HEAD FOR THE HIGHLANDS: While I have to admit that the concept of hitting the double-zeros in a couple of days is pretty darn neat 'n' all (I remember having absolutely no idea what in Sam Hill my older sister meant when she asked me, "Do you realize we're going to live to see the year 2000?" back when I was just a little Elton John-worshippin' tyke), I refuse to buy into the hype. It is, after all, just another year, right? I mean, technically the new millennium doesn't even start until 2001. What's everyone getting so worked up about?
So no, you'll get no grandiose end-of-the-1900s statement from me, dear reader. Instead of attempting to deliver some nugget of postmodern truth, I instead offer you this complete non sequitur of a story. I've been trying to fit it in these pages for a while now, but there just hasn't been the space. I first read about this a few months back, in the pages of Mojo magazine, and while I have my suspicions of whether or not it's truth or mere urban legend, I found it a nifty enough little tidbit to share.
It seems a friend of the Mojo columnist who writes under the name of The Walrus was engaging in an online chat group devoted to highbrow discussions of the work of Bob Dylan, a site he frequented. On this particular day, the topic being discussed was the true, underlying meaning of the lyrics to "Blowin' in the Wind." Hypotheses were bandied about, and after some minor bickering, they settled on two options: the song was either a prediction of the fall of Communism, or it was a metaphor for heroin addiction. Just then, a new member joined the group and commented that both theories were wrong, that it was just a naive political plea by a young man. The others, a bit miffed by the guy's brazen authority on the matter, charged back, "How do you know?"
"Because I'm Bob," the guy replied.
Now, claiming to be someone famous on the Internet is about as tired as Hugh Hefner after the Viagra wears off, and these Dylan scholars were no dopes. Harsh invective was directed "Bob"'s way, indeed. To quote the article, "the phrase 'fuck off' was used."
Undaunted, the guy pecked back, asking what he could do to prove that he really was Bob. The answer came back a staunch: "Nothing." So "Bob" claimed that to prove to all of them that he was, indeed, Bob, at his next show he would perform "Highlands," the 17-minute-plus epic that concludes Time Out of Mind. The suggestion was extremely bold, considering Dylan had never played the tune live. Naturally, he was scoffed at. I'll let The Walrus take it from here...
"But two days later on June 25, at Coors Amphitheatre, Chula Vista, California, there it was -- for the first time ever, 'Highlands,' fifth song in, and promptly dropped from subsequent shows. Cue sound of Bobheads' jaws smacking the parquet. Hoorah!"
Happy 2000 everyone! As my wonderful, late Mom used to say, "Have fun, but be careful."
(Would-be revelers still searching for a party can glean inspiration from last week's pre-millennial party guide.)