In 1963 as a young up-and-comer in the music business I received a sample single from Columbia Records USA of a new singer-songwriter they were enthusiastic about. It was “Blowing in The Wind” by Bob Dylan. I just loved it and later his album “The Freewheeling Bob Dylan”. I became an avid fan and worked hard to promote his recordings.
Now in 1978 I’m head of CBS New Zealand (Columbia’s NZ company) and Bob Dylan and band will be playing at Western Springs Stadium. We work hard to promote the gig and Bob’s wonderful catalogue of recordings.
The day before the gig is rehearsal day and I get a phone call from the tour’s PR man Mr. Wassermann. “Bob wants to meet you,” he says. They send a limo to pick me up and I’m delivered to the back stage area at Western Springs where Mr. Wassermann is waiting for me. He tells me I will meet Bob after rehearsal and meantime would I follow him. I am led out to the middle of the Western Springs grassed area, just in front of the sound techs booth. “Bob would like you to stand here,” says Mr. Wassermann; who then leaves me there all alone and marches off backstage.
Bob Dylan and band then come on stage and begin to play. After a couple of songs they stop and Bob goes to the side and has a discussion with Mr. Wassermann. Out comes Mr. Wassermann to the grassed area and heads over to me. “Bob would like you to move a little to the left,” he says. I move a little to the left and off goes Mr. Wassermann back stage and Bob Dylan begins to rehearse again.
I’m treated to over an hour of classic Bob Dylan.
The rehearsal finishes so Bob and band leave the stage. Mr. Wassermann comes out and collects me and I’m lead to Bob’s dressing camper van. I am introduced and Bob, with a sweaty limp hand, shakes my hand and says, “Pleased to meet you”. He turns away and I’m lead back to the limo and driven back to the office.
It was a very strange but very wonderful afternoon.