Collecting and touring featured prominently in last months FW. Not altogether surprising at the end of a tour I know. But I find it intriguing the different attitudes we sport towards his Bobness on this. After all isn’t Bob these days a performing artist? Isn’t that the position that he himself has taken. First there was Mark who attends one show, hoping for the best. A laudable attitude that. After all we don’t need to go to a loot of shows do we?

For me Dylan is never the same two nights running, and I am always pleased to share the same breathing space as him as many times as I can. Like Mark I go hoping for the best, but often do not expect to get it. Sometimes I feel guilty that Dizzy will check out our holidays carefully consulting me on cost whilst I tear into a whole tour with out a second thought. So yes Mark has a point. I know he collects a lot of the shows afterwards. I think that is the valid method. I used to have lofty ideals about preserving things for posterity an all that. It’s a good way of explaining the cost to others. Then a couple of  light years ago I am sorting through the Kidda’s stuff, and amazed at all the rarities that frankly no one wanted. Ignored, abandoned. It makes you wonder why you do it. Collecting has to be just for YOU and if it doesn’t work at that level then forget it. Don’t fool yourself that it matters to others. Because it doesn’t, except to fellow collectors likewise afflicted I guess. Of course what collecting shows does for ME is to give me an opportunity to hear songs performed that I missed live, to appraise the performance and decide if the shows I missed were “better” or not than the ones I missed. Like the last tour. I quite enjoyed most of the shows as I stated last time, but hearing the earlier shows now suggests that the voice was in better shape in Europe than it was over here. I also like the chance to hear the shows I attended again, to see if they stand up to my own feelings about them. This last tour I have to say does not. It was as good as ever to see Bob and the band seemed very tight and confident. But Dylan was not in best shape, certainly not as good as 2001 and not as good as Europe 2002. Only by hearing the cdrs can I reach that kind of conclusion. There is something different about being at the show, that no recording however good it is can capture for me. Now I can accept that this might just be my own personal preference. Anyone that has read more than a couple of my ramblings knows I have a large interest in jazz, the true performing art. A form of music that you HAVE to catch live. So maybe that is where I get the need. I do a lot of gigs (Other than Dylan) on average I attend about one jazz gig a week!

Then there is our own JRS. In the last few years he has attended shows on a  more frequent basis than before, yet I know he does not collect the recordings. (I know because whilst I often offer him things he seldom tales them up!) John seems to get that same buzz from the concert appearance but is happy to stop there.

But the real control seems to come from Robert Foryan. Robert says that he has no need to go to the shows or collect the concerts and that this makes him “feel free somehow”. Is it ok to say that I envy him that freedom sometimes?

Times like now, when I just got 32 cdrs from my mate Norbert and 15 from Peter. New stuff?  NO upgrades to cdr.. Course I will return the favour, time is what it takes. Lots of time,  whilst yet another few books arrive to be read. Another coupla magazines turn up and then there are vcds, an Dylanbase… Freedom….. yes I can envy you Robert.

OK so I could stop yes? I could give it all up. Sure. I used to say to myself that “it’s too late to stop” or that “it’s of historical importance. But we know the truth now don’t we. It’s just for me. Does that make selfish? Sure.

But hopefully it enlightens me a little too, and hey, you should see the size of mine! (Collection that is!)