Genius, Guitars, and Goodbyes

My previous post caused more reactions than any post on this blog so far, and I should probably not be surprised. At first I intended to comment on the things that were said in the thread, but it has been growing too long. Here’s an opportunity to continue in a new thread, where comments won’t be lost at #59. :-)

Things I was not intending to do:

To disrespect Dylan’s integrity.
To take away the enjoyment of anyone who goes to a show and enjoys it.
To claim that Dylan is too old to be good.
To profit economically from his work.
To say that anyone who like what they hear are stupid and ignorant.
To say that all Dylan does now is to go through the motions an profit economically from his past work.

What I did intend was to urge people to think about what they do, and what that does to the performance situation. This was not based solely on one show. Rather, I was taking that one show as a point of departure for formulating views that I’ve had for some time.

Genius is not inherent but something that’s constantly in the making. If an artist produces something of inherent beauty, profound expression, coming from a sharp eye on the human condition, a gaze which transcends everyday thoughts, that expression might be called genius, but to call the artist himself a genius would be to subscribe to a concept of divine inspiration which Dylan may or may not embrace, but I don’t. Genius isn’t what you are, but what you do.
OK, Dylan’s an icon, OK, he has a charisma which pours off the stage in gallons, even today, but still? It is amazing that he can still do it. But how can he ever get anything like a clear perception of when what he’s doing is good — how can he possibly develop criteria for judging this — when the feedback he gets is uncritical adoration? When stepping over the amp next to his piano and moving slightly closer to the centre-stage and blowing some “tut-tut-tut” on the same note in his harp, will harvest the same ovations every night, and when saying “thank you” — once — brings down the house?
Part of Dylan’s greatness lies in his integrity, his unwavering confidence that what he’s doing is right. Take the ’65/66 tour: night after night with catcalls, Judas!, the English leftists’ organized clapping (“If you only wouldn’t clap so hard”), the boos, the reviews — enough to break anyone’s back, but Dylan sucked energy out of it and produced classic performance art. Or the gospel tours. Again: boos, ridicule, and audiences numbering 2000 rather than 20,000 or 200,000 — and again: brilliant shows filled with fire and brimstone, and not only coming from the texts. Even the self-inflicted nadir around 1990 could be seen in this light: perhaps the ultimate act of artistic integrity: to self-destruct in order to rebuild.
But when was the last time Dylan was booed? Even when he put out a bad performance? When was he last given the opportunity of the reality check that an honest audience reaction is? If an artist puts out a performance which is sub-par, he should be greeted with boos, regardless of what he has done in the past, or will do the following night. He should not be deprieved of the chance of a reaction to what he does, and not to what he has done or has been (which is in effect the same thing as treating him as a has-been).
It’s not necessarily the booing I’m after (although that would probably bring out some long-lost fire and brimstone in mr. D), but a nuanced response from the audience, where the audience is able to see beyond the god-like iconicity of the man up there, and hear what they hear, instead of first passing it through the “he’s a genius, so this must be good”-filter.
I think this would do us, the audience, good, but it is also our responsibility towards the artist: he’s engaging in an act of communication, but if the answer is the same, no matter what he says, what good does it do him — what kind of respect towards him is that?
One of the most puzzling — perhaps saddest, but I’m not really sure about this — moments in my Dylan carreer was the first time I was up front and was able to see him at ten feet distance. The show was great, but the look on his face… It seemed to lie somewhere between complete unemotionality and some kind of bemused superiority. Whatever it was, it looked like a mask. At the time I thought: He is not taking us, this, himself, seriously. He doesn’t have to, of course, and again: that he does not succumb to that kind of emotional interaction with the audience which is so commonly seen, is a sign of his integrity. But how can it be otherwise, when he is greeted with hoorays whatever he’s doing? Mustn’t he be thinking, either: “Why on earth are they cheering — that solo wasn’t very successful, was it?” or “Hey, that must have been a great solo — look at how they’re cheering!” In any case, it might be time for another “If you just wouldn’t clap so hard.”

