With 'concert-appropriate' lawn chairs, Dylan fans are forever youngIf there’s a run on lawn chairs in Duluth the next two days, blame Bob Dylan. Or Grandpa.
By: Robin Washington, Duluth News Tribune
If there’s a run on lawn chairs in Duluth the next two days, blame Bob Dylan. Or Grandpa.
That’s because when Duluth’s native son plays Bayfront on Tuesday night, his American-arama show with Wilco, My Morning Jacket and the Richard Thompson Trio will be more of a Dylan concert — and a senior citizens affair.
“When this show played Atlanta (last week), the average age was 25-30,” said Dan Russell, executive director of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, explaining why the initial no-lawn-chairs policy was lifted.
“I had to respond to people in their 60s saying ‘we’re not going to go.’ We had to convince (the promoters) that here it’s older,” Russell said.
I don’t know who his demographers are, but they must have talked to Joanne Gerber of Duluth and her 30-something son David of Minneapolis, who attended Saturday’s Bridge Festival and plan to make Tuesday’s show.
“Bob Dylan is going to pretty much draw my age and up. We need our chairs,” Joanne Gerber said, adding that the lifting of the chair ban “is what convinced me to come.”
David said he’d make it lawn chairs or not: “I’m excited about Wilco and Bob Dylan.”
Their portable seating yesterday was pretty plush but likely to pass the grade Tuesday, which Russell said it has to be “concert- appropriate.”
“That means no foul language on it,” he said of one criteria, along with no umbrellas or drink canisters.
“Obviously, we don’t want you walk into Menards and get a lawn chair bigger than your garage, or that has coolers in the back.”
Which pretty much describes the canvas village erected at the Bridge Festival by Duluth’s
Sheldon family — Karen, Gary, 8-month-old Keegan and 3-year-old Gaius — except they got it at Home Depot.
“Eight bucks,” Karen said of the bargain cost of per chair, though the tent-like apparatus big enough for the whole family was extra.
“I don’t know what ‘concert quality’ means,” she said. “I think this fits. This is a concert, isn’t it?”
We’ll let the Americanarama bouncers figure that out.
Since I needed to price them out for myself, the next cheapest I found was at Burggraf’s Ace Hardware at the Plaza Shopping Center.
“Normally, they’re 30 bucks. We’re selling them for 20,” store manager Tom Donlin said of a canopy chair — which, to make concert-appropriate, “you can take the canopy down.”
Except you have to get one. They sold out.
“We’ll have them on Tuesday, probably by noon. When is the concert?”
Down Superior Street in Lakeside, lawn chairs at Marshall Hardware were going from $25 to $32.99 — or $70 for the “more spendy zero-gravity” chair, explained A.J. Marshall.
“It’s easier to lay back once you’re in it. It’s very adjustable for comfort,” he said.
And that can only lead to a real gravity-defying stunt by the most famous lawn chair of late: one taken aloft to 15,000 feet by Joe Barbera of Battle Ground, Wash. Two weeks ago, he replicated the flight of “Lawnchair Larry” Walters, who floated three miles above Southern California in 1982 lifted by dozens of helium balloons.
Barbera readily took my call.
“I was a brand new engineer (when Walters made his flight), and I just kept thinking about it and thinking about it, and finally after 30 years I did it. It was just wonderful,” he said, adding: “My wife’s not so crazy about the idea.”
Barbera’s a Dylan fan, by the way.
“You bet. Absolutely. I’ve seen him a couple of times. I saw him with Paul Simon and once with the Grateful Dead.”
And though he won’t make our show Tuesday, he might consider loaning his chair.
“Yeah. You could just pass security and drop in.”
Robin Washington is editor of the News Tribune. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.