Bob Dylan and his Band ; Donnie, Tony, George, Stu and Charlie.
This blog is the journal I wrote in my travels in North of the U.S.A. when I followed Bob Dylan Tour in summer 2012.
This is not a fiction, all the facts stated are accurate (within the limits of my memory).
These are personal stories and feelings. Everything is subjective.
Under no circumstances does this BLOG value of information on the public and private life of Bob Dylan, and especially not of truths.
- The names of Bobcats (followers).
They may be misspelled. Thank you to those who agree to send me a mail for correction.
- Descriptions of Bobcats (followers).
Thank you to those who recognize themselves and wish to send me a mail with their name.
For those who do not wish to be mentioned, thank you to email me.
For those who wish to add some comments on any part of the stories, thank you to email me.
For those who have written and published their own blogs, thank you for sending me a link I'd be happy to add.
If, in my stories, I hurt the sensitivity of some person, including Mr. Dylan, I apologize, but I wish to express my feelings as they were at the time.
Bob's house in Hibbing.
U.S.A. Tour summer 2012.
to my sweetheart driver on the road. He will know who he is.
Saturday 11th of August 2012.
I leave home to Paris. Then Miami, Seattle and Missoula Montana, first American show in the U.S.A.
Since I have nothing better to do and some friends invited me to join, I’m back on the road.
As usual with mixed feelings and day dreams. As usual with no more planning than one or two days ahead. With God will I will reach New York on the 2nd of august to fly back to France with some tales to tell.
In Paris I visit the Louvre. I could live in that museum for years and still be impressed. Ingres, Greuze, Boucher, Pannini … what life they live and what treasures they left behind!
I spend the night in a Youth Hostel before reaching Charles De Gaulle Airport. A nice flight to Miami, many hours to wait before catching a night flight to Seattle. I brought with me the `Devilish Poet` (Arthur Rimbaud) and his ` season in hell`.
13th of August 2012.
In Seattle I’m supposed to meet with Dave to get a ride to Missoula. It` s a bit chilly now.
From the airport I take a urban train to downtown Seattle then a bus to Issaquah, a nice little area. I buy myself some food in a RedApple store, take a quick breakfast and start to pace around in the parking lot hoping for the best. I’m looking for a car with a license plate saying `Dylan 61`.
At 8.00 p.m. Dave and a friend Jeff are pulling in the parking lot. We rapidly take the road to Missoula.
A quick stop at a scenic point overlooking the Columbus river. Gorgeous! Then a stop for lunch. All together a 8 hours of pleasant ride. Dave is an excellent driver. We check in an Ecolodge Hotel. D. will check in later at night. I go to sleep right away.
14th of August Missoula, Montana
The show tonight will be GA. Jeff and Johnny want to start the line at 6.oo a.m. and they do. We will take turn keeping the first spot on the line until the opening of the gates at 6.00 p.m. for a show at 7.30 p.m.
The day is hot but a cool breeze will blow in the late afternoon and the security guard is nice enough to let us seat under the shade of a tree until 5.00 p.m. when everyone will be ready for a run to the stage.
Except for a dozen of fanatics the crowd is quite. Later Che and Siobhain will arrive as well as John and Mia.
The run is okay and I’m second after Jeff to reach the rail. I place myself right in front of the mike. Siobhain and Che arrive shortly after me and Lionel a young musician will be on my right.
I finally relax for no one, nothing will disturb me to see my Bobby tonight.
8.10p.m. Stu picks up his guitar for his blues riffs, Bobby trots to his keyboard ; white/grey hat, Raybans on (the sun set is right in his eyes), white shirt, beautiful dark jacket with red straps, white pants, white boots, pale but not too `puffy`.
`Leopard skin…` well done by the Band. That will be a good show.
I’m happy to see the Boys again, Stu is looking good and Charlie is equal to himself. George is in good spirit, smiling. It seams that Donnie changed his hair cut.
`Tangled up in blue`. I believe Bob changed the lyrics again for he has a good laugh with Tony.
`Things have changed` center mike and if his Raybans have correcting lenses he should see me for I’m right in front of him.
