Come October 6th, music snobs will face a conundrum of epic proportions: See the much-lauded LCD Soundsystem at the Fillmore, or see Bob Dylan, oft-panned of late for his incomprehensible vocals, at Nova Southeastern University. For many, this is a no-brainer: LCD is in their prime while Bob Dylan is, shall we diplomatically say, seasoned.
And yet, I'm an inch away from selling the last of my possessions on eBay to pay for fourth-row Dylan seats. Why? The simple answer would be fangirl obsession.
I am the crazy fan who seeks out the 15th version of those songs that no one liked from the '80s. (Also, I think his Christmas video, "Must Be Santa," deserved at least two VMAS.) But cultish, unyielding devotion isn't the whole story.
The thing is, everyone knows Dylan might sound like he still has some asphalt stuck in his throat from that infamous motorcycle accident eons ago. And you know that he's giving a half-hearted toot of the harmonica every couple of minutes, just for ritual sake. But that's precisely the beauty of seeing Bob Dylan live.
He is a testament to the absurd, a man who constantly undercuts himself. Christ, his tour costume includes a hat straight out of the kid's book Madeline. He knows what people expect of Bob Dylan™, and he will do his damnedest to subvert it. You go to a Dylan show because, for all his predictability -- he will faux-strum a guitar, he will play "Tangled Up in Blue" in a manner so slow that you will wonder if he's stroking out -- Dylan still does something fantastically surprising every so often. Maybe it's the hand gestures from "Must Be Santa" sneaking into his guitar-free performance of "Blind Willie McTell," or maybe it's that he'll ignore the audience all night.
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Plus, he's getting kind of old. May the man live to 229 years old. But on the off chance that he doesn't, I'm braving the beer lines, maudlin Joan Baez creeps, and Beta Delta Sigma Kappas to see the ramblin' man while he's still hitting the road.
LCD? Some other time.
-- Jacqui Simmons