Why I Perform When I was in eighth grade, I first heard Bob Dylan on the radio. While randomly switching stations, I came across Like A Rolling Stone playing loud and clear. Instantly, I was a fan. I began to collect everything I could.
My father, seeing my new found interest, decided it would be the fatherly thing to do to support me. So for my fifteenth birthday, he bought me two tickets to see Bob Dylan in concert when he came through Austin. I couldnt believe it. I was so excited to go, I had forgotten the general audience Dylan attracts. Due to Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, many Dylan fans have associated his entire career with some kind of drug use. Luckily, my sister Sarah was thinking clearly at the time.
She politely pointed out that my father hated Dylans music and told him how painful it would be for him to see it. After a short time, my father conceded that it would be better if I went with my sister. It was the most awesome experience up to that point in my life. We got there relatively early, so I got to see the variety of the audience.
People brought their families, bikers, old men with young women, hippies, cowboys, stoners, and just plain average folks like me. The Ian Moore Band, some local Red Hot Chili Peppers take-off, opened for him, but they would not get off the stage. They played for over an hour. People were starting to harass them. They threw paper, cigarette butts, and almost anything else they could get their hands on, just to get these people off the stage. They were horrible.
After a while, it hit me that I was about to be in the same room with a man whose fame has spread worldwide. I was so much in shock, I was able to block out the rest of the opening act. Finally, Ian Moore left. The audience had been sitting down the entire time.
When Ian Moore left, we sat there in an odd, complete silence. The backup band walked out one by one, but the audience remained silent Then, Bob Dylan stepped into the light. He was wearing an electric blue, metallic shirt. Every light in the house was shining directly on him so that he seemed to shine.
The entire audience burst into the loudest standing ovation celebration I have ever heard. The audience was so huge, I could barely hear him for the first few songs. After a few minutes, I felt this constant tapping on my left arm. I looked over to see that the sixty-year-old man down the way was trying to get his thirty-year-old girlfriend sitting next to me out. Before Dylan came out, I saw her conning a few substances out of the guy in front of her. Her exact wording was, Ive never done it before.
But you could tell that was a lie. Or so I thought. Apparently, not less than half an hour later, the drugs had taken their toll. Her boyfriend had kept her in the seat just so he could see Dylan sing. At that point, I wanted to be Dylan. I wanted to be the man who everyone wanted to see.
I wanted to be the man that other men would risk the lives of their women just so they could catch a glimpse of me performing. I wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted to have a career like Dylans where I could perform non-stop from the time Im twenty until I die. I wanted to be the name on everyones ticket.
I wanted to be the face on everyones shirt. I wanted all the lights, and shirts, and audiences, and concerts. At that moment and every moment since, I have craved the thrill of performance.