(Before I go into this post I would just like to ask everyone not to repost any photos that are below the cut. Even though they are of poor quality I’d appreciate if they weren’t taken from me as this is a personal post. Thank you. Now I will get on with the story!)
June 20th, 2012; I went back to Woodland to stay with my mom for a couple of days, finally upgraded to an iPhone, and got the best start to what may actually be the greatest summer of my life.
Two weeks ago I scrolled by a Facebook post that read something along the lines of “Click here to enter to win tickets to see The Wallflowers taping for Live at the Artist Den!” I figured “Why the hell not?” So I entered; it wasn’t difficult, just a little information here and there and done within a minute. Didn’t think much of it afterwards, one really shouldn’t when it comes to things of this nature since the odds are hardly ever in one’s favor (plus I’ve had a lucky streak with contests, I figured it would have to end soon, and of all things seeing Jakob in person would be the deal breaker). The following week I got a congratulatory e-mail saying I won and disclosing information and instructions (on a side note: thank god my work allowed me to take a few days off last minute).
Mom and I arrived in the dead center of chaos that was San Francisco, and only one thing could explain the delay that had traffic at a standstill as if it were Times Square in the summer time: Tourists. Pedestrians crossing the street the few moments we had to actually get a yard’s drive edgewise. Luckily my mother had been driving or I may have taken it upon myself to run them all over. After finally getting to the clearing of half a mile, the road turned out to be closed. 6:50 and no way of getting to the club when door’s opened at 7 (by the way, we took off around 4 to avoid such a hassle. So much for that). That’s when I felt that moment of doubt, this was it; my lucky streak had finally run out.
If it hadn’t been for me convincing my mom that we needed iPhones that same day, we would not have made it. I checked out the map on my phone to see where there wasn’t any traffic and follow the inner-streets to get to Bimbo’s nightclub. Problem was that I didn’t know how to read the map too well and we got tangled in the intricate web that made up the city of San Francisco. It was to my surprise that my detour that got us lost actually got us there miraculously within minutes. We had been in such a hurry that my mom told me to just get out and get the tickets while she looked for a place to park, which, in this calamity would be no easy feat.
I exited the Escape Hybrid and walked up to security to find out which line I was to stand in. When I told him I got it through will-call by contest, he told me to wait in the line to my left. It ended up being the line that wound around the corner of the building all the way to the back of it, and through some obvious deduction I knew I wouldn’t get a good spot in front of the stage. The doors opened within five minutes after, and there still was no sign of my mom’s return.
Panic had set in as I waited outside of the building, searching and calling my mother frantically. Everybody was inside of the building now and I was the last one outside, waiting — at least out of the people that were in line; there’s no accounting for if/when the club was at capacity. Fifteen minutes of what seemed like hours went by and my mom finally showed up, and we hurried inside. There was no way I’d get a good spot now, but in all honesty I was more worried about my attire.
See, the e-mail I received stated that the wardrobe had to be “smart-casual” (I had to look that one up to see what they meant by it) and absolutely no logos or text. Welp, seemed like everyone followed the rules — everyone but me. I’m not one who likes to wear shirts of the band/artist I’m going to see at a concert, (and it’s kind of an unspoken rule in general. You don’t wear shirts of the artist whose concert you’re attending.) but this was Jakob. This was my one exception to the rule. I figured if it came down to it, I’d just flip the shirt inside out. I was pushing my luck now, but no one seemed to notice the text on my shirt. I was now in the clear.
As I made my way through the lobby, I took note of the bar. A small glimmer of hope surfaced in my mind. Maybe everyone decided to head over to get some alcohol first. It was a long shot, but people do love their alcohol. As for me, I didn’t need it; my goal was Jakob and remembering every moment of this night.
Brushing through the gathering social crowds, my mom and I made it into the main floor. I pointed at the stage and my mom already knew. our understanding is that I try getting as close to the stage as possible at concerts, while she goes off to find a seat and enjoy the show from there. Tonight was no different. I meandered around all the people, who seemed to not care at all about having a good spot. Not one scoff or dirty look as I managed to get to the front of the stage (well there were three people in front of me, but it was a really good spot), and there was no barricade between the audience and the stage.
