Today we get the Black Eyed Peas for our Super Bowl entertainment. I'm good with that. I like watching them perform. And its a bit of a switch up from recent performers. The past few years have gone more the living legend route--The Who, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty. They've needed acts that don't give them any wardrobe malfunction worries.
So, I say why not Dylan. No wardrobe malfunction worries here. (You're shaking yourself, aren't you). This got me to thinking what the set list might be for a Dylan Super Bowl. What three songs would he do?
Before I give you my lists, I think its worth noting that a recent Dylan tour was of minor league baseball parks. There's something classic about that, something pure. And the Super Bowl, in contrast, has become the most silicone-enhanced, over-hyped, steroid-ridden celebration of consumption we experience in American culture. So, wardrobe malfunction safe aside, Dylan would be an ironic choice.
Given the nature of the Super Bowl and my own Dylan favorites, I'd choose the following:
Things Have Changed--One of my favorite Dylan songs. This song is up-beat enough to get the crowd moving. And the jaded lyrics would be the perfect counter to Super Bowl hype--"I used to care, but things have changed."
Beyond Here Lies Nothin'--In the same vein, and off the most recent cd. I'd go with Cold Irons Bound in this place, but its just too long. Beyond Here Lies Nothin' rolls. It's shorter. And it would again suggest that this "super" thing might have gotten a little out of control.
Highway 61 Revisited--I would love to hear Dylan's current band get after this classic. It's a fun Dylan song, a great one to end on and would again send the message that people will watch nearly anything if you set up grandstands. "Now the rovin gambler...was trying to create the next world war. He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor...He said I think it can be easily done. We'll just put some bleachers in the sun out on Highway 61."
I'm thinking though, that he'd have to go with more familiar tunes. Old standards that everyone would recognize. So, a more realistic playlist would be as follows:
Like a Rolling Stone. This would get the crowd going. How does it fee-ul?
But then we dim the stadium lights and bring the mood down. We give everyone something da-glo to waive. Dylan sings Knockin on Heaven's Door. And the 20-something nudges his dad and says, "He's doing Guns and Roses!"
We end with an updated The Times They are a Changin'. The band rocks it out. There are pictures of Egypt on the big screen. We'll end by remembering that the Super Bowl is just a game. "Your sons and your daughters are beyond your control..."
Either list, I'm good.