Happy 70th, Bob

I had so deeply wanted to do a special birthday post today, dedicated to Bob Dylan. A really long one.

Unfortunately, last week got eaten up by life and I only have a few minutes to discuss his Bob-ness before my ride comes and sweeps me off to my own birthday adventure.

(My birthday is Friday. I’ll be 29. Since I was a c-section, I’m still bitter that my parents didn’t work it out so that Bob and I could be birthday twins. Oh well. I guess I’ll get over it…)

Bob Dylan came into my life at a time during which I needed him most. I was 18 years old and I had just started college. I had never felt more…alone. Sure, I had friends and hobbies. More importantly, I had my friends’ hobbies. I didn’t feel like I had anything to call my own. Nothing was speaking to me and I hadn’t found my “place” in the world. I was just…there.

Then I found Bob.

I spent 4 or 5 years, traveling all over the country to see Dylan, with friends I had met on the internet. I think it scared my mother, at first. I mean, her kid was just traipsing all over the country, hunkering down in hotel rooms and hitching rides with people she had only ever met on some weird site called “The Dylan Pool“…but it was one of the best times of my life.

Outside one of the best Dylan shows I ever saw…Augusta, ME 8/4/02…look! I’m wearing chucks!

I even made some really great friends along the way. While we don’t keep in touch as much as we used to (life gets in the way…), we still love to occasionally connect and discuss all of the craziness that went on during our trips. Just recently, a friend of mine was recalling our love of soft serve and I dug up this picture:

Robert, Julie and I during the infamous California summer fair series. We got soft serve before every single concert. We were documenting the experience for posterity!

Now I have seen Bob nearly 40 times and in 7 different states. Those stats really aren’t that impressive when you compare them to other Dylan fans, but for me, I feel good about it. Bob has a special place in my life and I always go back to him.

Everyone wants to call Dylan the voice of a generation and make a huge hoopla about his music. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about his music. Thing is, what I love about Dylan is much more than music. It’s about an entire world that opened up to me through his work. It led me to authors I had never read and old scratchy blues musicians I had never heard of. It led me from Kerouac to Rimbaud, from Roy Orbison to Hank Williams, from the White Stripes to The Waifs and from one side of the country to the other. I didn’t stop just with Dylan’s vast discography….every single thing that Dylan puts out makes me want to read and delve further into history. It was something I never did prior to that and I am who I am today because I did. It helped me find my place, and I am forever grateful for that.

Thanks Bob. Happy 70th Birthday. Have some soft serve for me.

4 thoughts on “Happy 70th, Bob

  1. Is the soft serve a Bob thing, or just a random fan thing?

    40’s a good number. Pretty sure I’ve seen both the Pumpkins & J more than that, but TSP has been over the course of 15 years (and was mostly one tour), and J plays All. The. Time. Just curious, though- when seeing a bunch of shows in a row/close succession, do you get disappointed at hearing the same songs over & over again too? XD

    1. Soft serve was just a me, Robert and Julie thing. That summer tour hit several of California’s state fairs and it was just something that we got at every single fair show. It was our favorite fair food.

      40 is pretty measly for a lot of bob people. The guy plays like 8 months out of the year. A lot of people I know see like every show in a tour leg which is like 20 shows alone. I saw like 9 shows in one year…but I think that is my record. Not enough money or time to go see bob when he’s more than a short car ride away.

      And yes. You sigh and go, “ugh. Again.” when the Dylan pool was around we all placed bets on what songs he would play and check in every night for set lists. Pretty soon you would know exactly what the list was going to be so when you were at the show you would know exactly what was coming. Kinda boring, except for the fact that it really does make the surprises stand out. You know right away that you have seen something special.

      1. Yeah. After a certain point on the 2000 tour (a couple friends & I went to.. well, yeah- they’re all listed there. A LOT.), we were calling the next songs before they started, and if the setlist varied in order at all, we’d have it by the 1st or 2nd drum beat (or even by the type of 4-count lead-in), several measures before the main guitar line or vocals started & the rest of the crowd caught on to what it was & started cheering. heh. Good times.

        Sadly, I don’t think we had any traditions like soft serve..

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