58 thoughts on “Genius, Guitars, and Goodbyes

  1. I couldn’t agree more with every single item of your essay, sincerely. I do think exactly the same as you, but… (there’s always a “but”) there’s a reason for my unconditional clapping (and maybe, up to a certain degree, for the audience’s too).

    Dylan was not there when I was 13 and first listened to The Freewheelin’ so that I could remove my hat and say “chapeau”. He was not in front of me all those(these)years in which I learned to live with what he sang so that I could thank him.

    Whenever I have the chance to see him live, I’m going to clap, no matter how good the show is. I’m going to clap being aware that that is not right in terms of ethics towards his actual music. Sadly, now it’s more important the places he’s been to than the ones he’s going to. As long as he keeps not faking the smile to the audience, he’s gonna get my clapping.

  2. I just want to say that i agree with your comments.

    On seeing Bob singing in Paris this 3 November closer than ever (i was just in front of him), i was asking myself of what might his thoughts could be? I found his eyes so empty far away from us and him…

    I was bored by the musicians play game, bored by Bob’s play on Harmonica..And finally I was sad for him…

    And a the same time, due to the so long hours of happyness he gave me, i was pleased to be there…

    But i must admit that i would like he takes some rest and comes back with something new and closer to what he is now…

    Thank you for giving me the possibilities to say all of that


  3. Exactly! It was his eyes… Made me feel sorry for him. And his recent comments about his obligation towards the Commander-in-Chief doesn’t make it any better: so he’s doing this because he has to?!

  4. Hello. I’ve read your comment, but I don’t want to talk about it now. There is a more important thing. Don’t loose your nerve about this all; this side is very important for people who like, or will like the music of Dylan – here they can lookup the chords without stuipd banners and with a clean, informative & good layout. You have made something good, do not throw it away easy. Just stop reading or answering if things get too rough; promised?

    And for flamewars, there is still usenet ;)

  5. i totally agree. i once read a book on listening to classical music. although a horribly dull book, i’ll never forget a note in one of the appendices, criticizing audiences that would applaud enthusiastically and give a rousing ovation after a violinist struggled through a concerto, out of courtesy. the writer urged listeners to be disriminating in their reactions. i think if you respect someone as an artist, you should treat them with honesty, not necessarily kindness.

  6. Listening to recent shows and anticipating seeing him on Friday, I’d say that there are still moments of genius. Admitedly, those moments are few and far between but he still delights. The show in Hamburg (which I’ve listened to a few times now) was great and Dylan put a lot into his singing. It’s probably not something he’s going to be able to do all the time, though. I agree that the current band is quite dull, however.

    At the end of the day, Dylan has given me far more than I can ever give him and I, for one, would never boo him. I might get a newspaper out during ‘Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum’, though!

  7. He’s not doing it because he has to. He’s doing it because he doesnt know what else to do.. I do believe he realises the precious nature of his gift.

    But all of that aside – all of what you said aside. There are still moments, among all of this, there are still moments when i know he’s hitting it. Yeah its not like before, but what really is?. He doesnt seem to shapeshift like he did once. The first show I saw in 2000, he was still shapeshifting then, still transforming and you could feel the power, in his face in his eyes even and certainly in the great band he had then.

    However there are elements of what he is trying to do with his piano that people really should take into consideration. Again, it depends on what shows, which nights, his mood.. bla bla.

    Ive recently heard Visions of Johanna from hannover and Never Gonna Be The Same Again, and there are rough patches, but Visions in many ways is triumphant. Never Gonna Be The Same Again is fascinating. The way he really sings it out searchign for the melody as oppossed to singing over the words like he sometimes can do.

    His piano to me is the instruments im most interested in right now. Especially when you hear recent shows where the piano is higher in the mix, you can really tell how much more proficient he has become and how much he uses it to express, to control, to shapeshift the songs.

    Yes I know, The Amazon show isnt the greatest thing, but evidence of the piano playing thing im on about is all in that show.