Unfortunately my view of him on the piano is blocked by the keyboard. I see his left leg doing crazy jumps on its own.
`Love minus zero/no limit` but on the piano.
He will pick up his guitar only for `Simple twist of fate`.
` Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum`, `Summer days`, `Thunder on the mountain`, `visions of Johanna`, `Spirit on the water`..
The first row is happily on the rail, the second row dancing on the Rock/Blues.
This is an American audience, everybody with respect a breathing space and we are not packed like sardines. We should not be more than 4000. As big as Bob Dylan name is, he doesn’t attract too many people at his shows.
`Blowing in the wind` and that’s it. So many hours on the line… it doesn’t seem right.
15th/16th of August. Red Lodge
The Billings’ show had been canceled and no one knows why. I will travel with D.and Tony from Seattle for they invited me for a fishing party at Tony’s cousin home somewhere in Montana, next to Billings. We have a pleasant 5 hours ride and almost run out of gas.
The evening for me is interesting but confusing. Tony`s cousin is a really nice woman. The house is huge and richly decorated and furnished. They prepare a grill of steak. I’m mainly vegetarian! Then they talk talks that are none of my concern. I try to write but I’m disturbed and confused. I feel out of place and `abandoned`. Bob Dylan is just a subject of conversation with no passion.
I retrieve to a splendid bedroom that I will share with D.. I grab a blanket from the car and crash on the white carpeted floor. I cry for my Bobby! I’m wondering what he gonna do on those 2 days off. Ride his Harley Davidson with Barron or Tony?
In Missoula I checked the venue parking lot in the afternoon and saw the musicians` bus puling in with a huge trailer attached to it. It’s supposed to be where the bikes are.
We get up early for an American breakfast, say bye to Willie then D. drives Tony and myself to Tony ‘s cabin in RedLodge, we’ll be going fishing in the afternoon. I bring my book and take a nap on the river bank, “watching the river flow”. The afternoon will end up with a pizza.
17th of August Rapid City, South Dakota
We leave RedLodge at 10.00 a.m. It’s 8 hours drive to Rapid City for a show at 8.00 p.m. Tony decided to stay with his family so it’s just D. and myself in the car. We get lost in the middle of nowhere for 2 hours before reaching H. 90 East. I get a little bit nervous for we’re loosing time and we take the risk to break the car in those dirt roads. Nonetheless we reach the venue at 6.30 p.m. Right timing. I can see the buses in the parking lot. I check around the white trailer behind the musicians` bus. It’s open. I see three motorbikes ; a beautiful powerful Harley and two more in the front. Tony Garnier will drive around on his bike, with I believe, Jeff Kramer, and they’re trying to fit Tony’s bike inside the trailer. A Dylan Fan who is also a biker will comment on Tony’s bike for me. I see Chris and Barron taking guard around the bus. Charlie will be smoking his cigarette and talking on the phone. I manage to say hello to George. Bobby must be in his bus close to the backstage entrance door.
I move inside the venue by 8.00 p.m. Take my seat, third row center. The atmosphere is calm. I say hello to J., meet with Dave, Jeff and Johnny. They are first row center and rapidly stand up by the rail. I climb one row over and find myself right in front of the center mike. Bob will do the entire show without a hat, except for the encore. White pants, white boots, white shirt.
He will use the guitar on `Simple twist of fate`, be center for `Things have changed`, `Tangled up in blue`, `Ballad of a thin man`, `Blowing in the wind`. Anytime else he’ll be seated at the piano, playing for himself. He doesn’t smile so much, no hilarious laugh with Tony!
At some point I see him lining on the piano, like he can’t stand on his feet. Might be my imagination!
The set list is fine, nothing new but a beautiful `High water` and `Desolation row` , `Highway 61` is revisited a bit, less chaotic maybe, Stu is doing good on his guitar. The sound is good and his voice really clear. I sing along on `To Ramona` , `Simple twist of fate`. I step right in front of the stage for `Blowing in the wind`. He will start on piano then move front for the final on harmonica. I’m right in front of Bob for Dave and Johnny were nice enough to give me the rail. Bob looks at me, I’m not sure if he can see me or even want to see me! He doesn’t smile or anything just stare in the space. I wish he could send that kiss he sent in Brazilia. He looked so happy then. He doesn’t tonight. At some point he, again, put his hand on Charlie’s shoulder like in Missoula. How are we supposed to translate that gesture?
