Sunday, May 05, 2013

Nostalgic Journey....

Stood in a drizzling rain last night to see Bob Dylan in concert. It was nearly candle lit. I feel a bit of what this NY lady stated about her underwhelming  Dylan experience last year.

I DID see the restored 1955 Peacemaker Tour bus she mentioned.

Hmm, I thought, maybe it's Dylan's tour vehicle. Certainly was quirky enough.

The link above also connects you to a story of the "triple decker" restoration by a religious commune.
I found out later Dylan has been to Charleston 4 or 5 times but I had missed all of those shows. One might have been a daytime show. That would have helped!

Had a  general admission ticket ($50) so stood on the clay court of the Family Circle Tennis Center and looked up at the raised stage about 100-150 feet away. 

Frankly, I was closer than people who paid more to sit up in the seats.

A lady came on stage after DAWES, the opening act finished, and "suggested" we not take pictures.

But, nobody enforced the ban so an array of phone cameras, at least one LARGE SLR a few rows in front of me, and my personal little camera with its mighty 20x zoom lens clicked away. It had done a great job recently with Eric Clapton and with Bob Seger.)

Ah, but that was on a brightly-lighted stage, indoors, in a large arena with 18,000 of my Charlotte friends. 

I stress the lighting. Or lack thereof.

It was dimly-lit. 


Like playing in a small cabaret.

I suppose they were going for the atmosphere of a little club (this Center seats 10,200 - although half were taken up with the stage and blocked viewing sections). 

For the entire show, the stage was very dark, in deep shadows and severely back-lighted. Hard to see details. Artistic but daunting when you're trying to take a decent picture. 

Oh, but that's right, we had been told to NOT take pictures. 

A timid ineffective flash would go off every now and then and the aroma of banned substances wafted in the wind. 

No announcement had been made about that "second hand" smoke. Felt like I was at a legalization party in Colorado or Washington state. Not that THAT's a bad thing

A drizzle would start, then stop,  then pick up again. 

Not a REAL rain which was good because umbrellas had been taken away by security at the entrance.

"You can pick them up after the show," they were told.

I doubted an umbrella would be feasible down on the court level so I had brought a flimsy plastic poncho.

That I had left that in the car because the sky looked like it was clearing.

The owner is experimenting with evening hours during events so I had a nice turkey Reuben sandwich and fries at the Honeycomb Cafe with a $4 beer. Then I strolled across the street to the Center.

My trusty camera was set to its absolute limits but it gave me something to work with as a starting point.

Photoshop helped me overcome the challenge of darkness and the high contrast lighting. Had not seen gas heaters on a stage before. Was meant to add to the ambiance I guess.

A few days ago I set up a Bob Dylan Radio station on Pandora to get myself in the mood for an evening harkening back to the 1960s.

Man, Dylan made a LOT of records. 

Some songs were coming back to me - even the lyrics - after all these years. 

Pandora also slipped in other folk and folk rockers  from the era such as Van Morrison, Stephen Stills, Marshall Tucker Band. Neil Young and Buffalo Springfield. Yikes.

I was humming along at home with Mama Cass Elliot, early Elton John, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Otis Redding, Led Zeppelin,  Eddie Vedder and Billy Joel.

I was ready for the concert.

(Click on the pictures for more details.)

Despite my "training" I recognized only a few of Dylan's songs.

His voice is gravely and much older ...but, then,  so am I.

Thanks for stopping by on a rainy afternoon.

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