Bob Dylan: “Glad to see you’re still alive you’re looking like a saint”.
The Bob Dylan concert was everything I wanted it to be. I mean I got everything I wanted to get out of that night but what I thought I wanted him to do wasn’t what he did.
There was no guitar and for the few minutes he stood up it looked like he would fall down. He spent almost the entire time sitting at the piano. I was glad I bought the least expensive seats because even if you had the most expensive seats you still would not have been able to see him under his fedora hat looking down at the keyboard.
I realize this doesn’t sound exciting or powerful. What was exciting and powerful about that night was that this man is 81 and still writing poetry and still singing it loud and strong and raspy. I felt like it was an honor just to be in the room with him. I felt like it was an honor that he didn’t give a flying fuck about what any of us wanted him to sing. Instead he was the example he always has been of doing exactly what he wants to do. What he wanted was to sing his last album. Will it be his very last album? How long can this guy go on? This timeless man sings his “Rough and Rowdy” album with a picture that looks like it’s from the early 1960s of people dancing. Tight dresses showing tight asses.
Before the concert there was a guy outside selling a book he printed of the lyrics. Seemed ridiculous. After the concert I wish I had bought it. I had already bought four of my favorite songs from the new album. I had been listening to them over and over and over again. Some of them it seems are about dying or are singing about thinking about dying.
We went especially wild after some songs and he said, “Why thank you very much” which is the only time he said anything. He said it in an Appalachian gentlemanly way that seemed precious. The evening was in the Fox Theatre which is the most beautiful theater I’ve ever been in. We bought beers in the theater before he went on and took them to our seats. Loved that. We could have beers but we couldn’t have our phones. Loved that. Because I didn’t have a phone I had a hard time finding my concert buddy whose ticket I had. I wondered how we did things in the past.
The audience screamed with wild abandon the few moments he played the harmonica. Who else plays the harmonica? In thinking about the concert before I went I thought he probably will not play the harmonica because I’m guessing that takes more breath than to sing but he did play it and we went wild.
In the middle of the concert he introduced his three guitarists, one keyboarder and the drummer. After he played all the songs on the album, he left the stage with the introduced guys. We clapped & shouted & clapped. The audience of all ages stood up and cheered. However it was clear that this guy was not gonna get back on stage; this guy that only does what he wants to do. This 81 year old guy who plays night after night in different cities close to each other in small venues: Oakland, San Jose, Sunnyvale. And then off to LA. No encore here. Just as well with me. I am satisfied.
Chapel of the Chimes is a gorgeous building built by the visionary architect Julia Morgan. It is also a crematorium. It is a maze of beautiful little rooms where the walls are filled with the remains of the once living.
I am at this place because my friend is playing music in one of the rooms. Lots of people are playing music in lots of the rooms. It is the annual summer solstice ritual. There are a couple of thousand people along with me moving through the rooms and up and down the stairs. These people are very alive and a good crowd too: kids, twenty somethings on up to the 7os. Interesting people at an interesting event. Lots of good outfits.
The event changes the surroundings; still I am fascinated by the storage of the dead. These remains are housed in fake metal books with the dates of said life on the metal binding. These are the dates of their story. Some people paid more and have bigger books. Some people have little framed photos of themselves by their books. A snapshot taken not at the end of their life, but some prime time in the story. Some have objects next to the books: cars, baseball hats, Mickey Mouse dolls and such.
Our wristbands showing we’ve paid and can come and go as we alive people please are a bandaid color. Weird. There are alcoves with water fountains and strange triangular metal cones. You can put water and flowers in these and then slip it through the circular ring beside your friend or relative’s book. I notice one book that has no flower (most don’t) but has one dirty white sock instead. It’s not a regular sock but one with two holes in it. Holes like you’d put a shoelace through. It looks like what I remember a planeria to look like. I am remembering said biological creature as a very beginning creature. Not one with a story. But who knows?
Some people are not in books. They are in vases. Urns. My mother’s ashes and bone fragments are in a beautiful urn. My good friend made the ceramic pot and top. I glazed it in my mother’s favorite colors. It is not visible in a crematorium but buried in the ground for no one to see. So I show it to you here.
Back to the memorabilia. It doesn’t seem to me that this stuff is what makes a life. It’s the invisible non object that is more important. One’s effect on people and vice versa. The love. To me, that’s what makes a life in this dream we are all co creating.
Sometimes I even wonder if the space things are happening in is more important than what is happening and to whom it is happening. I imagine this space to be a unified unindividuated force field of love.
The songs were intelligent
Tasty enough to be pop
Striking cords and
A brilliant combination in interesting balance
between the emotional and intellectual states
Of being alive today. In and out of love.
Bonfire burning outside the lost door
On the edge of the industrial wasteland
Flat and powder-ghostly vast
On the edge of the San Francisco bay
Below the street named firstly for the army
And then for the indigenous freedom fighter
The crowd was tasty.
Long seasoned artists, yet still in their prime
As an audience of the already appreciated
Brilliant paintings, also by Peterc
Balanced, harmonious, edgy and alive
Hanging the walls
No righteousness, but only good will and creativity abounding
True success on so many levels
Despite the lack of money,
Or any promise,
Everything else was quality abounding
The give and take
Not being about money