Dylan Speaks Review
by Zane Ewton
Bob Dylan going electric at the Newport Folk Festival was a legendary moment in rock history that arguably defined a generation. That Dylan could create these moments and this myth, mostly be accident, looms over his career and notably a press conference he held while on a 5 night stop in San Francisco a few short months after Newport.
That a popular musician was given time on network television testifies of the heights Dylan was reaching. Even more alarming is how the reporters in attendance desperately try to raise Dylan to an iconic status. Something he is both uncomfortable with and maybe even unaware of.
Dylan's famous quote about being just a "song and dance man" comes early in the conference and visibly lightens the mood. The press seemed to be divided by the young music press and their desperate attempts to pull scripture from Dylan's mouth, while the slightly amused elder statesmen are confused by Dylan's aloof manner.
This presents a phenomenon that has followed Dylan through his whole career. His fans come to him like followers to Buddha, deconstructing every lyric in every song and completely analyzing his life and interview comments. These conversations happen from the depths of smoky basements to university classrooms.
When a young bearded reporter asks for the meaning behind why Dylan wore a specific t-shirt on an album cover, the reporter is not lying when he says he has given it much though. When Dylan responds that he had not thought about it that much and there really wasn’t any meaning the reporter is visibly bothered.
The fact of the matter is that Dylan really wasn't worried about it. Throughout the conference he specifically states to young reporters that he does not have a hidden meaning, philosophy or big plans. The man just wants to write and play his music.
The press conference in itself is an interesting snapshot of 1967. Every person in attendance is chain smoking, leaving a cloud of smoke across the little room. Everyone seems to be blissfully unaware that a television audience is watching at home. Nothing like this would be given minutes on television today.
Finally the folklore of Bob Dylan is getting proper treatment in DVD form. The man will always be analyzed, and now we can do it in high-definition, surround sound.
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