I've gone to two outdoor rock concerts in the past week: Bob Dylan at the JAS Festival at Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado over Labor Day weekend, and Dave Matthews Band at the Greek Theater in Berkeley last night. [Photos by Alex von Oech.]
This was my second Dylan concert (the first was 43 years ago in 1965 when I was 17). Dylan gave a paradoxical performance. On the one hand, it's quite inspirational to see a real "living legend" still pumping it out to a large crowd at the age of 67. Plus, he's got a dynamite band.
On the other hand, I wasn't always sure what I was hearing. Bob doesn't bother to sing all the words anymore, and the arrangements are quite different from what I remember. For example, I listened to one song for two minutes before I realized that it was "Highway 61 Revisited." This also happened with "Visions of Johanna." But what the heck: Bob's entitled to change!
The audience loved him, though, and he gave two thundering encores ("Like a Rolling Stone" and "All Along the Watch Tower"). He's still got his harmonica chops! Lots o'fun.
If Dylan is the "living legend" from another era, Dave Matthews is the preacher of today giving his congregation everything they wanted — and more. The Greek Theater was filled with 7,000 true believers. (This was my fourth Dave Matthews concert; my son has been to 24; and I imagine that many there had been to over fifty of his concerts.) Wonderful music, showmanship, stagecraft, and a genuine bond between performers and the audience.
Nothing like a rock concert to clean your head out!