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How does it feel to visit the new Bob Dylan Center? In a word: terrific

Jon Bream, Star Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

Minnesota contributors

The new spot is in an old brick warehouse on a street named Reconciliation Way, two doors down from the Woody Guthrie Center in this once-booming oil city known for such musicians as Bob Wills, the Gap Band and Leon Russell.

For three days before the official opening, I dove into a sea of Bob along with other VIP visitors.

There was Dick Cohn of St. Paul, who has known Dylan since they were 14-year-olds at Herzl Camp in Webster, Wisconsin.

"I think I took that picture!" Cohn beamed as he pointed to a snapshot of Herzl campers, including his buddies Larry Kegan and Bobby Zimmerman (now Dylan) with a guitar.

There was Bill Pagel, the obsessive Dylan collector who bought the singer's childhood homes in Duluth and Hibbing, where Pagel now lives. He guided me through The Bob, pointing out items from his massive collection. There's a blowup of a matchbook from the 10 O'Clock Scholar, a Minneapolis coffeehouse where Dylan played in 1959-60; a 1978 Dylan tour jacket, and a photo of his own great-niece reading a kids' book about Dylan.

 

Pagel is especially fond of his surreptitious Super-8 film of Dylan at a 1980 concert, roaring through "The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar" in San Francisco with guest guitarist Mike Bloomfield, who died three months later.

"The film ran out and I had to put in another film," Pagel remembered. "Fortunately, at the end, (Bloomfield) walks over to Bob and gives him a hug. And I got that."

There was Kevin Odegard, a proud Minnesotan who, in a simple twist of fate, played on Dylan's landmark "Blood on the Tracks" sessions in Minneapolis in December 1974. The acoustic guitar Odegard strummed on "Tangled Up in Blue" — and his gold plaque for the album — are on display at The Bob.

"I was the outlier in my small town of Princeton," Odegard said as he stood next to his framed guitar. "I got Bob right away. He's an older version of the kid I felt inside of me."

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