The crowd of girl’s next to me were specifically annoying and I hoped to anything that I wouldn’t accidentally be misconstrued as being part of their click by standing beside them. They were drunk, vile, and most of all the kind of people Jakob probably gets at every show: People who go just because they can and think it’s cute to ask about his dad. I heard their chatter, rolled my eyes, and if my iPhone wasn’t there to distract me I would have probably clocked their drunk asses. “Let’s shout out ‘What about Bob?!” they’d say for the majority of the wait, or name drop one of the elder Dylan’s songs and say they’re going to shout them as requests. That’s original. I mean, as much as I like to talk about him getting trolled by his dad, and joke about it a great deal, it’s all in good fun. I would never be that asshole to pester him about his father in person like that. I’m JAKOB’s fan and there to see Jakob. My next goal for the night was to distance myself from these women while still keeping a good spot.
8:12. The show was supposed to begin twelve minutes ago and sound check was barely coming out to set up. I didn’t mind, I knew this kind of thing happened all the time at concerts — at least the many I’ve attended (plus, traffic was killer, and the entire crew probably had to sit through it as well). A grin was evident in my face when one of the sound technicians came out with two telecaster’s and one specifically caught my eye. You know the one: the black and white telecaster with scratches aching to something Joe Strummer would have played. It was right within reach (if I had a reach the size of two long arms). Then off in the far left I spotted two Corona bottles being set on stage — Jakob was going to be here soon.
8:24 rolled around and who I assume to be the host of the show goes up on the stage. He gives out the thank you’s and a short synopsis about what’s going on with the show. Nothing I really paid much mind to. Then went on to say that The Wallflowers were there to perform some familiar songs and songs from their new album that is yet to be titled. I drew a blank. I knew that they would be playing new material, but somehow didn’t really believe it was actually going to happen. I was excited yet terrified as to how I would receive their new music. I hadn’t prepared for it mentally; I was so focused on getting ready to finally see Jakob in person. After a few minutes of chatter, the band was announced and I turned to look toward stage left.
Greg Richling was the first to appear, and took his spot on stage right in front of me, followed by Stuart Mathis (wearing a cool military style coat), who was at my front-right. Rami crept silently to my very far left and Jack took the drums. Then shock kicked in. Complete and utter shock. Jakob ascended the stage and I somehow ended up being only separated by one person from it. He was beautiful. No hat, with his curls pushed forward, and an outfit that sparked a familiarity of Dylan’s past; a horizontal thin striped blue and white shirt with a dark grey coat and pants, and of course, he rocked it. The only way I would get through this night without freaking out and dying would be if he never noticed me — part of me would be afraid as to what would happen if he did.
I made the best of it, danced and sang along to every song they played. Greg would smile at me every once in a while, my sheer excitement to be there probably being pretty damn evident. Jakob hardly looked out much, and when he did it was that type of blank gaze where a person looks out to an audience but really looks at no one at the same time. The band kick started the show with the upbeat version to Three Marlenas, followed by Here He Comes (Confessions of a Drunken Marionette). After those two songs they paused, and I thought it was to take a breather, but then he started speaking into the microphone to introduce the next song: Devil’s Waltz. The new song for the next album and it was nothing short of perfection. Each line reminded me of Daryl Dixon and fused things I love together even tighter than before. I needed more of this new album — if the rest of it is anything like Devil’s Waltz then this untitled album has potential to be a top favorite. Just like I had hoped, the next new track they played was Hospital for Sinners (Museum for Saints). The chorus is still stuck in my head, and I don’t mind at all. It made me very pleased with the direction that this album seemed to be going. As soon as he finished the new tracks he thanked us and went on to play Letters from the Wasteland and 6th Avenue Heartache. Then another pause.
“Alright, we got help from this amazing artist for this album and he’s in a few songs in it. He’s a legendary musician. Maybe you’ve heard of him. His name is Mick Jone-..” Poor Jakob didn’t even get to finish name-dropping Mick Jones. As soon as I realized who he was talking about I let out an extremely loud (and at the moment, the only) “Woo! YES!!!” Which caused him to turn in my direction (and luckily for my own sake, not really look directly at me) and respond with, “I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks he’s amazing!” with that sly grin of his. They then went into the song, titled Reboot. I was in heaven. The beat alone reminded me of Train In Vain and I wanted to cry. It was The Clash meets The Wallflowers and I could do nothing but dance while the music played (and Stu did his best Mick voice).