    But ive seen and heard him try to communicate and transform the inner layers of the songs by using his piano, in a way he used to do mainly with his voice – amnd yes his voice isnt what it was but when he’s on, he really uses whats there. Its never about much you have, its about how you use what you’ve got – thats an artist. Dylan is always inproving always “tearing it apart at the seams” The other bands members pick up on this and reflect it back in their own way.. he’s much more a jazz artist than we think.

    Ive forget what i was talking about.

    Things arent the same as before, no certainly not. BUt that doesnt matter. I dont think Dylan has necessarily became complacent. But i also dont think he’s artistically raging against a world any longer. he just slips between the cracks of things now. If you know hes in the mood and you listen in the right places, and you elt what ever exterior is there to slip inside you then you will see he can still deliver a beautiful show.. Yes there will always be issues with band members. I saw Denny and thought he was a weak link, Sometimes recelli isnt subtle enough.. But i certainly would never want Koella back. I liked his style, but i felt it took over too much. too overpowering. brilliant in places yes. but it detracted from the song, he never learned how to play within the songs acorss the setlist, only how to play across and outside them.

  8. added note: I also remember when i was in Camden New Jersey and it was the first show id ever seen of Bob where he was smling and laughing and joking, and his eyes certainly did not portray that emptiness, that feeling of not wanting to be there. He was loving every moment, poitning, smiling, grinning. At one point during one song he burst into fits of laughter.

  9. My best concert was in Forum (Copenhagen)2002. It was very special “to feel as light as a leaf in the wind” during the first part of the show. And the feeling of “pure joy”.
    But the bootleg from this evening did not catch the this “magic” in the air.
    The Hamburg concert this year was also a very good/funny experience to me, but the bootleg is even “better”(?) : his voice is very clear, the harmonica-soli are soft….the band is tight and alive…
    Really a nice record to listen to in the Skoda Fabia (..good car to drive before the war)

  10. could not disagree more about part with seeing him close-up.
    you can tell the effort he makes to sing, to make it count, to make it right, you cannot tell dissapointment when he doesn’t, but then he would have been long gone if you could,
    but he obviously has great time sometimes, and sometimes he’s just too focused to notice anything else.
    and, as in any performing art – beauty is ONLY in the eye of the beholder, so if you don’t enjoy seeing some faze of dylan, just don’t. i myself think he’s weakest album is nashwille skyline, but i would not start a crusade against it. i just don’t have it.
    also, i completely agree, freddy was the closest to how dylan music should be played on guitar. larry i did not like, but he was very useful member of the band. he was robbie robertson, gurth hadson and richard manuel in one. and also scarlet rivera :).
    but they are all past. don’t look back, this is what dylan is now. and i’m sure with the new album setlists will get infused with new songs and thus probably more interesting. but let’s not underestimate what this band has done with hgw61. no one has done more, even if we may not like it.
    it’s just dylan – here and now,
    and i have seen on recent concerts many “first-timers”. some will like it, some won’t, but he’s not playing for the first-timers, and damn sure he’s not playing for “dylanheads”. he is playing what he feels contemporary and that’s what makes him different from many people who play today. could be better, coulda’been better all the way, so do it better. if you can.
    that’s what dylan stands for guys, we are all individuals.
    love it, or leave it.

  11. also, just to add as dylan himself admitted laylady lay never ment more then lalala la, dummy lyrics for cheezy melody.

  12. the cost versus the anticipated benefit of investing time and money in performance art is not simply distilled. while one may decide not to pay to see an artist perform live, i dont read much into it beyond exactly that.
    i don’t think that it is new or original in the case of Dylan for the ‘anticipated benefit’ to be the key phrase in this particular conversation, which must be well over 40 years old.
    Dylan tours because he wants to and we go or don’t go because we want to. the shows are better over the years, then worse sometimes, then better again. and we go most of the time. i go because i admire the artist, admire his work, and because i’m rarely left feeling that the time, money, and effort were not worth it.

  13. Don’t worry — there will still be new tabs, and I still consider Dylan a great musician — when he wants to. I’m not going to “throw away” the site; the “Bye, Bob” thing was a goodbye to “the current incarnation of Bob Dylan, the live artist”, not to “Bob Dylan, the cultural persona”, “the quintessential bearer of the legacy of traditional American music”, “the guy who occasionally puts out a good album”, etc.