After the show D. wants to take some drinks with friends so we go to the Holiday Inn bar. The conversation runs on forever. I’m overtired and still suffering from the Jet-lag. I crash on a sofa at 1.00 a.m. I sleep until 6.30 a.m.
18th of August Sioux Falls, South Dakota
We have to hit the road early for we have 5 or 6 hours drive to Sioux Falls. We take time for a breakfast with Frankie, D. ` aunt, who was nice enough to offer us some accommodations. I take a breakfast of pancakes and syrup and off we rock and roll down the road; H. 90 East.
Reaching Sioux Falls at 6.30 p.m. I immediately check on the crew trucks and buses. Bobby’s bus is parked over there with Al Santos pacing around. No sign of Chris or Barron or any bike.
I meet again with Dave, Johnny and Jeff and J. and Che/Siobhain. We all move in. My seat is 14th row but quickly I find an opportunity to move 4th row center. No one will claim that seat tonight. My luck!
Shortly after 8.oo p.m. Stu moves on for his riffs of blues. Bobby appears hat less and tired for what I can tell.
No more surprise; ‘Leopard skin …`. In the course of the routine, seated at the NEW grand piano Bob will start `This dream of you` beautifully articulated and so sweet. Also `Hattie Carole`. The crowd is enthusiastic. The energy will mount a bit with two picks ; `Highway 61` well reinforce with Stu’s guitar and `Thunder on the mountain` also well underlined with Stu`s guitar, sounding a bit like a saxo of some kind, or is it the steel guitar of Donnie, over there in the back, behind the great piano?
`A hard rain`s gonna fall` sounds like it’s the end of the world, apocalyptic.
Bob is in a dark and moody mood ; no smile with Donnie, no laugh with Tony, no look at the crowd. Fortunately I have a good view at the piano seeing Bob’s face and left leg going up and down. Is he conscious of that weird attitude? No more pulling his pants, no more touching the back of his hair but he’s less and less front stage, though he will do `Simple twist of fate` and will step front for the last part of `Blowing in the wind`. The last salute is impersonal.
We all move out, the hard core fans a bit deceived for he didn’t change the set list too much. The routine tonight. D.wants to drink vine with friends so I take a nap inside the car, wrapped in a warm blanket. At midnight and so we reach the campground to pull up a tent but I will sleep or try to sleep in the car. Only for three or four hours. Mr Jones and Mia are there too. We’ll be talking until late at night.
We got up at 8.00 a.m. a bit too late for me but `what has to be will be` a quick refill of gas and coffee and on H. 29 N. up to Fargo. D.wants me to take a bunch of photos, I obliged. We listen to music, enjoy the dry land and reach Fargo before 2.00 p.m. heading for the venue right away. Less than 20 freaks are camping out in front the venue, people I know and people I don't know but for now the atmosphere is friendly. That will change as time passes and more fans will come to queue. Matt is here. Tony will arrive later on his Greyhound bus that broke down on the highway. Poor Tony!
I buy myself a ticket for 50$ (I could have done better). D. got a room at the Howard Johnson right behind the venue for tonight. So nothing to worry about, just wait on the line and pray for the best.
I put a ground sheet on the floor and an heavy blanket as a mattress. Some water, a good book and I fall asleep on the spot. It's hot but comfortable. There will be 4 lines forming all along the afternoon. I check by the back stage door at 4.30 p.m. Chris is passing by and fro. Something is happening. The musicians` bus is pulling by the side walk and oh surprise! Bob's bus pulls right in front of me. I'm chatting on the pavement with Jim (a biker) when Chris asks the security guard to push us farther back. We obliged. 10 minutes later Bob steps out, all hooded and moving really quickly to the backstage door. I go back laying on my 'bed'. At 5.30 p.m. D. joins me and we're ready for the run.
