(The Blog Formerly Known as "Countdown to 30" and "30 is the New Twenty")

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bob and Willie

The Marcus Amphitheater before the show (Taken from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

For my dad's Father's Day and Birthday present, I got us tickets to Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson at Summerfest in Milwaukee. What made the concert even cooler was my dad and I saw Bob Dylan ten years ago almost to the date for my 21st birthday. Let me just say, that this concert was even better than ten years ago. Bob still has a good voice, despite what others had told me. I heard his voice was shot, but that wasn't the case this past Wednesday. As for Willie, I really didn't know what to expect. I admit that I am more of a Bob fan than a Willie fan. The concert was absolutely amazing from start to finish. I think it has to be one of the best concerts I've ever been to. How could it not be with two of the biggest musical legends of all time performing?

Willie performed first. I was really shocked that he started promptly at 7:30. He played non-stop for the next hour. His voice still sounds the same and he has an incredible amount for energy for someone in their mid seventies. He played all of his hits: "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys, "Georgia on my Mind," "On the Road Again," "Whiskey River" and "The City of New Orleans." It was classic Willie wearing a bandanna, braid, black t-shirt, and jeans. He is an amazing performer. The musicians he had backing him were awesome, too. I was really impressed with how laid-back and himself Willie was. He really looked like he was having a good time.

Bob took to the stage with a dramatic entrance: a black stage and an announcer announcing him and all of his reinventions from over the years. He also had a black backdrop the projected black and white images throughout the show. This is not the Bob Dylan I remember from ten years ago. Ten years ago, it was very simplistic: Bob, his guitar, harmonica, and a stool. This time Bob really kicked it up a notch, it was two hours of rock and roll Bob. He only played the guitar for two songs (and it was an electric guitar) and the majority of the time he played the keyboard (yes, keyboard. I didn't know he even played the keyboard). Of course, he also played the harmonica. He had two guitar players , a bass player, and a drummer backing him. He did a good mix of his old songs with his new. Highlights included: " Like a Rolling Stone, "It Ain't Me Babe,"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," Desolation Row," "Stuck in Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again," "Hwy. 61 Revisited," and the very last song of the encore was my absolute favorite Bob Dylan song: "ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER!" I just about crapped in my pants. It was the best version I have ever heard, too. Despite the rock and roll sound, it was still classic Bob Dylan. He wore a black suit with a black shirt and grey piping down the side of the pants, and a black cowboy hat; he had limited interactions with the audience.

I felt super young at this concert. I would say the average age of the concert goers was 55, but there was also a lot of twenty to thirty somethings and families with young kids. It is great how Bob and Willie really transcend generations and appeal to people from six to seventy.

My dad really had a great time. He actually enjoyed Willie more than Bob. My dad is sort of a Bob Dylan purist and likes it better when it's just Bob, his guitar, his harmonica, and a stool. Although, he did enjoy the Everly Brothers style of 50's rock.

All in all, an AMAZING show. If you ever have the opportunity to see either one of these legends, you should go. They will not disappoint.

I feel fortunate that I've had the opportunity to see one my favorite musicians of all time, Bob Dylan twice. I have so much more respect for Willie Nelson after seeing him. He is an amazing musician and person. And Bob, is always Bob. Both of these musicians have been able to stay true to themselves and not sell out. They are huge Icons in the music industry. It takes a lot to impress me ( I am a bit of a music snob), and Bob and Willie left me in awe. They are truly national treasures.


Anonymous said...

That's so cool! I didn't know that your dad was such a Bob Dylan fan! Awesome!!!
I'm glad you like my blog. It's better than therapy, I swear. I've always enjoyed your writing too, and always enjoyed your "take" on things and your great sense of humor.
Keep it up, my friend! When I come back to visit Chicago, we'll have to meet up!

Michelle said...

It is kind of funny that my dad likes Bob. I think he got that from my mom. She loved folk music like Peter Paul and Mary. Thanks for the compliment on my writing! I agree blogging is better than therapy!

We will have to meet up the next time you're in Chicago.