Here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice.
Forward, into the past!
EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED when Bob Dylan fronted an electric band at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Which is why August 3, zooi, saw 100 scribes from all over the country merging into a crowd of 10,000, inching by vehicle and foot through the narrow tourist-choked streets of the former center of the triangle slave trade later known for its wealthy “cottages”; while others rode water ferries from the sailboats and power boats anchored like ducklings around a mammoth cruise ship, sandwiched by the graceful suspension bridge connecting Newport to the mainland and Fort Adams. The pentagonal sandstone bastion with the recessed barred windows, built to protect Narragansett Bay in the 19th century, backed the big stage. At 5:30 P.M., to a standing and expectant sea of sunsoaked bodies who'd been hearing Aaron Copland's “Fanfare for the Common Man” and “Rodeo” pumped over the PA, half an hour late but right on time, the short guy in the silver shirt and black suit with the fake beard and wig topped by a tall white Stetson bounded onstage with his four black-clad bandmates. A punchy acoustic string-band version of an old folk blues called “Roving Gambler” got started. At 61, Dylan had returned to the scene of the crime.
Or maybe he hadn't, and not just because of Heraclitus, with whom Dylan would surely agree about feet and the same river twice. For the assembled multitude who had come to the fabled rock where the prophet had stood and been dishonored, it was, as it should have been, an Event;