Bob Dylan's 1989 Jerry Lee Lewis Act
1989-11-04, Indiana University Of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
Today’s show comes by request of Matthew L. Reminder that any Annual subscriber can request a show for me to tackle.
And also — reminder that I am currently crowdfunding my forthcoming book ‘Pledging My Time: Conversations with Bob Dylan Band Members’. Learn more and preorder at Indigogo.
My “white whale” Dylan song, the one I’d like to see live more than just about any other, is “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.”
I know what you’re thinking: That’s a dumb choice. And you’re not wrong. But let me explain.
My second Dylan show, and the first where I was already into Dylan (I wrote about my actual first show here), took place at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in 2004. My dad and I drove over from Chicago. As any Midwesterners reading this might know, it’s not far from Chicago to Indiana. You can get to the state line in like 20 minutes. The two places are so close, in fact, that my dad and I forgot an important detail: Chicago is in Central Time. Most of Indiana, including West Lafayette, is in Eastern.
As a result we had a leisurely dinner near the venue, then casually rolled up an hour after show time. We missed the first five songs. Four of those — “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “It’s Alright Ma,” “Most Likely You Go Your Way,” and “Shooting Star” — I’ve seen subsequently. The fifth I have not. By now I assume you can guess what that is. My setlist.fm stats claim I’ve seen Dylan play 129 different songs. But I know one of those is a lie.
Listening to today’s 1989 show request did not lessen the pain of missing my only chance (so far? ever?) to see “Rainy Day Women.” Now, I am not ordinarily a huge fan of that song in concert or on record. I’d call it the least-great of his greatest hits. But at this show almost exactly 15 years earlier in a different Indiana — the confusingly-named town of Indiana, Pennsylvania — “Rainy Day Women” unequivocally rules. It’s the final song, and it sends the show off with an explosion.
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