Dylan in Berlin: Long live The Poet

TempodromThe information patterns holding some atoms into myself are hurtling in their trajectory through time and space, and the information patterns holding some atoms into Bob Dylan are hurtling in a different and older trajectory through the universe, and at some point in my life, I will probably wake up, drink coffee and register the headlines that this legend and icon of the last century has ceased to breathe and will dissolve into unknowing stardust.

But before that scenario becomes solid, our universes traveled in tandem for a couple precious hours, only a few meters apart. The mind that gifted the world with so many songs — still gazing outwards and interpreting reality with the poet’s feathered whimsy, honed to the sharp point of social conscience, tracing words bittersweet and captivating. The lungs still sucking in the silent air and sending it back out through thrumming incomparable folds in resonant waves, the nasal twist, the modulated rasp, the rise and fall of the troubadour’s tale.

It took exactly until the first infusion of harmonica for my eyes to well and blur.

To live in the moment — it’s not an easy trick for me. I’m always thinking of the words I will use to describe this instant, of the things that will follow, or at least, I am cognizant that the group of similar moments which define a happening will soon end, even as each singularity within that happening is torn from us just as we perceive it. Everything passes. But I fought to silence my thoughts and to accept the gift as it was.

Dylan_BerlinSurreal, a dim golden stage under the tented ribs of the Tempodrom, the man’s face cast in soft shadow by the wide-brimmed hat. Shuffling and gliding between piano and center stage, moving through the decades, a plaintive love song, a rambling tune for the road.

The strangest thing — to sit. I never experience shows this way, not since I was a child at concerts with my parents. The rigid structure, the sea of placid heads nodding.

And then the most wonderful thing — it broke. I’ve never been to a Bob Dylan concert before, so I have no idea if this is a standard occurrence. But before the last encore, all of a sudden people were rising, converging on the barrier. I was up in a flash, surged forward joyfully. This feeling I understood — the jolt of adrenaline, abdominal muscles greeting unyielding metal, the unleashed energy of the crowd, penned in quiet squares and now released in an organic moving mob, the way it was meant to be.

The venue was extremely strict about photography during the show — no press photogs, and security guys darting about shutting down any hint of a point-and-shoot in the crowd. I snagged a covert and blurry snapshot, but the real keepsake will be my live audio recording of a few songs. Wikipedia tells us that Dylan is the most bootlegged artist in rock history, so let’s keep that tradition going. “Tangled Up In Blue,” “High Water (For Charley Patton),” “Scarlet Town” and “Long And Wasted Years” — here’s to the glorious music of Bob Dylan. One of the most influential songwriters of our time and a living treasure. May his Never Ending Tour keep rolling on.

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