Last evening I braved the crowd and the heat to attend a concert at the Arizona State Fair. I have been waiting for this particular show since its announcement two months ago. How could such a legend in American music play a show for just the price of admission to the fair - $10? If I chose to have a reserved seat, it was only $20. I opted for the twenty bucks.
I arrived about 30 minutes before showtime, took my seat and waited with great anticipation. It's not everyday you get to sit and listen to the words and music of such a master. As I sat excitedly waiting, I took a look at the crowd assembling. Wow, I don't see anyone under the age of 30 - bitchin'!
The house lights went down, the crowd quietened. The stage lights came up and the music began. It was a song familiar to all. The crowd was in full voice and tears came to my eyes. Yes, there he was in all his glory - the man, the music, the song - Bob Dylan opened the show with The Times They Are A-Changin'.
It was 1973 when I first saw Dylan in concert. At that time he was accompanied by The Band. As concertgoers entered that small hall in Memphis, everyone was handed a stick of incense and were told there would be an announcement when to light it. That night, like last night, was magical.
After an hour or so of Dylan and The Band playing, the hall went dark. You could see the beams from flashlights - they were obviously resetting the stage. About 10 minutes went by and a voice came over the PA asking us to light the incense. The hall quickly filled with the scent of strawberry as the music from a sitar began to play. Dylan walked onto the stage, approached the mic and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my friend, George Harrison". The crowd went wild.
George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, The Band and Bob Dylan all on the same stage? Was I dreaming? No, I was living the dream. It was one of those experiences that was all too surreal, where your body is numb and your mind is focused on the moment. Unforgettable.
It had been a very long since I had had the pleasure of being sung to not sung at. Dylan truly connects with his audience as if you are the only person there. He's such a gentle soul, humble to the audience's response. Today, I am reveling - reliving last night and that night 36 years ago - because today I am feeling Forever Young.