10) Bob Dylan Summer Days Berkeley, CA, In the Summertime St. Paul, MN: The version of Summer Days played on the last tour featured a chaotic three way guitar battle between Dylan, Charlie Sexton, and Larry Campbell. The three seemed to be going in different directions threatening to pull everything apart at the seams. The playing got crazier and crazier and finally Sexton did this cool descending run ending with Dylan stepping to the mike to finally sing again. Divine, simply divine. A month later Dylan pulled out an obscure sublime tune from 1981's Shot of Love my favorite of all my favorite Dylan LPs. The version was nothing like the wistful recorded remembrance. Dylan sang the refrain "YEAH in the summertime, when YOU were with ME" with such exaggerated aggressiveness it bordered on being silly. Still I think that maybe was the point as I couldn't stop smiling. Gosh bless Bob.
9) I Am Trying to Break Your Heart Wilco: Badly in need of a recharge I currently feel the entrepreneurial energy of a grub worm and that is why seeing this movie was so inspiring. Seeing the creative process of one of the better (albeit one of the most overrated yet still overlooked) groups around created some flicker of the embers inside.
8) Tadpole- I made a great friend this year. She's bright, talented, and has the world in front of her and I think the world of her. That I'm closer to her parents' age than her own didn't mean she couldn't offer me some of the wisest advice whenever I asked. We had a pretend date going (appropriately it seems) to Tadpole a movie that had a lot to say and said it in an intriguing way. The highlight of the evening might have been our stop at the local neighborhood Cheapo store where I was treated like a rock star. My friend was impressed.
7) David Sedaris at the Ordway St. Paul, MN: He is the writer I want to be and I decided to share that little fact with a still great friend who had never read Sedaris' work or attended a book reading. She laughed at all the right spots and it was one of the most enjoyable evenings of the year.
6) Paul McCartney Here Today St. Paul, MN: Nothing could possibly be worth what Macca was charging for his tickets but this touching live version of his touching love song to John Lennon came close. Goose bump inspiring enriching stuff that even those who are Beatled out should take the time to listen to- if only to be a better person.
5) St. Paul Saints beat the Duluth Dukes or the Sioux Falls Sioux or somebody: I went to my first Saints game this summer. The game was nothing special but I had a nice memorable time. It was the evening of an all day softball tournament and my legs and feet were absolutely aching and feeling all of the 37 years old that they were. A friend (who was also on the team- we were both irregulars) scored the Saints tickets and kindly asked me to go. I told her we could save money by walking from my house. It was a longer walk than I remembered and I think she thought we'd never make it back. Still it was one of the nicest walks of a life that is filled with believe it or not, nice walks.
4) Lucinda Williams Essence Minneapolis, MN: T'was a hot simmering summer evening in First Ave but this sweltering version of a sweaty sexy song made me fall in love for the first time since the last time that was supposed to be the last time forever (and may still yet be?- nah...).
3) The Twins season- I never believed in contraction but it was still somehow fitting that the Twins' had a most marvelous season while the commissioner's Brewers sucked big time.
2) Warren Zevon Mutineer on the Late Show with David Letterman: Dave gave the recently terminally diagnosed Warren the entire hour. Zevon's heartstopping version of "Mutineer" was stunning and transcendent. For those who should ever happen to question whether or not it is worth being here in this harsh unforgiving place this performance was the perfect answer. Every last breath counts and is not to be taken for granted.
1) Mr. Max's many trips to the vet St. Paul, MN: Max has had a rough year physically. Enduring several trips to the vet he knows if I put him in his carrier and into my rusting car where we are going since we no longer go anywhere else. Mr. Max isn't shy about expressing his displeasure in being taken again against his will. By the time we arrive at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Clinic he seems resigned to the upcoming poking and prodding. We sit in a large waiting area surrounded mostly by large dogs the size of Cadillacs and Max sits in the back corner of his carrier trembling like a bunny occasionally letting out an audible meow calling attention to himself from all in the room. I try to tell him that he might want to lay low but that never has been his once in a lifetime style. Two trips back they put him on thyroid medication for a condition that caused him to lose two pounds (to a skin and bones frame) in seven months. This latest trip it was determined the medication was the culprit behind why he had very few white blood cells left. When the vet called me with the results of the tests I was more than a tad concerned. When I got home I told Mr. Max there was good news and bad news. The good news was he didn't have to take his pill anymore. He then turned around and walked away seemingly not wanting to hear, or not needing to hear the rest. Bless the little fellow for all we have shared.