October 30, 2009

"Reacting to the music's roll and tumble, Dylan and Sexton squatted and swayed, as if ducking out of the way of the sharp notes, snapping chords and fierce sentiments."

"Vicious currents blew through a majority of the material. Violence cast a pall over 'Ain't Talkin',' while a re-imagined 'Just Like a Woman' threw sarcastic daggers. Better still, the scampering 'Highway 61 Revisited' and scathing 'Ballad of a Thin Man' evoked sinister desires."

That was excellently written, by Bob Gendron, for the Chicago Tribune. We were at that concert last night, at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago,  and, reading that, I realize (once again) that describing music is a special skill. We loved the concert, but I'm going to leave it to Gendron to describe...
Bob Dylan didn't play any Christmas tunes from his new holiday album...  [T]he feisty singer instead had disaster on his mind, rage in his heart and "the blood of the land" in his voice. And in virtuosic guitarist Charlie Sexton, who just rejoined the bard's group after an extended hiatus, the 68-year-old icon had a worthy foil to challenge him. In contrast to recent appearances that witnessed him hiding in the shadows, Dylan seemed reinvigorated, stepping out from behind the keyboard and moving to center stage on multiple occasions.
Ah! Read the whole thing. I'll just share a few low-light pics grabbed with my clandestine camera. The stage:

DSC04920

From behind an ornate pillar:

DSC04937

And finally, a photo of me by Meade....

DSC04928

... I finally get a chance to use the Freebird app on my iPhone.

29 comments:

Lem said...

Congratulations

Pogo said...

And this bird you cannot change.

Paul Snively said...

I don't know if it was used anywhere else, but "rolled and tumbled" are from the lyrics of "Margarita," one of the songs that Dylan did with The Traveling Wilburys. So that bit might not be original with the writer.

bearbee said...

The Aragon Ballroom Uptown Chicago.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Bob Dylan is 68.

Sheesh.

I started listening to Dylan when he was in his twenties and I was in my late 'teens.

I still think of him as being maybe 42, tops. I live a life of self-deception

Bob said...

"Freebird app."

Lol!

Balfegor said...

I finally get a chance to use the Freebird app on my iPhone.

This is such a symbol of the modern age. $2 lighter replaced by $800 phone.

Angst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

This is such a symbol of the modern age. $2 lighter replaced by $800 phone.

Yeah once you include the monthly voice & Data plans it probably comes to $800 the first year!

Michael Hasenstab said...

Lucky Althouse. I just tried to download the Freebird app, and the AppStore tells me that it is no longer available. Bummer.

Balfegor said...

Yeah once you include the monthly voice & Data plans it probably comes to $800 the first year!

$800 is unsubsidised price.

Paul Snively said...

Balfegor: This is such a symbol of the modern age. $2 lighter replaced by $800 phone.

It gets better! The most popular iPhone ringtone? A traditional mechanical AT&T clapper bell sound.

SteveR said...

I saw him in August and enjoyed it. Nothing was a standard version and the musicians are top notch.

I do remember the use of cameras was STRONGELY prohibited.

Bissage said...

“Free Bird” was before my time. Wasn’t Lynyrd Skynyrd the guy who replaced Jethro Tull after Molly Hatchet divorced Mungo Jerry?

m00se said...

Wow. Wow.

"Freebird App".

That is so wrong in so many ways...

Chip Ahoy said...

Ummm, you're in truuuuh-bull.

And you, a law professor.

Chip Ahoy said...

Michael, app may be available under a different name.

[+iphone candle +"concert candle"]

http://iphone.wareseeker.com/the-candle/

The Crack Emcee said...

