Oct 272004
 
Authors: Casey Cisneros

As the crowd filtered into to the Coors Event Center Saturday

night in Boulder, it was clear that the times they had changed.

No longer was the audience full of youthful enthusiasm and

people who saw eye-to-eye with Bob Dylan’s music. Now it was

middle-aged couples that showed up to see Dylan in hopes of maybe

capturing a small whiff of their youth floating in his music. Young

college kids came under false pretences, thinking that they were

about to witness some sort of rock ‘n’ roll prophet put spells on

the audience. Young hopeful musicians showed up in search of the

legendary acoustic romanticism that they have idolized and

coveted.

When the lights went down, classical music played over the PA

system, and Bob Dylan and his band swaggered out onto the stage.

Everyone was in awe of his physical presence. Dylan went over to

the left side of the stage, stood in front of a keyboard and went

to work. Playing minimal amounts of keyboard, only interspersing

rhythmic suggestions, Dylan began his signature crooning. For the

next hour and a half, Dylan and his band showed no recognition of

the audience – they just played music as if they were jamming on an

empty garage. There was nothing for the musicians to feed off of

from the audience; they must have known that Dylan could be laying

down on the stage and singing “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” in

Spanish and people would still be cheering just the same.

As the performance went on, the lack of enthusiasm on stage

became apparent. However there were some high points. Dylan’s band

members had enough power behind their playing that they could make

Harry Caray sound like a rock star. The two guitar players ripped

through old songs such as “All Along the Watchtower” and “Like A

Rolling Stone” with strong conviction and lightning blues

licks.

The drummer threw in powerful fills when Dylan’s piano playing

started to go off on side tangents. Overall, Dylan’s band had the

traits of any good bar band – they played song after song, everyone

took part in long strands of improvisational jamming and the music

would have been sweet to dance to if there was a dance floor.

Dylan’s choice of songs seemed like the standard mix of new

stuff and old classics. Besides “Watchtower” and “Rolling Stone,”

Dylan also sang “Lay Lady Lay,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”

and “Forever Young” to give the audience exactly what it wanted to

hear. But for the majority of the show it was mostly six- to

seven-minute blues jams with little or no chorus – only melodic

grunting with indiscernible words.

Trying to sing along to one of the classics with Dylan was

nearly impossible because of his timing; it was better to just keep

smiling and nodding your head up and down. After an hour and a

half, the only thing that Dylan told the fans was his band member’s

names and a joke that came out of left field that involved the

drummer putting a snake on his windshield – he bobbled the punch

line and the audience had no idea what to make of it. After an

encore Bob Dylan walked off the stage and his fans left the venue

thankful, not so much for the music that night but for the

opportunity of seeing a living legend.

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