Rock ‘n’ roll for adults

Bob Dylan came to the nation’s capital earlier this week, and I went to his concert with Pete Muller, frequenter of this blog, who initiated the whole expedition.  First he threw a birthday party for his wife with some other quite amiable friends who happened to be in D.C.  At my suggestion, we met at my favorite Washington restaurant, that temple of haute cuisine known as Hill Country Barbecue.  Then Pete and I walked a couple of blocks to the Verizon Center, a big venue that Dylan was able to pack out, even at age 71.

Yes, most of the people in the audience, like me, were similarly aged.  Lots of gray hair, not as long as it used to be.  Some were accompanied by their grown children.  Or grown grandchildren.  There were some whippersnappers in hipster glasses or concert T-shirts, serious music aficionados by the look of them.  But most defied Dylan’s earlier plea to be forever young.  It was an interesting crowd, and it wasn’t just aged hippies.  Pete’s a surgeon; I’m whatever I am; I saw Fred Barnes, the conservative journalist and Fox News contributor, sitting not far from where we were.

The opening act was Mark Knopfler, the English musician who was once lead singer for Dire Straits.  Remember them, back in the 1980s?  “Money for nothing,” the first song played on MTV Europe?  Now he is singing sober, intense, country-tinged songs that I’d characterize as Brittannia roots music, with his band of exceptionally fine musicians playing Celtic instruments along with the electric guitars.   Pete called it “rock ‘n’ roll for adults.”

And then came the one true Bob.  I had seen him about four times; Pete had seen him eight.  We had never seen him so animated.  Pete said that he had a touch of arthritis and so was no longer standing all the time playing his guitar.  Now he sits behind a grand piano, which he plays quite well, adding numerous harmonica solos, as at his beginning.  But on a couple of songs, Bob came out, took the mic, American-Idol style, and just sang.  Not only that, he was kind of dancin’ and jivin’.  And he was even smilin’.

The other times I saw him, he was concentrating on playing his guitar and often had his back to the audience.  Not this time.  He didn’t say much–”Thank you, friends!”–but he was engaged and connected with the crowd in a way that I found surprising.   He has a new album out that I am really enjoying, Tempest, and he played a couple of songs from that (the enigmatic “Early Roman Kings” and the lovely “Soon after Midnight”).  But he mostly played old songs (“Highway 61 Revisited,” All Along the Watchtower,” “Blowing in the Wind”).  The thing is, though, every time he plays those old songs, he does it in a different way.  The arrangements, the rhythm, the inflections, even the tunes are different.  And yet they are still the same songs.  This is what rewards going to Dylan concerts again and again through the years.  And it says something about Dylan and about all of us other old guys in the audience.

Postmodernists have talked about the myth of individual identity, arguing that we really are different people, depending on whom we are with and the different stages in our lives.  But Dylan is the same person, for all of the changes that he has gone through–including his religious changes–and the 60-year-olds in the audience are the same persons who were moved by Dylan’s music when they were young and are still moved by it in different ways, who have been following him through his changes and through their own.

P.S.:  For a good account of this particular concert, see this review in the Washington Post.

Also, I would like to make an off-the-wall prediction so that if it happens you will have seen it here first:  I predict that Bob Dylan will once again surprise his fans and confound the musical world, this time by joining the Roman Catholic Church.  In the Rolling Stone interview we posted about, he is evidently reading Roman Catholic theology.  (When asked about “transfiguration,” Bob tells the interviewer, “You can go learn about it from the Catholic Church.”) And then in “Duquesne Whistle,” the best song on the new album, he has the line, “I can hear a sweet voice callin’./ Must be the Mother of our Lord.”)

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • TT

    Dr. Veith – your prediction is one I share, though sometimes I think it’s far fetched…

    Remember Bob playing to Pope JP II in 1997.

  • TT

    Dr. Veith – your prediction is one I share, though sometimes I think it’s far fetched…

    Remember Bob playing to Pope JP II in 1997.