I run towards the left side of the center mike, as usual. A stupid guy right in front of me pretends to fall on the rail, I jump over his legs. He's, in fact, keeping the rail for two girls, so when the security guard asks him to stand up he's right at my spot, pushing me hard, so hard that I can't breath. I'm angry and suffocating. The two fans on my left are nice enough to give me some space. Great! I relax and focus on Bob Dylan. As soon as Stu plays his blues riffs I'm happy again. Bob is trotting to the keyboard for 'Leopard skin ...' hatless, looking as pale as a ghost!
The show is good. I'm enjoying myself, singing and dancing with some freaks around. Bob doesn't do anything unusual. He's professional but not erratic ; no fun, no smile. On 'Like a rolling stone' he will stop playing the piano and looks at George with discuss. Bob is holding his head in his hands like he's not happy at all. He'll speak out something to Tony before banging on his piano again. What George did wrong? Nobody will be able to give an explanation, even later. Bobby was mad (he was Zimmy) and won't be able to be happy until the end of the show.
These three shows in a row were 'routine'. Except for the fact that I'm having a good time on the road with my friends, those shows don't move me. No more 'Shot of love'. Now I resent the fact that Bob doesn't relate with his public. It's obvious that he's hiding behind his grand piano, no contact with the audience. I know he could do better like in Latin America.
After the show D. , Tony, Siobhain, Che and myself go for a pizza and a beer. We then retrieve to our rooms for a good night sleep. Jim (the biker) saw Tony Garnier leaving the venue on his bike. Cool! Did Bob ride his Harley going to Anhover where he owns a farm? Checking on his horses? Have a good time my dear!
Next morning. A day off. Che and Siobhain propose to drive me to Hibbing. Four hours ride to Hibbing. Five hours ride to Rochester.
20th of August HIBBING
We reach Hibbing in the afternoon and immediately take a walk around. There is a leaflet with a map of different areas where young Bob Zimmerman had been. Of course his house at the corner of 22nd street and what is now Bob Dylan Drive. We take a bunch of photos then we move to Hibbing High School. A nice choir teacher will give us a special tour of the school. The gym, but most of all the Theater. She will pull out the Grand piano on back stage. The same one young Bob had play on in front of a public.
We walk on the main avenue and reach different buildings where Robert Zimmerman hanged out. Some have changed but photos are posted to remind us the old days. We find the synagogue but they have removed the Star of David and the Menorah. It ain't a synagogue anymore. No more Zimmermans in town. We enter the public library to check on the Bob Dylan exhibit. Nice photos on the walls and my friend Claude Angela Boni's painting. We're staying a bit too long in there. When we go upstairs the alarm runs on, we're locked inside. We have a good laugh when the Lady runs back from the parking lot. She had forgotten all about us!
We decide to have dinner at Zimmy's cafe. It's dark in there but Bob Dylan is all over the walls, in photos and posters. His first guitar (an electric one!) is hanging on the wall. We're only three Dylan freaks in there. D. and Tony didn't make it to Hibbing.
We're a little bit deceived about the atmosphere at Zimmy's. We feel like three fools!
The ‘Bed and Breakfast’ has a better atmosphere. Nice owner and beautiful room. Che and Siobhain accepted to share with me. They have a king size bed. I take the sofa. Peaceful night!
In the early morning we take more photos of Bob's old house and we'll meet with Linda and Bob the owners of Zimmy's cafe. We talk for more than one hour. They tell us some nice stories about B.D.
We then hit the road towards Rochester, down south St Paul/Minneapolis.
of August Rochester, Minnesota
Arriving in Rochester
slightly before 6.00 p.m. I run from the Holiday Inn (where Che and Siobhain
are checking in) to the venue. Rushing
to meet with Dave in front line. He's holding my ticket. 15 minutes before the
run to the stage.
Matt is here and Johnny and Tony and D. , later Che and Siobhain will join and John and Mia.
We run. I hold the rail next to Dave and Johnny on my right. Two ladies behind me are also kind of following some shows. D. will hold the rail on the right for two little girls of 14 and 10 years old. Great! Bobby gonna see some kids in front! Nice atmosphere tonight. A crowd of 4 or 5 thousands. The stage is low again, we'll be able to see Bob's boots.
