Bob Dylan USA fall Tour 2017.
I missed the entire last Tour as it would have been difficult for me to afford it.
But I didn't give up on Bob Dylan.
I just spend three months volunteering in the Negev. Farming 10 hours a day (except Shabbat).
Physical work helps to forget the moral pain ; no time to think.
Back to my QB I catch on reading and sleeping.
Then 2 BD show dates are announced ; California and Las Vegas.
So, if there is a Tour that will be again in the States, hopefully and logically South.
But should we count on Mr. Dylan to be logic?????
The tour dates are late to be announced but it will be up north and east again!
I check the possibility of a Greyhound bus tour and yes, it is an option.
I start dreaming and envision a Couchsurfing expedition.
One by one I request some nights for the different cities on the way. Positive responses arrived rapidly.
The plan starts to take form ; traveling Greyhound and Couchsurfing.
I have to book a flight rapidly to have a cheap one. I have some hesitation about the return ticket but I can't wait too long , so, I booked a return for the 19th of November, after the Boston show.
As Bobby is a funny little man, he will add more shows including 5 at the Beacon.
I will have , maybe, to change my plan. We'll see!
I spend a lot of time communicating with the couchsurfing Hosts.
I have to make sure of all the details ; where is the Greyhound station and where is the venue relating to the address. I can't spend too much money on UBER or Taxi drives. I'd better walk or get the public transportation.
The comfort of the place is not a priority. Safety is more important that comfort.
The J day arrives.
October 11th 2017.
I pack a really light suitcase, to avoid checking in any airport and to be able to carry it by hand(rolling).
I stop in Paris to visit my son and grand son.
I booked a cheap return flight Paris-New York and a domestic flight on Delta New York to Las Vegas.
In between those last 2 flights I have 17 hours delay in New York.
Fortunately a CS(couchsurfing) host accepted to help me with a night in Brooklyn.
The adventure starts on the 11th of October.
I stop over in Paris to say hello to my Grandson who turned 1 year old.
Sweet Baby boy.
On the 12th of October.
I proceed to Charles De Gaulle for a flight to JFK. It's a low coast, so, to my disappointment, absolutely no food or drink is complementary.
7 hours with an empty stomach.
Well! I will survive.
At JFK the custom service is efficient and fast. They ask me no question.
With all the stamps on my passport they figure out I'm a tourist traveler.
My final destination is Las Vegas on the 13th. For economic reason I've chosen a domestic flight with Delta. I have 17 hours of stop over.
By chance my Couchsurfing request have been answered positively and I have a place to stay in Brooklyn.
I struggle at the airport to find the right and cheapest way to reach my destination. By chance the worker man at the train station is from Senegal and speak perfectly French. He will help me a lot.
Train A to Franklin and then bus B49.
Arthur, my CS host, is home. A young man from a Chinese Artist family. Traveler, adventurer and video reporter, just back from Europe. We have a long chat and a bowl of stew before going to bed. I have my own private room.
13th of October.I take the B49 and the A train back to JFK.
The flight is on time and we have complementary drinks and cookies.
Las Vegas October 13th
Debarking at the Mc Carren Airport, we know, right away, we are in Vegas; slot machines everywhere.
I struggle to find the bus going downtown. I should be taking the 108 or 109 to Flamingo road then walk 2 blocks down to my AirBandB destination.
A kind gentleman gives me a transport ticket. Whoa! It's a good omen.
Julia is home and rescue me in the lobby of the apartments building. As usual I forgot to get all the instructions!
From my window I see the Metropolitan Hotel where Bob Dylan and The Band will be playing next day, on the 14th.
I check Bobby's setlist before falling asleep.
He had been playing in Cali.
Pretty much the same, exception of 2 songs.
Las Vegas October 14th.
An early morning rise due to the jet-lag.
I go get some coffee and bagels.
I walk farther down to check the Metropolitan Hotel and Chelsea casino and Theatre.
It is fancy and not to my test. I don't gamble and I don't like the noise.
I go to T.Mobile for the purchase of an American SIM card to be able to phone in the USA. For 50 dollars I have a month provision of calls and texts.
I relax before moving back to the Cosmopolitan.
The crowd is now out in the streets and inside the casinos.
I have been in casinos in different cities and I can't understand the point of sitting all day and putting coins in a machine, expecting the machine to turn you in some kind of Bill Gates millionaire. I am just wondering what those people would do with all that money?
The Mandalay shooter was a rich white American. So, what money can't bring is a peace of mind.
I disconnect with the noise and lighting and focus on the Dylan crowd hopping to the third floor. I know security is tough and of course this is not a place for "beggar". After 45 minutes of asking discreetly for an Extra ticket a nice lady comes to me and is willing to sell her extra ticket for a fair amount. But though I am tempted I also know this is the beginning of my Tour and money is sparse. Finally Nancy recognizes me as one of the writers for Bill Pagel and gives me the ticket. Thank you so Much. I am waiting to read your comments on the show. The Dylan crowd is of 'old days'; retired people in their 50's,60's,70's. Few BD T-shirts. Even one of Tom Petty. May he rest in Peace! And no, I don’t wish Bob to send him an homage on stage. Bobby lost many companions along the road. He HAS to move on. It is a small theatre. Not extra fancy but comfy. I spot Chris(the light tech) and say hello. I crisscross with Jason (the sound tech) and say hello. Move front to check hand with Barron. Check hand with Big Bob passing by. They feel like old friends to me. My seat is on the floor, middle row, all the way on the right. I see the keys of the piano. 8 p.m. Lights off. Stu strums a new arrangement. George is giving the signal and the other members of the Band take place followed by Bobby. I am up before anyone else. I haven't seen my Hero for so long! Lights on(on stage). Bobby is all in black, except the white straps on his pants. He is wearing a light 3/4 leather jacket. His hear style is long curly and dyed black. No hat at any moment.
1.”Things Have Changed”. New arrangement. More drums from George , the little drummer boy. I focus on
George and realize he is wearing a hat and not the beret. Nice. I like it. More staccato in the lyrics.
2.”It Ain't Me, Babe”. And why Bob decided for this one among so many? He might not be talking to a Girl but to the Fans. Leave me alone. I'm not your Prophet or your Guru.
3.”Highway 61 Revisited”. A good solid Rock. Unchanged.
4.”Why Try To Change Me Now”. Parallel to "It ain't me Babe". Take it or leave it.
5.”Summer Days”. Whoa! Donnie on violin is fantastic. Country /bluegrass style. I feel like stepping on my feet and dancing the Irish dance. I'm out of voice(can't even sing)! One of the highlights of the night.
6.”Melancholy Mood”. My favourite of the croonies. Sweet! Beautiful intro by the Band.Bob voice is fitting this one better than any others.
7.”Tryin' To Get To Heaven”. New for me. Melancholic!
8.”Honest With Me”. Also new for me. I'll have to listen to it more carefully to give a note.
9.”Where Is The One”. The worst of all for the voice. He can't reach the high notes ,
exposing his default. He is Not a singer. But an interpreter of Poetry. Should pick up another one? I have to check the lyrics for it might be where the force is.
10.”Pay In Blood”. Unchanged, unchallenged.
11.”September Of My Years”. I don't know this one. Will check on it soon.
12.”Tangled Up In Blue”. He changed the melody and crashed it all. Too slow.
With no power. The public doesn't even react to the one which used to be so prized.
13.”Early Roman Kings”. Less George, more Charlie. Less drums, more guitar. Great Charlie!
14.”Soon After Midnight”. My sweet one. And I don't want nobody but you!
15.”Desolation Row”. Finally a reaction from the public. Some even stand up. A moment of pure joy! One of the highlights.
16.”Thunder On The Mountain”. That I can hardly recognized. Also a pure Rock and Roll that would have made the crowd dance and shout in other times , in other days. Hardly few balancing of the head, here and there. Come on People, Rock and Roll will never die!
17.”Autumn Leaves”. I could do with another one.
18.”Long And Wasted Years”. Yep! The other loud and angry one. Unchanged. I will pay attention to the lyrics though, he may change few lines. (encore)
19.”Blowin' In The Wind”. I could do with another one or another arrangement. Can't get used to it.
20.”Ballad Of A Thin Man”. No surprise. A change from 'Along the watchtower' or LARS he
had been doing so often. I used to like it better center stage.
I spot Mr. R talking with Miss.M. I am happy to see him but will not interfere.
I bump into another Fan that I know, Patrick from Pittsburgh and he gives me his phone number.
I move out and walk back to my AirBandB room.
I have a good night sleep.
I am supposed to check out before 3 p.m. But my bus to Salt Lake City is scheduled for 10 p.m.
I call Patrick and we go to a bar for a brunch and a football game on T.V.
Then he drives me to the greyhound station at 5 p.m.
