Only a month or so to go before we once again indulge in the madness that is Bob Dylan on tour. These it seems to me that the chaos has increased on a sliding scale to both general and press interest. Recall 1978 ? Press reports everywhere before the shows, people calling “got a spare ticket” or “got a better ticket”?

Has it all become so much easier and with it so much less magical? Thanks to the hard work and good will of people like John Baldwin we now get good seats without much effort on our parts. (Apart from a big dent in the bank balance of course) Excellent quality tapes arrive quickly and fans reports even quicker thanks by and large to the internet. Sometimes I crave the old times. Queuing up all night in the cold out side Hammersmith Odeon. Spending weekends in front of shops for the hope of getting a few tickets, any tickets. You felt you were privileged to get in, much less be under his nose. As easy meant less interesting? Am I just feeling my age at last? Has time caught me up? (Hell In the back of my mind I knew I was not going to be able to stay 23 for ever) But I had hoped. But then you have to discover that you often don’t get what you want. You get what you need.

What do you need these days? Good tickets? Good view? Good sound? Good friends?

That was once the order for a show but these days it seems to be more the reverse. I find the shows are more about social gatherings than about best vantage point (not that I am saying they don’t matter anymore) As usual I am going to all the shows, once I did them all with the same few faces but these days most of my regular partners have either seen the light and retired from this crazy game or simply no longer are around to see the light. These days’ shows are as much about reminiscence as anything. But for me, not Bob. Somehow he seems to be able to remain untouched by this and carries on cutting his own path as he always has. Oh of course the set lists show a lot of old songs and it would be easy to see him as yet another nostalgia act. But this is one thing I feel he will never become.

If you follow my usual ramblings and know me at all you will know that my better half, Dizzy is a blues and R & B fan, and that her interest in music has enabled me to get away with indulging a hobby. In many marriages the Bob fan suffers but I have not had that limitation. Because of her generosity I find it hard to say no to her when a tour by someone she likes comes about. That has happened recently with the Yardbirds tour. If you are over 35 then you will certainly know of them. If you are under 35 write to Dizzy here and she will tell you everything you want to know and a lot more besides I would think. Dizzy has inroads to her music that I will never have. She meets the group every time; they often give her free tickets, tapes and stuff. If she wants a recording its no under the Mac job here. She phones up the drummer and he organises a PA recording for her!

In order to be seen to be compliant this means I have seen the Yardbirds quite a few times. Now I know what to expect here. I know how long they will play for. I know what songs they will play, and I know pretty much what they will sound like... We had met them before the show and Jim (the drummer) had informed us they were recording a new album and might play something from it that night. Well they gave a good show and indeed they did play two new songs. But that was not what surprised me most. What surprised me were new arrangements for “Shapes Of Things” and “I’m Confused” how DARE they fiddle with the classics I thought as I sat there.  Now ain’t that funny thing.

For that is exactly what I expect Dylan to do in May. I would go as far as saying I might be disappointed if he does not play any songs differently. I expect Dylan to keep moving on, to not be content with resting on his laurels and  to want to look forward. An by an large the old bugger continues to do just that.  So maybe there is till a reason to do all these shows. To take two weeks traveling up an down the country, sleeping in strange places and eating junk food and generally wearing myself out?  Tell me there is  a reason  Please?

I’m ready when you are, Senor!