Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Brooklyn Like Never Before": Dylan Doesn't Disappoint and Neither Does Celebrate Brooklyn

"Brooklyn like Never Before", the Bob Dylan website declared last night. "Bob Dylan and his band played Brooklyn's Prospect Park last night, his first concert ever in what may be New York City's greatest borough. He's certainly never played so close to Montague Street" the Dylan website reported. And what an evening it was.

A couple of days ago, I posted something on my blog about what Dylan had played at his last show in Baltimore, and now it was next stop, Brooklyn USA. When I was driving through the Slope to work yesterday morning, anticipating the show last night, I thought, and I mean I didn't know where he was staying or even if he was in the city yet, but I kind of thought "Dylan is under the same sky as we are (in Brooklyn) today." So atypical and unusually fannish of me, I don't think I would feel that way about any other performer. As a songwriter and musician, as a poet, writer, painter, filmmaker, as an anti-celebrity and anti-icon, as an artist, Dylan is an original, and although he plays "roots" music, in someways, after performing for 40 years or whatever, I guess he IS roots.

There was so much excitement and surprise when the tickets went on sale, and I was so late in getting them, and our tickets were for the lawn area, and I was so excited to see "Bob" again live, that I set my expectations about the venue very low. I didn't want to be disappointed. Well damn, it was a wonderful venue with a great crowd , and a fantastic set.

The crowd was very relaxed and civil. The long line snaked around the park. A few dark clouds appeared and some thunder clapped but it all seemed to happen away from the park. It quickly moved away and turned into a lovely, comfortable summer evening. Kids, teens, young adults, boomers and older folks, we all filled the place. We were sitting near a couple with their little guy, who was maybe 3, and the mom was cradling her newborn who couldn't have been more than a few days old. An older gent, smoking a stogey, leaned against a tree, holding a cane. Once the music started, everyone was on their feet, moving, shaking and grooving, even the gent with his cane and stogey cut a mean stomp.. Dylan and band appeared to a loud roar from the crowd, they started playing and didn't let up.

Dylan looked sharp in his southwestern style suit and Spanish bolero-style hat. His current band rocked hard and long. Songs included:

1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Bob on keyboard)
2. Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on keybo ard)
3. Lonesome Day Blues (Bob on keyboard)
4. Girl Of The North Country (Bob on keyboard)
5. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
6. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
7. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
8. John Brown (Bob on keyboard)
9. Highway 6 1 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
10. Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
11. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
12. Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard)
13. Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
14. Masters Of War (Bob on keyboard)

15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)
(thanks -

His current band members are an amazing and tight group. It was true, for a few hours, Prospect Park Bandshell was transformed into Hipster Heaven. Life (sometimes) is Good. And one more thing:

After listening to all of his music all of these years, year after year, reading his interviews, books, seeing his shows, the films, etc,. I don't imagine or pretend to know who BD really is. To quote the line from some French New Wave Film from the 60s, I think by Jean Luc Godard,"Qui ĂȘtes-vous, Bob Dylan ?" I don't know and I don't really care. As a listener and fan, he seems just fine the way he is and I hope that he keeps making music and writing songs as long as he likes. Thanks Bob Dylan, thanks Celebrate Brooklyn and thanks Brooklyn, New York. So, you don't be a stranger to Brooklyn, Bob, now, ya hear?
--Brooklyn Beat

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo