After my last Bob Dylan show in Philadelphia in the 13th of July 2016 I went back to Pittsburgh then flew back home.
I missed some shows on the east coast but I was globally satisfied.
Everybody was sure the next Tour would be in Europe but a surprising event is announced in California; the desert trip weekends. They prepare three days of Rock and Roll music. On the 7th of October : Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. On the 8th Neil Young and Paul Mc. Cartney. On the 9th Roger Waters and the Who.
And a weekend is added on the 14th, 15th and 16th.
Ticket prices are sky rocketing. There is no way I will be able to go. Anyway I am not sure I want to go. In such event Bob can be the best or the worst.
I prefer taking my chance at a Bob Dylan show. Save some money and see Bobby alone with his Band.
They add a date on the 14th of October and following a U.S.A Bob Dylan Tour is announced.
I start dreaming.
For eight years now I decided to drop out from the real world of work and be more participating in a solidarity world.
Three organisations are going that direction :
WWOOF :World-wide opportunities on organic farms.
HELPX : help exchange.
-Wwoof is oriented farming and helping farmers who believe in sustainable energy and the respect of Nature. They don’t use Monsanto seeds nor any chemicals nor pesticides. They are kind to animals. They need help all year long and they are sprayed all around the world like pockets of resistance against intensive farming.
-HelpX (X for exchange) is more oriented helping individuals with some easy work at home.
-Work away is the same as HelpX.
Volunteers contact hosts on a website and agree on the conditions of work and stay.
Work should not be more than 5/6 hours a day (with a day off) and food and accommodation are varied. There is no money involved.
I have been volunteer in different countries and houses for 8 years now. Doing it between the Bob Dylan Tours.
I try to find a place as close as possible to the first shows of that new Tour.
San Antonio, Texas is my choice. I find a woman who seems to be an Artist. We should get along. We agree that I will be at her place for the month of September and later we agree for a longer stay. For a month or so I do different little works like construction or painting. Cleaning and cooking is also part of the exchange. Fine. I have my own private room and I can take some time for myself.
During my stay Dale will take me to a splendid area : Big Bend National Park, Texas.
We spend one week in Terra Lingua which was in the 60’s … Terra de los Hippies.
The Hippies disappeared long time ago and most of the houses are turned into AirB&B.
Back to the city of San Antonio.
I prepare my trip.
Phoenix will be the first show for me. I almost did Las Vegas but at the time I wanted to book a flight the price had doubled.
Phoenix 16th of October.
After a month and a half in San Antonio working and living with Dale I take the road for the Bob Dylan Tour.
I tried to use the system of Couch Surfing for accommodations.
Couch Surfing is a community using Internet to connect Hosts and Guests.
There is no money involved. It is a system based on hospitality. It exists all around the world with more or less success. Unfortunately more and more hosts are turning into another hospitality system called AirB&B. This system involves a price to pay, depending on the level of comfort and location. I have no luck with Couch Surfing in Phoenix so I book an AirB&B room.
I arrive in Phoenix in the early afternoon by Greyhound after 20 hours of ride.
My host is not home so I leave my luggage in his opened garage and I write a little note on the door.
My host is not home so I leave my luggage in his opened garage and I write a little note on the door.
I reach the Comerica Theatre around 5.30 p.m.
I remember having been here 4 years ago.
"Time is a jet plane, it moves too fast. "
The Tour buses are parked in the parking lot(well, actually in the street).
Bobby's bus is here.
Well! So far so good. He didn't get lost in the desert trip.
I chat for a while with 2 guys waiting for autographs.
At 7.15 p.m. it is time for me to move to the front of the venue.
The crowd is slowly moving in, in order.
2 guys offer me tickets. It must be my lucky day. I choose the one proposed by my friend Randy. I might as well enjoy that show with a connoisseur, someone who will not chat and ask incessantly for "Hurricane "(?).
Right on time Stu strums his little tune.
And "boom, boom" says George's drums.
It is a familiar set up.
Bob is hatless, in white with a shirt apparently light blue.
The crowd offers him an ovation.
Nobel or not Nobel tonight he's just Bob Dylan.
1."Things have changed". Powerful and clearly articulated. His voice is fine.
2.Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (Bob on piano)
Nice song, I sing along.
3.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on piano)
Strong. Little George is doing a good job! And Charlie too!
4.It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob on piano)
For who Bobby?
5.High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob centre stage)
With the new bluesy arrangement he tried during the last Tour.
6.I Could Have Told You (Bob centre stage)
Instead of "Simple twist of fate" I was expecting on guitar.
Not the best of his Sinatra song.
7.Early Roman Kings (Bob on piano)
Ta ta ta ta ta! Boom boom, boom boom. George is strong!
By the way the Early Roman Kings were maybe Romulus and Remus. But who knows?
8.Love Sick (Bob centre stage)
My best so far. My highlight for the night. Crying on this one, still.
9.Tangled Up In Blue (Bob centre stage then on piano with harp)
The only one on harp.
10.Lonesome Day Blues (Bob on piano)
I don't know that one much. I am impressed that he can remember all those lyrics. (Of course now that he is officially a Poet. He has to!)
11.Make You Feel My Love (Bob on piano)
A sweet one.
12.Pay In Blood ( Bob centre stage)
An angry one.
13.Desolation Row (Bob on piano)
Oh yea! This one alone won him the Nobel!
14.Soon After Midnight (Bob on piano)
Sweet. I am glad he picked up this one.
15.Long And Wasted Years
It should wake up the audience. But no, the public is quiet and respectful, a bit too much? Am I the only one exited on my seat?
16.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on piano)
Ok. The public finally reacts.
17.Why Try To Change Me Now (Bob centre stage)
No, no, no. I was expecting. LARS. As we call it among the Fans.
"Like a rolling stone" Bobby!
But , of course, that song could be a message.
The Nobel didn't change him a bit.
It could have been better to end with "Love sick". I think.
A setlist resuming 55 years of career.
Bobby looks good. Better than last Tour even. His voice is strong. His body is straight. He is slim and looks sexy without hat.
He plays fool with the centre mike and plays standing up at the piano.
And of course I will say ;
Mazal Tov ...
That Tour is " the Nobel Tour".
Albuquerque 17th and 18th of October.
I left Phoenix in the morning leaving the key of my AirB&B where I found it.
I never saw Steve, my host.
I walk to the Greyhound station and catch an early bus.
I arrive in Albuquerque in the evening. I walk to my AirB&B. Get lost. Get found. Sleep a good night sleep, in a good night bed. This is a day off for Bob and the Band.
Albuquerque is a nice little town with street Art and galleries.
I roam among the potteries, rugs and other Navajo Artefacts.
One more cup of coffee (for the road) and I check the backstage of the venue. The 2 Tour buses are parked in the street. 2 guys are waiting for an autograph. I move across the street. Keep my eyes on Bobby's bus front door. Nothing's moving for few minutes.
Then 'puuuush', the automatic door opens.
My sweet Bobby steps out. He's dressed casual; with a hoody, white slacks, sun glasses. For a fraction of a second he looks at me, our eyes locked, he moves slightly his head and walks around the bus to the backstage door.
Whoa! How did he know I was there? Just me. No Nobel prize comity in view!
Of course that's too much happiness(or not enough?). I want more. So I come back an hour later and here he is again moving back to his privacy until show time. The 2 guys are still waiting on the walkways.
I join some Fans at the brewery few blocks away. I walk back with Pamela to the venue. She is an absolute Angel. She gave me a second row ticket. Right in front the piano.
My, my! Paradise in the Land of Bobby Dylan!
2 seats in first row are empty. I can't believe why people buy those absolute perfect seats and don't show up on time!
As soon as Stu is strumming his little tune, I jump front.
Right in front of the piano.
The entire front row is up for "Things have change".
I manage to keep calm on "Don't think twice " , but my body is checking.
"Highway 61" is raucous.
‘Oh, God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man you must be puttin' me on"
God says, "No", Abe say "What?"
God say "You can do what you want Abe but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"
Well Abe said, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God say, "Out on Highway 61"’.
And suddenly "Its all over now Baby Blue", 'cause the usher asks me to move to my seat.
Oh well! Second row is fine.
"High water" is remarkable. David (a fan club member) on my left, is as wild as I am.
A masterpiece of drums and rhythm. Bravo George Recelli!
"I ain't dead yet, my bell still rings" brings a smile on my lips. Maybe Bob too who had been smiling at Tony since the beginning. A real smile.
"Tangled up in blue". The only one on harp.
"Lonesome day blues" I still have to learn that new one.
‘ "I could make you happy, make your dreams come true.
Nothing that I wouldn't do.
Go to the ends of the Earth for you,
To make you feel my love
To make you feel my love" ’.
Isn't what I did?? Go to the ends of the earth. Though I thought the Earth was round!! Can't criticize the Nobel prize for LITTERATURE!
"Pay in blood", "Desolation row"...
"Soon after midnight".
With Bobby's profile just in front of me. I sing along;
" Its soon after midnight
And I don't want nobody but you".
We swing on "All or nothing at all" before exploding on "Long and wasted years".
Few minutes of break.
"Why try to change me now?"
A message to the Nobel Comity?
Bobby was hatless, slim in a dark suit, at ease with his body, no stiffness, even playing with the centre mike.
He was drinking from a cup between each song, but if he had a cold , it didn't affect his voice, as clear as in Phoenix.
The best show for me so far!
Nobel or not Bob Dylan is a Rocker!
I move out and unfortunately I bump into someone I didn’t want to see.
Mr. R. was at the show. He is all by himself so I say hello and we hug. There is no bad feelings.
All the Fans slowly leave the venue. I spot again Mr. R. but this time with Randy and 2 other Bobcats. I know they will go for dinner someplace and suddenly I feel isolated, rejected and out of place. I don’t know which ‘game’ I should play, so I prefer walking back to my room and crying my way to sleep.
But there is no sleep tonight as I will catch a bus at 4 o’clock in the morning.
My AirB&B host had been nice enough to let me spend some hours inside the house.
At 3 a.m. I walk alone the empty streets of Albuquerque.
To make things worse the bus is one hour and a half delayed.
El Paso 19th of October
Thanks to a good friend, John Paul, I will book at the last moment a bed in a Hostel in El Paso.
El Paso is torrid. The heat is killing the rest of my energy.
But after the storm comes the rainbow.
The persons at the hostel are charming. I get in my room at 11 a.m. A 4 beds room all for myself. I take a nap.
I grab a slice of pizza before heading towards the venue.
Nothing's moving before late in the afternoon.
Bobby's bus coming right around the bend.
Bobby steps outside, undisturbed, holding a paper cup. Blue jeans and green hoody today. Sunglasses.
I take a walk in a deserted and sad downtown. I'm wondering about the kind of public he will have. I take another nap, just to catch up on my sleep. I walk back to the venue.
I don’t want to see anyone I know.
I need a ticket as usual, and I get one from a couple impressed by my 400 Bob Dylan shows record! It helps to be famous. The venue is far for being full but the public is pleasant and part Hispanic.
I relax, enjoying a show without excitement.
Tonight, Bobby and the Band are doing the gig all by themselves(I don’t participate).
No change in the setlist. He might be going into his little routine now.
A nice show. Not the best ever but of course this is MY state of mind.
I feel ZEN now. The storm in my mind has vanished. Luckily, for I bump into people I would have destroyed few hours ago!
It was my surprise to see Miss.M. outside the venue.
I make Peace. Bobby's spirit! We can't be enemies for ever.
But back to my empty and lonely room I can’t be happy.
From El Paso to San Antonio to Winstar.
I take Greyhound from El Paso to San Antonio, my home base.
I eat all day, sleep all night, wash the laundry and pack up for Dallas ride with Greyhound.
2 Angels will give me a ride from Dallas to the largest casino in the world the Winstar.
I've seen Bobby there twice already. I never gambled, just used the free soda fountain.
My bus from San Antonio leaves at 3 a.m. I am at the station by 10.30 p.m.
I have four hours and a half to wait. I doze on the bench, then sleep in the bus.
I arrive 8.00 a.m. and wait 4 more hours. For technical reasons my Angels are running late.
But finally we hit the road and 2 hours later the Winstar is in view. The Winstar is located in an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.
We meet with Bobcats.
I have mixed feelings for I try to get a ride to Tulsa but it doesn't work.
On the top of it, the casino security bullies me and asks me to not ask for a ticket inside the casino. I could get thrown out! oh no!
But my 2 Angels appear in front of me and offer me money to allow me to buy a third row ticket. Whoa!
I recover quickly.
Ups and downs are the roller coaster of feelings on the road!
On time Stu is on.
The sound is perfect. Each instrument is clearly heard.
Bob is dressed in black with the blue embroidery on his pants.
The Band in blue.
Bob puts his hat on and off and on. He can't decide.
The setlist didn't vary for 3 shows now.
Tonight "The Early Roman Kings" are in power.
Charlie Sexton is in great form. So is George.
I'm a big fan of George Recelli!
All the songs are perfectly executed.
The public is reasonably enthusiastic. No talking.
I am now in Peace with the world.
Tulsa 20th of October.It was a last minute decision. Intuition?
Arriving at Tulsa in the morning after a short sleep on the bus.
I walk straight to the venue, checking around.
It is Sunday morning and the streets I'm walking are dead.
I meet a gentleman walking all by himself. I ask him where I could find some coffee. He takes me to a nice place and I treat him with a latte (yes, I can be generous).8 dollars for 2 latte, that will be my meal of the day! Budget is tight. We have a nice talk and I relax few hours.
Time now to check if Bob Dylan is in town. He might as well for he has a show tonight at the Brady theatre.
The musicians bus arrives, pulls on the street and the Band steps out. I am across the street just as an observer, I don't want to disturb.
Bobby's bus arrives and as some 4 fans are packing by the backstage door security will find a way to protect Bob from photos.
Why can't fans don't want to understand that trying to approach Bob for photo is.....strictly unrespectful.!
They turn the bus around so there is only few steps from the bus to the backstage door.
Since the early afternoon I saw a young boy strumming a guitar, playing Dylan songs.
He is close to the security barrier now, playing "Maggie's farm" on what seems a yukulele and he is holding an harmonica rack around his neck.
When Bob steps out his bus, he stops few seconds to listen, then speaks few words with Barron, and Barron signals the boy to move across the line and he follows Bob inside.
He comes out few minutes later, in shock. He is crying and checking all over his body.
After he recovers I take photos and asks him what happened.
He said Bob said few words and asked him to play a tune. He played a Dylan song then his own composition. Bob inquired if he has written more and if he belongs to a Band. Yes, said Willy, a blues band.
Then Willy asked Bob if he could get one of his harmonica. Bob asked someone to get one of his and gave it to Willy. A used one. One Bob had been blowing in.
That is the story I witnessed. This is one of the reasons I'm still on the road.
To witness miracles and prove that Bobby Dylan is a sweet heart.
Now, the dark side of the story. The 3 others Fans were jealous, particularly one who wanted an autograph. I tried to explain that Bob did it for the Kid to encourage him in his path. That jerk asked why he didn't take a photo with Bob.
Some Fans deserve a punch in the nose!
It is my story now, not so glorious.
I start begging for a ticket. We are 3 or 4 in the same situation.
I am a little bit pessimistic. On the top of it, I carry with me my backpack and the security just notified me I could not get in the venue with my bag.
I ask fans around (ones I met in the afternoon around the bus) if I could leave my bag in their car the time of the show. They give me a stupid explanation but it's no.
Mr.R., Miss.M., Randy have a car parked just across the street. I ask Randy. Again with a stupid explanation it's NO.
Nonetheless...I don't despair of Humanity at a more individual level.
As I am crying my eyes out in front of the Brady, a man just hands me a ticket. No question, no explanation, no judgment.
I see Willy entering the venue. He recovered but carry Bobby's harmonica in his pocket.
I hide my backpack under my jacket and walk in, pass the security.
The guard searches my purse but don't see my bag. He says " you are good".
Well! I don't say a word!!
I take my seat on the balcony. The 2 rows in front of me are empty. I am alone, almost, in my row.
I relax, and cry. I am crying on "It's all over now Baby Blue".
I am crying on "Pay in blood".
I am crying on "Love sick ".
I am crying on every single song!
It is my crying show, in Tulsa Oklahoma.
I calm myself for few minutes after the show. I fear the encounter after the show in the lobby.
And, yes, destiny plays tricks on me. I bump into Mr.R. and Miss.M.
I am not angry now.
I wish them both a happy trip ; back home for Mr.R., on the road for Miss.M.
I know my only destination is the Greyhound station. Somehow I am ready for it.
Guess what? the Greyhound station is closed for the night until 8 a.m.
Even a night on a bench is prohibited!!
I walk back around the venue where I know some fans are having a late meal and drink in a bar.
Well! Destiny, definitely, is testing my nerves!
Mr.R. and Miss.M. and Randy are there.
I sit, breath hard.
I refuse food. They have been calling me freeloader behind my back.
I can starve to death, loosing my DIGNITY is worse.
A man is seated next to me. He is American, leaving now in India. He had been to the show. I saw him earlier at the venue.
We have a pleasant chat. Him only is talking to me.
I whisper to the ear of my new friend that I need a place to stay tonight.
Right away he says "you can come to my Hotel and share with me".
I step out. I can’t stand no more of that ‘polluted’ atmosphere.
I look at the sky and breath.
My Angel and I have a philosophic discussion about American society.
I am not ALONE tonight. And it is not a question of physical loneliness. It is a spiritual connection ; finally a Bob Dylan spirit.
I take a shower, sleep well.
In the morning I book a Greyhound ticket to Shreveport.
I am on the road for BOB DYLAN!
F. The yuppies!
Shreveport 21st of October.
I catch the 7 a.m. bus to Shreveport. I reach the Louisiana city in early afternoon.
The weather is sunny and warm and the day starts agreeable.
I take photos along the Red river district and cross the bridge to the Boardwalk.
As I reach the Marriott Hotel I spot the 2 buses parked in the Hotel parking lot. Of course this is where Bob is staying.
I will come back in the late afternoon to see Tony and Stu stepping inside their bus. I will never see Bob as his bus is pulling away.
I just walk all the way to the venue, a beautiful building in a quiet surrounding.
A nice woman and her daughter are handing me a ticket. The seat is relatively well located.
I have a nice time chatting about my adventures.
The Shreveport show was a last minute decision, so I have no place to stay for the night.
I wait for a miracle to happen as late as possible outside the venue but miracles don’t happen on command.
I move to the tourist area, around the Red River shore.
I spend few hours in a bar until it closes at 1 a.m.
I spend few hours in the restroom of a casino until the security asks me to move out.
I spend few hours outside, on a seat, fighting sleepiness until the Greyhound bus station opens.
I catch the first bus to Baton rouge.
Baton Rouge 22sd of October.
I reach Baton Rouge in the morning.
I walk to the downtown area.
Baton Rouge is exceptional for me.
There is a park with seats and polls around the seats.
Electricity plugs and free Wifi at each poll.
The weather is warm enough for me to spend all afternoon outside.
I also treat myself with a nice Pizza and a soda. A real meal!
I fight fatigue and decide I will take a break from the Tour after that show.
Enough is enough. I book a bus ticket back to San Antonio.
I will have a free ticket for that show but I feel loneliness as there is apparently no one I know and like at this show.
I don’t feel a friendly atmosphere or an enthusiastic audience though Bob and the Band will play the same show.
I am back to San Antonio Texas, at Dale’s home.
I will work few hours everyday in exchange for a private room and food two more weeks.
It is a comfortable situation where I learned how to construct a wall, paint, decorate flower pots…
I also realized that construction is not my cup of tea. I prefer from far growing vegetables and fruits in the outside. San Antonio has a warm and humid atmosphere I am not comfortable with.
It was a nice adventure but not the paradise on earth, not the community life I am looking for.
And though I get along with Dale , most of the time, I know we will never be friend. She is a construction worker. She is a business American woman. We don’t communicate enough. I still prefer to do my duties all alone as I feel she doesn’t trust me for any technical work. I know I am a little bit clumsy but I compensate with my intelligence and the works are done somehow. I always believed the most important is to reach the goal and it doesn’t matter how technically it is done. Many paths lead to the same mountain pick. It is true for the physic or for the spirit. It is why I dislike the bigots and the narrow minded persons.
I was happy to stay with Dale, I am happy to leave her house. I was just passing through.
