Jacksonville Review

(posted to rec.music.dylan on Oct. 11, 1995 by Josh Nelson

Alabama Getaway By Josh Nelson aka Ragman10@aol.com And you are standing there, soaking wet, bathed by an, at times, evanescent, yet seemingly constant, hot, almost rose colored, red light. And you are looking up what for the briefest of instants, seems so perfect...for once you allow yourself to revert back to Mobile, to the baffled preacherman with all his headlines, to Ruthie and her honky tonk lagoon, to the cryptic rainman and his deadly bottle of railroad jin...yes, for the moment, it seems so well timed. And you've been there for a couple of hours hoping that it could all end with something magical. Standing there, completely surrounded, unable to move an inch, but not caring at all. Staring up at that stage with a look on your face that says it all. For those few hours it is all so true. So simple, yet so wild. Dylan up at the mic, the band playing the first few chords. You can't exactly figure out which song it is, but, for some reason, you know it is what you want to hear. Deep down, for some inexplicable reason, just for that instant, you think Bob knows that as well. You want to yell out, to scream, but you know that the tranquility of those few seconds is why you are there. Why you drove through the 4 am hurricane. Why you live the life you do. The song is "Jokerman" and it all seems so fitting. The man next to you decides to scream out "Youıre the Jokerman, Bobby, you are the Jokerman" and, for that brief instant, as your attention is diverted away from the stage, away from the seemingly pained look in Bobıs eyes, away from Bucky with his quasi-Greek hat and his most fluid slide guitar, and away from the once again grinning JJ, black cowboy hat and eternal black suit, you question whether Bob is the jokerman at all. Standing up there, with his black boots, moonlight black pants (revealed to only those who take the time to explore, to examine, to percieve), burgundy undershirt, and gold, satin shirt, it seems that Dylan could be this mysterious person. You close your eyes and, for the moment, there is nothing in the world but the music. Without looking up at the stage, you are able to create an image of whatıs happening, what it all looks like. The reflection of Bob in the plexiglass surrounding Winston, the way the lights fall so perfectly on the resting harmonicas ("A dynamo unto themselves"), it's an image you promise will live with you forever. There have been other times, other moments, and they rest in your mind like this one will. Each one with it's own distinctive sound, it's own color, it's own seemingly luminous texture. For a moment, you revert back to "If You See Her" at Roseland, or "Two Soldiers" in Boston, or "Visions" at the TLA...they will all never be forgotten. As you open your eyes and look back up at the stage, you become aware that, for that instant, you are truly happy. You once again look up at Dylan as he cries out "Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune...". If only he could know what he has done. How he has helped you to find yourself...Then it occurs to you, perhaps the point is that he doesn't need to know. That you know yourself. You smile ever so briefly and stare up into the now green, glowing lights. You can feel the drops of sweat rolling ever so slowly down your chin, but you donıt dare move and inch. Staring up into those lights, you canıt help but laugh.

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