The way is long but the end is near
Already the fiesta has begun.
The face of God will appear
With His serpent eyes of obsidian.
--Bob Dylan, Romance in Durango
Thats always the funny thing about Dylan -- you hear one of his songs for years and years and suddenly a verse or line or image just suddenly jumps out at you. The above lines come courtesy of CD of the day: --Bob Dylan, Live 1975: the Rolling Thunder Revue. It also brings back a floodtide of memories from Spring 1976, St. Petersburg, Fla., when I saw Dylan for the very first time, on the second leg of this tour. Front row seat, too. The enclosed booklet notes that the show had gone downhill by then, but I'll never forget it:
* Bob, introducing "It's Alright Ma," and dedicating it to the St. Petersburg Times, for some reason.
* Bob, introducing another song, saying "I'd like to thank Stephanie for the socks."
* Kinky Friedman with a dead fox on his neck, singing "I'm Glad to Be an Asshole from El Paso" and "They Don't Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore." Joan Baez in an orange fright wig sings back-up.
* Bob Neuwirth singing "Mercedes-Benz" in memory of Janis Joplin, for whom he had written it
* T-Bone Burnett.
* The extraordinary swaying reed known as Scarlet Rivera on violin.
* Roger McGuinn.
* A backdrop that appeared to be a Dylan painting of a crucified Christ.
* A fantastic closer of the whole mad crew singing "Blowin' in the Wind."