Maybe it was because last night was Halloween and I was upset that I wasn’t dressed up and stumbling door to door in the cold asking for candy from total strangers that I didn’t enjoy last night’s performance by Bob Dylan at the Kohl Center in Madison last night. Realistically, I didn’t enjoy the show because no one in Bob Dylan’s camp has bothered to bring up the fact that he can no longer cut it as a live musician. However, I have only myself to blame for the nearly three hours of pure agony I experienced.
You see, I bought Modern Times the day it came out. I love the record; it’s been a staple in my rotation since I first shelled out $11.99 for it on August 29, 2006. I admit that the album surprised me a little because I can clearly remember a night about eight years ago when my friends and I each spent about $40 to watch Bob Dylan and Phil Lesh put us through the worst 5 hours of our then relatively limited concert going experiences. I made myself a personal promise to never intentionally put myself through such a situation like that again. Granted, I realize that it’s certainly fair to lay a large amount of blame on our displeasure with that night on Phil Lesh and his 3 hours of pure misery. Nonetheless, I walked out of the venue that night in Milwaukee knowing that the Bob Dylan that I liked to listen to no longer existed in a live setting. That person died a long time ago and if I wanted to remain a Dylan fan I would have to stay as far away from his concerts as possible. So when started to really enjoy Modern Times combined with the ease of Craigslist, I really couldn’t say no to a $25 opportunity to give a living legend one more try.
Thankfully, I had my worst concert experience those eight years ago otherwise this show would hands down take first prize. Dylan’s voice is so terrible and mumbled that I couldn’t even realize he was playing “Tangled Up In Blue” until about three verses in. Not only that but the anthem that used to be “Like A Rolling Stone,” has now been reduced to nothing but Dylan and his band going through the motions, which is quite unfortunate. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that someone whose records that I’ve listened to countless times could also be the same person that would provide me with the two worst concerts experiences of my life.
Keep those studio records coming Bob, but it’s time to close up the road cases for good.