Mitch Blank is a music archaeologist and consultant archivist at the Bob Dylan Center, Tulsa Oklahoma. He is regarded as one of the pre-eminent collectors of Dylan memorabilia and artifacts, and is a longtime resident of Greenwich Village, New York City.


Ronald D. Cohen is Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University, Northwest. He has received numerous awards including a Grammy nomination for The Best of Broadside liner notes in 2001. His books include Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society, 1940–1970 (University of Massachusetts, 2002), Alan Lomax, Assistant in Charge: The Library of Congress Letters, 1935–1945 (2014) and Selling Folk Music: An Illustrated History (2017), both published by University Press of Mississippi.


Barry J. Faulk is a Professor of English at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. His recent work includes “A Matter of Electricity: William Burroughs and Rock Music” in the American Book Review (2020) and an essay on Burroughs, David Bowie, and Bob Dylan in Lit-Rock: Literary Capital in Popular Music, edited by Ryan Hibbett and forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press later this year.


Anne-Marie Mai is Professor of Literature and a chair of the Danish Institute for Advanced Study at The University of Southern Denmark. She nominated Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he won in 2016. She has published Bob Dylan the Poet (University Press of Southern Denmark, 2018), edited the anthology New Approaches to Bob Dylan (University Press of Southern Denmark, 2019), and contributed to The World of Bob Dylan (ed. Sean Latham, Cambridge University Press, 2021).


D. Quentin Miller is Professor and chair of English at Suffolk University in Boston where he teaches courses on contemporary American literature, including one on Dylan and the Beat generation. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, most recently Understanding John Edgar Wideman (UP of South Carolina, 2018), James Baldwin in Context (Cambridge UP, 2019), and The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature (Palgrave/MacMillan, 2020). Forthcoming books include The Routledge Introduction to the American Novel and a new edition of the Bedford Introduction to Literature.


Walter Raubicheck is a Professor of English at Pace University in New York, where he teaches American Literature, film, and college composition. He is the co-author of Scripting Hitchcock (2011) and co-editor of Hitchcock’s Rereleased Films (1991), both with Walter Srebnick. He also edited Hitchcock and the Cold War (2019). He has published essays on British crime fiction authors including Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, and G. K. Chesterton, as well as essays on American authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, T. S. Eliot, and Dashiell Hammett.


Bob Russell is a retired IT Manager. He is an admirer of traditional country and bluegrass music, and a longtime listener to the music of Bob Dylan.


David R. Shumway is Professor of English, and Literary and Cultural Studies, and the founding Director of the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University. His most recent book is Rock Star: The Making of Musical Icons from Elvis to Springsteen (2014), and he has published numerous articles on popular music. Some of his other books include Michel Foucault (1989), Modern Love: Romance, Intimacy, and the Marriage Crisis (2003), and John Sayles (2012). He is currently editing The World of Leonard Cohen to be published by Cambridge University Press.


Rebecca Slaman is a freelance writer and editor. She has a BA from Fordham University in English and Classics. Her writing specializes in fan communities on social media, particularly Twitter. She has been cited as a Bob Dylan expert in speaking engagements at University of Tulsa and Florida International University.


Randy Turley is a retired Missouri teacher and attorney who now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Secondary Education at the University of Arizona and a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He has been listening to Bob Dylan since 1966.


Karl Gustel Wärnberg is a PhD student in Philosophy at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He holds an MA in Intellectual History from Uppsala University, Sweden

During the VIP opening weekend of the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Dylan Review received several reports from Mitch Blank, music archeologist and consulting archivist to the Bob Dylan Archive. The following was dictated by Mitch and captured by the Dylan Review. The reports have been edited for length and clarity.


Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Tonight was the VIP grand opening reception and dinner at the OK Pop. There was about 500 people there. At my table was someone who works for the Mayor’s office, Bill Pagel, Jeff Friedman and his wife, and a lot of other characters.


