You can tell by the way she smiles”
The lyric, a bit of “Visions of Johanna,” surfaces in my mind once in a while and hangs around until I dig out the appropriate CD or tape and listen to the Grateful Dead perform Dylan’s song.
The only time I saw the Grateful Dead perform this was also the last time I saw them play as a band, 7 April 1995.
Gloria and I drove up from Palmetto to Tampa. We managed to meet up with some on-line acquaintances that we’ve not seen again since that night. Not all on-line associations yield long-lasting relationships that grow into enduring friendships.
However, one of our oldest and most cherished on-line friends has remained close in spirit despite distance, since those early days of “Prodigy. In addition, Gloria and I will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary this month. Not at all a bad turnout from what began as a chance encounter between two people drawn together by musical interests and tuned in further by profession, age, and ancestry.
Visions of Johanna was performed during that end of spring tour performance in Tampa. It was such a rarity in the performance logs that the previous performances could be counted on the fingers of one hand. The band pretty much nailed this Dylan enigma. Lesh’s bass lines hammered the hook home while Garcia rose above his 1995 ennui and illness to deliver the lyrics and guitar leads, if not perfectly, much like the old Garcia we all wanted to see and hear.
The show held even greater surprises. Unbroken Chain was offered up and the 70,000-seat stadium erupted. The younger people filling many of the seats had little clue as to why those opening chords evoked such a huge response.
The encore was U.S. Blues, delivered quickly and prophetically. “Summer time done come and gone, my oh my!”
We made it to the car, out of the lot, and were home across the mouth of Tampa Bay before we had time to develop our own highway blues.
Now, it is off to find that CD or I’ll be hearing Visions for the next week.
The serious case of highway blues is going to center around the next five months of campaigning that will lead up to the Presidential election. Dylan’s lyrics will seem crystal clear compared to the lies emanating from the GOP/teavangelist propaganda mills.