THE VIRTUAL WALL OF FAME

 

In 1976 I was 17 years old. Two friends and I had read about Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue coming to Orlando, FL to the Orlando Sports Stadium. Orlando was a sleepy orange orchard back then. Disney had only arrived 4 years earlier in 1972. From what I understand the OSS was torn down years ago and a residential community sits on the site.

 

We were a 3 kids from Savannah, GA and the thought of seeing Dylan live was a near impossibility to us. He hardly ever played in the South and he surely wasn't ever going to come to Savannah. So, we found out about the RTR and Orlando and I immediately called and ordered tickets long distance (remember that) directly to the OSS ticket office. We bought 3 and we couldn't believe it. WE WERE GOING TO SEE DYLAN, LIVE! So we were on our way to south FL.

 

We get there and immediately go get our tickets. It was 35 years ago so I don't remember it that well but we finally found the venue. (If you want to call it that. I had read that it had been used mostly for wrestling matches.) It was a metal warehouse with no windows! We thought this can't be the place. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Mick Ronson, etc.. wouldn't play this dump. It was in the middle of no-where. Well, lo and behold this warehouse actually had a ticket office. It was more like a window in the wall. I walked up and asked "am I at the wrong place or is Bob Dylan playing here tomorrow night?"  

 

The lady in the window asked me for my claim check for $32 (yep 32, for 3 tickets). I forked it over and thought "man, I have been screwed on this one". Oh well, we were here. We'll play it out. 

 

The next night we show up and the (of course) grass parking area was full. OK, so far so good. We hand over our tickets wondering what we were walking into. This place was an indoor rodeo with dirt floors! We had driven 400 miles to see a friggin' rodeo!?

 

I have to describe the inside of this place. It looked like something out of a county fair where you would keep livestock. It was a long, narrow building with sold sheet metal walls on 3 sides and the far end (I believe) was open air. This was April (thank God). I can't imagine how hot this place would be in August. Dirt floors...you've got to be kidding!

 

Typical food for a circus - hotdogs, popcorn, cokes. For all I knew they probably sold cotton candy.

We walked up to see if they sold beer. OMG, they sold 16oz draft beer for 50 cents and 20oz for $1. My friends and I were all 17 but the OSS didn't seem to care. Well, this trip suddenly was on the upswing.

 

We walk into the arena trying to figure it all out and there it was -- a stage at the far end of the "barn". On it  was a "Rolling Thunder Revue" banner. THIS WAS THE RIGHT PLACE! WE WERE GOING TO SEE DYLAN!!. Of course it had no seats on the dirt floor so we run up to get close to the stage. We got to about 30 feet from it.

 

It was a long show.All of the stars played a set. Bob Neuwirth played 1st. We hadn't heard of him but, hey we had $1 beers. Then came Roger McGuinn of the Byrds. He was great. We recognized his obvious voice. Then, Joan Baez. She was great, too. But come on,we were here to see Dylan and were running out of Budweiser dollars.

 

Joan finishes her set and the place goes dark. the roadies are scampering around the stage checking leads, mikes, guitars, drums. keyboards...the whole works. This escapade went on for about 15 minutes. Along the way a roadie walks up to one the guitars and checks to see if its in tune. OK, OK, lets get on with it!

 

All of a sudden, the roadie starts strumming the beginning of Mr. Tambourine Man, JESUS! THIS WASN'T A ROADIE. IT WAS DYLAN! NO ANNOUNCEMENT, NO LIGHTS, JUST DYLAN BY HIMSELF SINGING MTM IN THE DARK. 

 

Needless to say we were in nirvana being 30 feet from Bob Dylan. It was the best rock show experience of my life.

 

Now, after the show, we three hang out to finish our beers. there was noone pushing us to leave so we hung out. We walked up to the stage and asked the 1st person we saw for anything of Dylan's. The guy turned out to be Bob Neuwirth. He BS'd with us for 15 minutes. Finally I asked if he could get us Dylan's autograph. he said Dylan was gone but he gave us his. We talked a bit more and he suddenly says, I know what I can give you guys.

 

He walks away for about 5 minutes. We figured he wasn't coming back but we waited it out and he returned seeing us there. He reaches in his pocket and says here and hands us 2 guitar picks and a metal pin.(The pin, I was told later, was actually a back stage pass.) He then says that only Dylan used that kind of pick. We thought COOL. "I wonder if he used them."  Naw, Neuwirth was probably trying to get rid of us.

 

We walked out to the car.I pulled the pick out of my pocket to just to look at it. It said.....

 

"MANNY'S Heavy" (It is identical to the picks that shower this website.)

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Hey thanks so much for your post, you know where I'd love to have you post it if you're not too weary joining lots of websites. http://greenwichvillagemusicfestival.com  we were just talking about Rolling Thunder today, I'll share this on FB, and thanks again

Sandi

Sandi:

 

I'm flattered at your request. I will add the post to the Greenwich Village Music Festival website today.

Take care.

 

Jack



Sandi Bachom said:

Hey thanks so much for your post, you know where I'd love to have you post it if you're not too weary joining lots of websites. http://greenwichvillagemusicfestival.com  we were just talking about Rolling Thunder today, I'll share this on FB, and thanks again

Sandi

Thank you for this wonderful postbbwould love you to also post on my greenwichvillagemusicfestival.com if you can. This is the reason I createbthese sites for people like you to share your memories.

Thank you
Sandi

Sandi & Holli:

Just in case there were any doubters out there.....

Yes, there are Dylan fans in Dixie.

This is
just great! Thank you!

Sandi and Holli:

For years, I have looked for footage of the RTR and haven't been very lucky. The other night, I stumbled onto this gem on YouTube. The video is titled "76 4 22". When I read this I wondered if it was a date. Well, apparently, it was. This is a clip from Clearwater, FL. After 5 years of looking for clips, I finally found one that happened to be the night before my friends and I saw him in Orlando. The sound is remarkable, given its age. Enjoy....

The Rolling Thunder Revue, 4/22/76, Clearwater, FL

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From "The Wall of Fame" by Holly Goldrich

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