Go on back to see the gypsy.
He can move you from the rear,
Drive you from your fear,
Bring you through the mirror.
(copyright Bob Dylan)
The second day of our Dylan tour started under a downpour. I’m glad we didn’t let that discourage us since we had a great evening in Manchester, NH.
Mass Pike was awash in water and not too scenic. We cut off on a local road and still made good time to Manchester. When we got to the Merchantsauto.com stadium the rain was down to drizzle. I got blocked with my camera going in – rats – even buried it in my backpack. Those rules are stupid since people are using camera and recorders all over the place.
There is no fun in using a wheelchair – well I lie since wheelchair racing is a rush. There are a few perks and one is easy seating in modern ballparks. We were able to get situated under the overhang and the top of the seats, next to the beer, food and bathrooms. Rain ponchos were in supply and needed since the rain kept up off an on all night. Most people came prepared and stayed to the end. Endurance pays off.
Food and drink were an upgrade over the Wahcohah Park in Pittsfield but the old time ballpark feeling was missing – modern times.
We got to hear Alana James who is a spirited Texas swing fiddle player – read fast. Nice jump-up music to start the night. Junior Brown appeared to be better tonight. Jimmy Vaughn needs a singer and some inspiration. He does groove but you need a singer – guitar licks do not a performance make.
Emboldened by the modern accommodations, I took my wheelchair down onto the field using the elevator and met some cool guys also using chairs. It was a snap to get around and you could see the stage from the field.
Ta da – same Copeland intro music – reminded me of Elvis using Strauss – Also Sprach Zarathustra (the Space Odyssey 2001 theme). It made the crowd perk up – I wonder if they got the irony.
Dylan and the band rocked through the same first four numbers from the night before. There were small changes but nothing too exciting. I was beginning to wonder if the second concert was too much too soon. I left the field area and went back to my girl friend – first it was raining and second the excitement seemed to pale.
When I got there he was just breaking into Watching the River Flow. The song pulled me in. Then Tears of Rage – one of the great songs Dylan wrote with Richard Manual. The evening was picking up. Rocking out with Mobile Blues – “Oh mama can this really be the end.” My girlfriend said – “You sing all those songs except the River one.” She is an astute person with impeccable taste. Interestingly, she liked hearing songs from the previous night again. “It’s like meeting old friends again” she said.
Oh my God – he started “It’s All Right Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) with a great rocking arrangement. The band was cooking. I could not believe he sang “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall” next – a great classic done again with conviction. I leaned over to my girlfriend and said “Girl, we are going to Connecticut for Tuesday night. This is too awesome – rain or no rain.” She laughed in my
face, tossed her hair back and said “Yeah!”
The band was cooking hard on “Highway 61” and Dylan was too. He
repeated a verse – that is so easy to do when you brain freezes as the band comes off the transition between verses. I hope someone captured that and it becomes available on BitTorrent.
We all went wild when he started “Tangled Up in Blue”. So perfect for the night and his timing and emotional delivery was right on. I still sing “She was working in a topless place” Dylan cleans that up since he was born-again.
By the time of the encore, I was belting out “Like a Rolling Stone” and “All Along the Watchtower”, two guys in cowboy hats were dancing down by the dugouts and a 60ish guy in front of me was standing and swaying in the seats.
Go on back to see the gypsy.