Speaking of rebooting, after the song played, Jack was having some technical difficulties with the drums, so Jakob had to fill some time by talking about how he had to kill some time. He pretended to entertain the drunk girls that were yelling out songs for him to play (songs that were already scheduled to play so they’d end up freaking out when something like Closer to You would come on). I almost wanted to shout Smile When You Call Me That and Standing Eight Count but then realized this was a Wallflowers taping and not Jakob Dylan’s solo stuff. Someone had shouted “Piano solo!” Which led Jakob to look at Rami and joke, “You guys know who Penn and Teller are? Well he’s Teller. He never says anything, he just stands off on the side there and does his thing.” To which Rami danced a little jig to.
Sleepwalker started playing and all I could think about at that moment was the opening “guitar” shot at the beginning of the music video for it, so the entire duration of the song my gaze was focused on his “guitar” and not much else. I really couldn’t help myself, especially with those pants he was wearing… such an odd thing to blame it on when I’m staring at a guitar…
If Devil’s Waltz is the new album’s darkest song, then Misfits and Lovers will surely prove to be it’s antithesis. Although the song is just that (about Misfits and Lovers) it has a very upbeat feeling to it. A feel good, catchy song that just makes you want to jump around and dance. Then again, I can’t recall the verse lyrics much, and Jakob has been known to say that he likes sad lyrics with a beautiful melody. At the moment I can’t recall much of First One in the Car, just that I enjoyed it as well because I was dancing along to it just as excitedly. There was a break between new songs and Closer to You finally played for the girls that were yelling it out.
Love Is A Country was also a nice song with some slight positive vibes to it, I even caught myself singing the chorus a few times without knowing the song, just by repetitive form. Witness followed it and I almost shed a tear. My annual birthday song was being played live in front of me, and ironically for the first time ever my birthday won’t be a gloomy one in a few weeks, but one of epic proportions and all my wishes will be coming true this year.
The music suddenly changed to something familiar, yet dark and ominous, which was something I hadn’t heard before, but they didn’t try introducing a new song by naming it before playing it. I liked the feel of it, like the introduction to an old horror movie. Then that familiar guitar strum kicked in. It was Standing Eight Count and I flipped out and I felt like (at least within my proximity) I was the only one. I practically shouted every word in excitement — which is more than what I could say for Jakob. He probably didn’t think I didn’t notice him mess up a line to the last verse, but I did. That little “shit I fucked up” face didn’t help either. It’s okay, Jakob, at least no one else caught it. I suppose I was so amped about him playing it because now I can’t recall It’s A Dream much except that like First One In The Car, I enjoyed it.
Then IT played. Yes. One Headlight in all it’s musical glory was echoing from the walls as it bled out the stage speakers like golden amber dripping from a beehive. I tried not to cry from pure joy. Finally hearing it live. Some women who were obviously drunk tried pushing past me to get to the front while the song played. I pushed them back and they caved quickly — I suppose that’s what separates a Wallflowers’ show from a Social Distortion one since they didn’t follow up their rude behavior after being matched with it. It was to my surprise that they played another song after it, this one was another new one that was pretty witty — It Won’t Be Long Until We Aren’t Wrong Anymore. As soon as the song finished, the band had shaken a few hands and departed the stage.
I was so caught up with getting to the very front of the stage when people in front of me left that I didn’t think they would be coming back for an encore. I assumed that the taping was done and so were they and my next goal was to score a set list. Then I saw that there was still one song left on the list that was displayed on stage in front of me. Jakob Christ they were coming back. They were coming back and I was at the very front. Panic set in again. Just as I deduced, they had returned and finished the show with The Difference. A big smile, thank you and wave and Jakob was ready to depart the stage — that is until he spotted me.
