Every once in a great while there emerges an artist who has their hand on the heartbeat of a generation. Who with the transience of his words has the unique ability to articulate the thoughts and emotions of the immediate culture.
Bob Dylan captured that sentiment of America as a young folk-singer in the turbulent 1960s by writing songs that remain universal in their tone and message. Through his songs, future generations will be able to discover and remember the people and events that came before them.
After playing for 45 years, Dylan took his legendary act to the small town of New Britain, Conn. Tickets were $58; a reasonable price, considering an artist of Dylan’s clout could easily have fans dish out $120. Best of all, the general admission allowed me to secure a spot ten feet in front of the stage.
The rain had been falling all night when Dylan moseyed over to his keyboard and microphone. His weathered and wilting voice, now reduced down to a raspy screech, still commanded the same attention it did when he was younger.
Most songs from his catalogue were unrecognizable until he began to sing the words. Weaving in and out of his musical songbook that stretched over four decades, Dylan showcased the depth of his work by playing new renditions of classics, such as “Highway 61,” “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Tangled Up In Blue.”
Although he no longer plays guitar or has the strength to sing like he once did, there was something more to be observed. This was Bob Dylan and he had nothing to prove. Before me stood a significant historical figure, who at 65, was still living through the songs that he wrote as a kid in his twenties.
The rain continued to fall as Dylan began to close with “Summer Days”: “Summer days, summer nights are gone, but I know a place where there’s still somethin’ going on.”
For at least one more time, Dylan was able to highlight the current mood and leave his influential mark on yet another generation of people.