I love Bob Dylan. His voice has always captivated me. And his lyrics – raw, unadulterated poetry. I remember sitting cross-legged in front of the stereo back in college, listening to his music and trying to finesse the start and stop buttons to create cassette tapes with my favorite songs on them.
Bob performed in Savannah recently, at the Johnny Mercer Theater downtown, as part of his “Rough and Rowdy Tour” that runs through 2024. I told G that it will probably be the last time we will see him, as we are moving to Spain in a couple of months. “Thank God,” he said.
There was a guy outside the theater holding a sign that said FALSE PROPHET in big letters with WHO DO YOU SERVE? written underneath. He was shouting at passersby. We arrived at just a few minutes after 8:00 and stopped at the bar to grab a couple of drinks. To our surprise, Bob had already started playing. We have never been to a concert at Johnny Mercer that started on time! We grabbed our drinks and went to find our seats in the darkened auditorium. The usher warned us that photographs and video recordings were ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN. “Bob will stop playing,” he said.
Our seats were good ones, but I could barely see Bob’s face and G couldn’t see it at all because there was something on the piano blocking our view. The stage was reminiscent of a cosy lounge, and I whispered to G that it was probably a menu he was using as a prop on the piano.
“It’s a defibrillator,” G said.
“No way,” I laughed. “Look, there’s smoke coming out of the vents to make it seem like a bar.”
“That’s oxygen,” G said.
We settled in to enjoy the show. The band was in top form, and Bob’s vocals were strong. His latest album has some really great, jazzy songs. G was like, “Why isn’t he playing any of his old stuff?”
“Because he’s on a tour for his last album,” I replied.
Right about then, someone walked up the aisle in a green striped shirt and little green derby hat. It was someone we knew. The guy continued to walk up one aisle and down the next one over for several minutes.
“I think he’s lost. He forgot where he was sitting,” I whispered to G.
He stopped to shake hands with a guy sitting a few rows back. On his next turn at the bottom of the aisle, an usher stopped him, probably to tell him to sit down. He reached out to shake her hand. It was hysterical.
When the usher passed by our row, G asked her what was on the piano. She told him it was a defibrillator, and that Bob had asked for it to be put there. People were shouting for him to move it, so they could see him play. He got up a couple of times to stand at a microphone beside the piano, but quickly returned to the bench.
The guy is 80 years old. He obviously doesn’t move well. And he’s concerned about his heart. God bless him. He has continued to put out amazing music, and play the piano. He doesn’t just play the old tunes everybody knows. Why do I love him?
“The answer, my friend, is blowing’ in the wind. The answer is blown’ in the wind.“
Go see him if you get the chance. You won’t be disappointed. And by the way, who do you serve? You gotta serve somebody!