I still have 5 hours to wait but it is alright.
Oh well! On the road anything can happen!
The station is packed with folks going to L.A. and few to Salt Lake City.
As the night goes on , Greyhound staff keeps on announcing delays. By 4
a.m. 5 buses have been delayed!! Apparently a lack of ... drivers! They
offer pizza and soda to a quiet and sleepy crowd of 100 and so. I take it
easy as there is no show tonight on the 16th. At 10 am on the 16th a bus
to Salt Lake City is boarding restless passengers. I sleep on most of the
8 hours ride!
17th of October Salt Lake City
Mark (My CS Host) had left the key of his condo under the mat and gave me instructions on how to reach my Couchsurfing destination.
A condo/apartment/house all for myself!
I sleep well and spend the next morning discovering the area : the creek path, the Mormons Temple, the Family library (to find your ancestors. I didn't find them!! )....
I walk 20 minutes straight South to find the Eccles Theater. Found it.
The black buses are parked already. Bobby's bus engine running.
Nothing much is happening so I walk back to my condo to recharge my cell phone battery and get ready. I crisscross with Charlie Sexton taking a walk around.
I say "hi Charlie, nice to see you again!" . He answers with a smile.
Time to walk down and there is a crowd by the entrance of the Eccles.
It takes me 10 minutes to chat with Steven who will hands me his extra ticket:8th row, floor, on the left of the stage.
Mavis Staples is opening tonight at 7.30p.m.
Great Mavis. The same show as few years ago!
“I ain't turning around”
“I'll take you there”...
All songs from the early 60's.
She's warming up the beautiful three balconies theater. The ceiling is brighten with stars!
No one in front of me but many behind!
(The 2 seats in front of me will be empty the entire show!)
45 minutes of pure SOUL! Don't you dare miss it!
20 minutes of break to remove the Mavis drums and roll the Bobby's piano.
Bob is dressed the same??!! Where is Suzy?
Start the same.
1.”Things Have Changed”
George is drumming good!
2”.It Ain't Me, Babe”
3.”Highway 61 Revisited”
4.”Why Try To Change Me Now”
7.”Tryin' To Get To Heaven”
8.”This Nearly Was Mine”
Don't know this one.
9.”Honest With Me”
10.”September Of My Years”
11.”Pay In Blood”
12.”Tangled Up In Blue”
I still can't get the new melody. Sorry!
13.”Early Roman Kings”
14.”Soon After Midnight”
The public favourite!
16.”Thunder On The Mountain”
18.”Long And Wasted Years”
19.”Blowin' In The Wind”
20.”Ballad Of A Thin Man”
I pay attention to Stu, right in front of me.
Stu is playing a red electric guitar most of the time. Except for 'Summer days', 'Pay in blood', 'Blowin' in the wind'.
Donnie is on steal guitar except on violin for 'Summer days ', 'Blowing in the wind'. Mandolin on 2 songs.
Tony on electric bass, except the Croony songs and 'Early Roman kings' and 'Blowing in the wind' he will be on standing bass.
Bob will never blow his harp.
Already the end.
I stand close to the stage. See Bobby 'almost' smiling!
I find a ticket stub for my friend Stefano and rapidly move out.
Walk back to my condo with 'Soon after midnight ' in my head.
And sleep with a 'Satisfied mind'.
Thank you Steven.
Thank you the Band.
Thank you all you good people.
Good night Bobby dear!
See you tomorrow, nice time, same place!
October 18th Salt Lake City
I wake up early ; 7 a.m., walk to the nearest 7Eleven for a cup o coffee and food.
At 9 a.m. Mark (my Couchsurfing host) knocks at the door.
We take a walk in the neighborhood.
I rest a while and then walk down to the Eccles Theater in early afternoon.
Just on time to see the B.D. bus pulling in the parking lot.
Time for the Soundcheck.
I walk the downtown area for one hour and retrieve my path to the Eccles.
Mavis is stepping out of her bus. A gentle Fan asks her for an autograph. I take a chance to tell her how great inspiration she is and shake hand with her.
Nothing much is happening, except Barron doing some business.
The catering people bring food inside.
Time for the B.D. folks to eat.
I walk up the hill to rest and get ready.
Walk down the hill around 7 p.m.
The crowd is slowly gathering inside the lobby of the Eccles.
Nice weather, nice and friendly folks.
Even the security smiles at my sign ;
'If you have an extra ticket you do not need. I will be happy to use it. Thank you'.
There is no scalpers here. Another woman (who is not F.) is also looking for a friendly ticket. She will get one.
A man approaches me, says he has an extra ticket he would like to sell. I say 'Alright. Try to sell but if you can't, please, think about me'.
He will give it to me.
I am in, on the second balcony (there is a third one above).
Mavis is on time.
Same show as yesterday, same jokes.
Warming the Casa!!!!
Stu strumming. George beating.
Bob is in white/cream ¾ long jacket. Same pants; black with white stripes. No hat. Black hair which looks red in the spot lights. But I swear, his hair ain't red!
I pay attention to every single line of the songs.
He didn't change the lyrics of 'Tangled up in blue' , just the melody.
I LOVE ' Summer days' ,, a sort of bluegrass jig that makes me feel like standing up and dancing. But I am stuck and glued on my chair!
It reminds me of the one I loved so much ; 'Beyond here lies nothing'
'Once upon a time' is a great choice. It should be on the setlist.
'Pay in blood' is torching up to the night.
'Early Roman Kings' is moving the cassa.
'Soon after midnight' comes as a refreshing sweet, romantic tune.
'Desolation row' is the highlight. The public is standing up.
'Thunder on the mountain' is adding a lightning to the hot atmosphere... the tempest before the calm and relaxing fall of the 'Autumn leaves'.
'Long and wasted years' is the closing.
It could have been 'Love sick'.
By now Bobby must be tired. He trots to the backstage.
I am up for 5 minutes, clapping and shouting 'bravo Bobby!'
The performance was excellent.
I believe at some point he must have been confused with the order of the songs as Tony murmured something in his ear.
I also believe 'Once upon a time' was not on the setlist as Bob moved to each one of the musician (except Stu) to deliver few words before the song.
The encore is without surprise. By now the public is up.
Good public who could appreciate the Dylan's songs as well as the covers.
I didn't see anyone leaving the venue before the encore.
For me, and because I was on the balcony where the sound was perfect, this is the best show of the 3 I attended.
I move out with the crowd, bump into Al Santos who happily shakes hand with me, bump into Ian who gives me a big hug and a goodbye(this is his last show of that tour).
I walk back home singing … “but I miss you must of all, my Darling, when autumn leaves start to faaaaaaallllllll.....”
Good night Bobby, sweet dreams,!
See you soon.
October 19th and 20th.
I decided to stay in Salt Lake City 2 more days as I have a condo all for myself.
I wake up early as usual on the 19th.
I have a whole day off.
I don't do much except reading and preparing my trip until Chicago : booking bus tickets and a Youth Hostel in Chicago as I didn’t find any CS host. Going to the library to print the GREYHOUND tickets. I book a ride to Denver on the 20th in the evening. That will be a night ride and I hope all will be alright with the buses.
Thursday morning I take a walk with Mark in a park. I spend some time writing my blog and then go visit the Rock Lady next door. She is Rosemary and she collects rocks in order to make jewellery.
We share a glass of red wine from Italy. A friend of her is passing by and he invites me for dinner at the Green Pig. We have a pleasant evening watching another one of those American football games on T.V.
I am thankful as this is my first decent meal since I am in the States.
In the late afternoon, on the 20th, Mark takes me to a coffee shop to meet with a friend and then he drives me to the Greyhound station.
October 21th Denver
The bus is right on time and I sleep most the way to Denver.
Jeff (a not Bobcat) is supposed to meet me at 7 a.m. for a breakfast but he texts me that he can't make it . Okay. I , then, try to figure out how to reach my CS host in Westminster, a suburb of Denver.
A super nice guy guides me all the way to the train.
I missed the 8.09 a.m. train and wait for the 9.09 a.m. drinking a strong cup of Americano.
Jacob (my CS host) will pick me up at the train stop in Westminster and shows me my room in his brand new house.
Later he and his girlfriend will drive me to Boulder for a walk on Pearl street then to the tea factory called CELESTIAL.
They make more than 100 types of tea and we do a tour of the fabrication plant.
Time to go back home.
I treat myself with 2 slices of pizza at the nearest supermarket.
Jacob gives me a ride to the venue.
By 7 p.m. I am out looking for my ticket.
4 young follows offer me a ticket. I follow them and find myself 10th row centre on the aisle. Cool!
Mavis is fantastic and changed a bit her setlist.
She sure will take you there...wherever is there!
Stu is on and the Band takes position.
Bob is dressed in black : shining black jacket, black shirt, black pants with the white straps. His hair is dishevelled.
The venue is not a fancy one, neither the public.
First song and the public in front is all up.
Many folks will never seat down.
Randy in front of me will be up all the show blocking my view of Bob at the piano. He is a Bobcat of long time so .... I tolerate with all my good spirit.
Barron passes by and smiles with good humor.
Some smoke can be seen here and there and the smell is familiar.
Though security is strict for the cell phone (there was a metal detector at the entrance ) tolerance is 100 % for weed! Welcome Colorado!
Bobby must be intoxicated for he is rocking and rolling like never before.
Song after song the public is getting wild, so do I.
Lucky I had 2 slices of pizza for lunch, I've got some energy.
"It ain't me Babe". I hear voices behind me "no, no, no it ain't me Baaaabe'
"Once upon a time». Yes! He heard me and kept that song on the setlist. Thank you my Dear.
"Tangled up in blue" is recognised by an attentive public.
"Desolation row' and the boys next to me are singing along.
On and on, rows after rows the Fans are standing up, dancing and singing along.
Great! I am not the only crazy freak tonight.
The crowd is all up for 'Ballad of a thin man' and I make a move to reach the rail in the dark when....
Bob starts again on the piano.
A third encore and this is a Tom Petty song "Learning to fly".
This is Tom Petty’s birthday, the previous day or the day following.
Petty died of apparently a heart attack at only 66, on the 2sd of October.
He had been a companion of Dylan for few years, starting with the “Farm Aid” concert in 1985,
The “True confession Tour” in 1986 around the world,
The collaboration on the group “The Travelling Wilburys”.
Bob remembered his companion and friend!
Thank you Colorado people!
I move rapidly out.
They are Fans I spotted in front of me I don't want to deal with.
In this Tour I decided to be a freewheeling.
I manage perfectly with Buses , couchsurfing hosts and Youth Hostels or AirB and B.
My idea of solidarity is far from the Bob Dylan Fan club.
We see life on the road with a different point of view.
My budget is tight but I always lived this way.
It doesn't disturb me as long as I am not confronted with unnecessary luxury around me.
The Couchsurfers are my family for they get the concept of traveling light and cheap and meeting the regular citizens in each country.
I am easy going and flexible in many ways.
I am a Bob Dylan Fan and so are the 5 or 8 000 people going to the show every night.
I am just happy to be able to see so many shows.
I pay the price for nothing is never 'free'.
I struggle to find a way back to the house.
The regular taxis are asking for 40$.
I can't use UBER cause my tablet is not connected.
After 20 minutes I bump into another guy looking for a cab.
He found a meter taxi and we agree to share the ride, except he is going the other direction than me and I hand up with a 35$ fare.
Oh well! It's life on the road and since I didn't pay for my concert ticket. I guess it is alright.
I sleep more or less in peace for I need to be up at 5 a.m. and try UBER for the first time.
It works well, but I am at the Greyhound station 2 hours early!
A day bus ride for 8 hours in a boring path ; corn, corn and corn.
I relax and keep track with my CS hosts.
Kristen will pick me up at the station at 8.30 p.m.We chat.
We watch " Friends " on TV. And I go to my private room.
23rd of October Omaha.
I relax and update my blog.
In the early afternoon Kristen takes me downtown to the 'candy store' then I am on my own.
I walk the passageway before heading to the Centurylink center.
A sign outdoor informs the public that no big bag will be allowed.
I start panicking as my bag is over sized.
The security inside is of no help.
I go to Starbucks to connect and the Lady there tells me the Marriot hotel next door might hold my bag. They say they will. Cool!
I bump into a Fan I met before at different concerts. He's a good-hearten biker. He gives me money for the BD postcard I hand him. Thank you my friend.
I start looking for a ticket but the scalpers are not helping. Others are looking for cheap tickets.
By 8 p.m. I am still outside. Though I feel sorry I am not desperate. I will wait until the end of the show, anyway.
A nice Lady comes to me and tells me that one of a friend is coming with 7 tickets. I believe I heard wrong but I keep my eyes open.
A young fellow approaches and extracts 7 tickets from his coat. All the poor fans gather around him. Each one will get a complimentary ticket.
I rush inside and the security which had been so tight doesn’t even stop me.
I take my seat as Mavis is taking the public...there.
15 minutes break and Stu is on at 8.30p.m.
The venue is not full on the sides. 60% of the capacity.
The setlist is the same as Las Vegas with that Sinatra song that Bob can not so successfully perform. But that is his choice.
The public is the opposite as Denver. Except 2 or 3 Fans in the first row, nothing is moving.
Not even on "Thunder on the mountain " which is the highlight. I see George drumming hard.
“People don't live or die, people just float”.
The rows next to me are emptying long time before the encore.
I can do my Karaoke performance.
Bobby is equal to himself.
It is a great show and a miracle for me.
I say Hi to Jason and joke about Bob wearing the same pants night after night!
I retrieve my bag at the Marriot and call Kristen who will kindly pick me up.
The streets are empty.
Omaha will leave me with the impression of emptiness.
24th of October Ames.
I arrive in Ames station on time with Jefferson bus.
I am the only one stepping out.
Curtis, my CS host, will take 1 hour off from work to pick me up.
The house is huge. I have the whole basement for myself.
I unpack and take a walk to downtown for breakfast.
Well! Not so much of downtown.
In half an hour I already seen all.
Ames is a University "village".
I buy myself a pumpkin bread.
I take a nap before heading to the Stephens Auditorium, by the campus, 25 minutes walking distance.
The wind is blasting cold.
The buses are parked on the street. Nothing is happening.
Sue just arrives and also the biker Fan I met in Omaha.
I put my sign out early for the capacity of the auditorium is only 2700.
A Lady comes to me and says she has a ticket.
" how much?" I say. At this time most of the extra tickets are sold face value.
"How much are you willing to pay?" She says.
I quickly realize I have to offer a price.
Whoa! The ticket value is 125$. Excellent seat.
We go in as the weather is getting worst and worst.
I chat for a long time with Sue.
People are pleasant.
Security is tight but not aggressive.
A usher tells me security is tight at the request of the performer.( ???)
Sue is not willing to hear Mavis.
I still find some pleasure in her show, though I know her jokes by heart!
The venue is effectively small. The balconies are suspended in the air.
Though it is on a campus the audience is ..."old", reserved and polite.
The 2 ladies at my sides have never seen Bob Dylan show before (??).
The show is as usual with "Once upon a time" for the 9th song.
This is a great show but I am squeezed between 2 ladies who obviously don't recognize most of the songs.
Too much polite!
I move rapidly out and walk the 25 minutes back home.
Curtis is waiting for me and offers me a bowl of veggies and barley soup.
More than welcomed.
I sleep deep until 5.15 a.m. when I call UBER for a ride to the bus station.
25th October St Paul.
I get up 5.15 a.m. Call UBER on my tablet. Pack everything. Say goodbye to the dog (the only one up in the house). Close the door. Wait for the bus to St Paul.
I contacted my CS host, Niqui, but I had no answer. I then contact another CS host. Better be safe!
At the last moment Niqui said the patio door will be unlocked for me to leave my suitcase there, at her home.
The bus arrives on time at the union depot, a splendid building.
I walk all the way to Arlington street. It takes me more than 2 hours as passer-byes keep on misguiding me.
I leave my luggage and walk back to downtown, towards the Xcel Energy Center.
I rest my poor feet and get some energy drink.
By 6 p.m. I am by the venue. Funny youngsters are holding a huge portrait of Bobby. They say if I go to a bar, down the street, put my name on a piece of paper , I may win a B.D. show ticket for tonight. Whoa!
I never knew if I won!
2 ladies are giving away cereal bars. They happily drop many in my bag.
They are sugar free, protein free, G.M.O. free ... for a while I thought they were food free!
But though they taste like s***.....this is filling up my stomach.
I start my request for a ticket at the main door by 6.15 p.m.
Scalpers are aggressive and other poor fellows search for cheap tickets as well.
Fans arrive by bunch of 20/25. They are not friendly. I would say even harsh and rude. Wave after wave folks pass me with no word or consideration. I feel 'invisible'.
Sue spends some time chatting with me and this is a great relief.
I was almost giving up!
8.15 p.m. Absolutely no luck. I believe 8000 people passed by me.
The speakers are still shouting the regulations : strict search of body and bag, no recording material, no photo...no smoking of regular cigarettes or e-cigarettes....smoking permitted out only at gate3.
What?? Oh my! Memories pop up in my mind. The time when Bob had an intermission and I could sneak in by the smoking area.
I rapidly move to gate3. Fans are smoking out for Mavis show is over.
I join the smokers, though I never smoked a cigarette in my life!
By chance I have with me my ticket from Ames. They all look the same those Ticketmaster ticket.