  14. 1. If music was only in the eye of the beholder, there would be no reason for an artist to exert himself, there would be no difference between Dylan and Britney Spears, or between going to a Dylan show and watching a stone in the river (and although both experiences can be equally good or bad, they are not the same kind of experience, since watching the stone is not an aesthetic experience). So, as much as I’m against the notion of aesthetic quality as something inherent in the work of art, a complete subjectivism will also blur too many constituent notions to be useful.
    2. “love it or leave it”, you say. Exactly…

  15. Eyolf,

    I’m intereseted in your comment that ‘a complete subjectivism [would] blur too many constituent notions to be useful’. I would be grateful if you could elaborate on this.

    Thank you, Titus (devote subjectivist).

  16. That’s not something to be answered off-handedly, but I’ll try to give some kind of an answer.
    I take “Art” to be a label we have put upon a particular kind of communication, and whereas communication, just as any other human activity, as a matter of course comes from the subject, which thus is the beginning and end of the act of communication, the tools with which the subject is able to make sense of this communication, are available to the subject only through the rules for correct use (and interpretation) that a language community constitutes (or an art-reception community in this case). This is based on Wittgenstein and his notion of “the meaning of a word is its (correct) use”, and his rejection of private language (Philosophical Investigations, can’t remember the paragraph numbers at the moment)
    Thus, if one sees art as a system for conveying a certain gaze on existence (whether in its entirety, or in the tiniest aspect of it, such as a stone or a car passing by on the street while one is on one’s way to work or to meet a lover whose current partner is blissfully unaware of the liaison, but murderously (in the literal sense) jealous, and your own best childhood friend, at that — small things like that…), the gaze itself may (or may not) be completely subjective, but the communication of it is (1) meaningless as a completely subjective exercise, even in the cases where the artist counts himself as his main or only audience, and (2) inconceivable without the patterns for generation and organization of meaning which can never be entirely subjective — on the contrary. Even when the artist communicates primarily with himself, the communication will take place in this channel, as an exchange between the self and the other.

    It is of course possible to start with other definitions of art, but they all tend to either end up in objectivism (which we don’t want) or include a whole lot of things which are never counted as art in real life.
    Much of the same argument can be pursued from the receiver’s perspective: taking in a work of art is engaging in an act of communication, even if one sees oneself as both the provider and the receiver of the impulses (which, I suppose, would be something close to a subjectivist aesthetic standpoint). My former reference to “watching a stone” should be seen in this light: it may be a rewarding experience, but it will not be an art-experience, unless one inscribes it into that discourse.

    I have written more about this in some of the articles in the Self-Ordained Professors” section of the main site, e.g. the review of TOOM.

  17. Yes, I know. Just keep it in mind for rough times.

    Its just sad to see people loosing their motivation on a thing they like – _because_ of other people who like the same thing. :)

    Okay, but as you said, this is not the case at the moment. Very good.

  18. >If an artist puts out a >performance which is sub-par, he >should be greeted with boos

    Boos? Really?
    If Dylan shows up feeling sick or exhausted, maybe a good dose of boos would make him feel better.

    If I don’t like a show, I just leave.

  19. For me, the enjoyment of art is in part a critical activity, and my posts have not been about people who like today’s live-Dylan, but the uncritical adoration which begins way before “liking”, not even to mention “critical enjoyment”…

  20. Interesting post. But what you link to is a review of L&T, not TOOM (but it’s interesting ‘anyway’, so thanks for putting it online. Same goes for your comment).

  21. You’re right it is L&T, of course. The part which is most relevant for the current thread, is the section “Analysing Dylan Lyrics”

  22. Prague, March 10, 1995: Dylan was sick and exhausted, and produced one of my favorite shows.
    My original statement could be modified in any number of ways: “If an artist consistently puts out sub-par performances, an explicitly critical response — which for the sake of argument and historical connections might be called ‘boos’ (also in the cases where no audible sounds are uttered from the members of the audience, individually or as a collective) — would be a more honest reaction than ‘it was a great concert: he smiled twice!!’, and in the end would be beneficial also to the artist”. Something like that.

