Sunday, August 24, 2008
In exactly one week I will see Bob Dylan live in concert, and one of my great dreams in life will be fulfilled. So in honor of this momentous occasion I thought I'd discuss my love for Bob.
Bob and I first met some three years ago (only three years? It seems like ever so much more) in the midst of one of my periodic Beatles frenzies. My love for the Beatles is forever strong, but is interspersed with bursts of peculiar passion. I was reading "The Beatles: A Biography" and it kept talking about how influenced the Beatles were by Bob Dylan and how they thought he was the best...la la la...etc. and I thought to myself "Well if he's so great, I better listen to him."
So I went Circuit City and bought Blonde on Blonde, and went home to listen to it. I anticipated that his music would forever transform my life, and so I drew a bath, and nestled in with a diet coke and lime, and put on disc 1.
I was greeted with Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35 declaring that "everybody must get stoned!"
"All right," I thought, "that was fun, now the real music will begin," but it didn't. It was just this whiny voice speak singing about Visions of Johanna, and the Memphis Blues, and Leopard skin pill box hats, interspersed with prolonged harmonica solos.
"What is this?" I thought, "This is terrible" But I was in the bath, and I couldn't reach the stereo to turn it off and I just had to listen to it.
I had spent the money, so I figured I might as well listen to the whole thing, so I threw in the second disc, and somewhere in the midst of Sad Eyed Lady of the lowlands was the moment that I first loved Bob Dylan.
"Oh my gosh" I kept thinking, "He's singing this song for me I swear," so I listened to it again and again and again, until his voice didn't sound whiney, it sounded comforting and safe. Like the voice of an old friend.
I started buying up his albums in a frenzy, two at a time, which when you consider my income at the time was a huge purchase, and my head was flooded.
Subterranean Homesick Blues, Girl From the North Country, Tangled up in Blue, Don't Think Twice it's All Right, Like a Rolling Stone, I couldn't get enough. I read his biography, I read his chronicles, I watched documentaries. No matter how much I found out about him there always seemed to be more, and even now there are Bob Dylan songs that I've never heard. It's good to know that they're out there.
And whatever happened in my life, there was a Bob Dylan song for it, and he always seemed to say it better than I did. There was a whole summer where I don't think I ever took "Highway 61 Revisited" out of my car stereo.
I feel like Bob is one of my friends, because his voice has narrated so much of my recent life. And when you read about his life, one comes to realize that he is one of the few people in the world who plays by his own rules, who lives on his terms, and I almost can't believe that he's a real human being. He's too mythic, too epic, to be true, and that is why I can't quite comprehend that I'm actually going to see him next Sunday.
I know almost no one else who enjoys Bob Dylan, and I understand completely, but I feel a little sad that they don't hear what I hear.
Quite simply I love Bob, and I love his music, and to try and explain why is pointless, because there simply aren't words, so "love" will have to be enough.