It has been suggested that those who are less than crazy about Bob’s current tour are just disgruntled because they  can’t make any of the shows.  I thought about this for a while and was almost convinced that it might be true. And then I saw the video of The Rolling Stones at Glastonbury. Although the Stones were my favorite group when they were in their prime, I lost interest in them shortly after the death of Brian Jones.  Their performance in the Scorsese film “Shine a Light” was atrocious. The band sounded pretty good, but Jagger was ridiculous, disconnected from the music and throwing himself at the audience like an old whore with a syphilitic bank account. So I was surprised as hell to hear see him in control at Glastonbury.  He only did stupid stuff at his ends  of songs, and only to give the audience pleasure.  The rest of the time, he proved that great showmanship need not mean being a sleazy cheeseball. And his singing was tremendous.  He sounded like a teenager and my wife started to think seriously about whether the rumors of him making a pact with the devil were true.

 

I have often been impressed, and periodically thrilled, by the shows Bruce Springsteen has been doing this past year or so. Especially when his warm up gig at Fenway Park developed into a four hour marathon.  And even more when he threw away the set list to perform Born to Run in its entirety in tribute to and in memory of James Gandolfini.  Springsteen, now there is a guy with heart.  I used to think he looked like Al Pacino after a bad car wreck, but that son of a bitch has really come into his own.  He plays most of his new album, most of his hits, and whatever else he feels like playing. He not only doesn’t stick to a set list, but he doesn’t stick to a time limit. And nobody leaves one of his shows feeling gypped.

The there’s Dylan headlining this  so-called AmericanArama tour and giving  his audience just  a little less than Ebenezer Scrooge gave Bob Cratchet for a  Christmas bonus.  If he really wanted to do a proper Americana tour, he’d get together with Springsteen and Neil Young and go out there and kill it. But he knows he would come in third place with those guys.  If Springsteen ever performed “Born to Run” as badly as Dylan used to perform “Like a Rolling Stone,” he would lose all his fans.  With Wilco and My Morning Jacket, he can still be a headliner.  With guys closer to his own level, he would be an also-ran.

I’ve never seen the Stones live and Springsteen only once, on his Born to Run tour, and I thought he was a poser. But that hasn’t lessened my enthusiasm for their current tours. I enjoy what I can by whatever means possible. And I listened to shows from Dylan’s spring tour repeatedly, enthusiastic about him for the first time in a decade.  But I have heard enough from the current tour and it does nothing for me. Even when I like something about what he is doing, the total effect leaves me cold.  So I’ll discontinue the Jean Valjean blog until something happens that makes me care enough about write something about it. 

As for the rest of the world, the US has gone back to demonizing any country that dares criticize or ignore it by labeling them as leftist.  Now, most of these countries certainly are leftist, but that isn’t such a bad thing, and should not be used to marginalize them.  Peru, although having a leftist president, is never labeled leftist because we are on good terms with Obama. This crap about Snowden and his pole-riding girlfriend, and the attack on the president of Bolivia on the assumption that he was sneaking Snowden into the country. …it tires me as much as it pisses me off.  To treat a country’s president like he was a drug smuggler trying to get across the border with contraband…shameful.

We have been having abnormally big waves here in Ilo, Peru these last few days, and they are expected to continue, rising as high as fifteen feet, for another week.  I live right across the street from the beach so I have to keep my eye on the ocean so my wife and I can skedaddle up the hill to a hotel in case of flooding.  I have been making a series of Surfing Without Surfers movies to chronicle these historic occurrences.  But I’ll also keep my eyes and ears on Dylan, and if I have anything worthwhile to say about him, I’ll be back.

Thanks to all of you  who have commented me on the Jean Valjean saga. It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

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