It is difficult to adapt to any new situation, to be just a guest, not to hurt, not to be hurt and to be able to do it again.
After 2 more weeks I decide to move to Saint Augustine Florida where a Bob Dylan Fan is waiting for me.
I will travel on Greyhound bus as it is the cheapest way.
The trip will take 30 hours and I fear it. We have changes in Dallas and Atlanta.
The buses are packed. They are not the most comfortable of all.
To my surprise I sleep most of the time and time passes swiftly.
J. will pick me up in Jacksonville.
I am exhausted but in good spirit.
J. lives with her mother and her youngest son.
I have my bed on the couch.
After 3 days doing …nothing, I decide to go to Birmingham Alabama for the show.
J. picks up on my folly and she wants to go also. She will drive.
I don’t drive and in the U.S.A. this is an handicap. The public transportation is not 100% efficient, reserved for the poor folks. Some Americans have never taken a bus, will never even try. The social classes and colour classes are invariably separated. A form of silent segregation. I have been travelling with Greyhound buses. I have seen a certain side of America few middle class Americans are even aware of. But is it not true in all the countries?
I am now with J.. She is not wealthy but she wants to have fun. And to have fun is to travel with money.
J. had an accident just before leaving for Birmingham : she dropped a heavy weight on one of her toe. Despite the pain she decides to drive seven hours.
I took care of the accommodations in Birmingham and Mobile. I decided for AirB&B. According to me a good compromise between comfort and budget.
Birmingham 15th of November.
The room in Birmingham is in an attic. This is not comfortable enough for J..
Her toe is turning blue then black and she advices me in the late evening her desire to drive back to Saint Augustine next morning.
I am extremely upset as I didn’t plan anything else but driving with J.
As selfish as it seems I am on the road for Bob Dylan, I have no intention to ride back 7 hours to Saint Augustine. I just don’t see the point. I spend few hours trying to find a solution.
J. is mad with me, understandable, but I don’t belong to her life.
I will consult my consciousness long time after the incident but I will not change my perspective. When I am on the road for Bob Dylan, my goal is to see as many shows as possible. I am not indifferent to people’s problems, I just can’t be involved in all the problems, particularly if I’m unable to solve them.
In the morning J. changed her mind and decides to go to the E.R., here, in Birmingham, which makes perfect sense. I accompany her.
The toe is broken and it is fixed with a strap. We finally go together to the show.
I have a good time and I enjoy the show.
J. will have an irresponsible attitude that night and we have a difficult time going back to the attic.
Mobile 16th of November.
The morning is also chaotic when we drive to Mobile.
J. refused the AirB&B I had booked and she books a Hotel room next to the venue.
A beautiful Hotel, though expensive for me.
I take the chance to be at the venue in the afternoon.
I want to see Bob getting out of his bus for the sound check. As ridiculous as it seems it gives me some joy : some memory from the past.
The Bob Dylan entourage is friendly with me.
Bobby doesn’t see me and he is relaxed walking to the backstage door.
Bobby doesn’t see me and he is relaxed walking to the backstage door.
I find a concert ticket for J.
My good friend John Paul (who lives in Mobile) had apparently bought me a good seat ticket.
So…I can relax and I spend some good and lonely time walking in the city.
I have a marvellous time at the show. I sing and dance and forget the troubles.
That will be one of my best shows.
We have dinner out after the show with some Fans, including John Paul.
I sleep relatively well, but physical comfort is never the reason. My state of mind is more important.
We check out and drive to Saint Augustine the next morning.
Saint Augustine 17th of November.
We reach Saint Augustine in the afternoon.
J.’s home is a little bit chaotic.
I have some hard time to fit in.
I bury myself in a Bob Dylan book.
Jacksonville 18th of November.
J. and her mother have V.I.P. tickets.
We drive to be at the venue at 7 p.m.
I panic 15 minutes before show time as always, and as always on that tour I have a good star above my head. A nice man hands me a ticket.
We drive back right after the show but though J. and her mother seem to be enthusiastic I don’t have the feedback I expect after a BD show. They missed the little details I find interested, maybe because I have seen so many of the same setlist. Maybe because I am on the road for the shows and not just on vacations to have a good time after a life of routine. My life IS Bob Dylan. My life is far away for being boring. I am not trapped in a situation I don’t like. I am FREE.
