Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dylan on a Sunday

I saw Dylan in concert in February in Dallas. Friends of mine, huge Dylan fans, warned that he can be a bit lackluster in concert. The night I saw him, however, he was energized and engaged. I was surrounded by Dylan vets, a few who had seen him over 100 times, and they all agreed that his performance that night was uniquely energetic.

I've wondered if something that happened that night during the first song was responsible, at least in part, for the evening's vibe. As Dylan and his band walked out on stage, the woman standing next to me collapsed. I think it was a coincidence in terms of timing. She had been standing all day and imbibing an assortment of mind altering chemicals. When she collapsed, those of us around her yelled for security to come to her aid. Since we were close to the front of the stage, she was carried away by two security dudes who were stationed right in front of Dylan. The gap in security coverage allowed a young woman to jump the front of the stage and run up to Dylan during the song.

I thought this might be an evening buster. Dylan was naturally surprised when the woman ran onto the stage. But he turned out to be more amused than angry when it became clear that she was just a star-struck fan. And I wonder if that just set the vibe for the evening, got him into it in a way that he might not otherwise have been.

If this is at all true, then it is a case of peripheral and surprising things, like a woman feinting as the concert begins, having a bigger impact on outcomes then the obvious things, like playlists, venues, artists, etc.

The Dylan concert was the highlight of my concert going life. In honor of surprise, today's Dylan song is Rainy Day Women, the song he opened with that night. This is the very concert I attended, complete with woman rushing the stage.

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