  • Pete

    Roman Catholicism? Might be right. It sure was a great concert – thanks for going. The WaPo review registered too high on the “faint praise” scale for me. There are some more effusive offerings on the “boblinks” website (I’d put the link here but can’t figure out how to do it on this dumb phone.) Hope all had a great Thanksgiving.

    As a side note – Dylan’s standard encore for this tour was “Blowing in the Wind” and I wondered whether he’d stick with that on the last evening of the tour in (post-Sandy) New York. He did.

  • Pete

    Roman Catholicism? Might be right. It sure was a great concert – thanks for going. The WaPo review registered too high on the “faint praise” scale for me. There are some more effusive offerings on the “boblinks” website (I’d put the link here but can’t figure out how to do it on this dumb phone.) Hope all had a great Thanksgiving.

    As a side note – Dylan’s standard encore for this tour was “Blowing in the Wind” and I wondered whether he’d stick with that on the last evening of the tour in (post-Sandy) New York. He did.

  • Pete
  • Pete
  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Considering Roman Catholicism? Then perhaps somebody needs to introduce him to confessional Lutheran theology (send him a Book of Concord, or maybe even Cheminitz’s “Examination of the Council of Trent”? Or maybe start with a smaller book, like “The Spirituality of the Cross”?- – I think someone here might even be able to get a hold of a signed copy of that one). Like so many “spiritual travelers” who end up in Rome (or Constantinople) he probably thinks he knows everything he needs to know about Lutheranism without ever actually having been exposed to it in its true form. (He grew up in the Twin Cities, after all …)

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Considering Roman Catholicism? Then perhaps somebody needs to introduce him to confessional Lutheran theology (send him a Book of Concord, or maybe even Cheminitz’s “Examination of the Council of Trent”? Or maybe start with a smaller book, like “The Spirituality of the Cross”?- – I think someone here might even be able to get a hold of a signed copy of that one). Like so many “spiritual travelers” who end up in Rome (or Constantinople) he probably thinks he knows everything he needs to know about Lutheranism without ever actually having been exposed to it in its true form. (He grew up in the Twin Cities, after all …)

  • Ryan

    I went to a recent concert, the very end of August I believe. I’m 28 and it was the first time I saw bob play live. I’ve enjoyed his voice on the recent albums (Time Out of Mind and later) but even to someone who has accepted that, his voice in concert is quite shocking at first. If I recall, it sounds to what me like like he sang better when he was just singing, instead of playing the piano or guitar (he played two or three on guitar at the concert I went to).

    He is still a great harmonica player though, no doubt about that. In any case, I thought it was pretty uneven, but definitely worth going to.

  • Ryan

    I went to a recent concert, the very end of August I believe. I’m 28 and it was the first time I saw bob play live. I’ve enjoyed his voice on the recent albums (Time Out of Mind and later) but even to someone who has accepted that, his voice in concert is quite shocking at first. If I recall, it sounds to what me like like he sang better when he was just singing, instead of playing the piano or guitar (he played two or three on guitar at the concert I went to).

    He is still a great harmonica player though, no doubt about that. In any case, I thought it was pretty uneven, but definitely worth going to.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    “Rock ‘n’ roll for adults”. [Eye roll] Sorry, but how Boomer of you. You just can’t bring yourselves to admit that you’re talking about rock ‘n’ roll for old people, can you? Well, on behalf of Gen X, allow me to do it for you. :p

    I’d also like to point out that, as one born towards the end of a commonly accepted definition of Gen X, I’ve been an adult for nearly two decades now. Honestly, the title of this does come across as rather infantilizing.

    Also, the first song played on MTV, as any well-versed music fan of my vintage can tell you, was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles (hi, I not only own their first album, I own the second one that was, at least at the time I bought it, rather hard to come by and generally almost completely unheard of). Dire Strait’s MTV-name-dropping tune came out in 1985, some four years after MTV’s start. Which makes sense, as it would be odd for them to have alluded to an as-yet-unexistant TV network.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    “Rock ‘n’ roll for adults”. [Eye roll] Sorry, but how Boomer of you. You just can’t bring yourselves to admit that you’re talking about rock ‘n’ roll for old people, can you? Well, on behalf of Gen X, allow me to do it for you. :p

    I’d also like to point out that, as one born towards the end of a commonly accepted definition of Gen X, I’ve been an adult for nearly two decades now. Honestly, the title of this does come across as rather infantilizing.

