Published October 17th, 2019 at 12:52 PM
“The circus is coming to town.”
That, in a nutshell, is reason enough for Kansas City actor and comedian John Mulvey to lay his money down for a Bob Dylan ticket. It’s a passion Mulvey has pursued since he and his future wife first saw Dylan in a torrential downpour at the former Sandstone Amphitheater in 1989.
All told, Mulvey reckons he’s attended at least 30 Dylan concerts. He’s followed Dylan to Salina, Kansas, and Sioux City, Iowa. He’s seen him in Nashville, Tennessee, and West Palm Beach, Florida. He’s been in state fair grandstands and small-town ballparks.
Mulvey has witnessed transcendent Dylan shows, and some shows not so much. He once shook the man’s hand after a show in Columbia, Missouri, and just might have helped inspire a stanza of Dylan’s lyrics in the process.
Mulvey will be in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday for an arena show. And you can bet he won’t miss the show on Sunday at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland here in town.
To be sure, Dylan obsessives walk among us. Some clandestine tapers are said to have seen the man hundreds of times during his legendary “Never Ending Tour.”
But here at Flatland, we reckoned 30-plus shows qualified as enough to justify a conversation with Mulvey on what motivates a fan to see the same performer dozens of times.
It seemed a simple enough question. But it led to a long conversation about the power of language, the importance of live performance and how music can become so deeply embedded in our minds, our lives and our culture.
You can listen to the full discussion in the following Flatland Conversation.
As can happen with any extended discussion of Bob Dylan, the Flatland Conversation inspired an idiosyncratic 90.9 The Bridge playlist. Music writer Timothy Finn, host of “Thursday’s With Timothy Finn,” also has written an essay on Dylan’s career as a live performer. And we’re sharing an appreciation by “Revival” host Michael Atchison published when Dylan reached his 75th birthday in 2016.
John Mulvey has collected posters from Bob Dylan concerts he’s attended during the “Never Ending Tour.”