I couldn’t speak. I just smiled. He was walking and smiling out of what I assumed to be a general polite smile to everyone as he walked off, which led him to make eye contact with me by default. I still believe that’s how it started off, and then he focused in on me (no really). He ducked a bit and took note of my shirt, taking a step toward me while still on stage. He grinned wide and pointed at me, following it with “I love your shirt!” then hunched down and offered his hand, the smile remaining on his face. All I could do was thank him and reach my arm over, returning the handshake. My right hand in his was so small by comparison. His hand was rough, yet smooth, and the shake was firm but gentle. I couldn’t work my mind around it. I was simply in awe that he noticed me without me acting a fool. Thank God I broke the dress code that night.
When Jakob did leave, my goal was once again to get the set list. It wasn’t until the girl next to me and I both called out to the tech at the same time that we were able to finally ask him for one. He handed her the one she was eyeing, but then when he set out to give me mine, two other girls went for it. Being as determined as I was, I reached up higher and swiped it from his hand before anyone else knew to do the same. It was mine. A list with new songs and a tangible souvenir to hold forever. I’d be extremely lucky if I got the band to sign it, but that would be pushing my luck.
I didn’t have much of a moment to look it over because as soon as I turned and walked from the stage one of the photograph crew guys asked me if he could take pictures of it and a picture of me with it, so I obliged and waited for him to get his shots in. When he was done I went to look for my mom. I wasn’t too worried about finding her right away considering I wanted to hang out by the back exit afterward to see if I could meet the band, and it usually takes a long while for them to come out. Surprisingly I found her almost immediately and you could tell she had herself a couple of margaritas. She wanted to go home, but I needed to stay.
We circled the building until we found the back exit, which was incidentally on the right side of the building and not the back at all. There were about ten people hanging out in the area, but most seemed to just be hanging around socializing before getting to their rides. This was pretty surprising to me — not that many people seemed to be hanging around waiting to meet the band, not that I minded. More time for me, right?
While I was waiting, this girl that claimed not to be drunk despite having a few drinks hung out with my mom and I. She said that she was there because her boyfriend was a big fan of theirs and then expressed the entire time how she preferred Bob and that he was way hotter than Jakob. I just stayed silent. If Jakob always gets asked about his dad, I as a Jakob fan should come to be used to all these Bob comments by now — however it still bothers me. About half an hour rolled around and most everyone had left. There was just a group of two crowds (which wasn’t saying much because each crowd consisted of two people, tallying it up to not drunk girl, her Wallflower fan boyfriend, my mom, and me). The back door opened for what seemed the millionth time that night, but this time they were actually coming out.
All I could think about as they stepped out was the Letters From the Wasteland music video, mainly because they were coming out in what seemed to be slow motion and one by one. Greg was first and I gave him a few seconds to talk to the couple he was talking to while he was walking out, then I approached him and told him that they did an amazing job. I asked him to sign my set list if he happened to have a pen and if he didn’t mind getting a picture with me. He was more than happy to and since I didn’t trust my mom’s iPhone skills, I had the couple take the picture of us.
After the photo he turned to Jack Irons and asked if he had a pen. Luckily he did and handed the sharpie to Greg whose response was “of course you do! You’ve been doing this for years. You’re a pro at this now.” Greg handed the pen to me when he was done and I thanked him then turned around and Stuart was right behind me. I asked him to sing my set list and he did and, me being the geek I am, told him that I really liked the shirt he was wearing on stage. We then took a photo together thanks to that couple again that took it for me.
When I had turned to my left, he was right. there. Talking to the Wallflowers fanboy and holding his Seeing Things CD. I didn’t want to intrude although I was practically dying on the inside and Greg was telling me something about the show that I couldn’t even process. All I could add in was “Yeah, it was great, I mean a certain someone did mess up on the last verse of standing Eight Count but no one noticed. It’s okay. We all mess up.” Greg laughed and responded with “Well, yeah, we’re only human!” Then sort of went off topic and continued to speak, saying, “You know we really are friends. We all get along and just love doing what we’re doing. It’s been a while but it’s nice to be back.” I laughed a bit because it was kind of random for me, but I told him that it really showed with the way they interacted with each other, and that it was understandable that they were in hiatus for seven years because they’re human and deserved to have that break. He seemed glad to hear that.
