Aplscruf's Music, Art, and Literature Blog

Bob Dylan at the Paramount Theatre 3.9.2005

Bob Dylan

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Opening: Amos Lee and Merle Haggard

What about Bob?  Bob is someone everyone who loves music should see at least once.  Bob is an American Icon.  He is an artist who truly has an independent soul and doesn’t give a crap what anyone has to say about his music.  He went electric and freaked out the folkies.  He’s done pop, folk, Christian, rock, Americana and country.  His lyrics are masterpieces in poetry.   He continually evolves his style and continues to stay interesting and fresh, although his vocals are progressively disintegrating . 

Bob was on my list of artists to see before they (or I) die.  Our friends wanted to go, too, so I purchased 4 tickets, 11th row for the Wednesday show.  He played  three sold-out shows at the Paramount. 

We met our friends downtown at Pacific Place, about a block away from the Paramount.  We ate some appetizers at Gordon Biersch in the mall.  We also had fantastic drinks. 

We walked down the block and right in to the Paramount, saw P’s boss and his son by chance, found our seats and the lights dimmed.  Perfect timing!

Amos Lee opened the show.  He’s an upcoming folk/blues guitarist and has a voice like an angel.  He brought along a very talented yet small band:  a young man who played keyboard, guitar, mandolin and trumpet; a drummer; and a stand-up bass player.  Amos stuck to the acoustic guitar.  He played less than 1/2 hour, but had a nice, smooth set.  We immediately bought his CD after the show. 

Next came Merle.  He played the only song I knew, “Okie from Muskogee”, saying at first, “You don’t want to hear that!”  I read the article from Patrick MacDonald of the Seattle Times who listed the other songs he played: “Silver Wings,” “Lucky Stars,” “Mama Tried” [later covered by The Old 97s].  He was all class.  I felt like I was at the Grand Ole Opry!  His eight-piece band was tight, and had a classic country flair with some rock-a-billy mixed in.  Merle wore a rhinestone-studded guitar strap with his name spelled out down the strap.  P said something about his wife making that for him down at the senior center, and that it also works as a belt!  P really enjoyed him, though.  We would definitely see him again.  It would be a treat to see him with Willie Nelson sometime. 

During the intermission, we got some water in the lobby.  We had fun people-watching.  Our friend said, “Hey, look!  It’s Prince!”  We got a kick out of this guy who must have spent two hours on his hair alone, and then another hour on his eye makeup.  He had jet-black hair, all done up on top and curled with wide curls, then spiked over his brow and ears.  he had a Prince-ly long jacket and strutted around the lobby with his punky friends.   There were several “pie-eyes” in the crowd as well.  The main level, near the back of the theatre, was thick with smoke by the time Bob was ready to play.

We found our seats again and waited with great anticipation for Bob.  His six-piece band was also very classy and sharp, with matching old-timey suits and Bob in his “riverboat gambler” suit.  The band included a stand-up electric bass, steel guitar, excellent violinist, as well as rhythm and bass guitars.  Instead of playing center stage, Bob was, unfortunately on the left side, opposite of us.  It was hard to see him, even though we had good seats.

The other thing that impeded my view was a dorky Elaine-On-Seinfeld dancing girl who kept standing up solo and doing a quirky side-to-side dance.  She was directly in my line of sight to Bob.  I was pissed.  Everyone around her was seated.  It wasn’t as though Bob would notice her, as he never seemed to acknowledge that he was playing in front of a live audience.  Since I was still a little tipsy from my cosmos and feeling brave, I warned P that I was going to tell her to sit down.  I stooped low into the aisle and said to her, “Excuse me, although you’re a good dancer, would you please sit down so we can see the show?”   She mumbled something and sat down.   She not only sat down, but she slouched way down in her seat, with her head against the top of the chair back.  P said, “Aww, you’ve broken her spirit!”  I laughed, but was happy to be able to see the stage and Bob again.  I apparently didn’t break her enough, though, because she stood up again and started dancing sporadically and spastically when she recognized some song from 30 years previous (even though she was only about 20).  In between those songs, she would slouch.  Too funny!

Although I was happy to go to the concert, and that our friends were with us, we were all disappointed in the fact that we could only understand about a paragraph of words and phrases of all the lyrics put together from all of the songs he played that night.  He also changed his set list from the review I read on Monday night’s show.  Missing were Tambourine Man, Like A Rolling Stone, All Along the Watchtower.  I did recognize Highway 61 and Just Like a Woman.  Most of the songs were either brand new or off his 2001 CD or ones I just didn’t recognize from the past.  I know more of his older music than his more recent material.  That being said, the full band was amazing.  They really worked the show.  It was very upbeat and charged with energy, but we literally could not understand him!  This made it very difficult to get into what I’m sure were great lyrics.  He whined and mumbled though every song.  We would laugh out loud at the end of the songs, sharing words we could understand.  P said, “I heard the word ‘guillotine'”  Our friend heard “Christmas”.  I knew Bob would mumble; that’s his trademark voice.  It’s definitely deteriorated over the years.  If I would have recognized the songs, at least I would have known what he was trying to convey in his music.  It was a bummer.  We felt we were watching a band from a foreign country.  Bob made Tom Petty sound like a public speaker!

Overall, we had a wonderful time chatting with our friends and going out and seeing a music legend.  P was much more comfortable having friends there.  I told him at the end, “Wow.  We saw Bob.  I can cross that one off the list of concerts to see!”  He sheepishly looked at me and said, “How much more torture are you going to put me through?”  I laughed, but I knew he was serious!

August 20, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Bob Dylan, Concert Season 2005, The Paramount Theatre | , , , , | 1 Comment