Tour Diary #2: Asleep At The Wheel Still Riding With Dylan

Wheel drummer David Sanger continues his reports from behind the scenes as the country-swing band and Bob Dylan tour the West.

[Editor's Note: Folk-rock icon Bob Dylan has been sweeping through the U.S. this month with country-swing stars Asleep at the Wheel. Joining Dylan are blues guitarist Charlie Sexton; Larry Campbell on mandolin and acoustic, electric, steel and pedal-steel guitar; Tony Garnier on acoustic, electric and standup bass; and drummer David Kemper. Throughout the tour, Asleep at the Wheel drummer David Sanger will be sending sonicnet some of his diary. Here's the second installment.]

Sunday, March 12, Bakersfield, Calif.

We have already spent a fair amount of time in the Bakersfield area and are ready for this gig to happen. The convention center is an absolute beauty of a building and very large. My sister and her daughters came up for the show and had some seats up top. When I went up to sit with her after the show, I really got a feel for the size of the venue.

Unfortunately this wasn't a sold-out show, but there was a great crowd on hand to see it. My nieces are not exactly big Dylan fans, so it was fun to see the looks of recognition on their faces for "Blowing in the Wind" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Rainy Day Women" (RealAudio excerpt). The next day, we headed to World Music record store and we loaded the girls up with some Dylan classics.

Tuesday, March 14, Visalia, Calif.

Visalia, Calif., is just 80 miles north of Bakersfield in the heart of farm country. I know we've played all around here, if not in Visalia, for years. It's funny that you can feel that Bakersfield is a big city compared to its neighbors. The venue was just a giant room filled with chairs, and it was full to the brim by the time we started.

Wednesday, March 15, and Thursday, March 16, Santa Cruz, Calif.

If you ever think that tolerance is dead, go to Santa Cruz. A general-admission show that featured every clothing style, hair style and free-form dancing style known to man. A wonderful crowd that had to deal with general admission and did so with great style. The Civic Center is a beautiful old building in the heart of downtown that looks like it could accommodate a Shriner's turkey dinner as easily as a high school basketball game. And the acoustics are wonderful. I invited some friends down to the show on Thursday, and they remarked that they have not seen Bob do such a '60s-oriented set before. Thursday was also Ray [Benson, AATW bandleader]'s birthday, and he was serenaded by the Dylan band, crew and caterers after the third song in our set. He passed out cake to the front row that he had gotten from the folks at KPIG, one of the last of the great free-form stations around.

The local paper had three articles on the shows that included one called "Chillin' With Dylan," which asked the ever-important question: "Where is Bob hanging out?" Now that is hard news!

[Asleep at the Wheel drummer David Sanger also runs Lazy S.O.B. Recordings, Texas Round-up Records and a mail-order catalog for independent Texas music called Texas Music Round-up.]