08.01.00 – Stanhope NJ

i can now cross one person off of my “list of people to meet before i die.”* i met bob dylan.
it was sunday, at waterloo village in stanhope, new jersey. we had been looking forward to this show with dylan and phil lesh all summer long- in a season full of some great opening slots (dave matthews, sting, metallica [!], tragically hip, barenaked ladies), this was the one true highlight. we harbored no dreams of actually speaking to the man, as is well known, he arrives at the venue minutes before going on stage and exits into a waiting vehicle. bob dylan does not hang around backstage in the catering tent or stand in the line for the port-o-potties.

we played a nice, albeit short, set for a truckload of our fans and some dylan/lesh fans that showed up a little early. after we got off stage, we were allowed to partake of the bleu cheese encrusted tenderloin with baby asparagus and spanish risotto (the bob dylan crew does not fuck around when it comes to dinner). claiming my place at the side of the stage, i then watched and sang along as one of music’s most legitimate contributors performed some of the greatest songs ever written. “how does it feel? to be on your own? with no direction home? a complete unknown? like a rolling stone?” it feels damn good, bob.
during his set i met a few people involved with the show, including a man who introduced himself as bob dylan’s manager. i thanked him for giving us the opportunity to play with mr. dylan (bob?) and he seemed genuine when he said that he enjoyed our set and hoped that we would be able to work together again. yes, WORKING WITH BOB DYLAN AGAIN would be acceptable.

during his last song, i came off stage and put myself in a position to catch a glimpse of dylan before he was escorted to his waiting tour bus. he finished his last song, thanked the crowd and with manager in tow, walked down from the stage. just as they were about to board the bus, his manager caught my eye, waved at me encouragingly and gave me THAT LOOK. this is when things get a little fuzzy.

immediately, i went over to the entourage. the manager put his hand on dylan’s shoulder as if to say, “hey, bob dylan, there is something that as your manager i think deserves your attention for a brief moment.” the next thing i know, i am shaking a hand that i am pretty sure is connected to bob dylan. i vaguely remember him saying “nice to meet you” or “hey” or something. i don’t think i spoke and i’m glad i didn’t- the only thing that was running through my mind was, “you’re bob dylan.”
a few days later, reading my account of “the meeting,” i feel a little like a preteen at a britney/n-sync show. sure, he’s bob dylan, but he is just a man and gets red, puffy annoying foot rash like the rest of us. but the truth is that he has written a considerable portion of the western world’s most timeless songs; this means a hell of a lot to a hell of a lot of people, including myself. he is the real deal continuing to participate in a business that is more and more concerned with what is “hot!” and “now!!” and contributing to the mothership’s bottom line and not with what is true, authentic and real. without question, it is one of the highlights of our career to have shared the stage with him. that, and having the new york times write an article today about how we got fucked by the man in chicago. but that is another story for another day.

be well, you.

your best friend,
ryan miller
*”the list of people i want to meet before i die”
bob dylan, paul reubens, noam chomsky, stevie wonder, matt johnson and ginger spice.

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