    Also, the first song played on MTV, as any well-versed music fan of my vintage can tell you, was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles (hi, I not only own their first album, I own the second one that was, at least at the time I bought it, rather hard to come by and generally almost completely unheard of). Dire Strait’s MTV-name-dropping tune came out in 1985, some four years after MTV’s start. Which makes sense, as it would be odd for them to have alluded to an as-yet-unexistant TV network.

  • Pete

    tODD @ GenX

    Vis à vis Dr. Veith’s prediction of Bob Dylan’s impending conversion to Catholicism, I’ll take a stab at prognostication.

    One hundred – nay, fifty – years from now, people will know of and will likely have heard the song, “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan. “Video Killed the Radio Star”, on the other hand, will have long since been consigned to the ash heap of history. And rightly so. May have been already. Buggles, indeed. Hrmph!

  • Pete

    tODD @ GenX

    Vis à vis Dr. Veith’s prediction of Bob Dylan’s impending conversion to Catholicism, I’ll take a stab at prognostication.

    One hundred – nay, fifty – years from now, people will know of and will likely have heard the song, “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan. “Video Killed the Radio Star”, on the other hand, will have long since been consigned to the ash heap of history. And rightly so. May have been already. Buggles, indeed. Hrmph!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Pete (@7), sure. The Buggles were already trivia fodder mere years after their MTV debut. Though, to be perfectly honest, I had to look up “Like a Rolling Stone” on YouTube to make sure it was the song I was thinking of. I’ve never liked Dylan much (though I like that song a lot more than others of his).

    Still, you’ll understand if your prognostication is just one of many claims of Eternal Cultural Glory that have come from the Boomers. Will some people know about Dylan fifty years from now? Of course. Heck, I listen to classical works that are much older than me than Dylan will be to those people at that future date. But will most people be familiar with that tune? I’m guessing no. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Pete (@7), sure. The Buggles were already trivia fodder mere years after their MTV debut. Though, to be perfectly honest, I had to look up “Like a Rolling Stone” on YouTube to make sure it was the song I was thinking of. I’ve never liked Dylan much (though I like that song a lot more than others of his).

    Still, you’ll understand if your prognostication is just one of many claims of Eternal Cultural Glory that have come from the Boomers. Will some people know about Dylan fifty years from now? Of course. Heck, I listen to classical works that are much older than me than Dylan will be to those people at that future date. But will most people be familiar with that tune? I’m guessing no. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  • Tom Hering

    How can anyone assert Dylan isn’t known to absolutely everyone on Earth – and always will be? I thought it was neat when he appeared as the detective in Madonna’s Bad Girl music video.

  • Tom Hering

    How can anyone assert Dylan isn’t known to absolutely everyone on Earth – and always will be? I thought it was neat when he appeared as the detective in Madonna’s Bad Girl music video.

  • helen

    I know who Dylan is. That’s about all.

    tODD, when do you get too old to be an “adult”?
    I think I’ve arrived but I just want to check.
    :)

  • helen

    I know who Dylan is. That’s about all.

    tODD, when do you get too old to be an “adult”?
    I think I’ve arrived but I just want to check.
    :)

  • Pete

    tODD @8

    Vox nihili. Please understand that I mean this not in an ad hominem sense – rather, more of an ad Buggles sense. Dylan, on the other had – vox populi.

  • Pete

    tODD @8

    Vox nihili. Please understand that I mean this not in an ad hominem sense – rather, more of an ad Buggles sense. Dylan, on the other had – vox populi.

  • Pete

    ugh.. “Dylan on the other HAND…”

    must find coffee

  • Pete

    ugh.. “Dylan on the other HAND…”

    must find coffee

  • SKPeterson

    I like “Tangled Up In Blue” but I like Mark Knopfler better, even though he is a Boomer. “Skateaway” is probably the song people will remember long after all of us are dead.