I pass the security metal detector, present from far my ticket in my hand, the Lady asks if I have the stamp on my wrist. She gives me the hint. I pretend lifting my sleeve and say" yes. I have the stamp".
I am IN.
Finding a spot will be no problem here.
I stay on the balcony and try to move as close as possible to the stage as Stu strums his tune.
I sneak inside the first door on the left on the stage, stand up by the rail(a rail is going all around the balcony, on the top of the sport arena).
Bob is finishing "Things have changed" , gets into "It ain't me Babe" when a stupid usher asks me where I am seated. She wants to see my ticket, as if being where I am could disturb anyone??!!
I have to leave to avoid any trouble, I can't take the risk of being thrown out!
I try the second door, then the third door...stupid ushers!
The 4th one is less strict. I sneak behind a group of intoxicated young follows.
I will stand up on my poor bloated feet the entire show.
I relax just before "Summer days": take my coat off, put my bag down and dance the Irish dance.
The young guy next to me is a Fan. We have a good time.
I drum on the rail with my fingers, following Little Georgie's moves.
I appreciate plainly each one of the song, thinking I could be out in the cold by now. I must have a good Star to guide me, talking to my brain!
The Arena is packed. I wondering how many know what Bob is playing.
Not the intoxicated youngsters who applaud at the wrong timing, long time before Bob ends "Why try to change me now? " or "Melancholy mood ".
"Highway 61" has a good reception as well as "Thunder on the mountain ".
"Autumn leaves" is getting to a smooth end and I am ready for "Long and wasted years ". But Bob stays at the piano and I recognize the first notes of " Ballad of a thin man ".
Whoa! So did Bob decide to finish early and go spend some time with his family on his farm?
Nope. He comes back for "Blowing in the wind ".
And finalize with "That lucky old sun ".
I am glad I didn't give up my search.
Thank you so much for Su company.
I wait for the "school of sardines" to move out. I look for ticket stubs, for me and my good friend Stefano.
I run into Bill Pagel who says he had a ticket for me, 8th row down the floor.
Oh well! S***!
He said he texted me but I never opened my telephone just to call HIM TWICE with no answer!!
Things happen in season, for a reason. ... said to me Mr R. once upon a time!
Time now to panic again for I have no idea if the door of the CS host home will be open.
I call with no answer.
I walk fast.
By 11.45 p.m. I am at the door and see some lights.
Jamie opens, shows me around, offers me a soda, guides me to my room.
I crash on the bed and fall in a deep sleep.
What a day!
Night , night Bobby!
26th of October Chicago.
The greyhound bus leaves St Paul with one hour delay.
I have a surprising adventure: at 4 p.m. we stop at a Mc Donald's. (I believe greyhound bus company has a contract with that fast food restoration!)
I don't feel like spending money, so I start munching on a cereal bar.
A man shows his face at the door and asks who is hungry and don't have money for food.
First I am suspicious but what the eke!
I follow him to McDo. I order a menu1 and seat with Tony. We have a pleasant chat and step again on the bus. Thanks Tony!
We arrive in Chicago late, with more than one hour delay. It is dark and cold and I am tired. I call UBER for a ride to my Hostel.
The Hostel is brand new : clean and comfortable. The bed is a king or queen size bed. A large kitchen is available. The shower is .... hot.
27th of October.
I wake up early and get a complimentary breakfast ; empanada with coffee.
I go to Walgreens to get soup for lunch. I am the only one making use of the kitchen.
I take another hot shower, take a nap.
I decide to go to the venue early to check out. It is an inauguration and I have no idea how it will be. I have bad memories from Paris.
The area is .... horrible. The wind is freezing cold. Nonetheless I wait for Bobby and the Band to arrive for the Soundcheck.
Bobby's bus pulls in really close to the back door. I just have 3 seconds to see him walking in. He is wearing a hoodie on top of a red cup, his leather jacket and gloves. Cool!
I try to stay away from the cold wind and ends up in a large building where they prepare a chocolate marathon for next Sunday.
I stuff myself with chocolate cookies and chocolate drinks samples.
Then move out again by the venue. I run into Sue and we are both surprised at the heavy security. Men armed with machine guns are patrolling . Whoa!
They will not allow my bag inside, so Sue accepts kindly to put it in her hotel room. Thanks!
I am now looking for a ticket and doing that I start a 20 minutes chat with a heavy loaded security guy who wants to visit ... Normandy!
Oh well! It is always good to be friend with security, though I do believe he voted Trump.
But somehow he was sweeter and kinder to me than some Bob Dylan Fans and “Dead heads”(so called Hippies!).
I spot a man, all by himself, who seams to wait for something. I move to him and say I need a ticket for the show.
"I have one " he says and pulls a ticket outside his pocket.
We walk in as it is freezing out.
We take our seats, behind the piano. Cool!
We chat until Mavis is on.
She is from Chicago, she will mention it few times.
15 minutes and Bob is on.
The venue is filling up. There is nothing special about any inauguration. It is just a sport arena, like any sport arena.
Few Fans in the front are exited. Other than that it is a "normal" show.
He is wearing the outfit of Las Vegas : black jacket, black pants with white straps, black shirt.
Excellent on "Pay in blood".
Bobby must have a cold as I see him ... blowing his nose.
On "Ballad of a thin man " he has a weird attitude :he is checking constantly his left hand as if it is injured! I don't see any blood!
(Later I will see some photos on Facebook with Bob wearing a bandage on one of his left fingers.)
A quick salute and it is the end.
I search for Sue, retrieve my bag and catch the Red line metro to my Hostel.
I am glad I was in Chicago. I met great people who don't seam to mind the freezing cold climate!
Good night Bobby! See you soon!
28th of October Grand Rapids.
I leave the Hostel in Chicago after a light breakfast, catch the brown line metro, walk few blocks towards the Greyhound station.
I take a bus to .... Holland, Michigan where Mike, my C.S. contact, will host me for the night after the show in Grand Rapids ( 1hour ride away).
He is going to the show with a ticket.
We have a pleasant chat and leave the house to be at the venue around 6 p.m.
It is raining now but not too bad. As I am out trying to get a ticket Mike proposes to buy me one on line. Because he is insisting I say yes and promise to offer him brunch next morning.
My seat is far away from the stage but I move down on the floor and stay in the last row, which will be empty the entire show.
This is a sport arena for hockey and the floor is ... ice. Extremely cold on my feet. The seats on the side are half empty as well as many on the floor.
Mavis seams to be tired tonight. She doesn't speak as much as usual.
Bob and the Band are on time. Bob with a light cream / white jacket.
The show is the same.
I am up and singing and dancing as there is no one behind me.
Here and there Fans stand up for some songs : “Highway61”, “Summer days”, “Pay in blood”, “Desolation row”, “Thunder on the mountain”. ...but nothing too much exiting.
I just enjoy myself.
I am ready for "Long and wastes years" when I recognize the intro of " Love sick". Nice for a change.
The crowd slowly moves out.
Mike takes me to Hihop for a late dinner.
Next morning he drives me around lake Michigan.
We have a “sweety” Lunch of coffee and buns.
I had a pleasant stay in here.
From Grand rapids to Detroit.
I am skipping the show in Bloomington.
I will spend few days in Detroit.
I arrive on time and walk few blocks at night to Rich's condo, my couchsurfing host.
He lives on the 17th floor of a high building and from the window I can see the sign of the FOX theater blinking in the dark.
I have 2 days and 2 evenings to spend before the show on the 1st.
30th of October Detroit
I walk few blocks to the Public Library, early morning, to prepare my second leg of the Tour, until Philadelphia.
I contact all my couchsurfing hosts and book my Greyhound tickets.
I cross the street to check on the Detroit Art Institute, but the doors are closed. Walking back home I stop at the grocery store to buy food : pasta, tomato sauce, cereals. That will do for few days.
Rich comes from work (he is a lawyer for some Unions) and we have a pleasant chat.
My bed in the living room is comfy and Rich hands me the keys of the condo.
Plus they are some books around that I wish to read ; MalcomX biograhpy,
A. P. Randolph biography, Steinbeck, the painters Shiele and Bacon....a paradise for me.
31st October Detroit.
Back to the library for printing my tickets and finally I make it to the D.A.I. for 9$. They have, in there, a large MURAL from Diego Rivera, the Mexican painter and companion of Frida Kahlo. I spend 2 hours studying the mural plus more hours inside the different sections of one of the largest museums in the States! (They told me). And it is true, after the M.E.T. in New York and the Art Institute in Chicago.
Though this Museum almost disappeared due to the bankruptcy of the City of Detroit, it has been rescued by some philanthropists to my great relief and delight!
Back home for supper and chat with Rich.
