Bob Dylan is one of those musical icons who helped to shape and define a generation. According to his biographer, Greil Marcus, "Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard Bob Dylan's voice."
Dylan, who is known for his somewhat unpredictable performances, lived up to his legendary status Sunday night and pulled off an amazing set at the Idaho Botanical Garden as a part of his summer tour of the Western United States.
Doors opened at 6:30 p.m., and by 6:45 p.m., the entire venue was teeming with eager fans--mostly baby boomers with their kids. The Idaho Botanical Garden provided a beautiful, serene backdrop to the massive set-up of Dylan and His Band.
Our spirits were dampened, however, when upon entering the beautiful venue, our camera was confiscated by the Knitting Factory Staff. They discovered her camera in her purse, and abiding Dylan's strict rules on photography, we had to leave it outside of the concert.
We were cheered up quickly by the opening act, however. The Dough Rollers, a young, soulful duo played gospel blues and joked with the crowd about Mormons. They hypnotized us all with their raspy voices and tight guitar hooks.
Before we knew it, the Dough Rollers rushed off stage, and out came Dylan, looking very business casual in black pants and a snazzy matching shirt that was trimmed with gold glitter. Dylan, who turns 70 in May, moved with a self-assurance that only true masters of their craft attain. He started with "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35," the first track off of his 1966 album, Blonde on Blonde. The zany, kooky single, synonymous with Dylan's image as the nation's bard during the tumultuous '60's, quickly segued into another track from Blonde on Blonde, "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)." Dylan continued with a few tracks off of Bringing It All Back Home, like "Subterranean Homesick Blues," but didn't perform hits like "Like A Rolling Stone" or "Mr. Tambourine Man."
Dylan performed each song with ease and obvious enjoyment, taking breaks to smile at his band and to himself during his songs. And while he never once acknowledged the crowd, they didn't seem to take it personally and jumped right in to sing the chorus of "Just Like A Woman."
Dylan's unique voice, which has become more distinctive and raspy during the past several decades, was still a thrill to listen to--even if it wasn't the younger voice we are all familiar with. His presence added to the sharpness of his lyrics and the talent of his band.
Dylan's performance was incredibly refreshing. It appears that, onstage, Dylan is not a myth, he's a man. And he is a true craftsman--making and performing his homespun songs with a talent that transcends, yet also amplifies, his legend.