Awhile back, November 7 to be exact, I decided to take a drive up to Bloomington, Indiana, for a shot of Bob Dylan live, sorely needed. I’m a megafan, but I can’t think of many artists, who have kept at it for 60 years with such a consistently strong body of work, always taking risks, always moving forward. Last night, he did seven songs from the new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, still reinventing himself at 80, crafting new material that matches and exceeds his catalogue, changing while remaining completely himself. The gold standard.
In a side note, I was pleased to find tributes to the great songwriter (and Hoosier) Hoagy Carmichael in the lobby of my hotel, and murals from the great Thomas Hart Benton adorning the Indiana University Auditorium (including over the merch table), framing the experience and reminding me that like Bob, they represent the best of what America has to offer, an affirmation. Anyways, it was a great night, with Bob’s persistence, professionalism and obvious love for the song always great to behold. I don’t think it’s difficult to get a read on where Bob is coming from, he’s always about the song and has successfully worked in folk, rock, blues, gospel, and often, his own hybrid of these forms, laced with a good measure of beat generation poetry.
For you Dylan heads, for me, the highlights of Bloomington were “Mother of Muses,” “False Prophet” and “Every Grain of Sand.” And the revved up “Gotta Serve Somebody.” Roll on, Bob, roll on.