7.40 p.m. Stu is taking the stage, then the Band then Bob wearing the same outfit as in Missoula. Nice fluffy hair, no hat. He looks fit, no puffy face. Though again pale as a ghost.
'Leopard skin ..', 'Love minus zero/no limit', 'John Brown', 'Visions of Johanna'
other than that regular set list;
'Tweedle dee and tweedle dum', 'Rolling and tumbling' … and the regular and immutable ten.
The show is ok but not the best. Stu is playing right in front of me and Charlie not looking at the crowd (maybe yes). Bob cracks a smile or two with Tony Garnier but he's not happy nor erratic, except that left leg going up and down. I see him close. I see only the vacuum of his eyes. He's the ghost of Bob Dylan. Bobby dear, where are you my sweetheart?
After the show with Che and Siobhain we're looking for a place where we could grab a little something to eat. We haven't eaten all day. I take a French onion soup and a salad. We retrieve to our Holiday In where I gonna share a room with Tony and D. . Sweet Tony will sleep next to me. Total friendship. I feel frustration all over my body! The same frustration I feel sleeping next to D. !
No free breakfast but a washing machine and a dryer are welcome. I wash my laundry with D. laundry. I move to Che and Siobhain's room for a cup of coffee for I will be traveling with them to Desmoines, Iowa. D. has got another companion in his car. I'm one too many!
We check out at 2.00 p.m. Nice ride to DesMoines. We grab a sandwich on the way. We meet with John and Mia. D. , Matt and Tony are supposed to go the same direction.
Arriving at 6.30 p.m. we immediately start the search for a ticket. We want the floor section. At 7.25 p.m. we are all inside. With Che and Siobhain we try to move front but people will claim their seats and the usher is not so cool! I step 13 rows back and stick with sweet Tony.
'Man in a long black coat', 'Can't wait'. Two surprises of the show.
I feel a good energy coming from the stage. Bob's voice is clear and loud. The Band well together. The show too short. Barron walks by me. I say 'Hi Barron!' Of course I won't get any answer.
Right after 'Blowing in the wind' I go back to D. car for Tony will be flying back home from here and only D. and Matt are going on. I will then return in D. car and spend the night in a Comfort Inn in LaClaire with both of them.
23rd of August
We leave past noon. we check some antiques store and hit the road to Fort Wayne. A long ride again. Matt will do the driving. We check in a Hilton at 9.00 p.m.
I see Jim and ‘Jewels’, the two Dylan sound technicians. The crew is staying at the Hilton. Not Bob.
We take a walk by the venue. Tomorrow is GA and we want to know where will start the line. Matt and myself go to bed for an early start, D. will join me in bed later.
24th of August Fort Wayne, Indiana
We had decided to be on line at 8.00 a.m.
I get up at 7.00 a.m. and get ready. When I reach the gates of the venue, Maria who we met the night before is already seated on a blanket. We share. Matt will join around 9.00 a.m. then five more fans. That will be the same 8 freaks holding the line until 5.30 p.m. Crazy!
We are informed that there is a pre-sale tickets line. Those tickets allow the holders to get in at 6.30 p.m., half an hour before the big crowd. Of course I don't have any ticket and hope for the best.
At 4.30 p.m. two bikers are passing in front of the venue. The first bike is Bob's. It's probably Bob riding that huge Harley Davidson. He's wearing a black helmet. Thanks God!
Shortly after we hear the sound check and we can have a glance at Bob's cowboy hat, over there on stage.
Good news arrived in the afternoon. Andre, the main security venue guard will let the ten first Fans on the line get in at 6.30 p.m. no matter the ticket we're holding. Thank Andre! So kind of you! We had been queuing for more than 10 hours...
We rush down the stairs and through the baseball field. We are necessarily on the rail. I take the centre mike and save some space for Siobhain. The atmosphere is friendly but the field half empty. Bob Dylan doesn't fill up his venues anymore!
We drink a lot of water and wait for Stu. He will appear all dressed in black, as well as Charlie, George, Donnie, Tony. Bobby finally dressed in a beautiful dark jacket underlined with green at the collar and sleeves. He looks 'almost' young and healthy.
