With the three sisters mountains beaming down on us we trudged from the parking lot to the outdoor concert with no parking nazis telling us where to go, short pause at the Vietnam Veterans tent to gab with the guys then get into line to get into the ampitheater, everyone casual, everyone grooving, the evening beautiful with fleece clouds shining in the evening sun, the Deschutes River flowing alongside, cursory look into bags to make sure no big booze bottles, who needs them, they sell full wine bottles inside, let you walk around with your beer also for sale in plastic cups, everyone cool, this has none of the franticness of many outdoor concerts, blankets spread on the ground, low lying lawn chairs, up front behind a small picket fence are the reserved seats and then the stage with the river circling behind.

Bob Dylan and his band appear and we swirl forward as far as we can with plenty of room for everyone, no crowding no jostling. Bob on our left, silhouetted, standing at a keyboard, singing into the microphone. Lead guitar next to him, then the drummer, the bass player, the rhythm guitarist and sitting facing Bob from the right, the pedal steel guitar player.

We are lucky to have Bob Dylan. We are fortunate Bob Dylan is still alive, still performing, still growing as an artist, achieving new, greater stature.

This is a mature Dylan, a Dylan that has not given into the icon label, the troubadour label, any of the labels unless you want to call him a Duke Ellington arranger/ band leader, for in this incarnation he isn't standing in front of the band, but to the side where they can see him and they watch him every second, playing tight, playing strong, like a pro sports team, fitting since they've been touring with Willie Nelson, playing at minor league ball parks all around the midwest.

"Throw my suitcase out the door
Throw my ticket out the window . . .

The crowd roars. A flock of geese has come gliding down over the river,

Throw my suitcase out there, too,
Throw my troubles out the door . . .

flaring with legs extended, across the back of the stage,

I don't need them any more
'Cause tonight I'll be staying here with you. . . . "

landing, it appears, on Bob Dylan's head.

Two hours non stop. He never picks up his guitar.

"Lay lady lay, lay upon my big brass bed . . .

The only time he faces the audience is when he walks to the center of the stage and blows his mouth harp.

Stay lady stay stay with your man awhile.
Why wait any longer for the world to begin . . ."

The harmonica is as strong as the guitars and bass and drum, the whole band rises to a sonorous pulsation bouncing off the sides of the Sisters and dropping to a whisper so all we hear is the rasping voice goes deep then up in a rising lilt then down again:

"You can have your cake and eat it too. Why wait any longer for the one you love. When he's standing in front of you."

Of course there's an encore. No one's going to leave until they come back on. Dark now. Lights out on the stage. Then the movement to the right and here they come. Bob in his white cowboy hat, dark western suit coat with big brass buttons on the side, a stripe down his pantlegs, short boots; the band all in white shirts with wide black vertical stripes on each side, guy next to me says, "Hey, dig those bowling shirts."

He has played with so many bands. The Band was one. "I will be released . . ." All those songs with Mark Knopfler. He picked up that big sound from the Grateful Dead, how to raise it to a howl --

And the final number is a knockout:

"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief. There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth. "

They rock it, they power it, they drop it to a whisper.

"No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke,
"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. "

The words are clear as the heat lightning in the sky is as bright as the smile on my face is as bright as my dancing shoes are light on my feet.

"But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

Everyone going hard. Band pounding. Words blistering.

"All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Now the band goes silent and everyone sings along.

"Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl."

It came roaring in from the river along with a withering blast of lightning, picking up cups and coats and blankets, and blowing joints out of peoples' mouths, whirling in a rising geyser carrying the carryons and the crayons and the papers and tickets and toilet paper out the doors of the portapotties up up into the sky and then let it loose like a ticker tape parade down upon the bandstand, Bob Dylan standing two harmonicas crossed in one hand, a rose in another, he throws it to a young girl and they stand, motionless, Bob and his band, for a long while, letting us see him now, see him head on, when, without a signal, they turn as one and go off the stage.

Total triumph.

-- Capn Skyp


I was there just behind the dumptrucks and dirt.
Feeling the bass moving the earth.
After watching the river flow I moved inside.
All my old friends suddenly at my side.
Everyone talking about moving back and making a last stand.
Holding tight to our sacred land. Whose fathers and grandfathers had worked in the mill where sweat and blood and alcohol did spill.
 Bob comes and plays a tune. To sing him back. To rock the moon.
I saw the lead singer of Neurosis a metal band with his daughter who was having her thirteenth birthday and he said, "You pretty much just want to breathe the same air as Bob Dylan." And what clean air that is.. -- Gabe

1. Maggie's Farm
2. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
3. Watching The River Flow
4. Lay, Lady, Lay
5. God Knows
6. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
7. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
8. I Believe In You
9. Highway 61 Revisited
10. Ballad Of A Thin Man
11. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
12. Honest With Me
13. New Morning
14. Summer Days

15. I Shall Be Released
16. All Along The Watchtower