Two VIP badges with Mitch's name on them

Mitch’s VIP badges from the opening weekend of the Bob Dylan Center


There were a lot of speeches. Steve Jenkins, Director of the Bob Dylan Center, spoke and then Steve Higgins, Managing Director of the American Song Archives, gave an inspiring talk and thanked all the people who made this all happen. We also heard from Claire Dunn, who represented photographer Jerry Schatzberg. She thanked everyone and talked about Schatzberg’s legacy. Then we heard from Lewis Hyde – author of The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World. We also heard from a man named Jeroen van der Meer – Senior Director of Marketing Legacy Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment. He previewed the 2022 remake of “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” It was an unexpected revamp of the original music video. Not since “Series of Dreams” have I seen so much post production work to create this new version, probably for a more modern world. It was well received, but nobody went nuts. Before you knew it, we went across the street to Cain’s Ballroom where Mavis Staples took the stage. 


Cain’s is a famous venue where every country singer in the world has played over the years. Even Bob Dylan played there once. After three years of not experiencing live music, or very little live music, the opportunity to have music vibrate through your body, but in this case not just music, but Mavis Staples’s music, was a life changing event. Could’ve been better than a massage. Mavis Staples’ band was exceptionally brilliant. We all sang along to “For What it’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. She had us singing and she looked like she was having a great time. As an audience we were on. We needed her, and she delivered 100 per cent. She also sang “I’ll Take You There” and “The Weight.” Again, we all sang along. Mavis owns that stage. I haven’t sung in three or four years, and I haven’t had music in my presence. It’s an amazing thing. Afterwards there was a late night concert with Jeff Slate and Jesse Aycock at the LowDown, but Bill and I didn’t go to that. I was up late talking to newspaper people from all over the world.


Friday, May 6th, 2022

At 10am there were scheduled tours of the Bob Dylan Center and of the Woody Guthrie Center. My real reservation is on Saturday and Sunday, but because we’re VIPs we’re able to go anywhere we want. I’ve been to the center about three or four times at this point. The front of the building is beautiful because there’s a painting of a Jerry Schatzberg photo. When you enter, the first thing you see is one of Bob Dylan’s gates, and then as you proceed you enter the gift shop – nice and well organized. I ran into a million people here – Ratso, Sean Wilentz, writers from all over the world. Local people spoke to us, people were filming, and I even did an interview with a paper from Spain called El Pais.


Then you enter into the first floor of the exhibit of which there’s all kinds of photography and eye candy – there’s so much diversity. You work through it chronologically. There’s much in the collection throughout that Bill and I and other hardcore maniacs had never seen before. There are a bunch of wonderful things, a lot of stimulating and unbelievable footage from a variety of places, including of Bob Dylan at Albert Grossman’s house. Then you turn around and there’s a glass case of Bob Dylan’s leather jacket that he wore at Newport and Forest Hills in 1965, and next to it my program that I donated to the Center from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. It’s nice to see them together again. The whole center is all quality, well done, eye candy, delight. There’s also an interactive element that uncovers the stories of some of the exhibit items. 


Mitch standing next to Bob Dylan's leather jacket

Mitch standing next to Dylan’s leather jacket. Image provided by Bill Pagel.

A close up of the program from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

A close up of the program from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Image provided by Bill Pagel.


After visiting the Dylan Center, Bill and I went to the Woody Guthrie Center with Barry Ollman, and Kate Blalack, Senior Archivist at the American Song Archives, showed us some wonderful things in the Woody Guthrie Archive. At 10.30am there was a scheduled tour of what they call Greenwood Rising, a museum dedicated to the Tulsa Race Massacre, but I unfortunately did not get a chance to do that tour. At noon there was lunch with George Kaiser Family Foundation officers and they spoke about the work they are doing for the population concerning poverty, women’s health, and justice. There were about eight or nine short talks. George Kaiser spoke for a while and it was very inspiring and educational. He really opened our eyes to the wonderful work that the Kaiser family foundation has undertaken. After it ended, a lot of people went back to the Dylan Center. I bought a couple of shirts. We hung out there for a while and talked to another million people. Larry “Ratso” Sloman hung out with us. As usual, Ratso was dressed as a fashion victim, wearing pajama bottoms and a weird shirt. I also spoke to Patti Smith for a while, as well as Lenny Kaye and other Woodstock/Bob related characters from all walks of life.


Two general admission concert tickets, both yellow and white. The top ticket is for a Patti Smith concert and the bottom one is for Elvis Costello and the Imposters

Tickets to the Patti Smith and Elvis Costello concerts.


