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         : https://mega.co.nz/#!QoMC1S7A!evsDsVrlZ … Q1OJFeeu3Y

 Amherst is a college town to which Boston girls flee after breaking up with their oppressive boyfriends, a place where they flourish and sometimes write great books and sometimes even memorable pop songs. It is the Yankee version of Chapel Hill, and Bob Dylan, aside from changing out Highway 61 for All Along the Watchtower, played exactly the same show there as he had performed the night before in Buffalo.  On this very night, Keane was doing a show in Lima, but Kel and I couldn’t afford the price of tickets and besides it was sold out so we stayed home and watched Super Vixens on the computer.

In my ten years of reviewing concerts for the PI, the only time I ran out the day after a show and bought the CD was after seeing Keane, I band I had never heard of before the concert.  It is always exciting to see a band breaking out of the gate.  Fans are star-struck romantics who have fallen in love for the first time, and the band is equally beguiled. There is a communication between performers and audience that is rare in the world of corporate rock. When the band Tom Chaplin had been a drunken coke-head during that first tour and now he had cleaned up.  So much for sobriety in the performing arts.

Some of Dylan’s most memorable moments on stage had been inebriated. Also some of his worst.  Sometimes while playing with the band he didn’t even seem to know where he was or what song he was supposed to be playing.  The worst thing I saw him do was New Morning at Tanglewood the Fourth of July in 1991. But on the same show he did a marvelous acoustic version of Trail of the Buffalo. In fact, some of his best live performances from the early nineties were inebriated versions of traditional folk songs.

Bob was certainly not drunk in Amherst. The concert was tough and sober as Tempest. One of the most encouraging things about his arrangements and delivery is the stately pace he maintains.  One of the tendencies he has had in these lengthy blues-based tunes is to rush them.  This time around he is taking everything ferociously slow, making sure we hear every word.  The music doesn’t drag at all, and Dylan stays on the piano, careful not to mess up the rhythm with a wayward guitar.

On Sunday we drove out to the family house and joined in the birthday celebration of Kel’s mother.  Her grandfather asked me several times if there was going to be war with Korea and I said no. There should be an international law against firing missiles into other countries, and the penalty should be dissolution of the country that commits such an act. Even as that idiot in North Korea threatens the world with his slingshot, bombs are falling elsewhere. And unlike the rules and treaties that are meant to regulate the activities of those engaged in war, there are no specific treaties regulating aerial warfare.

Whatever the outcome of the babyfat threats of Korea’s new leader, I doubt they will compare with the historic import of next week’s presidential election in Venezuela.   Castro was the most successful leader of the 20th century, primarily because of his longevity. As Chavez imagined at the future from his deathbed, he must have known that the Bolivarian revolution was about to take a big hit. Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia,   was certainly feeling this hit as he wept for the great leader who had no worthy successor.   Maduro is to Chavez what Stalin was to Lenin. If elected, he is likely to make a mess of the country, then hide in his paranoia behind a hair-triggered military. When the streets of Caracas are choking on human sewage, the people may well turn to the Reconstructionist promises of a right-wing jackass. On the other hand, if Capriles were to be elected, the public sympathy for Chavez may well keep the new president from destroying the good things that the former president has done for his country.

The United States is fortunate in having an infrastructure so sound that it can survive the antics of its leaders.  So many other countries have no such foundation, and are whipped around by the whims of the lunatics who take office. 

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