“What song is this?” I ask. My friend, sitting next to me, responds, “I’m not sure. It’s just f***ing Dylan, and that’s all that matters”— and he’s right.
For days, I asked myself how this could be happening. How could this behemoth of an artist be driving up to our little campus, and giving us this opportunity to witness a moment in time, similar to another moment shared by someone else before, decades ago — Bob Dylan in concert?
Just minutes after eight o’clock, as many still waited in lines for snacks and drinks, there was no opening act. There were no fireworks. No laser shows. No videos. Quite simply, the six-piece band came out, led by the one and only Mr. Dylan, and began to play. Seconds after, a roar was heard passing through the arena.
Bob Dylan led his band through his arsenal of songs like, “I’ll be your baby tonight,” “The Levees gonna break,” and “Just like a woman.” Not knowing what to expect, I assumed that Dylan would appear aged, frail and weak, but to the delight of the audience, it was just the opposite. The experienced artist showed no signs of slowing down or tiring. He switched between instruments with the energy of a gazelle. First, a guitar. Then, a keyboard. Later, a harmonica, and so on. As he played, a shadow was cast on the backdrop, which painted perfectly the frame of the man on stage. When staring at it long enough, it seemed as if the silhouette was reality, and this was merely some sort of dream, or a vision of a ghost, but a glance back toward the stage served as a kind reminder that this was indeed as real as it gets, and legends do exist.
Perhaps, the best part was the purity of it all. Dylan only spoke once between songs, and this was merely to introduce his band. One got the impression that he wasn’t there to be a celebrity, or to put on a show, or to perform. He was just a man on a stage doing what he loves — playing music. He just happened to be sharing that with 4,500 people who stood in awe while he did it.
In fact, when Dylan is onstage, he doesn’t even seem aware of the aura he has produced in the arena. It seems as, though it’s a big deal to us, to him it’s just what he does, who he is. He is doing what we should all be doing, laboring in his passion, and we are witnessing it.
At the end of the show, I realized, there are few acts that I might ever have the chance to see, that could compare to this — any Beatle, the Rolling Stones, or Led Zepellin, are the only ones that come to mind. It is an unforgettable experience that I hope to tell my kids about someday and share with them that I was there the day that Dylan came to NSU. Where were you?