Bob Dylan, Sasktel Centre, July 14 2017

image1-2I’m still trying to process this show. Bob Dylan. American icon. Artist. Musician. Lyricist. Modern renaissance man. Bon vivant. No doubt. I understand Bob is not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m not here to persuade you otherwise. I think last Friday was my 7 or 8th time seeing Bob. I’ve enjoyed him every time. This time was exceptional and I’m glad I convinced myself to go. I wasn’t going to. Then I saw some footage from his recent tour. It was killer. Then I realized they’ve been doing the same set all tour. To me, that meant the band should and would be tight. And they were. As the lights went down and the band walked on stage the vibe was immense. And then…there he was. Bob fucking Dylan. That old familiar feeling washed over me…”I’m in the same room as Bob Dylan”. A privilege. For the next little while the band tore through a variety of Bob’s catalogue. From early numbers like Don’t think Twice, to tunes from the “Time” series of albums, to his re-working of the old classics like Stormy Weather to the swinging blues of the album Tempest. It was all displayed and played expertly. Bob’s voice (again, I’m not here to convince you to like it, but I do) was sounding great. He sang the song book tunes with confidence and swagger. Nailing them. Standing confidently with his hand on his hip as his band became an orchestra. Simply as badass as one can be at 76 and clearly aware of it. All night he seemed to clearly be having a good time. Rocking his baby grand, chatting with band mates. He even addressed the audience with a little fist bump to the heart before they left the stage. Something I’ve never seen him do even once before.

The entire night has been replaying in my head over and over since the show ended. Like a good film I’ve been revisiting each scene. Trying to figure out what it all means. I had a number of moments during the show where things seemed to make sense to me. A vision of the timeline of American music. Blues. Jazz. Swing. Torch. Singer songwriters. And of course, RocknRoll. Bob was/is there amidst all of it. It occurred to me that night, there in that room, that Bob is as important a musical figure as anyone. It must have been a similar feeling to be in the room watching Muddy Waters or Howlin Wolf. Sinatra or Miles Davis. Just the knowing that American Music was being made. Real and true. And all night, whether Bob was at his piano or standing impishly with his hand in his hip, it was as if he was saying to me “I know where I fit in music history. You can put me beside Muddy. Frank. Springsteen. ANYONE, and it will all make sense. I am American music.” Thank god I went one more time because Who knows how much longer we’ll get to keep Bob on this sphere.

I always sort of feel bad for the folks I talk to leading up to and after the show. The folks who went to hear knocking’ on Heaven’s Door or Mr Tambourine man, performed as recorded. Of course Bob doesn’t do that. Not, ever, just rarely. You don’t necessarily get what you want at a Dylan show. You always get what you need though. Whether you realize it or not. One thing I have learned for sure in my few decades on this earthly realm, is that when you enter a situation projecting your own expectations, knowingly or unknowingly, you are nearly always met with disappointment and frustration. This is a common human trait. We seem to expect others to behave or deliver what WE want. What WE desire. As if they would even know what that is. That is not how life works. We are individuals. Unique. Singular. It requires great amounts of communication to understand what another human wants or expects. Until that conversation happens we typically just project our own desires onto a situation or someone.  image2

In a conversation about the show with my must friend, Sean Burns, we came to the conclusion that to enjoy his Bobness live now, you can’t just be a “Like A Rolling Stone Fan”, you can’t just be a “Mr. Tambourine fan”, you can’t just be a “Oh Mercy” Fan. You have to be a BOB DYLAN fan. That means loving him and more importantly, accepting him, through all facets of his journey and the all encompassing weirdness that is Bob Dylan.

Killer Tunes Episode 29: 06-18-16

At long last! it’s episode 29 of Killer Tunes. This week we get horny! Tunage from Levon Helm, James Brown, Jon Cleary, The Hupman Bros. Band, Duff Dorrough, Bob Marley and more. Whether you’r listening by clicking below or over at 95.7 FM The Wolf, we thank you for tuning in! Enjoy.

Killer Tunes 06-18-16 MP3

 

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Day Eight: Bocce, Bays, Bikes & BBQ

Typically for us, the drive up around Lake Superior is a giant, long grueling pain in the ass. Our relationship is bittersweet. The Lakes and sunsets are so amazing but it goes on forever….. I’m happy to say that after five previous treks cross country for rocknroll we may have finally figured out how to deal with HWY 17. This time we took the “slow and steady” approach. We gigged every day at little spots here and there. Sometimes only in exchange for food and lodging.

Tuesday we stopped at Thunder Bay to rawk the Apollo. T-Bay is always a tough on us. We’ve certainly had fun shows there but its a struggle to get folks out, especially early in the week. We always enjoy catching up with our hosts though and this time was no exception. We had our “regulars” there and a few extra. When we first landed in front of the club I was in the van chatting with Shawn about merch and in front of the van was a dude on a bike. I thought, “hmmm, that guy looks like our pal Ray from Edmonton”. sure enough the helmet comes off and IT IS Ray!
He went for a cruise on his bike and ended up in T-Bay for our show to surprise us! WOW! Surprised we were. Great to see him and catch up a bit. We’ll see more of Ray when we’re in Alberta!

Wednesday we drove to Wabigoon, a little piece of the highway near Dryden.

What a time this was. I found this gig through our pal Doc Maclean, when we dropped Doc’s backdrop off there last fall. Man! Great little spot with super nice folks there. Sold a load of merch and got fed and a place to sleep too! The venue is Pappy’s Cafe. It’s a tiny little room covered with posters from past perfomers.

Many of which we pals of ours. We played two sets to a very appreciative crowd and had a BALL!!! Attached to the cafe is the store. It had everything you’d expect from a country store with lots of supplies and such. I was cruising around the store when I saw something that caught my eye. I knew I must have one (two?). Boobie Buddy.

Yep. I know. Awesome. A headrest that attaches to your vehicle headrest and is shaped like a pair of boobs so you’re always getting a booby hug!

Amazing right?!!?! So I mention on set break that I was gonna get one and then at the end of the night some dude comes up and says “I got you something” and hands me a boobie buddy! WOW. What a week for fan kindness. Ray drove from Edmonton to see us and this stranger gives me the kindest, most thoughtful, gift. We’re truly grateful to these people.

Today (Thursday) we drove the short trek to Kenora from Wabigoon. Nice day too. Stopped in Vermillion Bay to have some lunch at Busters BBQ.

These folks smoke their own meat and have award winning blueberry BBQ sauce. We all had a beef brisket sammich and let me tell you, it kicked ass!

Karl Bastard bought some spices and sauce to try later. What a find. So sad we drove by it 10 times before getting to stop in. Looking forward to the drive home now!!!!

We’re just in our new, sketchy hotel in Kenora.

Apparently there may or may not have been a murder here. Oh well. It’s right by the water and it’s quite nice…outside….

We’re finally leaving Ontario in the AM(Friday). A show at The Standard in Winnipeg Friday night. Headed to Regina for a show at the Gaslight Saloon Saturday. After that it’s a few days off before our Saskatoon shows at Bud’s.

Hope to see y’all out there somewhere.

Ross