That time we went to see Bob Dylan at a casino

Bob Dylan, Nobel prize winner.  Bob Dylan, poet and troubadour.  Bob Dylan, soundtrack of our youth.  Bob Dylan, casino act.  🙂

Awhile back, we bought tickets to see Bob at the Winstar Casino, just across the state line in Oklahoma.  Am I the only one who thinks that’s just a little bit wrong?

We had a nice drive, arrived a little early so we could grab some dinner and wander around the casino before the show. We are not big gamblers but we’ll spend a few bucks just for fun.  We didn’t win anything, of course.

Waiting for the show to start–the only pic we were allowed to take

Bob still had a very strong voice and sang exceedingly well, especially for a 75 year old! He still sounded like Dylan with that scratchy, nasally voice that is so easily identifiable. He did not play guitar at all (which I had recently read somewhere else) but played piano on quite a few songs. The band was excellent, though Rich and I laughed about the fact that we often had no idea which song was being played at first because Bob changed up the arrangements and lyrical phrasing so much. He looked snappy in a suit and hat–took the hat off when at the piano and still had a bunch of bushy hair.   When he stood at the mic and sang, he swayed and bopped like a little old man, but it was cute and endearing. He sang several of his best known and loved songs (“It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” “Tangled up in Blue,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Things Have Changed,” “Desolation Row,” “Hwy 61 Revisited,” “My Back Pages”) along with some old standards (“Why Try to Change Me Now,” “All or Nothing at All,” “Stay with Me,” and others). Although I would have liked to have heard more of his own songs, his rendition of classic tunes was quite lovely. 

The casino smelled like smoke. Who lets people smoke in public any more?? Apparently this place! The room was set up like we were at a conference with rows of dining-table-type chairs. Kinda hard to see for a short person like me since everything was flat on the floor at the same level. But I managed to peek between people’s heads.   The crowd was mostly our age and older (including a sweet elderly woman near me who had a garland of flowers in her short grey hair–too cute), but also some youngsters and some parents with their grown kids. We were forbidden from taking photos and security staff actually escorted out those unlucky ones caught trying to sneak a shot.

Ever Dylan, he didn’t speak a word during the whole concert. No “hello,” no “goodbye,” no mention of the Nobel prize, no introduction of the band, no “thanks for coming.” He returned for a two song encore and then walked off silently. It’s a little disconcerting for a Springsteen fan like me, so used to lots of audience interaction and mutual love. But Bob’s Bob and it didn’t really take away from the overall feeling that I was super happy to see him. Beforehand, Rich and I talked about whether we’d love the concert, think it was just okay, or be disappointed. We agreed we’d probably be somewhat disappointed since many of the singers and bands from our youth cannot even carry a tune any more. But in the end I was NOT disappointed at all. Loved being there and in the presence of such a genius. We listened to Dylan songs all the way back to Dallas. Thanks, Bob.


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