Stu then intervened and commented with “Man, I can’t wait to meet all the Jakob Dylan fans now that he’s done his solo work! See how they act!” I looked at him and covered my shirt jokingly and Greg asked what I thought of Jakob’s solo music. Being the sarcastic jerk I am, I shrugged and (in clear sarcasm) stated “Well, his solo stuff is really mediocre at best.” Little did I know that despite talking to the Wallflower fanboy, Jakob had been listening to the conversation the entire time. He then turned to me and said, “I heard that!” I felt so bad and told him I was seriously joking. He noticed I had a marker and with a quick “Can I borrow that?” it was gone from my hand. He squeezed my shoulder as a thanks and signed the guy’s CD. Wallflower fanboy was asking Jakob to write something meaningful on the CD. Internally I was chuckling, especially when Jakob responded with “You want me to write something prophetic? Man, I don’t know if I can think of anything wise to write.”
When he had finished signing the guy’s CD he thanked me for the pen and handed it back to me. I held it up and replied with “Well actually it’s not my pen, it’s his.” and motioned it towards Jack. Then I asked if he could sign my set list. When he had asked, “Can I use your back for a second?” I immediately responded with “Sure! Wait… why?” though I would have let him use my back for whatever he wanted, he laughed and set the paper behind me and signed it. So yeah, Jakob leaned against my back, you could say. My mom stepped in front of me shouting “Let me get a picture of him signing your back!” but by the time she was able to get her phone he was finished. He did let me get a picture with him though, but since everyone else had left and I didn’t want my mom messing it up, Jack helped me out again and took the photo himself. Jakob wrapped an arm around my shoulder, so I then placed my hand on his back…pack. I recall Jack telling Jakob to smile and him cracking a “This is as much as smiling as I get.” I mean, for posed photos it pretty much is true.
I told Jakob that there were so many things I wanted to tell him, but all I could remember were the stupid things that I promised to say. He wrapped both arms around me, giving me a sideways embrace, leaning into me slightly, and with his calming voice he mused, “Well, tell me everything! Who knows when we will get to see each other like this again.” then let go. If I couldn’t remember what it was I’ve been wanted to tell him before, boy did that sure clear everything from my head.
I did, however, remember possibly the most stupid thing, which was Heather and I’s joke about him looking like a stoner anorexic Henry Cavill. Clearly, I didn’t use those exact words. Instead I opted more for “My best friend, Heather-..”
“Heather? Where is Heather? Why isn’t she here?!”
“She lives in New Jersey, but she wanted me to tell you that you look like Henry Cavill.”
“… I don’t know who that is.” At his statement I couldn’t even think of what Henry Cavill was in, but then one of his crew guys chimed in with “British Superman!” Jakob scrunched up his face as if to say that he didn’t agree but the guy reassured him with a “oh my God! You do look like him!” to which his response was to look at me and say, “Well, I’m the American Superman. Wait, can I be Batman?! I’m Batman!” I nodded and said that I preferred Batman anyway.
The only other thing I could remember to tell him was about how I wanted him to do a song with Shooter Jennings, and that Shooter had already agreed to do it, so there were no excuses now that they were both aware of this. He smiled and said, “You know, Shooter and I used to actually have the same people back in the day. We’ll see about that!” I know it’s a long shot, but hey, so was the entire turn of events that made up this night. I then thanked him for performing standing eight count because it was one of my favorite songs, and I didn’t know he was going to perform any solo material so the fact that he played that song made me so happy despite him messing up at the end. This time he knew I was just teasing him and he laughed. I ended with telling him that I was going to get “Lessons will come, wisdom will wait” tattooed on me because it was my favorite line and held so much meaning. He smiled wide and added, “Wisdom will wait. Wisdom is still waiting…for me, at least.”
I could have stayed there conversing with him forever, but my mom was getting impatient despite him not even hinting that he was trying to leave. I thanked him for the hundredth time and he gave me another hug. Although my time with him drew to an end that night, the memory of it will be forever engraved in my mind as one of the greatest days, and possibly the start of the most epic summer of my life.
Thank you Jakob Dylan.