'Leopard...' a nice 'Girl of the north country'. 'Things have changed' center stage. Bobby is right in front of me but I can hardly see his eyes. I don't know how much he can see. He doesn't smile. He's wearing the mask of BOB DYLAN.
He'll spend most of the performance at the piano, invisible to the audience, hiding from himself. Not a smile not even a grin. The harp solos are not as strong as they used to be.
He will do 'Forgetful heart' so sad that I start to cry.
Centre stage for 'Simple twist of fate’. Two fingers of his left hand are bandaged. He cut himself?
The sound is excellent. I don't forget to sing and dance as well as some crazy ones around me. The hard core fans are worried about his energy. He's again 'professional' but visibly not happy.
He will spend some time saluting the audience. Meaning what? "I'm yours"? "I'm trying to please you"? I wish he could please himself.
Charlie winks at Siobhain. Bobby shows no sign of recognition. I was hoping for a kiss.
We go out for a bite with Che and Siobhain then back to the Hilton for a good night sleep.
D. will get in later. Matt is watching some baseball on T.V.
25th of August Indianapolis, IndianaWe drive Matt to the Amtrak Train Station. He's leaving the tour temporarily I'm going south to Indianapolis with D. . We'll meet Che/Siobhain, John/Mia plus more I'm sure. Tonight the show is reserved seats at 8.00 p.m. We check in rapidly in a Ramada Inn. Fancy but what the hell we gonna have a good time. Finally life on the road appears more fascinating than the shows themselves. What to expect? My kiss to Bobby Dylan is forever forgotten. I'm not even sure I want to approach him ; he's ugly, gloomy, sick and looks mean "most of the time". It's definitely a drag to be a genius.
We're running late when we park at the zoo parking lot, rushing to get in the venue on time. Tonight it's reserved seat with a lawn on the back. D. has a 5th row ticket, myself a lawn ticket. I will stay with John, Mia, Rolf (John's son) and his 17 years old friend. We are as close as possible to the stage, standing on a rail. I say hello to Jim (the sound technician), see Barron rushing to the security area. I stand there until show time. I see Bob, all dressed up, walking towards the stage, hat in hands, surrounded by Barron, Chris and the Band all dressed in light brown suites. In an instant Bob is at the keyboard for 'Leopard skin ...'. Because I'm up with no one in front of me I will dance and sing along the entire show. Rolf and his friend are enthusiastic, good feelings! The show is a routine though. No surprise, no smile, no nothing. One hour and 40 minutes and bye bye. I've seen too many shows perhaps. I'm spoiled. It might sound and look incredible for some fans. The first row is happy. Bob doesn't perform for me or D.or Matt or Che or Siobhain ... he performs for an anonymous audience. It could be different but why should he bother? to learn a new song or to put the piano in front? He's doing his job as any other entertainer.
We have another of those shared room with D.who will talk to anybody except me.
26th of August Cincinnati, Ohio
Next stop is Cincinnati. It will take us the entire day to finally check in the Days Inn, 10 minutes from the venue. I can't complain for I don't drive, I share the expenses though and I wish I could be more part of that trip. They take my "kindness for weakness", D. is a bit of a 'Macho', he'd prefer to be with a young girl. I understand but I feel rejected. My opinion on Dylan will also arouse some bad remarks. I will shut up.
Tonight Leon Russel will be the opening act. OK, I know the show. I stay out until he's done.
My seat is on the 7th row pit left. Good seat. I've got D. binoculars so I'll see the Crazy Old Man face trying to hide behind his piano.
'Leopard skin ...'. What a surprise???
'Blind Willy Mc Tell' will save my day. 'High water' will make it for the night.
Bobby seams to be in a good mood, even dancing a bit on his sticky legs. He's pointing at some one in his left. That guy gonna be in heaven believing he's Bob Dylan's friend forever!!! What an illusion!! I had that illusion... millions years ago!!!
D. takes a photo of me, I say
-'I look old'
-'you are old'.
