Friday, July 6, 2007

Bluesfest...Dylan

I lost 20 bucks yesterday, almost immediately. I bet my buddy John that Bob Dylan would NOT play Rainy Day Women, but it was his very first song. And man, was he great! He was really cooking, and so was his band, and he mumbled far less than he normally does. Which was all terrific for the casual Dylan fan, as well as the die-hards like myself. I just wish I could have seen it and heard it at the same time. Everybody must get stoned, indeed. Only, the people who were trying to get stoned could not. Which made me laugh. For 200 yards beyond the stage, the people were so packed in that they could not lift their arms to light a joint. More than once I saw people getting burned by the guy behind them, as he desperately tried to smoke his joint. Imagine being one of those contortionists who are able to fold themselves up in such a way that they can shut themselves in a cardboard box. Then imagine trying to light a smoke while you're in there. It might be a great hotbox, but it also might not be worth the effort...and the cardboard would catch on fire...

I don't think I like the new Bluesfest set-up. The old Bluesfest was too small, true, but it also provided an actual view of the stage and loud enough music throughout the venue. Now, there is not much with which to work unless you plan several hours in advance. The 200 yards leading up to the stage were absolutely jammed with people, to the point that once you were in there there was no chance of moving whatsoever. I managed to get about 50 yards away, and I thought that would be good enough for me to see Dylan when he came out. However, the sea of people in front of me still made it impossible to see. The stage is just not elevated enough to pick anything out unless you're in the first five rows. I moved back 100 yards or so, and I had a little more elbow room, but then the sound mixer tent was directly in the way and there was no chance of seeing any of the stage. There are two screens, which you can see from a few vantage points in the crowd, but even then you are watching the screensonly occasionally, as the rest of the time you are trying not to step on anyone, knock people down, or burn them with your joint. Or smoke.

If you want beer or food, or you have to go to the bathroom, forget it. You will never make it back to your area. May as well pee in a cup and go hungry until it's over. Otherwise, you will want to hang out at the back where the beer tents and food are located. The problem here is, that the screens are too far away to see what's going on, and the music coming through the speakers is too quiet for you to hear the show properly. I could tell what songs Dylan was singing, but I had no idea if he was doing them well. This is a big problem with Bluesfest this year. If someone was seriously injured (which is entirely possible in a crowd like that), there is absolutely no way that person could get out of the crowd. They would have to wait there, heart attack or broken leg and everything, and wait until the show ended, just like everyone else. I left for the back after four songs, and it took me forty minutes to get where I could actually grab a beer and move around.

So...you either can't see and you're crushed, or you can't hear and you can walk around, or you get there four hours early and set up so you can both see AND hear. This is what I recommend. Show up EARLY, sit on the grass - lawn chairs are irrelevant and they will only get in the way. So many people were standing in front of their still-open chairs, which just added to the crush and consternation. At the very least, when you stand up for the headliner, fold up your chair and hold it or carry it! It'll help at least a bit.

3 comments:

  1. So how live is your concert if you have to watch a TV to see it?

    Mark

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  2. It happens all the time. You really think that sitting in the nosebleeds at Lansdowne anyone really SAW the Stones? Well, if you brought binoculars, I suppose.

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  3. > You really think that sitting
    > in the nosebleeds at Lansdowne
    > anyone really SAW the Stones?

    Which is why so many of us were
    forced to hang out at the Bare
    Fax the next afternoon to get a
    better look ;-)

    Kurt

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