Smartmom did not go to the Bob Dylan show in Prospect Park last week. Instead, she was dining on grilled salmon, fresh corn and arugula salad in the backyard of a Sag Harbor summer rental while the world’s greatest songwriter was singing “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35.”
It’s not like she didn’t want to be there. When the tickets went on sale in June, she was quick type “Tilden,” the special code that she read about on BrooklynPaper.com that enabled her to charge two $85 tickets to her credit card before the rest of the Dylan-loving masses could buy them.
Expensive, yes. But it was Bob Dylan in her own backyard. Who could resist?
Smartmom could tell that Hepcat was dubious about the purchase.
“That’s an awful lot of money,” said Hepcat, ever frugal. “Besides, aren’t we going to be in Sag Harbor that week?”
Well, yeah. But that didn’t matter. They could always Jitney back to the city for the night.
“It’s Dylan, after all,” she said.
“It’s Sag Harbor, after all,” he said.
In the end, Smartmom gave the tickets to Teen Spirit, a huge Dylan fan. In a sense, she was passing on the baton. Just like she’d given him her old acoustic guitar.
“You got tickets? Wow. Of course I want to go,” he yelped when she gave them to him. Clearly, he was expecting a life-changing experience. First, he had to choose whom to take. Then he decided that he was going to bring his guitar to the show.
Afterwards, he wanted to play Dylan one of his songs.
Smartmom and Hepcat did little to disabuse Teen Spirit of this wacky idea. A boy can dream. Besides, he never listens to them anyway.
In some ways, Teen Spirit is just like his mom.
Smartmom and Dylan go back, way back. Not only was he the voice of her generation, but he’s been the soundtrack of her life.
When Smartmom was 11, her parents gave her a vintage leather jacket (from Ridge Furs on Eighth Street) and a Dylan songbook.
Boy, did Smartmom love that aviator jacket. But that songbook was her bible for so many years. She was a budding singer/songwriter, after all. And he was her hero.
Smartmom saw Dylan at Madison Square Garden, in upstate Binghamton, at Madison Square Garden again during his Born Again phase when he sang with those great back-up singers. She saw him with Tom Petty and later with GE Smith in concert with Joni Mitchell.
She even ran into him once on Eighth Avenue in Park Slope across the street from the Montauk Club on June 12, 2000, Teen Spirit’s ninth birthday. The musical legend was wearing a white cowboy hat and walking with a photographer.
“Omigod,” she screamed. “That’s Bob Dylan.”
“Who?” Teen Spirit asked.
Boldly, Smartmom asked Dylan for an autograph. He obliged and signed his name on the back of an American Express billing envelope she had in her bag. Luckily, she didn’t mail it.
That envelope, now framed, sits on the bookshelf in her and Hepcat’s dining room.
A few years ago, Teen Spirit bought Smartmom “The Definitive Bob Dylan Songbook” for her birthday. He dropped hints for days, “You’ll probably start to cry when you open my gift.” And he was right.
So fair is fair. Smartmom has had plenty of Bob Dylan in her life and last week was Teen Spirit’s chance to revel in the legend. He knows that Dylan can barely sing anymore. He knows that you can’t recognize the songs because Dylan changes the tunes; it’s a veritable game of “Name That Tune” when he starts to play.
Still, Teen Spirit was ready for anything (though he was, fortunately, talked out of bringing his guitar by a friend).
In Sag Harbor, Smartmom thought about her son at the show.
But she was there in a way. Through her son’s eyes and ears. Plus, she got to hear about it in the morning.
And that was worth it all.
©2008 Community News Group
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