I’ve been a Bob Dylan fan since the release of his second album, Free Wheelin’. I was 15. Last Friday, I attended my fifth (only) Dylan concert and the third in Chicago. It was a fitting bookend to my first two concerts in 1963 and 1965.
On December 27, 1963, Dylan was all blue jeans and acoustic at Chicago Orchestra Hall. The Times They Are A’Changin’ had just been released, so this was at the height of his folk period. Coming five weeks after the JFK assassination, the concert was a profound palliative for a traumatized teen-aged spirit needing reassurance.
On November 26, 1965, at the old Aerie Crown theater at McCormick Place, it was a very different vibe and result. The first half of the concert was acoustic. When the curtain opened on the second half, there was the band (The Band) and Dylan in sharkskin with a Fender electric.