Thanks to reader John W. for this rather different eyewitness account of what took place at the Bob Dylan gig in Minnesota on election night:
Since I was at the show, I’m hoping that I could add a bit to your understanding of the comments Dylan made on election night.
What seemed to prompt him to talk to the crowd more than anything was Tony Garnier’s donning of an Obama button. It was Tony’s turn to be introduced and Bob started to chuckle a bit and said something like, “Tony Garnier over there wearing his Obama button (raises his eyebrows)…..Tony thinks it’s gonna be an Age of Light (chuckling)…..Well I was born in 1941, the year they bombed Pearl Harbor. Been living in darkness ever since……Looks like that’s all gonna change now (chuckling a bit).” Then he broke into “Blowin’ In The Wind.”
I cringed a bit at the time, not being sure what he meant, and knowing what the media would do with it: “Obama supporter Dylan says Change Coming.” I was 50-50 on whether he was making fun of the hopes and expectations of Obama supporters, or joining in. Which of course is his genius, but I found it interesting that my friend sitting by me who voted Obama took it as a clearly sarcastic slam.
Hopefully that sheds a bit of light on the comments. In any case, it can’t be left out that what prompted the comments was Tony’s Obama button. Apparently 17 years of service earned Tony the right to wear the button, but he didn’t escape some ribbing from the boss for it.
The audio should settle it. I haven’t seen any yet but will jump on it when I do. As described by John here, these remarks by Dylan would NOT require further explanation or elucidation by him. This would be very much the Bob Dylan we know.
It would take nothing from the fact that I’m sure he appreciates the milestone that is the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States, for all of the reasons previously and exhaustively stated.
UPDATE: See the latest and hopefully final post on this subject at this link: The audio: What Bob Dylan really said (about life, the universe, Barack Obama and everything) on election night in Minnesota.