Monday, March 26, 2007

Dylan Video of the Week - The Price of Fame

You sometimes wonder how the famous resist barricading themselves on a mountaintop somewhere.

It's not easy being a professional musician. Bad road food, a bad lifestyle where bottles, pills and needles are all too available.

And there's too much travel, and nights staring out at a sea of faces that you can barely see through the lights. And the next day is the next town, and the next sea of faces.

And then there are the crazies, people who might think you're God... or the Devil, and spend a lot of time imagining what it would be like to meet you, to talk to you, to touch you.

You wonder whether Dylan thinks about that on the Never-Ending Tour, looking out the window as the bus takes him to another town.

Our first video is of the so-called "Soy Bomb" incident at the 1998 Grammy Awards. Performance artist Michael Portnoy was hired by the Grammys to stand in the background with other dancers and bob his head to the music to "give Bob a good vibe." If you watch the video, you'll see that about three minutes into "Love Sick," Portnoy ripped off his shirt, displaying the words Soy Bomb on his chest, and started dancing wildly next to Dylan. Dylan gives Portnoy a bemused glance, but continues playing without missing a beat.

When later questioned by reporters, Portnoy made some opaque statements about reinvigorating the bland music scene of the `90s, but it was patently obvious that it had been a self-publicity stunt. The Grammys decided not to prosecute Portnoy, but perhaps the most fitting punishment was that the "Soy Bomb" dance was edited out when the performance of "Love Sick" was included on the bonus DVD released with Dylan's 2006 album album Modern Times.

Our second video is taken at a 1996 Dylan/Dead concert<, and is sure to produce a "Yikes!" moment or two. A swarm of kids prance on stage, stage-dive, and walk up to Dylan to talk to him, touch him, and kiss him, all while he gamely tries to finish "Like a Rolling Stone." As one commenter notes,

"I understand the urge to touch Bob Dylan, but this parade of obnoxious kids who won't let the man play the damn song is unbelievable. I never thought I'd say this, but...where the hell is security?"

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