Saturday, October 13, 2007

Thunder on the Mountain!

1. Wow. Dream show of Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan. Thanks to Beth in Georgia (, September 24, 2007 post), I was alerted to the expanding tour. Fantastic! Last night, with about 6,000 other people (of all ages and varieties), I saw Elvis and Bob stand and deliver. Venue (first time for me): The Convocation Center, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ticket price on the day of show: $43.50, picked up at a "Will Call" box on site. In 2007, this is a very fair deal.

Elvis opened solo on guitar, first acoustic and then rousing electric. Charming, wonderful, topical. Set included "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding," ended with "The Scarlet Tide," co-written by his "brother," T-Bone Burnett, with allusions to the Iraq War added.

Then Dylan and his band came out, the troubadour wearing a big Panama hat, boots, his band all spiffed up (as was Elvis). This was the fourth time I'd seen him, this time (at 66) at his most playful, yet still serious. Sometimes (in the past) he looked to be ignoring his audience, but this time, he faced it, and did a sort of little dance with his leg, a cross between the two Elvises. In the end, he even addressed the crowd and introduced his excellent band individually.

In short, Bob Dylan was hilarious, delivering a gamut of songs old and new with aplomb and with clear emphasis on rhymes. His continued relevance is obvious -- from "The Masters of War" to "All Along the Watchtower," from "The Levee's Gonna Break" to "Thunder on the Mountain." Plus a good mix of slow songs to keep things fresh and balanced, to relax into. "The Masters of War" gave a direct link between, say, the Tonkin Gulf and "WMD," with a final chorus/verse added to the original.

Dylan's gravelly emphasis on language and delivery was cool. One example, from "Highway 61:"

He was tryin' to create a next world war
He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor
He said I never engaged in this kind of thing before
But yes I think it can be very easily . . . DONE
We'll just put some bleachers out in the sun

And have it on Highway 61. . . . .

Great stuff, and timely. Loved it!

2. Al Gore, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Critics who say he'd only recently joined the environmental bandwagon are retarded -- and wrong. Before Bill Clinton chose him to run as his VP in 1992, he released Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (1992), which telegraphs many of the same points covered in An Inconvenient Truth (2006). I saw Mr. Gore at a Borders in Philadelphia fresh back back from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (i.e. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change -- UNFCCC or FCCC -- drafted at The Conference on Environment and Development). I shook his hand and asked him to sign my copy, which he graciously did. He came back to Philly as part of Clinton's ticket later in 1992. Even before that, I knew about Gore and his strong support for the internet via library school. Gore is the real thing, and he deserves the Nobel. Wherever any of us stand on climate change, hopefully we can all agree that the ecosystem is important. We all have to breathe air and drink water to survive. If the local poison threshold crosses a certain point, we're finished.

3. Pamela Tiffin. 1960s anyone? Where's the Vespa?

4. Japanese actress Nanako Matsushima.

Today's Rune: Inititation.

Birthdays: Conrad Richter, Cornel Wilde (Weisz), Yves Montand (Ivo Livi), Lenny Bruce (Schneider), Margaret Thatcher, Ray Brown, Paul Simon, Pamela Tiffin, Sammy Hagar, Olive Marie Osmond, Joey Belladonna (Bellardini), Kelly Kamalelehua Palzis Preston-Travolta, Nancy Kerrigan, Sacha Baron Cohen, Nanako Matsushima.


the walking man said...

If he had hugged only 600 more tree's in Florida in 2000 the world would be less poisonous today. But Fuck it we all fixin' to die anyway.



JR's Thumbprints said...

Okay, so maybe I could buy one boxed set. Costello? or Dylan? Tough choice to make.

Charles Gramlich said...

Yes, Gore has been an environmentalist for a long time. Much appreciated in a modern politician.

Danny Tagalog said...

Hi Erik,

Good to hear some good said about Gore, though I must admit I have been a little skeptical. It goes without saying that we all need to be more aware of the disasters creeping up on us, but surely the 'system' that encourages the common man to consume is the biggest culprit. So it isn't man-made, but government-endorsed, perhaps?

Oh, Nanako:)

Pythia3 said...

Wow! What a concert that must have been. Good for you. Music heals my soul (that's actually my posting for today)
Peace, love and understanding - with a little humor on the side - great recipe for life.

Beth said...

So glad you hit the Bob and Elvis show! Well worth that $43.50, wasn't it?

t said...

Thanks for your comments about Gore, Erik. I had tried not to delve into whether he's the real deal or the best choice for Nobel Peace Prize, because what the hell does that mean. I do know that his film, which is cheesy artistically, somehow worked where non-Gores had failed; otherwise it is thought to have had that effect and maybe was just fortunately timed. Either way, it's fortunate for us and our babies-to-be that someone screamed; don't burn the planet down and we listened. Now let someone do the same for materialism, work-life imbalance, ... Cos it's ridiculous: the hordes are dying and the prices are soaring and the diets are gross and the jobs are oppressive and the exhausted folk don't want to be the first to stop and I don't know if this makes sense but for sure it's killing. Oh is someone going to get folks to stop being racist too? Maybe Oprah. Because I'm sick of it.