A few years ago, I went out to the Post-Gazette Pavilion to see Bob Dylan, whose music I have always loved. Thirty years earlier I had seen him perform at Earls Court in London and I was eager to see him again.
Paul Simon was on the same bill, another performer I have long admired. Paul Simon put on a heck of a show. He was great.
But Bob Dylan was the main attraction I came to see and he was ... dreadful. He looked like a wizened senior citizen. If he had come on stage with a walker, the image would have been complete. As for his voice, his trademark gravelly inflection now sounded like a cement truck.
Too bad. There's nothing wrong with growing old - I have that project going on in my life - but if you are a musical idol you have to know when it's time to put your guitar back in its case. In journalism, by contrast, those of us who are idle can manage to hide behind print for a while.
Bob Dylan has not taken the hint. Recently, he decided to make a Christmas album with such classics included as "Here Comes Santa Claus." This is so bizarre that if Santa Claus does come, can he bring some beer so we can forget what's happening?
Now, he has taken it one stage of weirdness further. As The Huffington Post and other Web sites are reporting, he will release his new album first to special Citibank customers. (The bailout, my friends, is blowing in the wind.)
All I can say is: Wow, they took a lot of drugs in the sixties, didn't they?