Picture a starry riverside scene where windblown reeds sway to the croaking of the frog king. He croons amidst the vague western wailings of a bass, guitars, a piano and a violin. We’re far from the hubbub of West 4th Street where we once fell into delirious visions of the end of the world, just like the night; yet, we hear the screeching grasshoppers, and the vibrant cicadas, and the scent of Americana is in the air.
In place of once dingy smokeful dens for supping beats, Mr. Dylan is received with lauded affection in great accolade inside a temple-like Beacon theater. Heavy red curtains, gilded old-world walls, and rows and rows of velvet seats audit. To the world he’s no longer the babbling weatherman harbinger of Aeolian updates; he’s now decked in laurel, he sits with great orators, he’s almost one of them.
He said one time:
“I would not like to be bach. mozart. tolstoy. joe hill.
gertrude stein or james dean/they are all dead.”
Wish I could tell him: you’re not, you’re Dylan! But he borrowed the name. I’m sure the same don’t matter anymore, chasing him around on a silver platter for years on years. He speaks not one word to the audience and his drawl gives all explanations bedded on his tongue. He stand and tilts the mic in disdain, knows the part to play for the people, the steps, like a hoofed satyr. At the piano lit lunatic he loses half a century, it’s in the tangled head, or at the inner-bend of a rock n’ roller heel, or as Mavis said, it’s all in his gangly shoulders.
The songs he sang are all but his, they appear as premeditated as a waterfall’s flow, and similarly, where one once heard a ‘splash’ now sounds a ‘hush’. The fast become slow, the sad happy, the evil joy; in full simplicity. Here lies the spring eternal as Bobby has found it: in youth is pleasure (Or perhaps the other way around). I sat unknowingly wondering what dazzled me the most, to realize each show he plays a-new. Hits me, the frogs will keep singing so long as there’s a moon.