That will kill me for the rest of the Tour. I fell down from my cloud right there! The world appears as it is ; ugly, materialistic, old, cold and prejudiced. I'm an old woman following an insane Star believing he's GOD.
D. , you killed me, my friend!
D.doesn't know how much he hurt me. He's not connected to feelings, he's connected to Ipads, Iphones, computers, cameras ... the High Tech man. The long distance communications have destroyed all sense of humanity.
I cry inside myself and at times the tears are coming out.
I'd prefer to travel on my own but I knew that Tour would have been impossible to make without a car and a driver. That was a lesson.
The show ended up with a surprise. For the 'encore' four women are taking place around the center mike. The lights are on with Bob on piano for 'Blowing in the wind'. The girls are making the harmonies.
Right after the show Fans speculate for Bob didn't introduce those girls. I speculate on one being Desiree Grabrielle (Bob's own daughter) but not probable for anybody else. D. doesn't even know the existence of that daughter. We'll find out later that they are the Mc Creary sisters, one being Regina Mc Creary who was a back vocal singer on 'Street legal'. They're trying to promote their album. Nice gesture from Bob Dylan!
We retrieve to our rooms for a glass of Blackberry Vine, D. , John, Mia and myself. I share with D. a room in a crappy hotel. Material comfort is not my priority, so what the hell with the broken table! My broken heart is bleeding.
28th of August, ColumbusOn the road again with D. . No show tonight but Youngstown is five hours drive so we figure out we might as well do a bit of that drive today. We snail on to Columbus. We spot a bowling bar on the way to downtown. D. brags about being a good 'bowler'. He wants me to try, to humiliate me? My first bowling roll is a strike! I feel suddenly less dummy! Luck or talent?
After a beer in a brewery we check in a Motel, not too good, not too bad. D. attitude is weird. He'll leave the room in the middle of the night to go chat with some youngsters who don't give a damned about Bob Dylan. I' m left alone with the T.V.
We drag out in the morning. Breakfast of pancakes and a walk in a park. I take photos, something to feel proud about. I should be happy to have a ride but I feel lonely without freedom. I'm distracted by all these encounters. I repeat to D. "I'm on the road for Bob Dylan". D.is looking for something, somebody, some 'attention'. A moment of glory? That glory Mr Dylan is now annoyed with?
I'm only passing through. My relative comfort restraints my liberty.
28th of August, Youngstown, Ohio
We arrive at the Youngstown venue shortly before 7.00 p.m. We park right next to Che and Siobhain. D. has a ticket to sell. He will sell it to a stranger for 40$. He sells one to me for 80$. So much for his friendship!
My seat is on the floor but far back. I move 4th row. I will stay there for the entire show. D. disappeared. As soon as he's surrounded by people, I don't exist. He's bragging about his adventures with Bob Dylan. I know better than that. He's a kid.
Stu is not on for the blues riffs. He will take the stage for the 5th song ; 'Rolling and tumbling'. Nobody knows why and the speculations will go on for the next days ... he's sick, Bob wants to get read of him, Bob wants to give the lead back to Charlie, testing the sound without Stu's guitar ...
The public is cold, the front rows quiet. I try to enjoy myself but some Yuppies are talking non stop behind my back. Bob doesn't seem to care, he's barking his lyrics, he's moving his legs.
He will start 'Things have changed' on center mike but for some reason known only of him, he will trot to the grand piano and start all over again. He looks stoned crazy.
I don't feel Love but pity. The set list is no surprise, the routine. Is he able to memorize more songs?
How long will he go on being the ghost of Bob Dylan? the BobCats expect a lot from TEMPEST. They expect a completely different tour in the Fall. I'm a lot more pessimistic. The old man is getting old and not any younger. Hopefully I AM wrong!
D. drives to the camping ground to join John and Mia for a night under the stars. The moon is almost full. We exchange few words about the show. Of course they disagree with me. They need a reason to be following, accepting the truth is not an option for them. Or am I wrong?
John, though, seems to be bored with the shows. With D.we spend a night in the tent, so close and so far. No kindness!
We get up 6.30 a.m. with the light of the day. A cup of coffee, a shower. I'm moody. D. tries to cheer me up. He's a good heart. Not enough in the 'here' and 'now' for my point of view.
