Bob Dylan at Wharton was amazing. I had the unexpected good fortune of being invited to this once-in-a-lifetime concert by my friends Mattie Rickman and Roscoe Snyder who own Snyder Auto Care, here in Lansing.
I have to give a shout out to Teena Rairigh, owner of Supplemental CEO. Mattie had originally asked Teena to go and she invited me as her date because she knows what a huge fan I am. She’s such a good friend. But a couple days before the show she offered her ticket to my husband so we could have a date night. This was a true friend sacrifice and just one of the many ways she is an amazing person. Thank you, Teena!
We had 6th row orchestra seats and could see and hear everything perfectly. I don’t have any pictures because cell phone and camera use were strictly prohibited. It’s ok, though, because whatever you are imagining–it was better. Accept, let’s be honest–Bob was hard to understand half the time in his prime and that hasn’t improved with age. Again, it didn’t matter—It’s BOB DYLAN!!!!
Chris and I arrived before our friends so once we go through security we waited by willcall and people watched. What a wonderful mix of fans. The crowd spanned all ages. Bob Dylan is 78 years old and there were people who looked at least that old, plus parents with their teenage and college age kids, groups of ladies out together, and dudes jamming just like back in the day.
I saw guys sporting long rock-n-roll ponytails and also those dressed to the nines as if going to the opera. This includes the silver-haired dapper gentleman behind me who snored though most of the show.
I have to giggle because that was 1) A very expensive nap 2) very dedicated to be able to sleep through that level of audio.
Bob brought them all in. I am not sure any of us knew exactly what to expect. It’s weird seeing someone you have watched your whole life age and see their talent change, develop and sometimes diminish with the experience of life.
So, the four of us met up and headed into the theatre. If you have never been to the Wharton Center on the MSU Campus, it is an amazing venue to see and hear music. Admittedly, I don’t usually like concerts. I am definitely not into the outdoor Pine Knob (now DTE Music theater) crazy, sit on the grass kind of concert girl. I like to be comfortable among a well-behaved crowd. I got my wish!
As we were directed to our seats we kept walking down sets of stairs to the orchestra level until we found row F and slid our way all the way into the center of the row. We really could not have had any better seats! We were elevated just enough to see everything and dead center.
The set design spoke to my heart. It was a mix of steampunk lightening and artsy theater mannequins. Huge industrial spot lights hung from ceiling and cast hues of gold and bronze on the stage. The sparkly dressed up mannequins ringed the back of the stage and a few strategically placed statues set the tone for a classy yet edgy atmoshopere. Just like the audience.
In true Bob Dylan fashion, he came out, played for an hour and 15 minutes. Left the stage. Came back for an encore. Played a couple more songs. Bowed and left. He never said a word to the audience.
At one point Mattie leaned over to me and said, “I bet when he was a younger man he never said to himself, ‘When I am an old man up on stage I am going to wear a sparkly jacket.” I bet he didn’t, but man did he rock it.
Dylan has always been a slight man and is much shorter than the rest of the band. He never stood front and center on stage up where the mic stands were. Instead, he chose to stay tucked back in with the band and at times seemed to almost be crowding out the bass player.
He spend time at the piano and on the mic, and of course playing the beloved harmonica we all know and love. He can still wail on that thing like no one else. It was epic.
When he was standing, he stood bent slightly to the side and leaned into the mic in his hand. He did a few skipping moves and definitely still has his groove. If I squinted, I saw him as he was back in the day. He still has an amazing head of mostly dark hair. It was messy as usual.
So many times during the show I found myself in awe of the fact that he was right there in front of me. I was so lucky to be there in the same room and so close. Wow!
The band was tight. They were in the groove and a lifetime of music talent and friendship was evident in every note.
During The Girl from North Country a swell of emotion rose up in me and tears started streaming down my face. I honestly have no idea where that came from but it was all just so beautiful and soulful. I looked over at Mattie and realized she felt it too. We sniffed, we wiped our faces and chuckled at each other. Whew, what ride.
Thank you again for a wonderful show! Bob, you are amazing and thank you so much for sharing your talent with the world. Thank you to my kind and generous friends for inviting us and offering us their tickets. I am so grateful to have had this experience.