  23. Eyolf,

    Thank you for replying to my post. I would be interested to know whether you thought it possible to communicate the concept of communication. What I’m getting at here is whether it is possible to write an essay about essay writing, a song about songs or indeed a communication about communication without the essay, song or communication ceasing to be essays, songs or communications. One would have to, as Derrida put it, ‘perform what one argues.’ Again, I’m trying to figure out whether it is possible to write anything about any form of communication, be it music, literature or T.V. ads without that communication ceasing to be a communication. Thus personally I find it difficult, given that art is a form of communication, to communicate that communication.
    Thus my initail question, how can we communicate communication.

  24. My short answer is: Good question – you got me there.
    My slightly longer answer is: because I’m brought up to be polite and not make noises while other people make noises which other people again want to hear.
    My full answer is: I did, I do, by writing this blog, not only the posts about this particular show, but by applying a critical perspective (not in the sense of “being negative”, but in the wider sense of “involving careful evaluation and judgment”) to Dylan’s production in general, and communicating this. Granted, this requires the modified statement in my previous comment in order to count as “booing”, so if you think that is cheating, then I didn’t boo. :-)

  25. We can’t. Not as communication in the original form, only as a meta-communication, where something is lost; even if we simply quote the original communication verbatim, the original communcative situation is changed.
    There’s this saying: “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” It is most often used as a way for musicians to say to critics that “you don’t have a clue”, but I see it just as much as a fairly precise description of the problem (and possibilities) inherent in any kind of communication, and it could easily be extended to encompass your question as well: “Musicking about music…”. My point in this would be to say that every instance of communication is unique, and any repetition of, recollection of, or reference to it must involve a translation, where the original communication is treated at this meta-level, meaning that (1) it loses its original communiative force (but it may of course gain a new in the process), and (2) it is received together with all our notions of the characteristics of this genre of communication. Thus, if you write a song about a song, the original song ceases to be a song in the direct sense, and becomes, rather, a placeholder for the characteristics that are generally associated with the notion of “a song” in a particular lanugage community.
    But the song is still a song if performed/”read” as such, and I don’t really see it as a problem, but, as I said, just as much as a possibility: we may, in fact, dance about architecture (if we know how to dance, that is).
    I don’t know if this is an answer to your question. If you’re interested, there is some more on this in this article about the ineffable. Especially the last section (“Articulation!”) comes close to the things we’re discussing here.
    My question in return would be: why would you want to communicate communication…?

  26. Yarrrgh! What was THAT? What brain-damaged twit came up with that one? Communicating communicating communication? While George Bush and Karl Adolph Rove fuck you up the ass? We are in a sea of shit here, and all the Bobs in the world ain’t gonna’ help us now. The guy learned the art of spitting back the bullshit of the world, right into its face. A technique passed on in unwritten code. Great actors have it, great jazzmen had it, Coltrane in an ecstasy of rage and saxophone. Dylan had it. Do any of us have it? Did any of us pick up the secret, the way to power via the ability to projectile vomit the shit garbage of indoctrination, commodification, morons, comb-overs, binge-drinkers, jocks with jaws like river barges, bad teachers, brain-dead entertainers, newscasters with marooned smiles, asshole leaders sucking the shit out of each others’ rectums . . . ?

  27. I completely agree with what you say about the piano. I was at Brixton on the 22nd, and I was certainly surprised how much the piano was a part of the sound, especially compared to earlier shows.

    I can see parallels between the way he is using the piano and the way he used the harmonica. I suppose it is in a way a bit like jazz, except for the most part it was almost an obsession with a short riff, repeated over and over and mutating with each iteration, almost as if he was trying to find something. I found that quite exciting.

    I think it’s also telling that, according to Dylanpool at least, 86 different songs have been played in the 27 european shows so far. That is an incredible number, and an absolutely amazing amount of lyrical content and I bet there’ll be more to come in the last few shows. If that isn’t a man completely dedicated to his work then I don’t know what is.

