Story by Kerry Hamlett (Dylan's mother)
Well, let me start off by saying I've been a huge fan of Bob's since I was a
teenager (I'm 38). I was such a huge fan that I named my son Dylan. My son is
12 years old. I promised my son I would take him to see Bob in concert a long
time ago & just wanted to wait until he was old enough to really enjoy it. When
I heard that he was going to be at the Ryman tickets were already sold out. I
found someone who had the front row center stage tickets for sale & just had to bite
the bullet & buy them. The Ryman show was the 15th time I saw Bob in concert.
Right before we left our house the day of the show, I said to my son "let's
take one of your harmonica's". My son inherited a nice little (antique)
collection of Hohner harmonica's from my father when he passed away 3
years ago. My son was very excited about the possibility of getting an
autograph & ran upstairs & brought down his 1937 Hohner harmonica. I
honestly thought he would never get an autograph from Bob, especially on a
harmonica & an antique one at that, but I knew my son would enjoy trying.
After getting our tickets we hung out (for hours) around the (hot garbage
smelling) alley to the left of the building hoping to catch a glimpse
of Bob arriving. While we were out there Charlie Sexton came out for a
smoke & I told my son to go over & ask him to autograph his shirt &
Charlie very graciously signed his left shoulder. Then, a few minutes
later Tony Garnier came out & he signed the right shoulder. You can
see both autographs in the pic. We never did get to see Bob arrive.
When Leon Russell finished playing their last song his lead guitar player
was pulling his guitar pics out of his mic stand & I motioned to him to
throw one our way & he threw one to my son & seconds later the drummer
walked up to my son & gave him the drumstick he used & it was pre-signed!
I said jokingly to my son "now all we have to get is that harmonica signed".
When Bob came out I went through my usual min-nervous breakdown I always
have for the first 5-10 minutes when I see him live. My son had a sparkle in
his eye & a grin from ear to ear the whole concert. I swear Bob looked at my
son so many times when he was center stage. Even the people around us were
saying Bob's staring at or locked in your son. It was odd! I caught my son
rockin' out quite a few times. He was so cute & it was such a great
experience for us to see Bob together front row at the Ryman. If the
autograph didn't occur it still would have been an incredible memory for us.
We had derived a plan earlier to take the harmonica out of my purse when the
lights went down for the encore. The Ryman doesn't allow fans to have musical
instruments in the building. My son put the harmonica on the stage right in
front of him right before they started with Blowin' In The Wind. At the end of
Blowin' In The Wind, Bob & the band lined up & started their usual "shows over"
routine & my son & I both looked at each other at the same time & said "NOW"!
My son raised the harmonica up in the air in one hand & the Sharpie marker in
the other hand. Then my son motioned like he was signing it himself & then he
yelled "Bob Please"! My son shook them both a couple more times in the air.
The band started walking off the stage & Bob walked up to the his mic & paused
for second, then walked right up to my son & took the harmonica & the Sharpie
from him, signed it & handed it right back to my son. Bob never said a word & I
was so lucky to have snapped that perfect picture of Bob while he was signing
the harmonica with my cell phone. After Bob walked away my son & I turned
around & a large crowd of people were moving towards us. Men & women started
yelling things like: "Did Bob give that to you?", "I'll give you 30 bucks for
it", "Did Bob sign that?", "Do you know how lucky you are?", "Bob doesn't sign
autographs", "This going to go viral", "Let me see it", "You're a lucky boy",
"He doesn't do that", "I've seen Bob over 70 times & I have never seen him do that".
It was SO overwhelming! I was crying & shaking. My son was white as a ghost.
WOW! Still can't believe it happened! I said to my son early in the day
"were never going to forget this day". So odd because it turned out to be SO true.
Something else I should mention about my son is that he joined his school
band last year when he started 6th grade at Springfield Middle School. He began
playing the trumpet, then piano, then french horn all within months. His band
teacher (Roger Bunch) & his piano teacher (Musetta Swann) have told me numerous
times he is "gifted". He had no interest in school prior to 6th grade & now he
doesn't want to miss a day & his grades are fantastic. He said on the way home
after the show he is going to really focus on leaning to play the harmonica
after hearing Bob play it live. He will not be playing the autographed one though!
I believe that this experience will only strengthen his interest in music.
Check out this link of my son playing Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony 2nd movement, on french horn:
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