Last week, GQ released an article called, “The 21 Best Albums from the 21st Century Every Man Should Hear,” and I thought it was such an excellent list with some great choices. I started listening to some albums that I hadn’t actually heard yet that they suggested, which I think is the point of these articles. I’ve written a few of these lists in my life for the Heard Mentality (10 Classical Albums to Listen to While Studying and 10 Jazz Albums to Listen to Before you Die), and I understand people can become enraged by some of these picks, and the discussions around these lists can grow out of control. When it comes down to it, these articles are just people’s opinions. In this case, it looks like the GQ editorial team and some fantastic musicians decided on their favorites. It’s fun to write these pieces, so I figured I would create a list outlining my picks for the best albums of the 21st century.
I first started listening to Bob Dylan in high school on the long road trips with my dad and brother in a Subaru Legacy. During those road trips, I wore out certain Dylan albums: Highway 61 Revisited, Blood on the Tracks, Freewhelin’. My favorite songs from Dylan have to be “Ballad of a Thin Man,” “Tangled Up In Blue,” or “These Times Are a Changin’.” Like my love for Jack Kerouac, Bob Dylan is an artist I admire who has influenced my writing and personal philosophy. But I’ve never seen him play live. I’ve just heard so many bad rumors about his performances being terrible that I never went out my way to make it happen. Then my friend D gave my wife a ring and said she had two tickets to the Dylan concert at the Dolby Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. I jumped at the opportunity.
The seats were incredible, and we were so close to the stage I could actually give credence to the idea that Bob Dylan actually could see me. The theater was incredible, and the walls were velvet, and the balconies had an elitist feel of a country run by a monarchy. An old man sitting next to me was embarrassing his young daughter by dancing in his seat, and Val Kilmer was somewhere in the audience.
At Bob Dylan at the Dolby in Hollywood because Bob is eternal.
It was starting to hit me that I was about to see one of the greatest artists, poets, and musicians of the 20th century, but I honestly wasn’t holding my breath. I was expecting a skeleton to walk on the stage instead of a great poet. But Stu Kimball, the rhythm guitar player, starting strumming the opening chords, and Dylan sauntered out onto the stage in a wide-brimmed hat followed by his band. I can’t remember what song they played first — I wasn’t actually taking notes like in the old days when I was actually reviewing concerts — but Dylan stood in front of four microphones (he only seemed to ever use one) and the band played behind him like a machine that figured out how to sing. Continue reading “Bob Dylan at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood”→