At the concert, Patti was deliriously happy to be there and you could tell. That band probably never had a greater audience or vibe because we all love Dylan. She started out with “Wicked Messenger” and did her other songs. She’s an artist. She was brilliant, forceful, animated, and it was a great concert. Everybody was smiling and singing along. She also did “Boots of Spanish Leather.” There was a lot of interaction between Patti and the crowd. It’s the first time she was back in Tulsa since 1978, so we’re talking 40 years or something. They loved it, they had a great time. The band was also great. Her son, Jackson, is an amazing guitarist. The concert was packed to the gills; there was no seating. In front of the stage, inches away, there were two rows of seats that said “reserved.” Before the concert started we were told by security we had to move. We told the security guard “we don’t need no stinkin badges.” And the guy said “I’m just here from security.” We’re given celebrity status here; I’m not used to this. Here I have hundreds of people coming up to me a day saying “Oh, I wanted to meet you.” I’ve just been going with the flow.


Saturday, May 7th, 2022

I spoke today with the head of The Tulsa World, the biggest paper here. There will be a big article tomorrow. I also spoke with the head of PBS in Tulsa for a long time. At around 4pm we took a cab to the home of Edith and Glenn Wilson in a beautiful neighborhood – I was very impressed. A lot of benefactors were. I got an opportunity to speak with Steve Jenkins who is now the director of the Center and I was very glad that we talked because I sensed that this gentleman has some kind of vision – I can smell some visions. He’s a smart guy. I also spoke to people associated with the Kaiser Family Foundation. There were a lot of people who donated money. Everybody I spoke to today and the people who do what I do met only nice people. The people are really friendly and they’re coming from all over, mostly from Tulsa. You meet writers, and I even had an opportunity to speak to the guy who’s in charge of the Heavens Door liquor company. I’ve had very interesting conversations, some inspirational, with a variety of people. 


You talk with people from auction houses who are trying to get something from you that they can make money on. Other people want to talk to you about books they’re writing. You got people who show up who you don’t even know who they are. I told the same guy the same joke three times. We also met Elvis Costello because we were in part of the archive with some of the official people and Elvis got a private tour. Bill spoke to him for a bit, and then we had a sighting of Taj Mahal, who is a great American Blues artist. He was here with another dignitary that we know, the famous photographer Lisa Law. Her notoriety goes back to the days of the Woodstock festival in the 60s. She took many photos of Bob and turned hippies on to muesli. I saw people I haven’t seen in 30 years. There’s a lot of hugging and a lot of smiling. I also got people to sign baseballs.


Four baseballs with signatures and doodles

A few of Mitch’s signed baseballs.


Tonight there was an Elvis Costello and the Imposters concert. It was mind bogglingly great. Elvis did “I Threw it all Away” and “Like a Rolling Stone.” The crowd was very enthusiastic. Everyone who performed was grinning like idiots. It was fun for everyone, including the musicians.


Sunday, May 8th, 2022

Today being Sunday there were no regular activities planned except the center being open for people with passes. There’s also something called Mayfair, a downtown festival with hundreds of food booths, so everywhere you go there are people everywhere. It’s like herding cats. We went to the Guthrie Center again today. I ran into a woman who’s a representative of the Duluth Armory. They want me to do a Zoom thing with them on Tuesday. Tuesday is also the opening – the ribbon cutting ceremony and then it’ll open to the public. And for me the exciting part is it opening to the public. I want to observe, what are younger people attracted to? I want to see peoples’ reactions and see what sparks them. And if I see people that are the kind of people who are entry level collectors or archivists, I’d love to have a quick conversation with them and tell them what not to do and save them a lot of time in the future.


Weirdly for me, there’s an awful lot of people who identify me and come over to me. They want to meet me, they want to talk to me. This is like a fantasy world. It’s like walking into some other planet. Everyone has a story about Bob Dylan. Lots of great stories. One of Bob’s former bodyguards, Baron, is here. He’s meeting people he used to tell to stop filming. He’s telling stories. There’s a lot of laughing going on.


Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Today was the opening. I got up super early. We had to be at the ribbon cutting at 8.30am in the morning. I got there at about 8am. I was not a ribbon cutter, but we have photos of people cutting the ribbon, and probably a photo of Bill stealing a pair of scissors. During the ceremony people gave speeches and all of them said inspiring things. Do I remember any of it? No. Steve Jenkins, Director of the Bob Dylan Center, greeted everyone. He’s a great person to have in that position. Then Ken Levitt, Executive Director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation spoke. There was also a program of kids performing – Sistema Tulsa – doing a version of “Blowin’ in the Wind.” It was very nice. Then Tulsa Mayor, G. T. Bynum spoke. After this Joy Harjo, the 23rd Poet Laureate of the US, recited a poem. While I don’t remember what she said, it was brilliant and beautiful. It was really touching. Next, Hannibal B. Johnson – author and historian – spoke for a bit. Then I’m standing next to a guy who’s shining in the light, white cowboy hat, tan, tells me he worked for Phillips 66 oil company and his nephew is playing with two other guys. They performed “I Shall Be Released” in Cherokee. I thought that was phenomenal. After this they cut the ribbon and the doors were open. 


When you arrive you go through a door with Bob Dylan’s face on it and then on the left and right is one of Dylan’s gates. The first day you had to book your entrance by hour so it wasn’t crowded, which was good because the photographers and filmmakers needed people calmly coming in. All day I was involved with the two camera guys, Jeremy Lambertson and Elvis Ripley, Steve Ripley’s son. They had a room set up at the Woody Guthrie Center where they would get quick interviews with people. You talk to all kinds of people. You stand behind people looking at something that belongs to you, or you know they don’t know what they’re looking at. All the people we talked to got excited that me and Bill were there to talk to them. I was interviewed by someone from PBS Tulsa. Then I had to interview Lisa Law.


The official program for the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Bob Dylan Center

A program from the ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

On Wednesday Bill and I went back to the museum. Bill took photos of every manuscript that we felt was important. We took good photos of the exhibits. We even took a photo of a letter that Hendrix wrote to Dylan. There’s three floors, so you have to take breaks. There’s so much eye candy.


Sixty years ago or so, when we all started this crazy disease and we all eventually met each other, what we were doing (specifically people who taped concerts) was considered criminal and they’d have security guards take your machine and kick you out. Sixty years ago we were criminals and now they’re calling us asking if we have things for the music. People ask me “why are you donating your collection,” and my response is – “if you don’t molt, you can’t grow new feathers.”


I want to see young people and kids here to get them excited; this is something they should learn more about. Tell them stories and make memories to get them excited. To me that’s the whole point of this – to grow the understanding of how art can expand into action and healing. I’m here because I understand that it’s important to fan the flames. I’m hoping to do that with some young people, especially young collectors. It’s important to not be a bull in a china shop. I want to identify those people and have them meet some of the people who have been doing this. I like walking around seeing people looking at things on the walls and you see that they’re engaged and you can tell them a couple of things they wouldn’t figure out about a photo. Yes it’s ego, and it’s probably punchable, but that’s what we do.

Music archeologist and collector, Mitch Blank, spoke to DR about his long experience following Dylan’s career and about Dylan’s live performances in New York, July 2018.

DRYou are an inveterate Dylan collector and a longtime aficionado of things Dylan. In fact, you recently donated your Dylan collection to the new Bob Dylan Archive in Tulsa. How many times, roughly, would you say you’ve seen Dylan perform? Does any performance or space stand out among others?

MB: I would say I’ve seen Dylan perform 243 times or 381 times, and I’ve seen him since about 1964. Does anything stand out in my head? You know what? I think the blend of footage I’ve seen and recordings I’ve heard stand out more in my head than anything that I’ve necessarily witnessed.

DR: Any particular pieces of footage?

MB: Well, if somebody has seen Bob Dylan perform “Ring Them Bells” with a giant orchestra at the World Music Experience in Nara, Japan, they’d understand what I’m talking about. I was nowhere near Japan, but I was lucky enough to have seen that on film.

DR: How many performances did you see at the Beacon Theater in New York last fall?

MB: This year Bob performed at the Beacon Theater seven times in nine days. I went to all of those shows this time, and while I can’t say that there was great variation from show to show, as far as setlists go, for a few nights he did do a switch-out of his finale and included “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Other than that, I think when people go to these shows on a weekly basis, it becomes like going to church or synagogue on the high holy days. The shows differentiate themselves based on what you ate that day or how you’re feeling that day, or maybe who you met in the lobby; that might have more of a bearing on your interpretation of a show. Also, your seat might give you a different perspective.

