Thoughts on last night at Desert Trip.
Bob Dylan. Sigh. I love Bob Dylan, I still love Bob Dylan, and honestly he sounded great. But he didn’t give a shit about being there. He’s not a “performer” and I don’t expect that of him.
Ever since seeing the Counting Crows in 1999 and they didn’t play Colorblind (YEAH I KNOW) I’ve lowered my expectations as to whether the person I’m going to see will play the song I love. That song with Bob Dylan is Subterranean Homesick Blues. He didn’t play that. Fine.
But he didn’t play Like a Rolling Stone, Blowin’ in the Wind, The Times They Are a Changin’, Lay Lady Lay, Just Like a Woman or It Ain’t Me Babe EITHER.
He did play Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right and Tangled Up in Blue. So at least there was that.
The most frustrating part of the entire performance were the artistic choices. Being in GA the closest we could get to the stage was at least 1000 feet away. There was rows and rows of reserved seating in front of us and people had paid $1500 for the privilege of the pit. So even as closest to the front as I could be (the “pleb pit” as I’m calling it). Dylan was still a teeny far away ant. But instead of putting him on the five giant screens so we could actually see the performance, they ran “ambient art film”. Which was disappointing.
There was no hello. No banter. No commentary. No goodbye. But I came to see Bob Dylan, and that’s Bob Dylan. Essentially a grumpy poet.
Once the Stones hit the stage though, the relief was palpable. A group of guys next to started yelling “Fuck Dylan” whilst I disagreed, I could understand the sentiment.
Mick Jagger brought his charm, his swagger, multiple jackets and was a true performer. He’s 73. And I still would. It was an incredible performance and just reminded me what an incredible canon of work The Rolling Stones have.
Keith Richards was great, and even took to the stage, with a classic “nice to be here, nice to be anywhere”, cigarette in hand and led the band through Slipping Away and Little T&A. A person at my hotel this morning said it was like watching any old guy in a small bar. He meant this in a derogatory way, I agree but for me it was more of a, THAT’S KEITH RICHARDS CASUALLY CHATTING AWAY TO ME (and 100k other people).
This is weird, but I also have to comment on Charlie Watt’s posture. I’ve never seen a drummer so poised. I ran into him (literally) once on Bond Street. He has such an aristocratic air about him, you’d never think rock star drummer if you saw him on the street.
Anyway, these guys, in their 70’s (oh and Mick brought the jokes “Palm Springs retirement home for ageing musicians” “Anyone else visiting the dinosaur park this weekend?”) had so much stamina, so much energy and really delivered an absolutely incredible performance that will stay with me forever. I barely had the energy to stand and watch them, my feet hurt so much and all I kept thinking was, if Mick at 73 is still dancing, I can keep going.
I feel so lucky to have had this experience. Tonight, Neil Young and Paul McCartney….! You can still (as of publishing) see last nights Instagram story here, and I will endeavor to Instagram along tonight also.