  • SKPeterson

    I like “Tangled Up In Blue” but I like Mark Knopfler better, even though he is a Boomer. “Skateaway” is probably the song people will remember long after all of us are dead.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Dylan is highly overrated by his most vociferous fans. (I suspect vociferous fans are likely to overstate the greatness of the object(s) of their fandom in any case.)

    Reasonable people acknowledge that Dylan is a pretty good wordsmith and lyricist with a gravelly voice. If you’d like, substitute “terrible” for “gravelly.”

    He’s certainly no vox dei, Pete, and I’m unconvinced that he’s the best candidate for vox populi either. In other news, there’s a compelling case to be made that Dylan is the one who got both Elvis and Johnny Cash into drugs, effectively ruining their lives.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Dylan is highly overrated by his most vociferous fans. (I suspect vociferous fans are likely to overstate the greatness of the object(s) of their fandom in any case.)

    Reasonable people acknowledge that Dylan is a pretty good wordsmith and lyricist with a gravelly voice. If you’d like, substitute “terrible” for “gravelly.”

    He’s certainly no vox dei, Pete, and I’m unconvinced that he’s the best candidate for vox populi either. In other news, there’s a compelling case to be made that Dylan is the one who got both Elvis and Johnny Cash into drugs, effectively ruining their lives.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, Pete, no one ever claimed that the Buggles were anything special–though I, like tODD, for some reason own their first album. tODD only mentioned them to correct Veith’s inaccuracy with regards to the origins of MTV.

    No, the Buggles are nothing special. They are pop musicians. Huh, so is Dylan.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, Pete, no one ever claimed that the Buggles were anything special–though I, like tODD, for some reason own their first album. tODD only mentioned them to correct Veith’s inaccuracy with regards to the origins of MTV.

    No, the Buggles are nothing special. They are pop musicians. Huh, so is Dylan.

  • Pete

    Hey – you guys are really getting under my skin. You can italicize stuff and I can’t! How do you do that? Am I headed for the ash heap of history? Liking Dylan and not facile with computers and the whole Boomer schtick?

  • Pete

    Hey – you guys are really getting under my skin. You can italicize stuff and I can’t! How do you do that? Am I headed for the ash heap of history? Liking Dylan and not facile with computers and the whole Boomer schtick?

  • Pete

    Vox gravelly?

  • Pete

    Vox gravelly?

  • helen

    Pete. you do it with brackets I’ll put in italics for you, separating each character with a space. Do it without the spaces text here and it should work (for both of us, no preview this morning. ) :(

    [The bold was done with a b.]

  • helen

    Pete. you do it with brackets I’ll put in italics for you, separating each character with a space. Do it without the spaces text here and it should work (for both of us, no preview this morning. ) :(

    [The bold was done with a b.]

  • helen

    Nope.

    I’ll try something else. text desired

  • helen

    Nope.

    I’ll try something else. text desired

  • helen

    Take them out! The program wins! :(

  • helen

    Take them out! The program wins! :(

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Todd: “Money for Nothing” introduced MTV Europe: “In August 1986, MTV Europe was launched with Dire Straits “Money for Nothing”.[37]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dire_Straits My mistake. I’ll fix that.

    But who said that you or any other Generation Xer isn’t an adult? Where did you get that from anything I said? Now you are showing your Generation X quirkiness, worrying that people think you aren’t grown up.

    Generation X adults can enjoy Mark Knopfler (the subject of the line) or Bob Dylan or any other kind of rock ‘n’ roll. What my comment alludes to is the notion that rock ‘n’ roll is the music of rebellious youth. I’m saying that it can speak to adults as well.

    You don’t seem to be disagreeing with that, since you indicate that you like at least some of it too. And, as you say, you are an adult.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Todd: “Money for Nothing” introduced MTV Europe: “In August 1986, MTV Europe was launched with Dire Straits “Money for Nothing”.[37]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dire_Straits My mistake. I’ll fix that.

    But who said that you or any other Generation Xer isn’t an adult? Where did you get that from anything I said? Now you are showing your Generation X quirkiness, worrying that people think you aren’t grown up.