  28. Eyolf (and Susie),
    Thank you again Eyolf for answering my post. I will answer your question, but I feel that I ought to first say something (non-offensive) with regard to Susie’s comment.
    The ‘brain-damaged twit’ is, as far as I am aware, Jacques Derrida. In his essay ‘signature event context’ he discusses certain features of language and in particular, the possibility of communication.
    However, I do not see the relevance of the question ‘While George Bush and Karl Adolph Rove fuck you up the ass?’ If politics needs to be introduced into a discusion about language, at least let it be introduced in a more sohpisticated way.

  29. Eyolf,
    You post did (quite comprehensively) answer my question. My answer in return is that it is not ‘communication’ exactly that I wish to communicate. The difficulty that I was trying to express was that if we ask ‘what is language?’ and suppose that we can answer the question, then we presuppose a language in which we can answer. My contention is that we can never interrogate language using language.

    My initail question should really have been ‘how far do you think music can be considered as a language?’. The query about communication should have followed from that.

    Thanks, Titus.

  30. About language: no, we can’t step outside the system itself, we can’t observe language (or thought itself, for that matter) outside of the domain of language (or thought). From this does not follow that we can’t in any way describe it, only that our description will have to be a meta-description, or a description of an abstraction of the object of interest, just as we can’t see our own blind spot (but we can describe it — or perhaps rather circumscribe it).

    About language and music: I don’t see music as a language, in any strict sense, but as a system of communication (expression, etc.) of a quite similar kind, where meaning is ascribed to certain sensuous stimuli (sound, in both cases) through the association, learned and internalized through habitual exposure, between sound event and meaning. (phew…)
    As such, one might say that it’s language which is a kind of music, rather than the other way around. What gives language its privileged position among the similar systems of meaning construction, is that its materials are closer to the level of precise conceptual connections than in the others (if I say “red”, this is a sound structure which has fairly direct and precise connections with a certain concept, whereas if I play a C major chord, there is no comparably precise concept, whether in linguistic nor in musical terms, to which it accords).

    I should probably stop here…

  31. About the honest reaction from an audience, the thing is that for many people this will be their first and only time they will see Dylan. And, as everyone concert goer (post-66 perhaps) does, they will WANT to like it. It takes something truly abysmal to get beyond that, and while Dylan’s band may be lackluster, it is certainly nowhere near that level. As a result, as long as the show is not god-awful, most people will enjoy it and see no reason to boo.

  32. I agree both with the original essay, and with this reply, but from a different angle: I’m 17 but have been a Dylanite for about five years, and in that time have only been able to see the great man live once, in Newcastle in 2002. Now I’m not sure what the perceived opinion on that concert was, but I personally loved every minute of it: this was my hero on stage and, whether he was being original or not I wanted to show him what it meant, and what his songs meant. I wasn’t around to give him the credit he deserved in the 60s, or to have an opinion on his ‘gospel tours’- but his songs have endured, and that’s why I’ll continue to clap him when I see him live. Maybe if I saw him more frequently I’d change my mind though…

  33. pity you gave up on seeing bob eyolf.thus missing the chance to catch the unreal shows from birmingham,london and dublin

  34. Eyolf, I took you to task because of your “I Miss Freddy” thread. This site is a labour of love and despite certain misgivings I give you credit for your efforts.

    However, you only have to read some of the reviews posted by fans who attended shows in Europe, that are in many instaces glowing to know that many do not share your sentiments. The Dylan Pool and Boblinks are full comments by happy concert goers.

    Dylan has changed the band to suit his vocal ability. The set lists played in Europe reflect a musician still experimenting with vocals and approach.

    I saw Dylan in 78 at Earls Court when they played the same set list every night. I saw him at the same venue in’81, he played gospel and the restless crowd called for ‘old songs’.

    Dylan, in dark glasses said ” Ah, you want old songs. O.K. this is an old song.”

    He then played Barbara Allen. The crowd applauded and none had the temerity to call out again. Boos won’t change Dylan.

    I am amazed at how many of the posters on here moan about Dylan not smiling. Let’s imagine Bob singing,” I saw a black branch with blood that kept dripping..”.

