The Poet Laureate of Rock ‘n Roll

That’s the words that came over the PA system just before Robert Zimmerman took the stage in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Monday, October 16. 

The evening began with the opening band Kings of Leon setting the stage with a rousing set of their new school southern rock.  Kings of Leon aren’t afraid of a crowd.  I saw them open for U2 on opening night of the Vertigo tour.  Opening for U2 and Bob Dylan looks pretty good on a resume, especially for these brothers that are still very young.  KOL played a few new songs that I wasn’t familiar with, but I enjoyed them a lot.  The crowd in San Diego awaiting U2 weren’t into Kings of Leon, nor were they very kind to them.  Caleb Followill acknowledged the crowd and acknowledged that we (collectively) were not there to see Kings of Leon, but that they appreciated us being such a attentive and responsive crowd.

Soon after Kings of Leon left the stage, the lights fell and the band took the stage with Dylan following behind them.  The music was fantastic, the crowd was diverse, and Bob sounded great.  He played keys all night, which meant I stared at the back of his head.  Normally this wouldn’t have mattered, but considering he didn’t acknowledge the crowd the whole show, his face was a rare sight for most of the crowd.  He played mostly songs from his new album, which I expected, and dropped a few classics in the mix.  He played a great arrangement of “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Highway 61 Revisited,” and “All Along the Watchtower.”  For a complete setlist, you can check it out here.

It was my first time seeing Bob Dylan and he will always be one of my favorites, but there are still some thoughts that haunt me.  Much of what surrounds the legend of Bob Dylan is his political activism of the 60’s and 70’s.  It’s not like I expected him to play “Blowin’ in the Wind” and make any political statements, but I didn’t expect an absence of any statements whatsoever.  But for a 65 year old legend, I was more than impressed with the whole package.

No pictures from the show, but I have seen some on flickr…including at least one with the back of my head in it.

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