    Generation X adults can enjoy Mark Knopfler (the subject of the line) or Bob Dylan or any other kind of rock ‘n’ roll. What my comment alludes to is the notion that rock ‘n’ roll is the music of rebellious youth. I’m saying that it can speak to adults as well.

    You don’t seem to be disagreeing with that, since you indicate that you like at least some of it too. And, as you say, you are an adult.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    And Cincinnatus, what is the “compelling evidence” that Dylan introduced Elvis and Johnny Cash to drugs? Both of those great musicians were quite a bit older than Dylan. Cash got busted for drugs in 1965, when Dylan was 24 and pretty much just getting started. What I’ve seen about Elvis’s drug use on the internet has him taking amphetamines in the 1950s, when Dylan was still a child. And I could find nothing on the internet about the charge you are making. Where did you get that?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    And Cincinnatus, what is the “compelling evidence” that Dylan introduced Elvis and Johnny Cash to drugs? Both of those great musicians were quite a bit older than Dylan. Cash got busted for drugs in 1965, when Dylan was 24 and pretty much just getting started. What I’ve seen about Elvis’s drug use on the internet has him taking amphetamines in the 1950s, when Dylan was still a child. And I could find nothing on the internet about the charge you are making. Where did you get that?

  • Pete

    Helen @18

    Thanks. I’m still not getting it. Reminds me of me trying to help my mother-in-law navigate around her Kindle Fire the other day. Except that this time I’m the Luddite.
    I’ve got a feeling it’s a question of using this phone versus using a computer.

  • Pete

    Helen @18

    Thanks. I’m still not getting it. Reminds me of me trying to help my mother-in-law navigate around her Kindle Fire the other day. Except that this time I’m the Luddite.
    I’ve got a feeling it’s a question of using this phone versus using a computer.

  • helen

    You are not getting it, Pete, because the program is not printing what I’m typing.

    It’s done with the “side brackets” over the comma and the period. Use them to enclose i at the beginning of your quote. To end it, enclose slash mark i ; the forward slash mark under your question mark on the keyboard.
    [To bold, substitute b … I have no idea what this page will do to what I just wrote but here’s hoping!

  • helen

    You are not getting it, Pete, because the program is not printing what I’m typing.

    It’s done with the “side brackets” over the comma and the period. Use them to enclose i at the beginning of your quote. To end it, enclose slash mark i ; the forward slash mark under your question mark on the keyboard.
    [To bold, substitute b … I have no idea what this page will do to what I just wrote but here’s hoping!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Pete (@16), there may be other ways to do it on this blog (which is run by WordPress), but I do my text formatting using HTML (only a subset of which is allowed in comments).

    So if you want to put a word in italics, you do it like this: <i>this part will be italicized</i>. That’s the best one. If you want to make the words bold, you’d do this: <b>this part will be italicized</b>. Please be judicious about using bold, as it can get ugly quickly. Also note that the opening tags (e.g. <i>) are different from the closing tags (e.g. </i>). If you get the closing tag wrong, there’s a decent chance you’ll make most of your comment italicized. If you do it wrong enough, you could bork all the comments beneath yours, as well. Fun times.

    There are other things you could do — make links, put a chunk of text in a block quote — but that’ll do for now.

    Now would you like me to get off your lawn?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Pete (@16), there may be other ways to do it on this blog (which is run by WordPress), but I do my text formatting using HTML (only a subset of which is allowed in comments).

    So if you want to put a word in italics, you do it like this: <i>this part will be italicized</i>. That’s the best one. If you want to make the words bold, you’d do this: <b>this part will be italicized</b>. Please be judicious about using bold, as it can get ugly quickly. Also note that the opening tags (e.g. <i>) are different from the closing tags (e.g. </i>). If you get the closing tag wrong, there’s a decent chance you’ll make most of your comment italicized. If you do it wrong enough, you could bork all the comments beneath yours, as well. Fun times.

    There are other things you could do — make links, put a chunk of text in a block quote — but that’ll do for now.

    Now would you like me to get off your lawn?

