Friday, February 29, 2008

Revolution in The Air 2-27-08


One of the goals of my three day trip to Mexico City was to avoid a nasty stomach illness. I did well, in large part due to the Manhattan Deli.I feasted on turkeys slices and lox. Prior to Dylan's second performance, I was enjoying multiple margaritas (two for one happy hour), until I noticed a disturbance outside. Across the divide of the main road that cuts through the business district of the city, I noticed a sizeable gathering of protesters waving red flags. Their leader’s face was covered with a black scarf as he stood on top of a van with a mega phone barking out orders in Spanish. And the roar of thousands of rebels filled the air in response to the Big Cheese. I only know about ten words in Spanish, so this scene was a little unsettling.

Two dozen Policia in full riot gear were about 7 yards northwest of the entrance to the Manhattan Deli. They were crouched behind a 25 foot fence/ barricade, ready for action and retaliation. Maybe I should mention that the deli is located to the left of the American Embassy which is fortified with multiple fences and barricades, but with the right trajectory, a Molotov cocktail could have pierced through the front plate glass window sending employees, business executives, and one cat that was there just to see a Cowboy Band into a mad scramble for survival. For a few minutes, I felt like I was experiencing the movie Masked & Anonymous in real time. The margaritas eased my head and eventually the rebels peacefully paraded down the road due south. I paraded up the road north to the Auditorio Nacional to see the star of Masked & Anonymous, Jack Fate aka Bob Dylan.

Dylan sang love's praises during the three opening numbers before thrilling me with “Love Sick.” “I’m sick of love,” bam bang,”I wish I never met you,” bam/ bang, “I’m sick of love,” bam bang, “I’m trying to forget you.” Other highlights included “Rolled and Tumbled,” “My Back Pages,” “Ain’t Talkin,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Thunder on the Mountain.” Rolling Stone and Thunder were tour de force – pure ecstasy for Mexico. The venue was half filled on the second night which was fantastic for me. I freely roamed around enjoying the show from up close and personal vantage points. Dylan delivered another inspired performance in spite of the lackluster turnout.

That opening night was Something. Full color photos graced the front pages of two Mexico City daily newspapers. In bold letters, the Reforma proclaimed: Gracias Dylan! The crowds on both nights seemed genuinely thrilled with Dylan’s outings. Between scaling a pyramid, walking on historic sites, being in the thick of an almost violent protest and seeing two more great Dylan concerts, it was a helluva 48 hour rendezvous. Oh yeah, on Wednesday, I saw rhythm guitarist Stu Kimball (black porkpie hat and cranberry blazer) getting an afternoon shoeshine in front of the Sheraton Hotel. I smiled and waved to him, and he said, “Hey, what’s up man.” I was going to strike up a conversation with him, but I figured it was best not to disturb a giant while he's getting a shoeshine. There’s a heartwarming end for this final installment of Tales of Mexico City 2008.

Tangled Up in Tunes: Ballad of a Dylanhead is available in paperback and Kindle at


Charles Cicirella said...


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