Life is good. I’m in the East, the weather is great, the bar across the street appears to be hosting Kiddie Night, so entertainment abounds; stereotypically accented Mick cops walk drunks out of the bar, a random nutter falls face first into the street w/ a satisfying splat, and I am seeing Dylan and co in less then 24 hours. How much better can it get?
Well, a short walk proved jut how much better. Milkcow and I, looking to stretch our legs, opt to walk up the street, check out more of what the town had to offer at midnight. We walk along, minding out business, talking amongst ourselves. We come to a brick wall, not unlike any other brick wall. We turn the corner and begin to cut through a hotel parking lot. The company flag (forget what company) flys high alongside the stars and stripes, illuminated by the floodlights on the ground. 3 men stand in the light, smoking. One looks up at us as we enter, and, as in Dallas, I find myself staring right at my idol! However, this time huge security goons are not ushering him into a waiting van. This is it, the moment I’ve been waiting for (not to sound psychotic or anything), this is my chance! The song! My quest! All the trouble, all the work, t-ride, schlepping rails, and here I was! The answer! The meaning of life! My white whale is in the crosshairs! This ends tonight!
My knees are completely numb, but I stride over and ask if I can bother them for a minute. I explain the situation, and patiently await my answer. An inquisitive look, followed by a blank face, and the answer “Ah man, I don’t remember!”
The whale is getting away! My quest! In vain!
The other two men try to help out, and I realize that they are two other capos of the Dylan mafia haha, but nothing anyone says is going to jar T’s memory. Damn! Somehow, the 5 of us ended up just standing there chatting casually about music, records, film, and basically anything else under the sun, everyone just breaking each other’s balls there in the parking lot. Tony Garnier has got to have one of the strangest senses of humor on the planet, but he’s such a funny guy, and it was SUCH a trip for me to finally get to talk to him! I was having the worst time trying to get thoughts from my brain to my mouth though; there was so much I wanted to say and for some reason it wasn’t coming out. I almost called Lord Buckley Lord Byron. Looking back, its probably a good thing I made as (little) sense as I did; I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was probably Hour 36 of zero sleep. They finished their smokes, and we go our separate ways. What just happened sinks in as I leave the hotel parking lot, and I spend the rest of the night elatedly pacing up and down Main Street. Yeah, I didn’t get my answer, but I cant complain
The dawn brings menacing clouds and wind... and thirst. I make an attempt to find the Walgreen’s that the Smoking Club came from the previous night. I set out on a mighty trek around town, only to find that a) I’d gone in the wrong direction, and b) it was nowhere close to being w/i walking distance anyway. I make my way back to Main. On the end is a small café, so I stumble into it. I place my order at the counter and lean back against a table in the middle of the room. The place is surprisingly empty, yet the waitress takes her sweet time pouring the hot water into the prepackaged hot chocolate dust. There’s a man behind me talking to the other waitress, but I’m too tired to care what he was saying, until he yells my name. “Stu!” I turn around. The man is George. How does he know my name? (Hey, I’m tired here haha)
Well, obviously not me, but I follow his gaze to where Stu Kimball is sitting w/ Denny. I look around. I am the only non-band member in the place What is going on here?! They’re following me haha Talked with Denny for a few minutes, which is always a pleasure, before heading back to the line (I’d run into him again a bit later as well, such an awesome guy!).
As predicted, there was a bit of a drizzle all day, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Until, of course, it gets down to crunch time, after which the clouds open up. Of course. It was during this time that a man identifying himself as being from the local paper came and asked me, as a representative of the first group in line, why I came to see Dylan. I answered honestly. “I mainly came to see the band.” Clearly, he’d never gotten that answer before, judging by the look he gave me. I assured him I was serious. Just then, a line friend (forgetting his screen name right now) who I’d had a long and enjoyable “discussion” about the band w/ earlier in the day comes running up, “No, no don’t print that! Bob reads these; he’ll never change the band now! No, no, don’t listen to him, he’s not normal!” haha The reporter, relieved at not having to include the “abnormal” (in a line of wackos haha), made his way down the line, finding folks who’s say what he wanted to write, spokesman of a generation and all that fun stuff. Reading the article the next day made even me groan.
Doors opened early for probably the first time in the history of the world, and in one of the strangest ways. A security guard shooed away the lurkers in front of the door, instructing them to line up at the side of the building. He then walks over to us, at the side of the building, and says, in a non-chalant (sp), conversational tone “Ok, I guess we’re open now.” Well, I was leaning on the corner of the building, so I pivoted around it and was off. However some were not so fortunate (I’ll let them tell the story, since I was long gone by then). The dumbass ticket broad took my ticket and slowly turned it over in her hands, forcing me to take my ticket back and do her job for her. I drop the stub into her bucket and immediately find myself in a pitch black room. A voice behind me shouts encouragement, and I leap down what I can only assume were sets of stairs (they could have been deep, alligator filled chasms for all I know, there were no lights on the floor) and am able to secure the spot I was aiming for. I am immediately struck by how low the stage was, it couldn’t have been more then 3 feet high.
They kicked off w/ Tweedle, and it was clear they were still as “on” as they were earlier in the year. The sound was terrible at the rails; Denny was loud and clear (not complaining) but the only time I could hear T at all that night was on Ballad Of A Thin Man. Didn’t hear the organ all night (again, no complaints) but the vocals were also hard to hear and the harp was nonexistent. Same for anything Donnie was playing. I really look forward to hearing the tape.
(Since I could only really hear Denny all night…)I hate Girl, but really dug this one for Denny’s playing. He continued to shred through River, and played an amazing Simple Twist. Slide on Rollin…..fuhgedaboudit! For some reason, I happened to look at house right during John Brown (an impressive number in itself) and Donnie was back there, swaying and bopping to a rhythm that could only have been going on in his own little world back there. Quite entertaining haha, but, again, great haunting version of the song. On just a personal note, this was the first LARS I had gotten since my first show; I was on an incredible streak.
Because of where I was, it was not the best sounding mix, but the energy on stage and in the sold out crowd was definitely noteworthy. On the way back out, I was able to confirm that they were, in fact, stair sets, and that there were a hell of a lot more then I ever remember jumping down haha No one seemed disappointed, quite the contrary, and hopes were high as we regrouped and headed out for Maine.