Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Last Thursday Mick, my friend of nearly 50 years and I, travelled by rail and tube to the Royal Albert Hall to see Bob Dylan and his band. It was something of a return journey as the very first time that we saw Bob Dylan in concert was at the RAH in May 1966 and for Dylan, he has not been back there for the last 47 years. We have seen Dylan numerous times since then and for me, the last couple of concerts that I've seen, he has been pretty poor, this one was Bob Dylan at his very best, three consecutive nights and all sold out. With excellent, near front-row seats in a really magnificent venue, we could almost touch the old curmudgeon and we had a great evening. A hot Cornish pasty at Victoria Station, the train home, and tucked up in a warm bed by midnight, just as it should be for two aging hippies.
So different to that last time in 1966, when Dylan sang the first half to acoustic guitar and then for the second half, brought on The Band and played with loud electric backing and upset many of the audience, me, I recall finding it just as good. Our travel arrangements that time had also been different, we got dropped off at Westminster Bridge from a lorry driven by a friend of my father, had a wander around London and then walked out to the RAH in time for the concert.
After the concert had finished we then walked back into central London and eventually out to the A2 and began trying to hitch-hike home. Although at the time it was our usual method of getting to and fro from London, it was a long and tiring night but with the help of a few short lifts and a lot of walking, we eventually got back home at 8.00 the next morning. I immediately rushed round to the home of my young girlfriend to tell her all about our exciting night, but barely got the words "Bob Dylan was fantastic" out when she said "ah, sorry but things have changed." "Changed, what has changed" said I, "my ex-boyfriend has returned from the Merchant Navy" she said, "I'm going back with him."
Eventually we resumed our courtship twenty-five years later but that's another story. Below you see me in 1966 - playing guitar, myself and Mick to the right in the group of four and doing my best Dylan impression behind bars.