Bob Dylan

Music seen at the Cumberland County Civic Center, October 4, 2007
October 10, 2007 2:16:45 PM

Let’s get a couple things straight. Bob Dylan is my favorite musician. I think he is a master songwriter — old stuff and new. I have a personal connection with many of his songs; the people that I love and hate the most all have signature Dylan songs that I associate with them. “Positively 4th Street,” for reasons that stretch far beyond its lyrics and tune, is one of my Top Five Favorite Songs of All Time. When I joke about wanting to marry the man, I’m only half kidding, despite our vast difference in age and general vitality.

But when I saw Dylan perform at the Cumberland County Civic Center last Thursday night, I felt like I was watching a husk of my hero, listening to music that I would hate if it wasn’t coming out of the mind and mouth of Bobby D. It was like waking up next to someone and realizing that he’s simply no longer the man you fell in love with. Better to get out now, with good memories intact.

So that’s what we did — we left early.

We’d heard practically spoken-word renditions of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” (his opener), and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” We’d borrowed a friendly neighbor’s binoculars to get a closer glimpse of the pint-sized figure up on stage, the one with the black suit, the white cowboy hat, and the rough, grumbly voice. We’d tried to make ourselves care about lively-but-largely-unintelligible bluesy songs from his more recent albums.

The biggest cheer came toward the end of “Spirit on the Water,” from his 2006 release, Modern Times: “You think I’m over the hill,” he mumble-shouted, “You think I’m past my prime.” The audience was telling him they didn’t — but it was hard to believe they weren’t clinging to the past, too.


Why does every concert review in the Portland Phoenix have to include a reference to the fact that the reviewer left the show before it was over? Isn't the job of a concert reviewer (at a minimum) to attend the concert and then write about it? Isn't that task incomplete if the reviewer does not stay for the whole show? Is the implication supposed to be that the reviewer is so cool that they have somewhere better to be? Or is it not really that important to experience the entire event if all you are going to write about is yourself anyway? Would it be too much to ask for some concert reviews that actually discuss the music?

POSTED BY Doug AT 10/10/07 10:43 PM
In response to Portland Phoenix writer Deirdre Fulton's prob about Bob Dylan's recent concert in Portland, it may well be her old memories got in the way of her analysis work that night. I mean, everyone (even Dylan) deserves a chance to evolve artistically. In no way is his career going backwards, except maybe in the minds of a few fans who expect history to repeat itself. This opinion comes from a relatively new "fan" -- crap how I hate that word. I've never memorized his stuff nor plan to, but I bet Fulton has. Dylan sounded so much better than some of the loud rap music kids these days love blaring out their car windows on the street. But no need to compare. Evenso, folk and rap simultaneously coming out of a youthful '60's guy still evolving? Certainly that sinks some old expectations. Loyal fans need to get over the past and appreciate Dylan's metamorphosis, imperfections and all. Thank heavens noone's perfect, hey Portland Phoenix?

POSTED BY N. Page AT 10/11/07 6:34 PM

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