Sunday, August 27, 2017

8-27-06 Dylan in Manchester Revisited:

Eleven years ago, today, I boarded an Amtrak from New York to Boston on route to catching Dylan in Manchester, New Hemisphere. Along the way, I enjoyed an advance copy of Modern Times, which was released two days later. After taking a bus to Manchester, I checked into a hotel located on the grounds of Stadium. This was Dylan’s third consecutive year of summer tours in Minor League ballparks. Junior Brown and Jimmy Vaughn were the opening acts, but due to a persistent drizzle, I skipped the opening acts and enjoyed cocktails with friends in the hotel lobby. The rain intensified before Dylan took the stage. If this were a baseball game, the tarp never would have come off the field.

It was an absurd thrill standing in the rain and singing along with Bob during the second song. “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.” If you didn’t dig Dylan, you were on your way home or headed for the exit. The rest of us were in for an enchanted evening. Dylan slid into a playful “Just Like a Woman.” The precipitation intensified as he yelled, “Nobody feels any pain tonight as I stand inside the rain.” On August, 27, 2006, the Lord said, “Let it rain on that tiny ballpark in New Hampshire.” And so it rained—a relentless downpour, similar to the ending of Grapes of Wrath.

Dylan could have packed it in and played a hurried show for the sparse crowd, but on this night his performances were deliberate as he rewarded the loyalty of his soggy admirers. It was surreal to watch planes from the nearby airport appear and disappear from the clouds fifty feet above the stage as Dylan howled a mesmerizing version of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” It was Dylan’s best performance of the shows I saw that tour, and the torrential rain made the evening unforgettable.

Bob gave us one more thrill as he came out for a final salute. He started off with his usual routine, taking bows with his ten-gallon hat in hand and his Cowboy Band stoically lined-up behind him. Suddenly, Dylan reached into his hat and grabbed a fistful of a mystery dust and soft-tossed it at the crowd, as if he was performing a baptism. I was snapping a picture on my camera as Dylan sprinkled the crowd with the powdery substance. Johnny Appleseed strikes again!
Enlarge to see Johnny Appleseed 

                            A Tale of Twisted Fate

Manchester, New Hampshire Stadium
August 27 2006

Cat's In The Well
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
Just Like A Woman
Watching The River Flow
Tears Of Rage
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
Highway 61 Revisited
Tangled Up In Blue
Summer Days

Like A Rolling Stone
All Along The Watchtower

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