dylan is inside. Okay.
I join Nahoko for a light dinner.
I bump into a Bobcat who says he has an extra ticket to sell. Unfortunately the venue security will not permit him to do it. So he gives me the seat number without the ticket stub. I seat fourth row left when a usher brings two fans on my seat and the next one. I can't argue and the usher literally drags me away and asks for my ticket as Bob is playing "I can't wait".
By misfortune we walk in front of Barron who doesn't make a move.
I could have been dragged out?!
I am escorted to my seat, squeezed in between two fat people in a tightly ranged seats.
After "Lenny Bruce" I move to the bar where fans stand drinking. But ushers are trained to let no one stand and constantly disturb my show, asking me to go my seat. Why? As I do not disturb anyone. They keep on saying : "Request from the Artist".
Dylan or “Security Bob”?
I manage to dance on "Thunder on the mountain".
Curiously at the break they let Fans move closer on the left side and....stand.
I can't believe what is that "security" shit!
The guy next to me is enthusiastically drunk or stoned so we have a good time dancing on the two last songs.
The show was average for me, of course.
I want to say goodbye to Jason, at the soundboard. He is happy to see me and smiles a great smile. At least, HE doesn't hate me!
“Security Bob” walks by. I don't have animosity so I say : "I didn't mean to be a nuisance. I am sorry if I was".
He then tells me this is his last show. He is retired now. And for the first time speaks a little about him.
I give him a hug and a sweet kiss, tell him again I apologize for being a nuisance. He says " you are not. Just too much familiar." I say :"but you are my family" . He answers : "We know".
Familiar. That word will stick in my head for a long time.
Even checked in the dictionary.
Familiar = family.
What's wrong with me?