DR: Was the size of the space agreeable? How was the sound system, and could you see Dylan and the band clearly? Was it a spectacle with shifting spots and backgrounds, or was it more straightforward?

MB: It was lions and Christians. It was Diet Coke and popcorn. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I would say that, depending on where you’re sitting at any given concert–say you’re in the third or second row and you’re on the right side of the stage where Bob is sitting with his piano and you look up and all you can see is a whiff of hair–that becomes your view of the entire concert. Or, you can be sitting in row 17 and have a full view of everything going on on the stage, and it gives you a whole different way of looking at it. I prefer seats that are back far enough that I can hear. I find that the Beacon sounds are exceptionally great though. I had no issues with the sound; it sounded great. The Beacon is a great place to see music in New York City.

DRWas Dylan there for the Beacon performances—was he fully present in his singing and playing?

MB: I don’t know if you can ask that of any human being other than yourself. How could you even know? If I interpreted that, it would be my own ego interpreting it. If you ask Bob, he’s not going to give you an answer; he knows he was there because somebody got paid.

DR: How would you compare the New York performances to those that stand out in the past? [Often concert goers complain they can’t even hear him, or that he doesn’t seem interested in the performance.]

MB: It’s further down that road. The things I saw on the country road are not the same things I’m seeing on the city road. Everything grows. Bob Dylan in the 21st century is an inspiration to anyone who witnesses what he does now and anyone who saw what was happening at another time; they would either be reinvigorated or not understand what they went to see.

DR:Which songs stand out as gems?

MB: That’s very difficult. Certainly there’s a lot of beauty in the Beacon show and a lot of things do stand out, but if it’s more of a general question of what songs stick out in my mind it’s a different song for every different part of that road; it depends on where I was on the road more than where Bob was on the road.

DR: Did Dylan improvise lyrics as he has often done? Which songs, and how well did it work?

MB: I can’t say that my mind works like that; I probably wouldn’t remember having realized it at the moment. I have colleagues with encyclopedic minds that could answer this question off the top of their heads in seconds, but my most memorable part of the Beacon shows was when I was sitting down and speaking to the person on my right and then suddenly looked to my left and found out my seating partner was Ringo Starr. Ringo and I had a short conversation about a variety of things, and it was my first Beatle encounter.

DR: Can you describe the audience? Pensive, middle-age (or older) fans? Young people, new fans? Did you see any of the fanatic worshippers who usually attend Dylan performances?

MB: Well the answer to that question is very simple: yes–all of that. I saw people that needed to be taken out with nets and some were. I witnessed people who have been coming to these shows for thirty or forty years that I see at every event like this. There were people who brought their children and grandchildren and both the children and grandchildren were enjoying the shows just as much as grandpa. I saw people who were seeing Bob Dylan for the very first time. There were people there who traveled from every corner of the Earth to see a cluster of shows at any given time. There were some of the great people behind the Bob Dylan networks that keep a lot of people intertwined, such as Bill Pagel of Bob Links, and Karl Erik Andersen from Expecting Rain. There were also some people there from nations that you wouldn’t think have giant Bob Dylan fandoms, but it’s all there, and it’s a great opportunity to cross pollinate with people who have a variety of interesting journeys to this event.

Recently in Tulsa, Oklahoma even more of an international grouping showed up. There were five hundred academics and collectors from around the world and people who had not seen each other in thirty years. People made a million new friends and spoke to each other at lectures, in lobbies, in hotel rooms, and at group dinners. It’s a great opportunity to have that community understand the importance of taking control of the known body of work in order to populate the future with the potential to teach what’s come before.

DRIn the recent Scorsese film, Scarlett Rivera’s chauffeur speaks of the audience-performer relationship at a Rolling Thunder concert as one battery charging another. Did you get a sense of mutual battery-charging at the Beacon?

MB: Of course. Anywhere you put a group of like-minded, common-loving people in an environment, you’re going to have a better experience, and it’s going to feed off of itself. Recently in Tulsa we had a screening of a lot of rarely seen Bob Dylan footage that had been compiled by the Bob Dylan archive to show to the very enthusiastic audience who watched it all together in one room. Joy experienced in a large environment with your people will only reinvigorate the experience. Now, a musician who’s going to be receiving this kind of outpour while performing is of course going to respond to an audience like that. I can’t think of any artist who doesn’t. I can think of Miles Davis turning his back to the audience for his own reasons, but you could have a mediocre artist do a life changing performance if the audience is into what that person is doing and you can have a genius on stage performing to a bunch of assholes and nothing is gained.