  • Pete

    Helen @24

    Why yes – I believe that’s got it! Old dog, new trick. Man, it’s a project on this phone – you really gotta want to italicize! Thanks.

    Also, Cincinnatus (@14) – my ear is fairly close to the track on Dylan and, while I’ve heard the rumor about him introducing the Beatles to marijuana, I’ve yet to hear him accused of corrupting Elvis or Cash. You’re flirting with scurrilous, pal.

  • Pete

    Helen @24

    Why yes – I believe that’s got it! Old dog, new trick. Man, it’s a project on this phone – you really gotta want to italicize! Thanks.

    Also, Cincinnatus (@14) – my ear is fairly close to the track on Dylan and, while I’ve heard the rumor about him introducing the Beatles to marijuana, I’ve yet to hear him accused of corrupting Elvis or Cash. You’re flirting with scurrilous, pal.

  • Pete

    Thanks, tODD also. You two may have created a monster here – I’ll try to be judicious in using my new-found skill!

  • Pete

    Thanks, tODD also. You two may have created a monster here – I’ll try to be judicious in using my new-found skill!

  • Pete

    I promise!

  • Pete

    I promise!

  • Pete

    tODD (@25)

    Anyone on my lawn today gets handed a rake!

  • Pete

    tODD (@25)

    Anyone on my lawn today gets handed a rake!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Dr. Veith (@21):

    But who said that you or any other Generation Xer isn’t an adult?

    Oh, I was reading between the lines a little bit. You did, after all, claim that Dylan, as well as Knopfler’s “sober, intense, country-tinged songs”, was what constituted “rock ‘n’ roll for adults.” Well, I’m not into either. And I’d be willing to bet that that goes for most (though certainly not all) people my age. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that a lot (though certainly not all) of the music I listen to would get on your nerves. You probably would not consider it “rock ‘n’ roll for adults”. Except maybe for (earlier) Sufjan.

    Now you are showing your Generation X quirkiness, worrying that people think you aren’t grown up.

    Oh, I don’t worry about that. I’ve largely opted out of pop culture these days, with my two kids and all. I’m only dimly aware of the most blockblustery of films (we just might feel compelled enough to hire a sitter three times to see the Hobbit in theaters). And my purchasing of new music has largely petered off. In short, I feel old. And rightly so. I’m firmly middle-aged.

    But no, what you’re experiencing is the chafing at my generation of watching your generation still largely refusing to give up control. Still largely refusing to recognize the cultural accomplishments of any generation after it. There’s a tiny amount of tongue in my cheek. But just a little. Dylan had his place, sure. Had.

    What my comment alludes to is the notion that rock ‘n’ roll is the music of rebellious youth. I’m saying that it can speak to adults as well.

    Ah, but Boomers are the adults who all-too-often still fancy themselves as rebellious youth! They’re the ones who think electrified folk tunes put the “contemporary” in “contemporary service”! And then will go on to tell you, in rapturous detail, about how Dylan plugged in (perhaps as they tuned in and dropped out) at Newport, the spark heard ’round the world!

    Look, I’m having a little fun with you and Pete because you’re nice enough guys. You’re hardly emblematic of the Boomer Excess I’m decrying here. But, you know, Boomers. … Sheesh!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Dr. Veith (@21):

    But who said that you or any other Generation Xer isn’t an adult?

    Oh, I was reading between the lines a little bit. You did, after all, claim that Dylan, as well as Knopfler’s “sober, intense, country-tinged songs”, was what constituted “rock ‘n’ roll for adults.” Well, I’m not into either. And I’d be willing to bet that that goes for most (though certainly not all) people my age. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that a lot (though certainly not all) of the music I listen to would get on your nerves. You probably would not consider it “rock ‘n’ roll for adults”. Except maybe for (earlier) Sufjan.

    Now you are showing your Generation X quirkiness, worrying that people think you aren’t grown up.

    Oh, I don’t worry about that. I’ve largely opted out of pop culture these days, with my two kids and all. I’m only dimly aware of the most blockblustery of films (we just might feel compelled enough to hire a sitter three times to see the Hobbit in theaters). And my purchasing of new music has largely petered off. In short, I feel old. And rightly so. I’m firmly middle-aged.