But freedom has a price : to be misunderstood.
I crash on the couch wondering how we’ll managed the next 4 shows in Florida.
We don’t have the same experience of the road J. and I.
Clearwater 19th of November.
J. decides to book a Hotel room close to the venue. Again comfortable but relatively expensive for me.
Some Fans from Europe are coming for the Florida shows.
This is my second time I see Bob at this specific venue.
I was expecting to spend some time with Fans but that will not happen.
They all have a ticket and get inside the venue rapidly to have a drink or relax.
I am outside panicking again.
A nice man wanted to sell his extra ticket but after a small chat with me , he will invite me to follow him. He happens to have 2 more extra tickets on the T row. He didn’t even care to sell them.
I know Simon (from Paris) has a seat all the way up on the balcony. I go fetch him.
We have a wonderful time. At least someone who can truly appreciate a Bob Dylan show the way I like.
J. will not go to the Fort Myers show.
I am stuck in Clearwater for there is absolutely no bus from here.
Another European Fan accepts to give me a lift to Fort Myers. This is a great relief.
My feelings are on a roller coaster again.
Fort Myers 20th November
After an interested drive talking Dylan with P. I check in a motel I had booked on line at the last moment.
2 beds for me alone??? What a luxury!
But Fort Myers had been subject of discussion about how difficult it was to find tickets.
Many Fans coming from Europe have not found any tickets yet.
Of course it is bad news for me who still don’t want to pay. Money is running low.
I take the one hour walk from my motel in the afternoon.
The venue is on a College Campus. A Sunday. In the middle of nowhere.
I wait for Bob’s bus to pull in.
I see Bobby in a relaxed way getting in and out of his bus for the sound check.
I try to take it easy and make up my mind that I might not see this show.
My good friend Jake and his wife are here too. Stefano, Simon, …..others.
About 20 Fans are looking for tickets and all start panicking.
They feel now what I feel every night, except I don’t even have their money.
I step aside as my own panic is enough for me.
One by one they find a ticket to buy.
5 minutes before show time only 4 fans are still looking.
2 women approach us and by some kind of exceptional miracle, they have 4 extra tickets.
2 fans buy for 100 dollars each. I still don’t want to pay.
Finally they give the 2 extra for free.
I am in.
This is the most extraordinary situation I had ever been in.
And more surprising, the one Fan next to me is Bryan Stybel. I met him in 1981 in Santa Monica. He lives in Fort Lauderdale and invites me to his home for the show there.
He spends the night in my extra bed at the Motel and drives me to the Greyhound bus station in the morning.
Of course we have a long conversation about the bobby of the past.
Orlando 21st and 22sd of November
Two dear friends I have known on Facebook and met before in Orlando invited me to stay at their home.
J. and I definitively separated. She decided again to rent an expensive room in an expensive Hotel.
FL Bobcat and Doug drive me around Orlando and we have a good time.
I feel, at last, relaxed and sleep well in their private guest room.
I have seen this venue also before. I have no fear about finding a ticket.
I appreciate the show even though the setlist is fixed now.
Every night seems to be a unique one.
Bob doesn’t seem to be tired.
The rumours about the Nobel prize are entertaining the current of gossips as Dylan seems to like.
There is no such a thing as bad publicity.
The next morning I catch my last Greyhound bus to Fort Lauderdale since J. decided not to attend that last show.
Fort Lauderdale 23th of November.
In Fort Myers I bumped into that old Fan, Bryan Stybel, I have met in 1981 in Santa Monica when Bob was performing there. I always remembered him as an interested character. One of a kind. He was profoundly into Dylan and then published maybe one of the first Fanzine : Zimmerman Blues. He had met and talked to Dylan numerous times in the 80's then moved to Miami when Dylan closed his Rundown Studio in Santa Monica in 1983.
That was a Simple twist of fate that I happened to be seated next to him at the Fort Myers show.
He kindly invited me at his place for the Fort Lauderdale show.
He picked me up at the Greyhound bus station and drove me to his place.
We start talking about the Man,: in the past, the present and the future.