John and Mia had left already when we take the road.
I try to take D. out off his electronic devices. We finally have a long talk. D. is patient with me, a 'good Samaritan' for people he doesn't even know. I wish he could be more involved and less superficial but D. is D. . I'm not around to change people. And why should I? I might be selfish.
29th of August Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Driving towards Johnstown. Some many years ago a dam broke down flooding the entire city. The city had been reconstructed beautifully. Many churches are splendid. We all believe Bob will sing "High water".
John and Mia take us to the funicular overlooking the city. Nice view up there.
We run to the show (we’re late), reserved seat tonight.
I move as close as possible to the stage. 7th row center on the aisle, so I can dance. Matt is here with his mother. They invite us at their home after the show. We're happy for we didn't plan anything ; no camping, no crappy hotel.
The public is enthusiastic and Bob and the Band will respond to that.
The show is great ; good sound, good humor (maybe he even smiles but I can't see), good set list.
'Man in a long black coat', 'High water', 'Saving grace' (THE surprise!), 'Blind Willy Mc Tell', ' Forgetful heart'.
It rocks and rolls.
Bob Dylan is back. Why oh why not all the shows are like that?
We chat with some followers, take pictures with Che and Siobhain and head on to Matt's house. We arrive at 1.00 a.m. take a shower and both crash in a extra large King bed to sleep.
30th of August, Salisbury, Maryland
Matt's mother is beautiful. She will make the breakfast of bacon, eggs and bagels. We leave for the next show ; Salisbury by the beach, three of us ; Matt, D. and myself. Traffic is dense we have just time for a lunch of crabs and vegetables before heading to the venue.
5.30 p.m. I know the sound check is on. By chance the buses are visible. I take a stand far away enough for not being seen by the security. At 6.00 p.m. Barron appears at the backstage door. Next to him a tiny man dressed in jeans and a sweater with the hood on his head. I'm the only one around, I move closer to the security rail. Barron and Bobby walk towards me. They both look at me and exchange few words that I can't hear. I don't move. I expect deep in my heart that Bob will walk up to me or make a sign ... Barron knows me, knows I'm not a menace, knows I've been to so many shows. But the miracle will not happen. My dear and sweet Bobby doesn't exist any more. This Old Man will step inside his bus and remain there until the beginning of the show.
“I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed”
I will come, a last time, at 7.30 p.m. to see Bob Dylan the Living Legend walks his Dylan walk towards the backstage door surrounded only by Barron and Chris. How sad!
I run to take my seat inside the venue. I bought a ticket at the Box Office. John and Mia had been in a fight. Mia wants to switch her seat with me. I'm 5th row center but somehow I don't mind anymore.
The crowd is a Yuppie crowd with the seated position. No dancing tonight. I see Chris coming by the side of the stage and asking the security to remove those "freaks" from the rail! Che and Siobhain have to move away. Mister Dylan doesn't want to see his BobCats tonight.
The show is average. Nothing's moving in there.
During 'Like a rolling stone' Bob seems pissed off, knocking over his mike on the piano with violence. Something is not according to his demands. His face is ugly. He's frustrated. He's disgusted.
'This dream of you' was great though.
John who's seated next to me will leave at the beginning of 'Highway 61' and murmur to the ear of D. ; 'The show is over'.
No magic, no 'Shot of love'. Bob was not with his public tonight.
That was my last show of the Tour. Paradoxically I don't feel sad to leave.
Tomorrow we, D. , Matt and myself go to the beach, hoping for a nice day.
We don't even talk about Bob Dylan. We don't even listen to Bob Dylan.
We swim, we enjoy a good meal and we drive back to Matt's house.
Matt will go to one more show in New York.
John broke definitively with Mia and put her on a bus to Mobile.
Che and Siobhain will go on to the end of the Tour being happy to be together.
Dave, Jeff, Johnny, Tony, J., Charles, Randy, Asha, Lisa .... will do some shows in the Fall.
Hopping for the best.
D. will go on his trip all by himself. I wish him the best in life.
Everything could have been so different, for the worst or the best!