What a gorgeous evening it was at Tanglewood. Perfect breeze, perfect temp, perfect humidity and crystal clear out. The crowd was mostly boomer with some 30-40 somethings sprinkled in. Mavis Staplesopened with a spirited set backed by her integrated band of three white guys and two black back-up singers. The musicians were a tight unit, playing softly when called upon and incredibly rocking when justified. Guitarist Rick Holmstrom was a standout, full of the energy of youth backing the energetic 76-year-old singer.
Mavis hit her stride beautifully on the third song, Talking Heads’ “Spirited People.” At the end of this song Mavis chatted about Bob. “We’re happy to be here with our good friend Bob Dylan. That Bob, he’s something, you know. I love listening to him, but I really love watching him. He’s got this move [to his step], he’s so cool.”
Yes, it’s a brand new music video for Bob Dylan’s classic “Like a Rolling Stone,” and it’s a hoot and a half. It’s interactive, allowing the viewer to flip through a variety of television channels, all of which feature people lip-syncing the words to the song while engaged in their typical television show scenarios.
From an ESPN tennis match to Drew Carey hosting “The Price Is Right.” From Marc Maron’s “WTF” to rapper Danny Brown to the stars of “Pawn Stars.” And lots more, too, including Bob Dylan…
Five years ago, when Bob Dylan last graced the stage of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, he was the headliner of the one-time-only Saratoga Music Festival that featured a cavalcade of Americana acts, including the likes of Levon Helm, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, the Swell Season and Raul Malo.
Last week, Dylan returned to SPAC as the top-bill on the touring Americanarama Festival of Music – which also featured Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Ryan Bingham – and at the end of the night I was left with the same thought that I had back in 2008 – Dylan’s performance was disappointingly anti-climactic.
I had last seen Bob at UMass Amherst in November, play six months before he celebrated his 70th birthday. Could turning 70 possibly make Bob Dylan’s voice better? Did a vocal coach do some work with him, or does he have a new sound engineer?
On Tuesday night, he played with his band in Canandaigua at CMAC, a great venue. I love seeing him at CMAC. It is a miniature SPAC, with every seat a good one and with an easy-going approach to letting people drink their reasonably priced wine and beers without excessive hassle or oversight. Compact, no hassles, nice people, easy and nice bathrooms, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, plenty of beer and wine kiosks and a fine intimate close-to-the-stage arena. Pretty nice!
Martin Benjamin is not only an award-winning photographer, an art professor at Union College and a frequent Nippertown.com contributor, but he’s also one of the biggest, most devoted Bob Dylan fans that we know.
And in honor of Dylan’s 70th birthday today, he put together this little photographic retrospective, “Dylan Through the Years: Through the Lens of Martin Benjamin”…
Today is Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday. And in case you weren’t able to make it up to Skidmore College on Saturday night for the all-star Nippertown throwdown that Caffe Lena sponsored in his honor, here’s the all-star jam on “Like a Rolling Stone” at the end of the night…
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