In October of 1990, a very casual friend dubbed me a cassette tape of Bob Dylan’s newest record, Oh Mercy. I enjoyed it, and after a few trips to the public library to dub more of his work, during that fall, I became a new fan.
Although many of my life events have transpired with him, and it seems like he's always touring, I never had a chance to see him in person. That was going to change early this year at the Civic Center, where I was to see him live (alive?) and in person…until I had a massive stroke.
That pretty much cleared my social calendar of events this year and, if I am honest, probably next year, too.
At 81, I don’t think Bob has a bunch of tomorrows to share, for you and for me. That’s why I got up to Tulsa to view the next best thing – the Bob Dylan Center.
Opening last year, I first heard about it as a reading room – thinking it was a couple of file boxes with note cards where you can look at the paper goods and such.
But, in reality, it is a grand museum of all things Dylan, with interactive displays that tells his story, as well as let you hear it.
From the beginning of the astounding film exhibit, we are dealing with all of Dylan’s run of touchstones, every persona, every character, every wildcard.
As you come to Dylan’s exhibit, you are given a gentle lesson – one that starts with the ‘60s bucolic folk music and dapper country outings, to his flirtation and fixation on 70s depression and rebirth, to the afterbirth of the ‘80s as a preacher man and old-rode fixture, to the 90s and beyond as an elder statesman in the constant sorrow of Sinatra standards.
Along the watchtower, I have taken the view that this historical interpretation will stay with me. As words leave my distorted mouth, I hope his words will be the permanent placemark on the tattered soul.
As I was leaving, I noticed a stack of albums in the gift shop. One of them was Hard Rain, a 1976 live album recorded in Fort Collins, Colorado.
I use to live in Fort Collins, Colorado, where the album was recorded. I picked that copy up; at least that takes me to the front row.