Dylan’s a-coming

I wrote this short piece for our Inland Living Magazine and am sharing it here in advance of Bob Dylan’s appearance tonight at the Ontario arena.

The phlegmy voice of a generation, Bob Dylan is making his Ontario debut Aug. 19 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

I think this says more about us than it does about him. Where would he have performed prior to this, Gardiner Spring Auditorium? The Granada? (Not that those wouldn’t be cool shows.)

At 69, Bob Dylan surely needs no introduction. Or does he? Ironically, perhaps it’s the older crowd, the one that doesn’t pay much attention to music anymore, that needs to be brought up to date on the Bobster’s activities.

Yes, he hit his peak as a cultural force in the mid-1960s. After a resurgence in the mid-1970s, he seemed to lose his way.

But in the 1990s, his barnstorming live shows got livelier and attracted a younger crowd hungry for a Grateful Dead-type experience. This attention, and affection, seemed to rejuvenate Dylan’s songwriting and free him from the shackles of audience expectation.
Three acclaimed albums in a row — “Time Out of Mind,” “Love and Theft” and “Modern Times” — bore comparisons to his mid-’60s string, and he also released a volume of memoirs to a rapturous reception.

I’ve seen His Bobness a dozen times, in venues ranging from stadiums to county fairs to intimate clubs. The last time was in 2005 at the Pantages with Merle Haggard.

Driving to Hollywood in rush hour, in the rain, took 2 1/2 hours. (It was worth it.) Now it’ll be nice to see Bob Dylan again — right here at home.

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  • Terry Dipple

    I was at the Pantages show. Have seen him about ten times. Last time was two years ago at OC Fair. First time I saw him in person, he was not performing. It was when Neil Young opened the Roxy, September 1973, and Bob was sitting at a table behind us. My first Dylan concert was 1978, at Universal Amphitheater.

    [A table behind you! That's cool. -- DA]

  • Bob House

    Saw the mention of Jerry Lee Lewis at the Fox in your column this morning. I’ve never seen The Killer live, but a year or two ago I saw him on a televised music awards show and he blew every other performer off the stage. He’s 75! I am certain there were 25-year-old, million-selling stars backstage trying to hide so they didn’t have to follow his performance.

    [I'm planning to buy a ticket, and you've got me optimistic it may be a good show. -- DA]

  • Desdave

    He and his band certainly have come on strong in the 1990′s-2000′s. One of the better bands out there right now, in my opinion. His songs are timeless, his voice is… well, his voice. And, since you mentioned the Grateful Dead, he toured with them for a few weeks in 1987 (including a stop at Anaheim-Angel-of-Los Angeles-in-Anaheim Stadium), and their covers of his songs were always a huge treat for me at least.

    [There's an album of Dead covers of Dylan songs, "Postcards of the Hanging," that is fine stuff. -- DA]