This Saturday at the University of Rhode Island's Ryan Center, two of rock and roll's legendary songwriters will share a stage.
Bob Dylan & His Band and Elvis Costello will be rocking the suburbs of Kingston, RI., with opener (and not so legendary) Amos Lee.
According to Costello's Web site, he'll be performing solo without his back up band The Imposters before Dylan, which makes me guess that Lee will be opening the whole show.
Having seen Dylan a couple years ago at Mohegan Sun, I can say this: he's awful live. His voice is shot, and his once-iconic lyrics are now an indecipherable mess of phlegm, scotch and cigarettes.
Having said that, it's also an absolute necessity that you go to see him. His band — a country and western powerhouse — is unbelievably tight, and, despite Dylan's own assertions that he's somehow working for God now, it's still a great deal of fun trying to play "Name That Dylan Tune." Because if you listen hard enough, you'll catch a phrase ("Mr. Tambourine Man" or "it's all over now") that gives some hint as to what song he's playing.
As for Costello, he, too, has mysteriously gotten better and worse with age. Late into his career, he's delved into classical and opera to varying degrees of disaster, but his most recent collaboration with New Orleans giant Allen Toussaint received rave reviews.
The problem with both of these men, literally two of the best songwriters in the history of pop music, is that their output has been so great that you don't know what to expect.
Will it be "Highway 61" and "Pump It Up" or "Wiggle Wiggle" and "For the Stars"?
My guess is it will be somewhere in the middle.