the building is just as antiquated inside. it's a huge barn of a place, with radiators halfway up the wall (whose bright idea was that? heat rises.), and crazy ass pipes running everywhere. and the ceiling leaks. but the stage looked great, and they had sound equipment up the wazoo all over the place. the sound guy mid-house cracked me up; he had tapestries draped over his boards, and at least a dozen aroma therapy candles scattered around.
as we were waiting to get our assignments, i recognized M and J from the poker game, and went over to say hi. they were wolfing down Micky D's hamburg death, as M called it, since they hadn't had a chance to eat earlier. turns out they've worked for the Orpheum for ages, and know M, of M and L, who hooked me up with the gig, as well as a few other friends of mine. small freakin' world, isn't it?
turns out they were the right people to hang with, because they got picked to work the front section, dead center, and i did too (guilt by association). i wasn't more than 50 feet from the stage all night. it seemed like it was going to be the easiest gig i ever worked, as the seating was dead simple. rows a thru z, with sequentially numbered seats. pretty much everyone could find their own seats. it was funny to see how nervous some of the kids were around anyone who looked vaguely official. and get this - the tickets were free! they gave away nearly 5,000 tickets to this gig. tip for the day: if you ever want to get into a concert free, show up in a white shirt with a mag lite and look like you know where you're going. you'll get in scott free.
dylan had no opening act, and came out almost exactly at 8 (no rock star manners for him, nosiree). and as soon as the lights went down, we really had to work. everyone tried to cram up into the front section, which was both rude and a fire hazard. we ended up forming a human chain across the aisle and checking every single ticket. turns out the ticket office was not so bright in giving out blocks of tickets - three friends would get section 1, and one would get section 4. then again, maybe they were bright, and the students were lying about getting the tickets together. what a sense of entitlement these kids had! it was as if we were insulting them by directing them to the right seats. but if you made one exception, then you'd have to make another, and then things would have gotten out of hand. so i ended up hearing most of the first hour, since we had to stand with our backs to the stage. small price to pay for getting in free.
bob dylan was great - he and the band played for nearly an hour and a half straight, took a small break, then played a half hour encore. the band was tight, and they did a nice mix of new, bluesy stuff and older tunes - Highway 61, Blowin' in the Wind, Tangled up in Blues. most of the stuff was electric, but part of the encore was acoustic. and i finally went to a concert where everyone flicked out their lighters, and i had my Zippo! hee hee... dylan was so funny at the end of the set; he just stood at the front of the stage, one hand on his hip with his hip kinda thrown out, and just stared at the crowd. no bows, no nothing; just stood there. and he must have said a grand total of 25 words all night. hearing the concert was kind of like hearing a bootleg tape with all the chatter taken out. the miracle of the night - dylan smiled! and laughed! and jumped around the stage a little! damn. that kind of stuff never happens. i actually turned to M and said, 'did he really smile?' he looked kind of shocked, and said, 'yeah. wow. he didn't do that the last time i saw him. huh.'
more than anything, i'm impressed that the man still plays a mean guitar and rocks hard. i mean, if you'd been playing Highway 61 for 30 years, wouldn't you be a little tired of it? he messed around with the arrangement and made it sound fresh. and he plays better than almost anyone i've heard. he looked kind of like a Calvinist preacher - white shirt, black suit, pointy boots, very severe. it was a little odd that the band pretty much came out, assumed the positions, and then just stayed there for the whole show. i think the bass player walked around a little bit, but not much. very different visually from most shows i've seen.
on the way out, ken invited me to work Comics Come Home... (insert Little Dance of Glee here) which is an annual fund raiser hosted by Denis Leary, and the one event i really, really wanted to work. of course, the trade off is that i have to work a Paul Simon show - eh. i'm just excited to work the comedy show. yipee!