Bob Dylan at the Beacon Theatre 11/21/17

Well I finally got to see him live. I went in with excitement, but with both fingers crossed, as I knew his shows historically have run the gamut from bad and inaudibly mumbly to fantastic. I came out more than pleased. His voice was strong and he could be understood. He no longer played his guitar or sang with the harmonica. He stood mostly and played the piano. He also stood and sang center stage in his awkward style with legs akimbo and the mic stand swinging a la Elvis. He did his classics with all new arrangements, recognizable only by the lyrics. My feeling was he could sing any song anyway he wanted, he’s earned that right.
The best part for me was when he crooned five tunes is his melodic, raspy voice. The younger crowd did not get why he sang Autumn Leaves. He grew up with the same music I did, old time crooners like Vic Damone and Perry Como or Johnny Ray on the radio. He even laughed at himself when he stood there with his black leather pants, white belt, white boots and a white shirt under a zoot suit jacket, singing songs his parents listened to in his childhood in Hibbing, Minnesota. It was fantastic. He also can still rock and his band was note perfect. Lights went out after every song and the music began before the lights went back up. Very nice touch.
I wanted him to talk to the audience, but that would be a long shot. He is not the most related of performers with his audience. But at the end of the encore he walked a bit downstage to the audience, put both hands down palms up and did a small courtesy, with an embarrassed warm smile. It was just a small gesture but it was well appreciated. All in all it was a terrific show. I got to experience the man who changed me back when I was 22 years old. He was so far ahead of his time, on issues of social justice and equality. His influence on my generation and the ones that followed is profound. Seeing him at the Beacon Theatre was a bit of an ironic moment for me because he was my beacon for so many years. He is part of my generations’ triumverate of John Lennon, Muhammad Ali, and Bob Dylan. Its four days later and the show is still with me. Thank you Mr. Dylan, you are a truly unique man of our times.

1 Comment
  1. Reply Mike Olson November 27, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Yes Ken, a man of our times. I grew up in St. Paul, MN., we share the same timeframe. By highschool if you were cool you swore you saw Dylan at The Scolar a Minneapolis coffee house. Bob breezed in and out and into the Twin Cities early on changing as he went. His reccent performance in St. Paul was met with the feelings you write about. Every radio show I do has at least one Bob Dylan song. Can you tell he is well liked here?

Leave a reply