    But no, what you’re experiencing is the chafing at my generation of watching your generation still largely refusing to give up control. Still largely refusing to recognize the cultural accomplishments of any generation after it. There’s a tiny amount of tongue in my cheek. But just a little. Dylan had his place, sure. Had.

    What my comment alludes to is the notion that rock ‘n’ roll is the music of rebellious youth. I’m saying that it can speak to adults as well.

    Ah, but Boomers are the adults who all-too-often still fancy themselves as rebellious youth! They’re the ones who think electrified folk tunes put the “contemporary” in “contemporary service”! And then will go on to tell you, in rapturous detail, about how Dylan plugged in (perhaps as they tuned in and dropped out) at Newport, the spark heard ’round the world!

    Look, I’m having a little fun with you and Pete because you’re nice enough guys. You’re hardly emblematic of the Boomer Excess I’m decrying here. But, you know, Boomers. … Sheesh!

  • helen

    tODD @ 25
    When I wrote what you did here, all the brackets, etc, just didn’t come in the post.
    So, howjadothat?

  • helen

    tODD @ 25
    When I wrote what you did here, all the brackets, etc, just didn’t come in the post.
    So, howjadothat?

  • Tom Hering

    Boomers, Gen X, Millennials. The idea that a generation has its own culture is a bore. A tremendous bore. It was conceived by post-WWII marketers, and it’s been sustained by marketers ever since. Yech.

  • Tom Hering

    Boomers, Gen X, Millennials. The idea that a generation has its own culture is a bore. A tremendous bore. It was conceived by post-WWII marketers, and it’s been sustained by marketers ever since. Yech.

  • SKPeterson

    Which the Boomers bought in whole cloth Tom to culturally oppress us Xers. Now I just need to school Todd on the fact that there is quite a bit of good country-style rock out there but it isn’t exactly Dylanesque. Son Volt and Wilco for starters, but after that I get fuzzy and I’ve found my tastes wandering to all sorts of far-flung times and spaces for good music: Bulgarian choral to the choral works of Bach, modern afro-beat from Antibalas to Debo Band, various inflections of jazz from Brubeck to Coltrane to J.J. Johnson. There is so much out there musically that is good and joyful and simply pleasant to listen to that I don’t really have time for Dylan, except in passing. But I can see how old, fusty worn out types like Veith and Pete might find such things attractive. ;)

  • SKPeterson

    Which the Boomers bought in whole cloth Tom to culturally oppress us Xers. Now I just need to school Todd on the fact that there is quite a bit of good country-style rock out there but it isn’t exactly Dylanesque. Son Volt and Wilco for starters, but after that I get fuzzy and I’ve found my tastes wandering to all sorts of far-flung times and spaces for good music: Bulgarian choral to the choral works of Bach, modern afro-beat from Antibalas to Debo Band, various inflections of jazz from Brubeck to Coltrane to J.J. Johnson. There is so much out there musically that is good and joyful and simply pleasant to listen to that I don’t really have time for Dylan, except in passing. But I can see how old, fusty worn out types like Veith and Pete might find such things attractive. ;)

  • Pete

    SK (@33)

    Watch out – I can do bold now. Got my license. Just might give you a dose. Upside the head. Bam!

    (Hey – how do you do those “emoticon” things?)

  • Pete

    SK (@33)

    Watch out – I can do bold now. Got my license. Just might give you a dose. Upside the head. Bam!

    (Hey – how do you do those “emoticon” things?)

  • helen

    LOL! Try colon and paren, Pete…. either one. Or semi colon and the end parenthesis… Have fun!

  • helen

    LOL! Try colon and paren, Pete…. either one. Or semi colon and the end parenthesis… Have fun!

