Bob Dylan 1963

Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln, Nebraska is being torn down after serving the community with concerts and other large events for sixty-seven years. I was fifteen the first time I stepped into the auditorium to experience the thrill and wonder of musical performances. I owe this to my father, who was clearly a music addict.

He loved music in many genres and purchased album after album, introducing us kids to the world of music. There was Al Hirt with his trumpet, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, their song, Taste of Honey, pounding from a console in our living room as our children and their cousins choreographed a dance they performed over and over, delighted as they filled my parents’ living room with laughter. He bought country records – Eddie Arnold, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell. He raved over Barbara Streisand when her first album debuted in 1963. We listened to classical: Mantovani’s cascading strings, Andre Previn and Henry Mancini. Of course, we siblings had favorites – the Beach Boys, Lesley Gore, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, and the addition of folk music by Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, the New Christy Minstrels and the inimitable Bob Dylan.

It was Bob Dylan that “wooed” my father to Pershing. In March 1966, while I was at my friend’s house not a quarter mile away, he called. “You want to go to the Bob Dylan concert in Lincoln?” What? Really? A concert?  Of course I wanted to go! He bought tickets for he and Mom, my friend Peggy, and me. 

The night of the concert, I’m pretty certain my friend and I were the only teenagers accompanied by parents. The auditorium was packed with college students that screamed and clapped as Bob Dylan entered the stage, his long, super-curly hair sticking out this way and that, not really a true mullet, but something similar. He finished his hair style with uneven sideburns. During the performance, my father tapped his foot in time to Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone. I was completely mesmerized. No wonder. It was my first concert. But, maybe I was so absorbed because I was inhaling all the marijuana smoke wafting everywhere? I was clueless about that and thought the haze was used for special effect. Visual, not the same special effect it was for all the college students surrounding us. It didn’t matter, really. It became a great motivator to attend many more concerts. Minus parents.

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