As he is a defender of the Unionists, we have no difficulty talking 'Socialism' and even intruding in 'Communism' (a dirty word for a lot of Americans, brainwashed by the Cold War and anti communist propaganda. [Listen to Bobby Dylan!]).
1st of November.
The day of the show.
My friend John Paul sent me an address of a large second hand bookstore.
After a strong cup of coffee I walk there and, of course, I buy myself a book ; "50 Artists you should know." 50 Painters.
Back home I finish reading the life of Randolph, Afro - American activist before Dr. Martin Luther King.
By 4.45 p.m.
I walk 1 block to find the backstage entrance of the venue, to see the Band and Bob entering the venue for the soundcheck. I say hi to Big Bob who asks me if I am following the whole Tour. "Until Boston" I answer. "They are shows in New York" he says. We'll see!
By 6 p.m. I walk again to the venue, this time by the public entrance.
I promised Rich to find him a ticket as he is hosting me for a long stay.
I start putting my sign out. It takes 10 minutes before a miracle happens : a man hands me, not only 1, but 2 tickets and rapidly moves away.
I call Rich who join me and we are seated, side by side, on the floor section, all the way in the back.
The deco of the Theater is of Oriental style but all fake : plasters and plastic!
Mavis is marvelously inspiring. Her songs mean a lot to Rich, of course, though he is a lot younger than the "marchings for freedom".
Bob is dressed as in Las Vegas; dark jacket.
His mood on that Tour is : Black and White.
The sound is perfect. The best so far.
Except some trouble people who arrive late and drunk and loud, the show is great.
The highlight is "Summer days" when Bobby's voice is at his top.
"Desolation row " and a particularly staccato "Tangled up in blue " make the fire in that "snobbish" theater but not so "snobbish" public.
Bob must have a good rest, for his voice is clear.
"Once upon a time" is a regular now (to my delight!).
"Love sick" is now replacing "Long and wasted years " (to my delight, also).
If only he could introduce "Shooting Star", I'd be in Paradise.
Well! What a surprising stay I had in Detroit!
It was the time and the place for "Union sundown". A song I recommended to Rich.
Bobby didn't feel like me.
3rd of November Akron
I arrive on schedule time with "Barons bus".
Took the city bus to my destination and missed the stop.
The driver was kind enough to drive me back ... right at the door of my Couchsurfing host. In fact 7 youngster are living in a huge house once the property of some executive for GOODYEAR company, the tires factory.
Akron was the city of the tires used for the cars built in Detroit.
The consequences of the depression and "globalization" is not so visible here than in Detroit.
My first evening is entertained by a group of Acro-Yoga practicing in the living room. Fun to watch but I will never try!
Next day is rainy day so I decide to visit a museum ; Stan Hywet hall and gardens. It was the property of the Seiberling family, owner of the Goodyear factory. Immensely rich, they ordered the construction (4 years) of one of the 6 largest Mansions in the States. The "house" includes 62 rooms! It is exquisitely decorated.
We have a Tour and I also spend time in the garden and green house.
I recommend the Tourist Tour for 19$. Worth it.
I am confused in the bus schedule so... I have to walk , 1 hour, all the way downtown.
The E.J. Thomas hall is on a campus, not so pretty as Detroit.
Bob steps in his bus after the soundcheck. I say hi to Stu passing by.
I promised one of my CS hosts to find him a ticket for the show.
Luckily 2 men gave me a ticket each. I give the best seat to Oliver, who will be seeing Bob for the first time.
I am on the third balcony, very high above the stage.
Mavis looks tired. She doesn't speak as much as she used to. She sings an old Gospel song; "Wade in the water".
She is entertaining the public alright.
Bob is right on time and as usual Fans didn't take their seats early enough.
I am disturb for the 3 first songs but then all is well. The public is respectful even enthusiastic on "Thunder on the mountain', "Desolation row", "Tangled up in blue " . I hear some applause at the start of "Autumn leaves".
The show is great, as any other show.
Spectacular on "Thunder on the mountain".
My favourite still being "Summer days". I love the violin from Donnie.
The encore is quickly executed and the show ends at 10.15 p.m.
I join Oliver who enjoyed himself though he doesn't know many of Dylan songs. He recognized "Blowing in the wind ", certainly the Bob Dylan anthem.
"Blowing in the wind " is for Dylan what "Guernica" is for Picasso.
Oliver is surprised about the heavy security who asks the folks to cross the street in order for Bob to step quietly and peacefully in his bus before taking the road.
We drive home chatting about why I am so hooked on Dylan!
Hard to explain to a rational Mathematician.
4th of November Columbus
My Couchsurfing hosts in Columbus, Jeff and Charlene, live north of Columbus.
I first meet them in a bar/cinema complex where, today, they are watching a football game.
I feed myself lunch with a bag of chips!
We live the bar around 6 p.m., they drive me to their home, to meet the 3 cats. We listen to Bob Dylan Nobel prize acceptance speech. Jeff blows up the king size air mattress and I fall asleep right away.
5th of November.
Charlene cooks breakfast and go to church while Jeff is taking care of the laundry.
I just spend time reading a book.
By 5 p.m. I catch bus number 2 towards downtown. I am a little bit worried for I have my suitcase with me. I go straight to the security guards at the entrance of the Palace theater and explain my problem. They will not let me in with my luggage and they are even rude as if I carry with me a dangerous item. I spot the Leveque Hotel, right next to the venue and decide to take my chance. The clerk kindly understand my demand and accept to hold my suitcase until the end of the show. I am more than thankful for that.
Second challenge is to get a free entrance. 2 scalpers are a bit aggressive until I make them understand I know their game and I don't play by it.
A man passes by me and hands me a ticket. He didn't even ask me anything or argue about any price.
Though it is early, the wind and the rain start to create trouble so I step inside.
No metal detector, no heavy search. Just the usual recommendations; no camera, no recording material.
The venue is again a splendidly decorated theater. The crowd is not "young" though Columbus is a University town, second largest in the States.
I seat next to my Good Samaritan who tells me he is a teacher of Maths at the University and is wife is sick and couldn't make it to the show.
I ask what he expects from Bob Dylan tonight. He says the songs from the sixties. But he will be enthusiastic all along the show, even if, probably, he doesn't know most of the songs Bob is interpreting in his new style.
Mavis is in a great spirit tonight.
Taking the public ...there.
Most of the folks are seated when Stu starts strumming, which is good news!
I can enjoy plainly "Things have changed"
"It ain't me Babe" brings a smile on my good Samaritan face.
As well as "Highway 61" Unchanged from the original version.
The Sinatra songs are familiar for that crowd of retired folks.
They are accepted with enthusiasm.
"Summer days" makes me wiggle but not too much. Seats are bouncing from one side to the other of the row.
Bob goes on with his usual setlist as more and more people leave their seats. Some coming back and some not.
My Good Samaritan picks on my mood whether or not he recognizes the songs. He seams a bit bored on the Sinatra ones and keeps saying "thank you. Thank you" . To whom? I don’t know.
"Thunder on the mountain " is a must. Some super Fans, here and there, stand and bounce their heads for few minutes, before being asked to seat.
My row of seats is empty as Bob and the Band reappear for "Blowing in the wind " and the final "Ballad of a thin man ".
The theater is empty by now and I linger around. I am in no hurry as my Greyhound bus is leaving for Pittsburgh at 12.55 a.m.
As I finally step out, it is pouring rain. Oh my! I have to walk 10 minutes with my luggage which I retrieved from the Hotel.
By chance, I spot a couple to whom I had explained all my adventures with Bob Dylan before the show. I ask, kindly, if they could give me a ride. They say, "no problem".
I am at the Greyhound station by 11.00 p.m. all dry!
I get myself some French fries, the only "decent" food at this time of the night.
I sleep the 3 hours and half, all the way to Pittsburgh.
Bobby is probably taking the same road in his luxury bus!
6th of November Pittsburgh.
Larry, my C.S. host, is waiting for me at the Greyhound bus station at 4.30 a.m.
He drives me to his beautiful home, in the suburb of Pittsburgh and shows me my room. I have the basement all for myself with all the comfort of a small apartment.
We have a quiet breakfast as his wife, Jeanne is still sleeping.
I rest in the afternoon before taking the train to downtown Pittsburgh.
The Theater is the Heinz Hall, one of the smallest venue of the Tour.
Right away I don’t feel comfortable with the atmosphere ; the scalpers are numerous and aggressive.
The security is also nasty. They push the scalpers and me across the street.
I “fight” with one of the policeman who can’t believe I am just looking for an extra ticket to GO in.
After few hours of struggle I give up and call Larry to pick me up.
I am a “mess”. That was a complete disaster.
Luckily Larry and Jeanne are beautiful people and they saved me a nice supper.
I go to bed, crying on my pillow.
Why so much violence, I didn’t do anything wrong!