  • Hanni

    Dylan is this or that, who cares? He is a fab song writer. He was past my music time, but when my daughter sent me a tape of some of his songs, I was blown away. “We Are Only A Pawn In the Game.” Fantastic and truel

  • Hanni

    Dylan is this or that, who cares? He is a fab song writer. He was past my music time, but when my daughter sent me a tape of some of his songs, I was blown away. “We Are Only A Pawn In the Game.” Fantastic and truel

  • William

    Poor Xers, not their fault it is the Boomers fault. Sounds familiar.

  • William

    Poor Xers, not their fault it is the Boomers fault. Sounds familiar.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    tODD, what the post was all about is the changes people undergo as they progress from adolescence through adulthood to old age. Bob Dylan is a dramatic example, his being now 71. Dire Straits used to be wild; now they are sober. The people in the audience were remembering their youth and yet they are different now (no rushing the stage, no “Party!” mentality, everybody paying close attention). No one is a rebellious youth anymore. There was Fox News Contributor Fred Barnes in the crowd. There was me, scourge of the pop culture. (And of Boomers, actually. I’m the one who wrote in Lutheran Witness about the consolation of Baby Boomers soon dying out, sparking angry letters to the editor.) But we are all still the same people we used to be, however we have changed. Just as Dylan still plays his old songs, but plays them in a completely different way.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    tODD, what the post was all about is the changes people undergo as they progress from adolescence through adulthood to old age. Bob Dylan is a dramatic example, his being now 71. Dire Straits used to be wild; now they are sober. The people in the audience were remembering their youth and yet they are different now (no rushing the stage, no “Party!” mentality, everybody paying close attention). No one is a rebellious youth anymore. There was Fox News Contributor Fred Barnes in the crowd. There was me, scourge of the pop culture. (And of Boomers, actually. I’m the one who wrote in Lutheran Witness about the consolation of Baby Boomers soon dying out, sparking angry letters to the editor.) But we are all still the same people we used to be, however we have changed. Just as Dylan still plays his old songs, but plays them in a completely different way.

  • Tom Hering

    We’re beginning to hear Millenials criticize their Generation X parents, the oldest of whom are now in their late 40s.

    An example is here:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/phoenixandolivebranch/2012/06/open-letter-from-a-millennial-quit-telling-us-were-not-special/

    And another is here:

    http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/generation-x-were-calling-you-out/

    I predict that Millennial criticism of Generation X will sharpen and increase. I also predict that the tendency to blame the Boomers will pass before the last of the Boomers do. But then blaming the Boomers was never anything more than an intellectually lazy trend among follow-the-leader (George F. Will) cultural critics. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    We’re beginning to hear Millenials criticize their Generation X parents, the oldest of whom are now in their late 40s.

    An example is here:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/phoenixandolivebranch/2012/06/open-letter-from-a-millennial-quit-telling-us-were-not-special/

    And another is here:

    http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/generation-x-were-calling-you-out/

    I predict that Millennial criticism of Generation X will sharpen and increase. I also predict that the tendency to blame the Boomers will pass before the last of the Boomers do. But then blaming the Boomers was never anything more than an intellectually lazy trend among follow-the-leader (George F. Will) cultural critics. ;-)

  • fjsteve

    I don’t know about becoming Roman Catholic. That would surprise me. Now, Eastern Orthodoxy, on the other hand, is kind of hip these days so, who knows.

    My prediction: he’ll get the last laugh and go to his grave leaving all of his fans guessing.

  • fjsteve

    I don’t know about becoming Roman Catholic. That would surprise me. Now, Eastern Orthodoxy, on the other hand, is kind of hip these days so, who knows.

    My prediction: he’ll get the last laugh and go to his grave leaving all of his fans guessing.

  • BOB

    This last tour got many (good and bad reviews).I was able to catch only one show this time.Having seen many in the past ,when leaving the concert someone always comments on what they had just heard,sometimes good sometimes bad.When I hear something good I smile,When I hear something bad I hear”one should never be, Where one does not belong”.

  • BOB

    This last tour got many (good and bad reviews).I was able to catch only one show this time.Having seen many in the past ,when leaving the concert someone always comments on what they had just heard,sometimes good sometimes bad.When I hear something good I smile,When I hear something bad I hear”one should never be, Where one does not belong”.


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