Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dylan on a Sunday

Last Sunday, Bob Dylan was in concert at McMenamin's Edgefield in Troutdale, OR. And I was stuck here in Michigan.

I'm reticent to see Dylan in concert these days. I've only seen him once, a few years ago in Dallas, and it was perfect. And I know from many who have seen him several times that this is not always the case with Dylan. So, I'm reluctant to mess with that. But to see him at Edgefield...

I worked for eleven years for a congregation located about three miles from Edgefield. It's simply one of my favorite places in the world. Edgefield, like Dylan, has been many different things in its existence. It started as a New Deal poor farm and later did a stint as a home for the mentally ill. Now the McMenamin brothers, known for their brewpubs throughout the Northwest, have turned it into a hotel/vineyard/winery/artisan hangout/pitch and putt golf course/brewpub/lush gardens/fine dining/billiards room/music venue extravaganza.

When I have the chance to introduce friends to Portland, the greatest city on the planet, I always take them to Edgefield. (Those of you who read Richard Beck's blog should ask him about Edgefield. Ask him what "any flat surface will do" means). Nancy and I have stayed often in the hotel. In fact, I celebrated my last birthday there--the big five-o--with several of my favorite people. It's just a great place.

They only started doing concerts outdoors at Edgefield in the last five years or so, so I've never been to a concert there. They have started to attract great bands--Wilco, The Black Crowes, Avett Brothers, and now Dylan (who shared his two days there with John Mellencamp). I would love to see a concert there.

Edgefield makes me feel connected--connected to the earth, to people, to art, to my body, to pleasure. And this is increasingly important to me spiritually. I consider myself a theologian of the cross. It is my one theme. Too often, however, the cross is only seen as punishment or suffering or enduring. But it is more to me. It is God's complete identification with creaturely existence. It is God going to weddings, eating with tax collectors and sinners, welcoming children, and enduring death. God on the cross is full contact life. It is joy and sorrow, love and grief. It is life fully embodied and embraced. I go to Edgefield because it is good to be reminded often of how delicious life can be.

I can't say for sure that I would have risked the one great taste of Dylan live that I have. But I can say that seeing him at Edgefield would surely have tempted me.


Cheryl Russell said...

Amen! We were there a couple of weeks ago when Chicago was there. Didn't go to the concert, but it was nice to sit out and hear the music drifting through the air. My parents loved it there.

Anonymous said...

going to go hear Ray Lamontagne and David Gray there this Saturday (rubbing it in). Megan works at Edgefield now and said Dylan looked like a zombie and sang like a monster but still managed to be kind of cool.

Mark Love said...


Sounds like a great concert. They were here when I was in Minnesota two weeks ago and David Gray actually did a free concert at Rochester Hills Brewing Co, our closest thing to a McMenamins.

I've seen Megan my last few trips there at Edgefield. She told me she was going to go. There's a few youtubes up from the concert. He sounds pretty bad in Like a Rolling Stone. Again, making me think I got him on a good night and shouldn't mess with that memory.