I start to understand the anger of some victims of injustice.
Why some policemen are so ‘pervert’, abusing their power?
7th of November Pittsburgh
Larry requested me to stay one more day in order for us to have a visit of Pittsburgh.
Though I’ve been here before I happily says yes to the request.
In fact Larry is so sweet and smart that I wouldn’t mind to stay longer if it was not for Bobby.
We drive downtown towards the Art Museum which unfortunately closed today.
We then decide to have a good bowl of pastas in a restaurant, take a tour of the Cathedral of learning (part of the University)then we go to another Museum.
Larry and Jeanne prepare great dinner.
That wonderful day erased the bad experience of the previous evening.
Next morning, to my surprise, Larry takes me to the Museum(open today).
Then drives me to the Greyhound station.
8th, 9th, 10th,11th, 12th of November Philadelphia.
I decided to skip the shows in Uniondale and Richmond.
They are out of the regular road ; too far, too much expensive.
So Olivia, my CS Host in Philly, accepted me to stay a week at her house in exchange for some work in the house.
I clean the attic, I help her to paint the living room walls, we sort and range the tools, I clean the leaves out on the lawn …
11th of November Philadelphia
I haven't seen Bob and his people for 5 days and I miss the fun.
Take the bus 109 to Upper Darby.
The Tower is just across the bus terminal.
6 p.m. some folks are queuing to get in and I don't understand the reason. This is all seated tickets.
It is freezing cold and I forgot the gloves Larry (my CS host)had bought for me in Pittsburgh.
The buses are parked on the side of the theater and I spot Barron walking by.
I chat with Fans, here and there but I am waiting most for my good friend Jack Fate.
It is nice to hug a great Soul. It warms me immediately.
I am confident to find myself a ticket but Jack insists to buy me one and get me outside the cold.
One more time I can't express my gratitude. Jack and Kim will be blessed for the time and more.
I am all the way on the top. The theater is small (3000) so my view is perfect, plunging on the stage.
I have a seat on the aisle so I will be up during the entire show.
Mavis is doing her show. 45 minutes, no more, no less.
She is not so talkative tonight. She doesn’t mention how Bobby moves his body!
For me it's pretty much the way he walks that is weird, like if walking on eggs.
It takes now 15 minutes to change the scene.
Stu is on at 8.30 p.m.
Bob didn't change his pants since Las Vegas!
He is in Black and White since the beginning of the Tour. No hat.
I will call that Tour : the B&W Tour.
The boys are in blue.
Where I seat the sound is perfect. Bobby's voice is clear.
I watch individually each one of the musicians. Though they have been doing that performance for 15 shows now, they still look inspired.
George, Charlie and Donnie have their moment of "glory".
George on "Thunder on the mountain"
Donnie on "Summer days"
Charlie on "Early Roman kings", "Soon after midnight" and much more.
Tony and Stu perfect as the rhythm duo.
I focus on the stage and on some fans obviously as much exited as I am.
The show is a roller coaster; up on the Dylan songs he is performing on piano(most of the time standing up) down with the Sinatra covers he is performing center stage.
A good balance of Rock and Croon.
There is no song I will reject except. .."Tangled up in blue". I still believe this is not the best version.
well! One of my "individualist" karaoke tonight as no one next to me is moving his ass on his chair!
Again, folks leave the theater long time before the "Ballad".
The first row is 600 dollar ticket a seat and I heard a stupid one tried to take a photo and was immediately taken ... out!
I move quickly out and run to the bus terminal to catch the 109 bus back where Olivia (my CS host) will pick me up and drive me home.
That was again an excellent show!
12th of November Philadelphia.
It is Sunday in Philly, like anywhere in the world, I suppose.
But here the library and stores are opened.
The city buses are running.
At 5 p.m. it is time to catch the bus 109 to the Tower Theater.
The weather is slightly better, less wind so less cold.
Barron suddenly appears behind me.
I keep on bumping on him!
I spot Charlie and George walking by. I just say hello.
It never occurred to me to ask for an autograph! A kiss?? Ah!ah!
By 6 p.m. people are queuing. Don't ask me why, anymore.
Scalpers and poor souls seem to look for tickets, but I will be the first one to get one from 2 young girls.
I get in and find myself on the floor. Not too close but not too far!
The seat on my left is empty and will be the entire show.
I am ready for Mavis.
She sure warms me up. She is talkative tonight.
I run to the bathroom to find a queue. As much as I hate it....I need to go.
I run back to my seat.
The 2 seats on my right are now empty and will be until the end.
Mavis Staples Fans who hate Bob Dylan!??
Stu is on. The first row is up, and will be up the entire show.
Plus the second and third row center.
It is the first time on that Tour people don't seat.
I don't mind since the stage is high and I have a perfect view.
But to my surprise the sound is not as clear as last night.(from my seat).
I won't do much of my karaoke for I do have folks in front of me who might not like an 'echo' for every song.
Bob is picking up on the vibes from the front. He is doing a remarkable "Summer days".
Unfortunately as Bob is Bob he can overwork his enthusiasm and he is doing a weird "Tangled up in blue" . Blu.ue.ue! Rapping more than singing.
As I am ready to start "Soon after midnight" I recognize the first note of "Scarlet town ". Thank you Bobby! It is refreshing.
"Desolation row " is sooo good that he's got some kind of an ovation.
The show is far from being sold out but at least the Fans present are... Fans.
Few will move during the performance to get a drink and it is good news!
"Thunder on the mountain " is “orageous”. George, (my little Georgie)will get some applause. Charlie will get his moments of glory on "The Early roman kings".
The first rows are making the difference and I wish I could be there. But
I have to seat or I will be "crucified".
Better than the previous night.
Bobby was taken by the Public and did more than just a great performance. He enjoyed himself.
As I walk out to the bus terminal Bobby's bus passes in front of me.
Night, night Bobby!
13th of November Washington D.C
I arrive at Union Station, noisy and crowdy.
I walk to my Hostel.
Unfortunately a bad reception from the guy at the desk and I find myself in a dirty place ; the kitchen is filthy and worst is the shower room.
The dorm room is warm, mixed with boys and girls.
I go to the supermarket to buy some food and go to bed early.
14th on November Washington D.C
Wake up early, take a shower.
I walk all the way to the venue The Anthem , by the Wharf.
I arrive at 9.30 a.m. and Nahoko, the Japanese fan is already here!
So we go for a cup of coffee until 11 a.m.
When we go back to the venue Jeff is around. I know him from the past.
As I had bad experiences with him I keep my distance. (He is V.I.P. anyway)
Another Japanese guy, now living in New York is on the stairs also.
We chat for a long time....until early afternoon when we go to Schacker Shacke for a bite.
The line starts to form at 3.30 p.m. I make sure Nahoko is first and I am supposed to be second. But as usual I don't have any ticket yet. Price is 75$. Way too much for my budget.
With a capacity of 6000 and not Sold out, I am confident.
It starts getting cold but not so much as to be frozen.
The Japanese guy is nice to offer us 2 girls to check our small bags in his hotel, so the security search will be faster.
By 5.30p.m. I start searching for a cheap ticket.
Immediately I feel the problem. There is no scalpers around, meaning security is tough. 3 kinds of security ; the Anthem staff, the police and the area security.
A fat jerk dressed in 'chicken color' jumps on me and scolds me away "you can't do that here, it is a private property ". So what! (Do I think!).
I put my sign paper in my pocket.
At 6 p.m. I look sadly the first line running in. I lost my position!
Some V.I.P. yuppies are getting in first. But at 300$ a ticket, they are nor so numerous.
For 2 hours I play Cat and Mouse with security. I try to be as discreet as possible asking for an extra ticket, somebody among the 6000, necessarily has one. And what if I get it? Where is the problem?
Well! The D.C. citizens seam to believe this is not the way to do it.
They don't even look at me , least wish me good luck!
I feel being in another country, another dimension.
That can't be a Bob Dylan show!
Not that CROWD of sheep!
At 7.30 p.m. I give up and seat sadly on a bench, looking the flock getting in, being search and happily 'disregarding ' me.
My attend to open a conversation went to ... zero. Nullity!
But I can't go back to the Hostel, I need to retrieve my back and the one from Nahoko.
By 8.15 p.m. there is still a line out. Maybe half the public missed Mavis Staples. But do they really care!
My torturer (the chicken cop) is going to eat in a fast food and this is my only chance now.
I pass by the left over of the line, some 20 folks.
One guy says "yes, I have an extra". But he asks
"how much do you want to pay?"
"How much do you want?"
"How much do you have?"
I pull 10$, I happened to have in my pocket.
To be cruel he adds
"I have another extra"
I walk in as security asks for an I.D. No wonder it took so long to put all the sheep in!
Bob is on for " Summer days".
