Dylan and Haggard @ the Paramount, Oakland

It had been a few years since I’d seen Bob Dylan, but with Talking Bob and his friend Mike along to translate and put things into proper historical context in real time, I couldn’t miss this pairing.

Merle Haggard was better than I imagined he would be. He was in great voice and he threw down some tasty Telecaster licks. Bob … what to say about Bob? He’s a bit like a bird caught in the house these days. He does spend some time flying, but he also smacks up against his own reflection quite a bit.

I guess to shake things up, he’s decided to not play guitar in concert this time out, but spent the show in a strange piano fighter stance. The sight of Dylan crouched over a keyboard singing into a low-slung microphone before being seemingly pulled away at song’s end and led across the stage by an unseen force dragging him from his belt buckle is weird.

Not everyone’s cup of meat anymore, but for those patient enough to wait for moments of transcendence, Dylan’s still worth it. And finally, no Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. Thanks, Bob.

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