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Is the Tape Rolling, Bob? - Riffs and Licks
Is the Tape Rolling, Bob?
Bob Dylan sat for first radio interview in years with National Public Radio's Steve Inskeep. (I continue to shake my head at NPR's firing Bob Edwards; imagine a conversation between Edwards and Dylan!)

The most interesting part of the interview for me was his admission that in the late 1980s, he was enjoying his concerts no more than we were. I completely gave up on him after a horrible show in State College, PA, in 1989, when he was playing so perfunctorily and ending songs so early that even the soulless G.E. Smith was visibly disgusted.


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From: couscous1021 Date: October 12th, 2004 09:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Ken, does it make you more disgusted to realize that the horrible show was due to contempt and disgust instead of, say, illness or fatigue?

Great link, in any case. I'm off to hear it now!

steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: October 12th, 2004 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, that was clear at the time; that was the second or third show I'd seen of his that sucked. I actually went to one more, with a friend who has an even more encyclopedic knowledge of Dylan than I do. Dylan was slurring his words so badly, and playing so sloppily, that we were often stumped as to what song he was playing until he was halfway through.

I haven't managed to catch a show recently but I saw him two years ago at the Newark performing arts center and it was an outstanding show. He's really energized and playing all this old traditional stuff that he loves (and I love it too).
From: couscous1021 Date: October 14th, 2004 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was going to say that you were a better fan than Dylan deserved ( three bad shows, even from a living legend, would probably wear me down) until I heard the interview. He's so frank that you can't not see how he could have wrestled with apathy. I actually ended up feeling pretty bad for the guy.

This was a great link- and it led me to a fantastic interview with Tom Waits, so double thanks to you!!
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: October 14th, 2004 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I sympathize with him, though I saw that really awful show when I was making $17,000 a year as a reporter in central Pennsylvania, and I could have used the $50 I spent on the ticket!

I'm about 1/3 through Chronicles and I'm very impressed. It's nothing like what I would have expected: very open, brutally honest, and very generous to the musicians he played with early on.

And despite the complete lack of professional editing (some parts go on too long, and he has a couple of painful usage errors -- "vacuously" to mean spacious, "incredulously" for "incredibly), it is beautifully written.
I needed to learn how to telescope things, ideas. Things were too big to see all at once, like all the books in the library -- everything laying around on all the tables. You might be able to put it all into one paragraph or into one verse of a song if you could get it right.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 14th, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
ok, I hate to do this, but I have to do a little bit of dylan-correction here, ..

you're kinda off with your dates...

having read most of chronicles, (and heard the interview) the tours bob talks about being really unfocused and ill-prepared for were the 1986 tour with tom petty and the 1987 tour (only 6 dates, and i was there for two) with the grateful dead)..

by the tim bob had formed his own small band in spring 88, his shows were fiery, exciting and unpredictable. Unfortunatly, that was not to last, as by parts of 89 (the show you mention perhaps,and certainly also the shows around that time were mixed horribly by his soundboard people) and certainly 1990 and 91, bob's shows were at an all time low... yes, even i'll admit that by mid 91 i was thinking that was maybe the end of the road for bob...

starting in about 1994 his shows started getting much much better, and have been consistently interesting, sometimes even brilliant, in the last several years... also while he was playing more traditinal songs about 3 or 4 years ago (as you mentioned) the latest bob- incarnation has him playing keyboard rather then guitar, standing on the side of the stage like an old testament prophet, while his excellent band throws down arrangements that are sometimes way left of center and sometimes amazing.... he alsor recently replaced one of the guitarists (freddy koella, who was real real real strange, and alternately brilliant and horrible)...

the band now (stu kimball,larry campbell,tony garnier, and george recelli) is one of his best ones, ever.. and i highly recommend seeing him.. tho its not a 'this is what the record sounded like' kind of gig, of course.. and he not busy being born is busy dyin' :)

sorry to drone on and on, but as ken knows, i've been to my share of bob concerts, and had to share all that!

steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: October 14th, 2004 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I saw him on the '86 tour and had a great time, but I think that had more to do with Petty. I didn't see the Dylan/Dead tour (and that remains the only Dylan album I don't own). I saw him when I lived in Pennsylvania, which would have been 1988 or 1989 before Oh Mercy came out, and that was the worst show I'd ever seen; that's the one where G. E. Smith was getting visibly angry at the way Dylan kept cutting songs short and speeding them up. I saw him one more time in New Jersey, probably in 1991 or 1992, and that's the show where rednoodlealien and I could not figure out what the hell song he was playing until halfway through, and she has an eidetic memory for Dylan (and other) lyrics. Then I gave up, and didn't see him again until 1998 or so in Newark, with the small semi-acoustic band, and itw as a great show.

I saw the Larry Campbell band once, and would love to see them again. A certain bunch of friends keep going on road trips to see him and will perhaps let me score a ticket one of these days...
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