Contemporary American Classics: Mr Tambourine Man

Didja know? Dylan and the Band debuted in Austin 9/24/65...

I was there that night with my very pregnant wife. My daughter was born 12 days later. What I remember is drunken frat boys hollering throughout the first set for Dylan to ROCKNROLL!!! And as I learned later, singing in bars, once you give the apes loud electric racket the evening is over; you can forget about trying to do anything else.

I was truly witnessing the end of the acoustic era right there. Dylan and The Band made no attempt at music, it was just FUCKING LOUD!!! At 20 years old we were obviously too old for the room, and we left after about 20 minutes.

Posted by Rob De Witt at January 14, 2016 3:04 PM

Rob, too bad you didn't take in his later concerts. I admire your historic concert story, though. I went to about 3 or 4 Dylan concerts in the 80s and 90s. His sound mixing at high noise decibels was perfect. With Tom Petty, etc., at the Tacoma Dome, which is a big wooden space ball, they sounded great.

Posted by Casey Klahn at January 14, 2016 4:45 PM

His sound mixing at high noise decibels was perfect. With Tom Petty, etc., at the Tacoma Dome, which is a big wooden space ball, they sounded great.

I woulda been a tough sell on that one, Casey - in my opinion "loud" is for tantrums. I recognize I'm a special case, here: I started listening to music before I was one, and that was 10 years before Elvis. By the time Dylan had decided to make a statement by amping everything up, I'd already gotten screaming bored with the posers who made rocknroll popular in the first place. If you spend a few years listening to jazz, and swing, and bebop, and bluegrass, and American pop music from the '20s through the '40s, like I had....well, suffice it to say that white boys trying to sound black by dumbing it all down looked pretty pathetic in comparison to Ellington, and Monk, and Flatt and Scruggs and the Tin Pan Alley writers.

Plus it was TOO GOD DAMNED LOUD, as I spent the '60s and '70s reminding my too-often-too-stoned-to-notice neighbors. I've lived in the Bay Area for 40+ years, and believe me I've encountered state-of-the-art sound systems. It's still Just Too Loud, which is one thing that's driven me to develop my chops as a baritone.

You want a rush sometime, stand in the middle of a full orchestra that's playing your accompaniment. You'll feel it.

Posted by Rob De Witt at January 14, 2016 6:33 PM

If you can take the time, and have the appropriate place, listening to music can be uplifting, soothing, energizing, etc. Otherwise it is often frustrating.

I have a similar history to Mr. DeWitt's and discovered early that the emotions music can uncover may be found in the artistic, technical, or both realms. The original recording is a work of brilliance in both categories; the first example in Gerard's post (from the Newport festival) is like peeling a turd from a dinner plate before eating - the odious Seeger infects everything he touches.

Here's to good listening.

Posted by Dan Patterson at January 15, 2016 8:01 AM

Well, I saw him in Seattle in about 66. Not sure of the year. He was elfin. So tiny in a big check pattern suit. Saw him around 1980 also doing the gospel show and it was great. A few years later saw him again and something had gotten to him and the audience was full of evil. Strange night.

Posted by pbird at January 15, 2016 9:49 AM

That last video isn't Bob Dylan.

Posted by David Katz at January 16, 2016 8:32 AM