Don Messerli’s Blog |

An exercise in self-indulgence.

Bob Dylan At The Ryman

Tuesday Oct 2, 2007

Regine and I went to see Bob Dylan at The Ryman Auditorium a couple of weeks ago. Here are some notes I sent to a friend of mine…

OK, so now I can say I’ve seen Bob Dylan in concert. Don’t have to do that again. Given the fact that the man is 66 years old and spent about 10 years in a drug-induced haze, I have to give him props. He played a fairly long set. I kept saying to myself, “This sucks”. But then I would say to myself, “But it’s Bob Dylan”. A thought kept coming into my mind that he could croak at any moment right there on stage - and I could say I was at his last concert.

Amos Lee, the opening act, was good but generally uninspiring. Might have been different if I were familiar with his music. Always tough to be introduced to someone’s music for the first time at a live event.

Next was a very pleasant surprise. Even though he is touring with Dylan, Elvis Costello was not listed for the Ryman dates. He came on unannounced and played solo acoustic guitar for about 40 minutes. At one point he broke into a rendition of “Suspicious Minds” and then back into one of his songs. I wouldn’t have taken the time out to see him had he been playing alone; but I’m glad I got to see him. Regine, my wife, is too young to know much about Costello and her first impression from last night was, “He’s weird”. I don’t think she realized the musical genius of someone who could stand there with just a guitar and a microphone and play any song he wanted, make it his own, and fill the auditorium with full rich sound.

As I said, Dylan was almost impossible to understand. He didn’t do much of the stuff he is famous for. The highlight was when Jack White, who lives here in Nashville and seems to be our shining star, came on stage and first did a duet with Dylan and then did “One More Cup of Coffee” without Dylan butting in. He tore the place up with his guitar. It’s good to know that rock isn’t dead.

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