    Cue, cheesy grin. Or, “Come you Masters of War..”. Massive smile.

    Perhaps, while Bob embarks on “This world can’t stand long..”, he can wave and do a Rod Stewart, kicking soccer balls into the crowd.

    Only today Robbie Robertson commented on Expecting Rain about Dylans stage persona being very different to his behaviour off stage, where he exhibits good humour and is ‘Funny”.

    From reports Dylan has been laughing and smiling and talking constantly to the band.

    What do you and others expect from the guy. Everyone wants to tell him what to play, which instrument to play, now they want him to memorize ‘Visions’ and laugh at the same time.

    Give me a break!

  35. 1. You’re of course right, requesting Bob to smile is ridiculous. It is however, nice if he does smile at times.

    He then played Barbara Allen. The crowd applauded and none had the temerity to call out again. Boos won’t change Dylan.

    That last sentence isn’t correct at all. Boos change Dylan, but they don’t make him into what the audience wants (that’d be awful!). Dylan changed when he got bood in ’66, just think about “play it f*ck*ng loud”; boos changed him during the gospel years too: Late 1980 already saw him performing “old” songs like LARS again. And even in ’79 the boos “changed” Dylan, although probably not in the way the booers intented it: He began to tell really long sermons.
    I think Eyolf is pretty much right in saying “that [booing] would probably bring out some long-lost fire and brimstone in mr. D.

  36. Heiner, the boos did not stop him playing ‘Like a rolling Stone’; he just played louder.

    If you refer to the boards that I have mentioned you can quickly ascertain that many people like Dylan as he is. Who in their right mind wants to boo a legend who has given so much of himself to so many for so long?

    I reckon Dylan will be the first to recognize when it’s time to quit. He won’t need you or I, or Eyolf to give him the nod.

    Eyolf’s irresponsible comments could incite people to boo for the sake of it. Fortunately the majority in Europe had a good time.

    Suggesting that others should boo a musician because one does not personally like their current style is pathetic when you come right down to it.

    ” In 14 months I only smiled once but I did’nt do it conciously..”

    Too many people walk around with plastic smiles slapped all over their chevy chase. Dylans audiences in Europe got good vibes from the stage hence all the singalong with Bob episodes. the music is enough, he smiles enough, even makes funny faces and tells inane jokes aimed at the morons who say he does not react with the audience.

    Time out.

  37. Hey, nobody has talked about stopping Dylan — I want him to play louder. Or to react, or in some way or another divulge that what he’s doing is an act of communication, and not just sound production.
    I won’t go into explaining what “booing” meant in my previous, “irresponsible” post — I assume that people can read and think at the same time. But being a legend should not work as an inoculation against negative response.
    One of the things that concerns me most is the reports — precisely the ones you mention — when I’ve been at the same show, or heard the tapes (and, granted, that’s not the same thing), and my experience differs widely from what is said. This makes me suspicious of what whas expressed in some other comment: that people want it to be good, because it’s Dylan, because it’s a legend up there, because they’ve waited for this for twenty years, and because they’ve paid fairly large amounts of money for those two hours. That, and the many clichès about how great the show was, and the almost apologetic tinge to some of the arguments, makes me trust my own judgement more than concert reviews (and that goes for the negative ones as well).
    And the line about the 14 months is one of Dylan’s funniest… Perhaps that’s why he has never done it live — because he wouldn’t be able not to crack up over it :-)

    Anyway, thanks for your input. We may not agree, but that’s fine with me.

  38. I agree Eyolf, that people should be able to ‘read and think at the same time’. I hope it follows that the majority can hear and go home and think about the experience and report objectively.

    What concerns me is that people seem to want to influence others to think differently. To each his own.

    Dylans smile line is funny. We agree on that. Thanks for the site which is probably OK with Bob because he enjoys a little ‘Love & Theft”.

  39. All those stupid old cunts should be booed. McCartney, Elton Jack, Jack Michaelson, Michael Jackleson, Jack Nickleson . . . yep. All of ’em. Young ones are even worse, of course.

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