Sure, the song says “Everybody must get stoned,” but after seeing the great Bob Dylan Saturday night at Jacob’s Pavilion at Nautica in Cleveland, the phrase running through my mind is “Everybody must get old.”
Don’t get it twisted – I love Dylan. After all, the dude is 70 and still rocking out. And he did rock Saturday night – just not as long as I remember him rocking at previous shows.
I’m guessing that was my seventh time seeing one of the greatest songwriters of the the 20th century. Maybe it was six, maybe it was eight, but you get the idea: I’m no stranger to Dylan concerts.
If you’ve seen Dylan over the last 15 years or so, you know what you’re going to get. Dylan drags his now-gravelly voice through a selection of tunes from his vast discography, reinventing them along the way. This is not a man who sings songs they way they sound on his record. Accept this, and you’re likely to enjoy them.
It helps that Dylan always has a topnotch backup band. The evolving collection of musicians always brings a nice rock crunch to his often folkie repertoire.
Saturday night, Bob Dylan and His Band rock and rolled through a set that began with “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35” (“Everybody must get stoned”) and soon gave us “Tangled Up in Blue” and “Missisippi” – one of his best songs of the last decade – before steamrolling through “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and “All Along the Watchtower.”
It was all good, but it was over pretty fast. But hey, when I’m 70 I’m guessing I’ll be taking it lot easier than Dylan.
My only real complaint with the show was its strict anti-photography policy. Many artists frown on fans taking video with their smartphones, but they’re generally fine with still photography. Not Dylan. His people had the Nautica staff in crackdown mode. When I merely had my phone in my hand, I was told by one very nice gentleman that they didn’t even want people having their cell phones out. Either Dylan makes a lot of cash selling his image or this is one cat who really doesn’t like how he looks in photos.
It’s too bad. I like taking concert photos with my iPhone 4, posting a couple on social media sites and saving the rest for the memories. But, to quote The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
I hope to see Dylan again, but who knows?
So no photos? Fine.
Fairly short set? Cool.
I still got one more night in the presence of an American icon and a musical genius.
-- Mark Meszoros
Labels: Cleveland, Dylan, Nautica