The crowd is packed in the front but behind the real Fans , the others are just here for fun : talking and drinking.
Half laughing, half crying, I do my karaoke as those D.C. jerks now look at me with despise.
I am a freak, so what!
Bob and The Band are doing their "job".
The show is not different than any other show but for me...
The worst of all.
I walk the hour walk to my Hostel rapidly as I am TERRIBLY angry!
I've seem the face of the Trumpists at a .... Bob Dylan show!
16th of November Boston
Boston Vs. Washington.
Arriving on a rainy day.
Chinatown is near by.
I left most of my belongings in Philly, going back there right after the show.
I found a CS host but too far from the downtown area to bother as I have a Megabus from Boston to Philly at 11.59 p.m.
I spend time in the public library, first of all to get dry, second to figure out about the Beacon shows.
I may have a CS host?!
To go or not to go? That is the question.
Nahoko is in Boston also, at a Hostel and agree to keep my bag in her place.
Thanks a lot.
The reason is, though my bag is small, it is still too big for the security.
I catch a metro/train at 6 p.m.
It is raining now.
People are queuing to get in???
I am not the only one looking for a free ticket.
We are 4. No scalpers though.
The woman is the first one getting a free ticket.
The 2 guys are friendly.
One of them will get 3 free tickets, the other one 2. And he hands one to me.
Whoa! Thanks guy!
And a really good seat; row I ,on the side of the piano.
I go in to get warm and dry.
That was so easier that Washington!
I am squeezed between people, a little bit too much, but I have a good view on the stage.
Some Fans are enthusiastic and refuse to seat. They don't block my view so all is fine.
My feet are wet and cold, so I will make them dance (discreetly ) on the rhythm of "Summer days" "Highway 61" "The Roman kings" "Thunder on the mountain "....all the Rock songs.
Bobby is in Black and White, still. A bit obsessive/compulsive!
Or just in a mood of B and W.
Tonight the Boys match with white jackets.
The venue is full and the public respectful and warm.
I see a lot young (students) in front, dancing joyfully.
What a change from Washington! !
Too bad this is all seating!
Bob drinks a lot (a cold?) and look behind his back.
But no one is seating there. The rows of the far right and left on balcony had been closed.
He delivers all the songs with power.
No more " September of my years" but
"Soon after midnight" and "Scarlet town" which I prefer, being Dylan songs.
I focus on Bobby's face. He looks tired and as pale as a ghost.
His walk is more and more "jumpy". Other than that he is slim, even skinny.
I wonder what his life is all about off stage and off his Tour bus?
I move rapidly out to join Nahoko, retrieve my bag and run to the bus station.
Right on time for a night bus.
20 – 25th of November New York
Things happen in strange way!
I finally made it to New York.
I found a Couchsurfing host with the need of housekeeping for a week. Precisely the week when Bob is playing at the Beacon theater.
The house is 7 minutes walk from the Theater.
Couldn't be any better.
I arrived on Saturday skipping Albany and Buffalo shows.
Spent a whole day on Sunday...resting.
The weather is cold and windy but I have a home and can do about what I want besides feeding the cat and the dog.
So...Monday 20th of November.
I take a walk to the Beacon theater, just to check the place.
I've been here before.
I still have sour memories but I finally moved on.
I am here for the Bob Dylan shows.
I take a couple of photos and turn around the block as...
The Bobby's bus is pulling in next to the backstage entrance.
A British guy is standing there, on the pavement.
He starts telling me all kind of craps; Bob is in the bus, he will do a soundcheck (at noon?), he is staying at the Beacon Hotel....bla bla bla.
I heard so many gossips, rumors, speculations...
I am sick of it.
I come back late afternoon, most likely the time for the soundcheck.
Charlie is pacing, smoking a cigarette.
A white van is pulling in with Mavis Staples musicians. (I don't see Mavis).
Another white van with the rest of the Band; Donnie, Stu, George and Tony.
Then a silver van with Barron and Bob.
Bobby steps in his bus for few minutes then enter the venue for the soundcheck.
I move back to my apartment.
Come back at 6.15 p.m.
There is already a line at the doors.
Many scalpers (I've seen before), more persons asking for a free ticket.
Roadies and musicians and Barron are walking by...no one pay attention!
Why should they?
I bet Bob could walk around...anonymous.
The line is longer and longer as security is tough again; metal detector.
I have my sign up for 1 hour when a young guy comes to me and hands me a ticket. "you won't sell it? " He says. "Of course not".
I join the line and by the time I am in, Mavis is already half through her performance. Bad organization!
The theater is splendid but the seats are tight. Not too much room to dance around!
The public is eclectic; I see men with kippa, women with fur coats but also youngsters in casual clothes.
My seat is on the floor in the far back.
The view is good and the sound...loud. The loudest, so far.
Fans around me are enthusiastic at the start, though there is hardly any room to stand up or clap.
The Bob Dylan old songs are welcomed but as he is singing more and more the new material, people next to me leave for a drink or the restroom! I feel them getting...bored. Behind me, some disrespectful ladies chat on the Sinatra songs.
"Thunder on the mountain" makes people wake up from some torpor.
2 ladies behind me react to "Tangled up in blue" only when he is phrasing
"Tangled up in blue.ue.ue"... they apparently didn't recognize the song under the new melody.
They are disappointed not to hear. .. " Hurricane".??!! (And I thought we were done with that!).
As a surprise we have " Full moon and empty arms" instead of "Scarlet town". who noticed?
Nice. I like the surprise!
I have to say I didn't like is phrasing on " Desolation row".
It started great then switched into some phraseology, more recitation...
My opinion only, no judgment.
I don't see anything special about that show compare to any other show.
The jacket, maybe, silver color tonight?
We are in New York, where Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan in 1962. Does it make any difference for HIM?
We'll see how the shows will evolve.
I bet he has an apartment of his own, somewhere in New York, with family?
Good night Bobby!
21th of November New York, New York.
We wake up slowly in the apartment/studio packed with 4 AirBandBs and 3 Couchsurfers, a cat and a dog.
I am responsible for the animals (in absence of the owner)so I manage to feed the little dog, Nina, who is not cooperative! The cat, Tango, is a sweetie(actually, he's bigger than the dog)!
We also have cockroaches and mice, but they are not supposed to be fed!
There is a Christmas market by Union Square and since the weather is nice I walk all the way to South Manhattan by Broadway.
I feel confused and disoriented in Time Square. What a "jungle"!
I remember having had a good time with my friend John-Paul when we came here after a Bob Dylan show....millions years ago!
I bought a slice of pizza(about the only food affordable).
Prices are rocketing in New York.
The Christmas market is nothing special. I have the same one at home.
Art craft but also "junk".
I take the subway back to home, walk to the Beacon to see Bobby and his Band getting ready for the soundcheck.
They are definitely not staying at the Beacon Hotel.
He is extremely discreet ; sneaking inside his bus, then to the backstage door.
Walk back home to feed the animals and get ready for the evening.
By 6.15 p.m. I am at the Beacon doors.
I crisscrossed with Barron. (Always bumping in him!)
He's off duty as Bob is sleeping in his bus by now.
Not so much a queue as last night. The sign says "Sold out".
I don't trust the sign and truly I don’t care.
The scalpers are aggressive in New York. I try to avoid any conflict.
I am just looking for a good soul with an extra ticket.
I feel the crowd more "distant" tonight, less happy and joyous as yesterday.
The venue policy is the same; search and metal detector. Plus a group of heavy armed security, right in front.
Do we need that deployment of Force? What will they do against a "maniac"? I feel more scared with than without "security".
In Japan they learn martial Arts , just to neutralized the problematic folks.
In Israel they use psychology.
Here it sounds more like provocation!
The line is forming at 7 p.m.
By 7.30 p.m. Mavis Staples is on but a bunch of folks will definitely miss the opening act.
I hope they didn’t pay the 600$ front row ticket!!
We are about 10 looking for a free ticket. We are easy to recognized; the right index up in the air.
By 8.20 p.m. I join another guy, Joe, and we start chatting about ... Bob Dylan.
2 women seem to be waiting for someone.
Joe asks "by any chance, do you have an extra ticket?"
"Yes" one of the ladies says "and maybe 2, as my cousins are not coming".
"Predators" try to buy those tix but the Lady is firm "I already promised them" she says.
Thanks sooo much.
It is 8.20 p.m. but they want to smoke a cigarette. One is visibly intoxicated.
I press them to get in as there is still security to pass thru and Bob will be on time.
They stop at the bar but with Joe we run to our seats, all the way up, on the third balcony, as Stu takes the stage.
A miracle! Thanks my "precious Angel", under the sky!
I have a view on the top of the piano. Pages are displayed; the setlist and apparently lyrics of the songs, as Bob is turning some pages after each song.
He is dressed in a white jacket.
