I am angry at a man I have never met. His name is Stephen Wooten. I’m about to say mean things about him. So first, let me say a few nice things. Stevie-bear, that’s a hell of a mustache. I bet you are a great systems analyst/engineer and a better family man. The writing in your piece for the Argus Leader is grammatically-correct and largely typo-free.
The charity ends there, for Wooten has written a stereotypically crappy review of a Bob Dylan concert. This is the type of thing I lose sleep over. I have already kicked my dog and thrown my trash on a neighbour’s lawn today as an indirect result of Wooten-based rage.
Here is a paragraph-by-paragraph breakdown of why Wootsy is now #1 on my shit-list.
After many weeks of anticipation, I attended the Bob Dylan concert at the Arena on Saturday night. I have been a Dylan fan for many, many years, from his folk days to his early electric, from his protest songs to his country songs and love ballads to his rowdy rock and roll. So I waited for the big night — waited for what should have been a great concert.
Not so angry yet. He’s establishing that he’s a long-time fan, that’s fine. He’s establishing his anticipation, great. Motherfucking should have been a great concert, what the hell do you know Wooten? Alright, breathe Mike.
Also, it’s funny how he capitalizes the word Arena. Like it was the name of God.
The concert I attended was not the one I waited for. First of all, the sound system at the Arena is so bad that Dylan often was halfway through a song before I could tell what song he was performing. There was no spotlight on Dylan or the band, so you could not see them well. It might have been different for the first few rows on the floor, but back in row 13, you could not see well at all. It must have been even worse for the people sitting in the seats off the floor. Our chairs on the floor were padded, but they were so close together they made airline seats seem spacious.
My theory: even with perfect sound you wouldn’t have recognized the songs until the choruses. There are many rubes like you, and they all express this same complaint with the same degree of earnest outrage. Guess what, the arrangements have changed a little bit since ’66. If you listened to anything, anything other than your Greatest Hits CD (you just know this guy still listens to CDs, probably in either a boombox or one of those giant multi-disc changers from the 90s) you’d know that. Man oh man, the Wootens of the world.
Couldn’t see from 13 rows back? May I suggest corrective lenses, or stronger ones?
To his credit, Dylan did start on time and didn’t screw around. He played almost two hours straight through. And he does rock. But there was no interaction at all with the audience. And because the sound was so poor, you could not understand what he was singing, so the relationship wasn’t through his poetry either.
My dog was just kicked for a second time. He is in the corner right now licking at his ribs. In this paragraph we find Wootsy’s only reference to the music, which he seems to have enjoyed, claiming it “rocked.”
Then comes the line that has my other dog currently cowering in fear beneath the bed. If you Google, “Bob Dylan talk to audience” you will find an estimated fifty million reviews by small-town hack newspaper reporters issuing this lament as informed criticism. What do you want him to say, “Big shout out to my friends at the fucking Argus Leader, that news organization is really making an impact in the world. The answer my friends, can more often than not be found in the Argus Leader.” Or, “Hey the Outback Steakhouse you have here in Argus is way better than the Outback Steakhouse in Garretson.” Bob doesn’t really say much during shows you fools. When he does it is subtle and hilarious. Also, Stephen Wooten, Bob Dylan does not want to have a relationship with you. No matter how many discs can be played in your CD player at once, got that?
I have been to many concerts at the Washington Pavilion. This was my first and last concert at the Arena. I longed for the Washington Pavilion.
Sir, no one cares about your regional venue concerns. But please do not use them in an article that is headlined Bob Dylan Concert Dissapoints Fan or in any way as to convey Bob Dylan = disappointment.
And again with that capitalized Arena. I notice in the comments it’s always the Arena so maybe these people have some weird, reverential Arena-worship thing happening.
By the end of the night, I was sorry: Sorry that I had spent money on a disappointing concert, sorry that I had missed the master poet and artist Dylan, and sorry that he had missed the opportunity to connect with me. I should have stayed home.
Oh no, Stephen Wooten is experiencing regret. Worse, Bob Dylan, get this, missed the opportunity to connect with Stephen Wooten. That should have been the Argus Leader’s headline, 26-point superheader: “Dylan does not connect with fellow great man Wooten.”
Should have stayed home? Do everyone a favour and always stay home. And Argus Leader, do everyone a favour also and disband the Argus Leader Opinion Advisory Panel immediately so that nothing like this will ever appear again.