Tuesday, Oct. 31, Kohl Center, 7:30 p.m.
'How many roads must a man walk down,' Bob Dylan famously sang, 'before you call him a man?' Seven? How long are the roads? Wouldn't a bar mitzvah achieve the same ends?
I've never heard the answers promised by Dylan's all-knowing blowing wind. If I did, I'd pose one more question: How long until the world stops being surprised by Bob Dylan?
I speak, of course, of the current tour supporting his new album, Modern Times. Both are getting fantastic reviews, despite Dylan now singing entirely in the language of bees.
It's all been hailed as a 'return to form,' since Dylan's shows of the last few years have been pretty weak. Another recent misfire was the film Masked and Anonymous. And then there were those Victoria's Secret ads.
But before those abominations were the award-winning, critically beloved albums Love and Theft and Time out of Mind, both also considered 'returns to form.' The reason? They were preceded by the monstrosity that was Under the Red Sky and a collaboration with Michael Bolton.
Following the modern Dylan means that for everything good, something horrible must follow. For every Oh Mercy you get that 'Dylan and the Dead' tour. For every Traveling Wilburys (first album) there will be a Traveling Wilburys (second album).
Luckily, we're on the good side of the cycle. Go now. Hurry! We've likely got just a few more months before he does a series of mall shows with Busta Rhymes or launches 'Bob Dylan: The Rollin' Stone-a-Coaster' at Six Flags.
Thursday, Nov. 2, High Noon Saloon, 9 p.m.
Others have commented that Pixies icon Frank Black's continuing dalliance with Americana and alternative country in his 2006 double album Fast Man Raider Man ' a follow-up to his great 2005 Honeycomb ' has the uneven pacing and brilliant moments of a decent live show, albeit in studio-album form.
Should you attend a live show for a studio album that plays like a live show even though there were no live shows after his last studio recording that didn't sound like any studio recording or live show he'd ever done before? Dunno. Ask Dylan.