Friday, 11 July 2014

She gone with the man/ In the long black coat

The biggest musical moment was when Jimmy Eat World came to Oppikoppi in 2007. After Savage Garden and Usher in the Dome in Johannesburg when I was still a preteen this was huge. I must have been 19, ready to finish my Abitur and head out into the world at the end of that year. I remember standing pretty close to the stage with one of my best friends, how excited we were and how we sang along to every song. It was magnificent.

This year I have had the privilege of seeing the National, and with that my musical bucket list had started. There are just 4 names on there: Radiohead. The National. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Ben Howard. Easy. Doable, in a lifetime, surely.

And then someone came along who would blow that bucket list to smithereens: Bob Dylan. As in, the Bob Dylan. Bobby D. The one and only. For some reason (I do not question the powers that be in this case) Bob Dylan came to Flensburg, of all places. And played for us. Jimmy Eat World were magnificent because of who I saw them with and because they are the band of my teens; the National were a testament to how sad songs can make you incredibly happy; and then came Bob Dylan.

Except for jazzy versions of All Along the Watchtower and Blowin in the Wind played as an encore I knew none of the songs. Not a single one. There was no singing along, no great dancing, no great moving along to the music. And yet he was mesmerizing. He walked on stage in a black suit where the jacket was quite long and then a wide-brimmed hat. During the performance, he switched between singing and playing on the piano, walking between the two stations with more swagger than an entire Hip Hop crew, and enthralled us. The hall was stickily hot, the people were packed quite densely next to one another and I was constantly stepping on my jacket on the floor. And yet, him being there was all it took to make everyone forget how hot and humid it was.

To him it must have been just another gig, one of 1000s, but to me it was the world. It was seeing someone who had lived their dream and who at 70-something was still going strong. I am not a musician and I am entirely unsure what the future holds, but seeing him in the hall us students had been welcomed to Flensburg in, well, it made me believe for a little while that anything was possible.

(After the concert we watched Germany beat Brazil 7-1, so that night the impossible truly became a reality.)

Standing Bob.
Piano Bob. 
Germans celebrating their win.

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