The currently ubiquitous Mr. Zimmerman. Going to see the man himself, with his current Nancy Reagan-like giant head and spider-like limbs, next week, (w/a big fan), but last night we went to see a benefit tribute to the “Music of Bob Dylan” at Avery Fisher Hall.
When I lived w/a bunch of roommates in Brooklyn, we would play a record every morning as everyone got ready to go.
We each had a fallback: I, the soundtrack to Repo Man, Liz, the bootleg cassette of Bootsy’s Rubber Band, and Stuart – well Stuart would play Blood on the Tracks every morning for about 6 months straight, since “Idiot Wind” seemed to perfectly echo his opinion of his boss’s every utterance. he was a Dylan boy, w/o a doubt. I know an insane amount of Dylan lyrics and -ology, by osmosis.
Last night’s tribute/benefit was bizarre – a disembodied airport voice introduced each act, who walked on stage, played one song, and exited. Very Swiss. Like clockwork. No jams, no change of drum kit, not nothing. Exactly like a Swiss cuckoo clock, in fact, with each performer circulating to the fore and disappearing, to be replaced by the next.
I could do a set list: Bob Mould, Jaime Sapf Trio, Allan Toussaint- but you can read that elsewhere.
Lee Renaldo (Sonic Youth) did a phrase-for-phrase “Positively 4th Street” – cool yet shoddy at the same time. Medski Martin and Wood did “Buckets of Rain” – still not sure what the fuss about these dudes is about.
Allan Toussaint did a fine “Momma You Been on My Mind”; Jill Sobule (“I Kissed a Girl” – showed up w/Cyndi Lauper – who was wearing a strange business-lady suit, hat, and pumps – go figure – for “Ring them Bells,” Roseanne Cash, Warren Haynes, blah, blah, blah – but then the guy the tie-dyed hordes had come to see. Mr. Phil Lesh, formerly of the Grateful Dead.
Now I don’t get the Dead and Dylan thing – I read Great Jones Street by DeLillo. I actually saw one of the ’87 Dead and Dylan shows in Giants Stadium. I wrote to a friend earlier this week that “a youthful enthusiasm for pharmaceuticals” made it bearable, but actually I was just too f*cked up out of my mind on beer to move, or I would have been sprinting for the parking lot shrieking “I can’t take it anymore!!!” Expectations weren’t high last night.
But Mr. Lesh was welcomed ecstatically, and here’s a pic for fans:
He looked pretty healthy, despite his prostate problems.
He was followed by The Roots
Who blew everybody else off the stage and into the cuckoo land where they belonged. They did “Masters of War” – the first verses set to the “The Star Spangled Banner” – the rest a crystal-clear indictment. It was about Nixon and Vietnam, and Reagan, and Bush, and Rummie, and Iraq. It was one of the single greatest moments I’ve seen on stage. If you can get YouTube or audio of it, do it. It gave me the chills.
then Cat Power had a nervous breakdown on stage and played “House of the Rising Sun” instead of Dylan, and Ryan Adams ( I can’t STAND him. I don’t have a reason, I just can’t STAND him.) did Isis. (how the hell long is that song? Memories of Stuart and Bklyn, oy.) And I do love Patti Smith’s “Dark Eyes” – she performed with Tom Verlaine this time. She’s crazy and weird and she’s so fine. Maybe next lifetime I can be her. And then some other guys and finally the lights went on and this blog ends.
but find that Roots performance. It’s so worth it.
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