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Songs In The Key Of BoomerPDX

Bob Dylan (image courtesy of AP Photo/David Vincent)

Who remembers their first concert? If it’s Britany, Bieber, or other dancing phenoms in their wake and you’re not sure, Better Boomer forgives you.

It’s not your fault.

But it will be if you miss Bob Dylan on October 15 at the Rose Garden.

Early baby boomers had the best shot of Dylan. He sang their song, stirred their souls with a guitar and harmonica.

He channeled Woodie Guthrie so the new people coming up had a chance to feel bad.

Then he picked up a Fender Strat and plugged in. Weeded out a lot of fans doing it, too, but the ones who stuck around found something remarkable. They witnessed the evolution of an American icon.

And he’s still at it.

The voice he brings to Portland isn’t Josh Groban. Not a lush blast of heroic manliness. That’s not Bob Dylan’s voice, or the voice of his opening act, Mark Knopfler.

One writes better than he sings, the other plays guitar better than almost anyone, and sings in Dylan-style.

Without Dylan there’s no Mark Knopfler, no Dire Straights, no Sultans of Swing.

Another look at the Rose Garden music schedule shows Bruce Springsteen in town with the E Street Band.

Without Dylan there would be no Bruuuuuce, no Boss, no Born To Run. Dylan cleared the ground, rolled the gravel, and poured the cement for that thunder road.

Concerts by Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, and Bruce are a chance to see the original and his knock-offs, guys who took the Dylan theme where he couldn’t.

Yet going out to a boomer dream concert brings risk for everyone, boomers most of all. Young people might see Dylan on stage and wonder when the headliner comes out, as well as why grandpa wears eyeliner.

Boomers might see the show and vow never to listen to another Dylan song the rest of their lives if it’s goes wrong. And since Dylan insists on interpreting his own work instead of playing like a human jukebox, it will happen.

BoomerPDX Lesson: Dylan isn’t doing a show for you, he’s doing a show because that’s what he does. You liking it is a bonus.

Better Boomer says listen to Dylan’s music from all eras and you’ll find songs that tell you more about yourself than you thought possible. He’s good on that one. When he sang ‘don’t look twice, it’s alright’ no one looked twice.



About David Gillaspie
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