I love hearing me a good story from the concert stage.
OK, in the end I guess when I’m paying a bazillion modern dollars to see live music I do want more music than stories, but a few remarks before every song and 3 or 4 or 5 full-fledged stories are always just fine with me. The old folkies used to have no choice but to tell stories just to keep the crowd entertained -- or at least distracted -- while they got their guitar in & out of Drop D tuning & such. Nowadays with electronic tuners and every guy and gal with a personal guitar tech on staff to run out a new perfectly tuned guitar before every song, they don’t actually need to talk so much. But I still like it when they do if they’re good at it.
John Prine is a great story teller to this day. Same with John Hiatt. Hmmm …. Maybe not a coincidence that Ms. Who and I have tix to see both of these guys at shows over the next couple months :-)
On the old bootlegs you can hear how Dylan used to be the best ad lib story teller on the planet. The last 25 times I’ve seen him I don’t think he’s said a word to the crowd. It could be a consequence of the crowd & atmosphere that you get when your band goes electric as much as anything else. There just aren’t many rock ‘n roll raconteurs around nowadays when you think about it. For one thing, as a rule most rock crowds, God bless ‘em, are just too drunk and stoned to deal with the stuff of musician stories, which tend to run to whimsy & light irony and even a touch of the old sen-ti-men-TAL.
Here’s a perfect example -- check out old Neil here trying to tell his dog story to the bunch that filled up the front rows of this rock show:
See what I mean?