I find it funny that "[T]he feisty singer,...had disaster on his mind, rage in his heart and "the blood of the land" in his voice." and people are drawn to it, but let a man, with no backing band, be that guy and he's not only crazy but suspect. How a blues artist can honestly say all kinds of things about women ("Just Like A Woman" was sarcastic?) but let a man, without a backing band, say it and it's an insult. Or let a blues artist unleash his never-ending passion for another, who has betrayed him (Dylan's cover of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' and Tumblin'" comes to mind) and nobody's going to scream "Get over it!" or "move on!", but let a man, with no backing band, say it and he'll be tortured and teased, as a pussy, for the rest of his days.

As a performer, and recording artist, I think about that stuff a lot.

rhhardin said...

Concerts are about ten times too long, I noticed as a youth.

That's still my opinion.

Skeptical said...

Charlie Sexton! That's one dude who was residing in the "Where are they now?" file.

asdf said...

Was I the only one who thought about this essay after reading that excerpt from the concert review?

Richard Dolan said...

"the 68-year-old icon ... seemed reinvigorated"

"Seemed," meaning he wasn't his usual death's-door, cadaverous self? All in all, a little creepy.

When I see the musicians I listened to in the '60s still doing the same thing, I enjoy it but also cringe a little, for them and for me. Mick still wailing about how he can't get satisfaction is the worst. But nostalgia quickly becomes a pit you can drown in.

Balfegor said...

Re: asdf

Was I the only one who thought about this essay after reading that excerpt from the concert review?

Perhaps. But I think Orwell is clearly off-base when he writes:

When one critic writes, "The outstanding feature of Mr. X's work is its living quality," while another writes, "The immediately striking thing about Mr. X's work is its peculiar deadness," the reader accepts this as a simple difference opinion. If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way.

Quite the contrary, "living" and "deadness" are perfectly adequate shorthand for qualities of artistic works. The difference is easiest to explicate in terms of line drawings. If you take a line drawing and trace over it, chances are your tracing will have all the lines more or less in the right spot, but there will be a certain something missing -- it won't quite cohere. There is, perhaps, a dynamism in the original line -- a varying of line width, say, or roughness -- that conveys a sense of shape and body, that is lacking in the carefully traced line. The gaps between lines and shapes that invite the eye to reconstruct the form that should extend between them may not be aligned quite right in the traced reproduction, and the illusion of underlying form and substance may be broken. Lines that in the original delineated a form are now just disjointed scribbles. That's part of the difference between living and dead in a line drawing. And, though other people may point to different criteria in assessing living-ness and deadness in a work of graphic art, it tells me something meaningful about the work, even if Orwell can't figure it out. Maybe it's "jargon," but it's a jargon that is immediately accessible to the reader, even if the reader may not understand why this picture looks alive, and this one looks dead.

fivewheels said...

The Aragon is a lovely room and can be a fun place to see a show, but I always found the acoustics there terrible.

Not being a Dylan fan, though, I wonder how much a little muddiness in the sound hurts/helps him.

Ann Althouse said...

"The most popular iPhone ringtone? A traditional mechanical AT&T clapper bell sound."

That's what I use, after trying other things, and I use it because I want to hear it and realize what it is in time to answer, which I've always found difficult with cell phones.

asdf said...

So if a line drawing is good it's "living" and if it sucks it's "dead."

OK.

Balfegor said...

So if a line drawing is good it's "living" and if it sucks it's "dead."

OK
.

No -- there are plenty of line drawings that are "living" that are also kind of crappy. And there are a few artists with styles that are much more static, much less "lively," or "living," that are nevertheless good. Technical drawings, for example, typically lack this "living" quality, even though they may be precise renderings, but that doesn't mean they're bad. You probably wouldn't characterise art as "dead" if it was good, though. It would have different features that made it good, and that's what you would praise.

c3 said...

Ironic that when we were young enough to enjoy Dylan in his prime we would have laughed at 50-somethings going to concerts of 70-somethings.

50 is the new 20!
And 70 is the new 20?

William said...

Can you imagine going to a Dylan concert back in '69 and, post op, getting into a discussion of the new Princess phone with buttons instead of a rotary dial?