I spot the statues ; one on the right side (by the piano), the other one, all the way on the left side (on a speaker). The Oscar is here too, but maybe not the beads.
During "Pay in blood", a woman, in the far left side of the stage is taking a bunch of photos.
A professional photographer or a member of the family?
Joe asks me constantly what will be the next song.
Luckily Bob doesn’t change the setlist! Ah!ah!
Exactly the same as yesterday. I see Bob talking to Donnie and Tony just before "Full moon and empty arms ". It might be that they have more options at that moment, right after "The early Roman kings ".
The sound is as loud as yesterday, particularly on "Thunder on the mountain".
Joe is enthusiastic as far as "Highway 61" then he is loosing interest.
Disappointed with "Tangled in blue" and lost with the songs from the 2000's.
"Desolation row" brings a standing ovation from the crowd.
And the solo drumming by George on "Thunder on the mountain " is warmly applauded.
My row is all empty by "Autumn leaves".(was half empty all the time anyway).
Most of the public is not familiar with the setlist or the songs ; applause are heard before the end of "Why try to change me now" and "Full moon and empty arms".
It doesn't disturb Bob, who is doing is performance.
"Blowing in the wind" is welcomed as Bob Dylan's anthem by now. The LEGEND was on, tonight.
His Salut is weird ; hands up and bending on his knees.
I had the feeling, but just the feeling, that his back was hurting him.
And I wonder why, oh why he is doing it!
The photos show him skinny and tired!
My feelings are mixed ; happy to see him on stage but sorry he has to do it in pain!
Thank you Bobby.
22th of November New York, New York.
I stay in bed longer.
Today it is the day the Zoo entrance is free.
Each day in New York, a different museum is free.
I walk Central Park, North and South, West and East but do not find any zoo.
The horses, birds, squirrels and dogs are the only animals I saw.
Since the morning a throng of people are concentrating towards Central Park. I ask the reason " this is the balloons' parade.
They will inflate the big cartoon balloons for the parade tomorrow".
I just walk the opposite direction, towards the Beacon.
The traffic is dense.
But the Boys and Bob arrive on time for the soundcheck.
I have a ticket tonight, thanks to Nahoko Abe.
I don't have to be early at the doors, but I don't want to miss Mavis.
It might be the last time I'll be able to see her as I will need to search for a ticket on Friday and Saturday.
I am in at 6.45 p.m. to avoid the queue and just chat a little while with Catherine.
My seat is on the floor, the last row.
That will allow me to stand up and I won't be disturbed by anyone talking in my back. Cool!
Mavis is ... Mavis.
She brings Joy, Happiness, Inspiration and Positive....vibrations!
Stu takes the stage.
I am up from beginning to end.
Focusing on George who is incredible tonight.
Well! Maybe because I am paying attention to his ‘playings’.
The best drummer in the world, I am sure.
The cell phone policy is strange.
Many people have their cell phones open and up during Mavis show.
I ask a usher why.
She says only during the Bob Dylan performance, the phones will need to be turned off.
But the restriction is not strong.
Many folks take photos. The girl next to me is obviously recording and it annoys me to see the light on her phone.
She came to the show just to...tape??
The audience starts to "get tired and bored" by mid-show, moving out and in.
But "Thunder on the mountain" brings the entire Beacon UP.
Calming down with "Autumn leaves".
Bob seems again to be in pain, holding his left hip with his hand. But who knows? It might be just an "attitude".
I run out just before the end. ..
but Bob is already gone.
How he did it?
Good night Bobby!
24th of November New York, New York.
Black Friday, they call it.
It is the day the stores are selling their goods.
I hate shopping. I never go to any fancy stores but ... my shoes are ruined for so many walking. So now ... it is a necessity to have a new pair.
Even a "minimalist" should have a pair of shoes in winter time!
Go early to Old Navy store and I buy clothes for my grand son.
Won't hurt to have extra shirts and pants for a toddler.
I go to the 'folly' at Macy's, check the shoes and rapidly walk out.
They sell cardboard shoes for ... 80$!
A Black Friday indeed!
Finally I found a reasonable price at GAP. 50%off, and I want to believe it's true.
Walk back home and rest for a while.
By late afternoon I go by the Beacon and check the backstage door just on time to see Bob walking in ...incognito!
I bump into my good friends David and Kim, who offer me a big meal.
Whoa! The first real meal for a while.
I've been eating corn flakes for few days now.
Go feed the cat and dog I sit for, get dressed warm and go again to the Beacon.
Again a "precious Angel" gives me a ticket before the show so I'll be able to see Mavis, who I still enjoy.
Inside the venue I chat a while with some Fans I've known on Facebook.
A lot Bobcats came for those shows on Weekend in New York.
From Europe even.
Some, I prefer to avoid!
I take my seat, on the floor, left and in the aisle.
My "neighbor" is a Fan from Japan and the Lady in front of me, recognizes me from .... Thakerville! Whoa! I'm famous?!
I am in a fantastic spirit.
I see a bunch of V.I.P. folks emerging from the backstage door, taking seats.
Don't recognize any one; friends? Family? Celebrities?
I enjoy every single moment with Mavis but it is Bob I am impatient to see.
The public on the right floor is enthusiastic, thanks to Nichole who will be up the entire show, up in front row.!?
My side is more reserved.
I am doing my karaoke, who cares if I sing out of tune?!
Bob seems to enjoy himself and he brings the entire Beacon UP on "Thunder on the mountain ".
The performance is great.
Thanksgiving and the turkey didn’t distract Mr Dylan a bit!
He probably missed the Balloons parade and the Black Friday!
I walk back home rapidly.
I just want to keep my good feelings clear and pure for myself.
Good night Bobby.
See you tomorrow.
25th of November New York, New York.
Last show of the Tour, last show of the Year 2017!
I am all by myself now in the apartment with the dog and the cat.
I cleaned the kitchen in order to be using it :
just cereal/coffee in the morning and pasta later on.
I take a walk in Central Park, quiet and refreshing.
In late afternoon I join with Nahoko. We both go to a Chipotle restaurant and I treat her and myself with a heavy burrito.
We walk to the back stage door of the Beacon to watch Bob stepping in for the soundcheck
Not that I consider myself a stalker as I am extremely careful not to be seen by Bob himself.
I always respect the security guards and they respect me.
It just gives me a warm feeling to see that my Hero can be dressed as casual as any man and just walk as any ‘mortal’.
If by chance he comes to me like in Copenhagen (maybe by pure curiosity) I am suddenly paralyzed and I don’t have much to say.
Nahoko has the same attitude, so we get along.
Time to feed the animals, change cloth and back to the Beacon.
I must SEE that show, no matter what!
Well! Not that easy.
10 more freaks are also in despair for a free or cheap ticket.
The scalpers are extremely aggressive.
By 8.15 p.m. I am literally crying.
When, suddenly, I remember the last time at the Beacon and … the smoking area.
The door, in the back of the Theater, is opening to a smoking area, right on the street.
I rush there as if I was running for my life!
I snick in, between the rails, right before the security arrives to check on the ‘bad guys’.
I am the only one to be ‘so smart!’.
This is the intermission between Mavis and Bob : 20 minutes break.
I hold in my hand the ticket from last night. Who will check the date?
I’m IN. But where will I find an empty seat?
It’s truly SOLD OUT tonight.
I move rapidly to the 3rd balcony but I find no empty seat easily accessible.
I stand with my back against the wall, making sure not to disturb any one.
I start to relax when Stu takes the stage.
The Usher asks me to take my seat and I murmur I can’t, due to a back problem.
He will be ‘human’ and he will let me stand there the entire show.
Miracle of Miracle!
It might be the show I enjoyed the most.
A vague of content and warmth is invading my body and my head is light.
It must be what we call HAPPINESS.
Can happiness happens only after a harsh feeling of despair?
Bob and the Band are far away but at the same time I am , over there, on the stage, with them, oblivious of the crowd, not even remembering which city or which country I’m in.
The show didn’t change for the 5 nights at the Beacon!
All the best for me as I can swim in the words and music I know so well.
Bobby, as usual, will bow to the front public but also, and I find it remarkable, he will lift his head and arms to the balconies , remembering that not all Fans can afford a 500$ ticket.
I take that salute for me and the “children of Paradise”.
This is not a farewell but an ‘au revoir’.
26th of November Philadelphia.
As I was staying with Olivia in Philly she proposed to have me longer with her in order to have some works done in her house.
I then, switch from Couchsurfing to HelpX statute.
HelpX is a program of volunteering, an exchange ; the guest works 5 or 6 hours a day in exchange for board and food.
I move back to Philly to stay with Olivia until the 9th of January.
I spent there the Christmas and New Year festivities.
I worked some, read some, did some Art Craft (not so much painting!), watched some TV….