Even if Bryan Styble, continuously, had been going to some shows over the years he lost contact with what I call "the entourage ". Since the 90's situation changed around Dylan on stage and of stage and what was a cool and almost family atmosphere in the 80's turned a secretive conspiracy against the Fans' curiosity at the beginning of the NerverEndingTour.
We leave the house at 6.30 p.m. and we get lost in Fort Lauderdale. Bryan has a weird sense of direction and doesn't use a G.P.S.
What was supposed to be an agreeable evening, turns into a nightmare.
We are both screaming in the car. Madness at the end of the day.
We reach the venue at 8.30 p.m. long time after Bob took stage and long time after I have any possibility to find my everlasting free ticket.
I am in a state of wreck. This is the last show of a long Tour, the reason why I am still in this country(note that I am not a Fan of Trump and don't believe that Hillary is a lot better).
That would be my 14th show on that Fall U.S.A. Tour.
Not that Bob would do anything special but it is a bye bye show, or, who knows, a farewell show, as future is uncertain for my Hero and I.
We live in a political world....
Miracles happen and I may have a good Star above my head.
As I desperately try to find a way to get in, a little man gets out.
I ask if he leaves the venue.» yes" he says. "May I have your ticket stub" I say.
Though I know there is no re-entry and there is few chance to get in with an already scanned ticket...I have no other solution but trying.
I pass the security control and rush to the balcony. I have a better chance not to bump into a usher there.
I crash into an empty seat as Bob is crooning "Melancholy mood".
It takes me a couple of songs to recover and realise my luck;
no usher never asked me anything.
Bobby's voice is as good as ever. I have the idea he is working on his vocal cords.
He plays with his hat; on and off. Off at the piano mainly.
Wabbling from the centre stage to the piano.
Though he had been on the road since Indio October 7th, he seams perfectly in shape. His voice and expressions are powerful.
The setlist changed from the beginning to now, but he settled for 5 Sinatra songs (2 less than the last Tour) and a range of Dylan songs from the 60's to Fallen Angels.
Balancing from sweet melodies to Heavy Rock.
That should please any Dylan public, even if the hard core Fans would prefer a change in the list.
And the audience is appreciative tonight.
This constant repetition allows the Band to be perfectly backing up Dylan who might be erratic at times on the piano.
A change in the rhythm of "high water" 2 or 3 times on that Tour proves the creativity of the Master and the talent of the Band.
"Pay in blood" is now performed on the piano.
"Tangled up in blood" will always arouse a round of applauses.
"Desolation row" alone, would had win Mr. DYLAN, The Nobel prize for litterature.
"Soon after midnight" a sweet melody at times replaced by "Make you feel my love"
The constant "Highway 61" "Things have changed" "Beyond here lies nothing" which I missed tonight.
"Scarlet town" instead of "The early Roman kings" from Tempest, anyway.
"Duquesne whistle" on which he didn't do any mistake in the lyrics.
"Love sick" brings memories from the past ... a bridge to the future now.
"Long and wasted years" before the well applauded "Autumn leaves".
It took only few minutes for the encore.
The anthem of the 60's "Blowin’ in the wind" unfortunately in those troubled days seems to be a promise that will not be realised so soon.
Can't we learn anything from the past?
"How many years must the white Dove sails before she sleeps in the sand?"
Maybe the lamb who is lost in the frost will catch the answer in the wind.
I say as usual bye bye Bobby!
Take care of yourself.
See you on the Avenue...tangled up in blue!
The next one will be in Europe.
Fort Lauderdale last day.
I can’t get along with Bryan who literally turns me nuts.
He is not into Dylan as I am now. He can remember the past and still live in the past.
His life is a mess. At 62 years old, he lives as an old man with no future and no more dreams.
I want to relax and remember all the good times I had on the road.
I want to enjoy the beach and the nice weather.
I book a bed at the Fort Lauderdale Youth Hostel.
This is Thanksgiving. Simon is also still in Fort Lauderdale. In fact by a simple twist of fate we will be flying back to Paris in the same airplane.
We agree to have a little simple meal for Thanksgiving on the boardwalk.
Next day each one of us will buy some gifts for the family and friends.
We’ll fly to Paris, sleeping most of the 8 hours.