DR:What did you think of the film in general?

MB: I don’t know how much light I could shed on it, plus I don’t want to be a spoiler. For someone reading this who didn’t get to see the movie it would be like giving away some of the best punchlines and best things to discover on your own. Generally, this is a film that will make anyone who was alive during this period of time and anyone who is now alive to witness it leave smiling.

DR:What was Dylan wearing? Do you put any stock in his outfit, in the song-and-dance man aspect of the spectacle? Or does the music supersede its theatrical element for you?

MB: I have no idea what he was wearing, and I’m sure he changed every day. I would say his pants were great, he looked great, and the band looked great. It had no effect on the music. You know, in 1975 we had perfected the 60’s which allowed us to let our freak flags fly. Perhaps in the 21st century, you don’t need to wear neon clothing to draw a crowd anymore, if what you’re doing is legitimate.

DR:You started out in the folk music movement, and you continue to play traditional music. Do you consider folk music a form of nostalgia?

MB: Okay well, I didn’t start out in the folk music scene because I started out in 1950 and the number one songs of 1950 were “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” and “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena.” I listened to America’s Hit Parade music growing up and once I was handed a transistor radio, I suddenly had a soundtrack. One thing leads to the next and the musical journey is very winding–anyone who is my age will tell you that they didn’t get there by accident. I listen to everything now; I listened to almost everything back then. I listen to things now that I’ve never heard before, much like when I first started listening to music.

Nostalgia? Some people will tell you that nostalgia is a form of depression because you’re not comfortable where you are, so you look back to a place where your involvement with the world around you was more cushioned and you felt more comfortable. It’s certainly not nostalgia–I’d be happier if it was nostalgia–but it’s just a comfort zone. I’ve often said that whatever you may have listened to when you were fifteen years old, no matter where you were, is always going to be the music that you will always feel most comfortable with. It’ll always be your comfort zone, your body temperature water, that you could sit in without twitching. If you were fifteen when Motown exploded, you will always feel comfortable in a Motown environment. If you were fifteen when Blonde on Blonde came out then that’s going to be a great zone for you, but you may have been fifteen when Tempest came out and that might be the place that you feel the most comfortable. We don’t have a clue what the next group of fifteen-year-olds are going to be listening to’ let’s just hope it’s healthy music.

DRWhere do you stand on Dylan nostalgia?

MB: Well, I don’t really know what that means, unless it means putting on a leather jacket and playing to a crowd who throws things at you. I don’t really see anything as Dylan nostalgia. I listen to the music that he was recording before he had any musical contract and I find it a comfortable place to be; the music I hear today is just music that I’m acclimating to. It’s not so easy to find places in your nervous system to store new music because of all the music you’ve already got living there.

DR: How many of the very old songs did Dylan play; songs that almost seem like traditional songs now?

MB: I have a sheet in front of me so I’m going to cheat. At the Beacon, he did some of the 60’s songs: “It Ain’t Me, Babe”, “Highway 61 Revisited”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”, “Blowing in the Wind”, and “All Along the Watchtower”. From the 70’s he did “Simple Twist of Fate”, and “When I Paint My Masterpiece”. I mean, what is there to complain about?

DRWere you able to gauge the audience’s response to these supremely familiar songs as opposed to others from other eras of Dylan’s career?

MB: The only time I ever notice the audience is when the guy in front of me takes off his shirt and spills beer on me.

DR: How would you characterize Dylan’s attitude on stage that night (or those nights)? He never panders to an audience.

MB: I think on one of those nights someone had a scuffle in the third or fourth row and there was a bit of a moment where he stopped playing–I forget exactly what happened–but I could see that sort of disrupted his attention. Other than that I think he’s completely focused all the time, he knows what he’s doing, he knows what the audience is going to respond to before they even respond to it, and he is always pleased–as any musician would be–to hear the positive response from an overwhelmed and joyful audience.

DR: Did he challenge you at the Beacon? Electrify you? Connect with you, or wall himself off from all those dark eyes?

MB: The only time I was challenged at the Beacon was economically.

DR: Is there anything else you would like to add?

MB: Don’t follow leaders watch your parking meters.