Bob Dylan is coming to Youngstown in August.
I love Bob Dylan. I own most of his albums, either on CD or vinyl, and have seen him live about a half-dozen times over the years. I can't wait to see him at the Covelli Centre on Aug. 28.
But these local appearances often draw the more casual fan. Mahoning Valley folks who never seriously considered making the drive to Cleveland or Pittsburgh to see Dylan - and he's made many appearances in the region with his steady touring schedule - will say to a spouse or friend, ''Hey, he's gonna be right here. We should go."
And you should. I shouldn't need to list Dylan's discography and accomplishments to convince anyone he is a legend, voice of a generation, one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century - pick your superlative.
But know what you're getting.
He may have been making albums for 50 years, but Dylan is no nostalgia act who serves up the same well-honed set of greatest hits night after night. You'll probably hear ''Tangled Up in Blue'' and ''Like a Rolling Stone.'' You might hear ''Blowin' in the Wind'' and ''All Along the Watchtower.'' But there's no guarantee. Bob plays what Bob wants to play.
With more than 600 songs to choose from, he can't play them all (16 to 18 songs is more likely, judging by recent setlists). And he's just as likely to play an album track from ''Desire'' as he is to play ''Knockin' on Heaven's Door'' or ''Positively 4th Street.''
Make a list of your 10 favorite Dylan songs. If he plays three of them, consider yourself lucky. If you hear five of them, it's a miracle.
And just because he plays your favorite song, it doesn't mean you'll recognize it.
Dylan's songs are fluid. The recorded version isn't the ''finished'' version; it merely captures that moment in time. In concert, Dylan can change instrumentation, change tempo and even alter the melody on his most popular songs. It's one of the reasons that there are Dylan fans who've seen him dozens of times, hundreds of times. The possibility always is there to hear something you've never heard before and might never hear again.
But it means those casual fans sometimes are left confused or angry.
I almost can guarantee that someone will call the office on Aug. 29 or stop me on the street and say, "I hated that Dylan concert. I didn't know half of the songs, and even the ones I knew I didn't know until he was nearly done with them.''
And don't expect Dylan to lead any sing-alongs on ''Blowin' with the Wind'' or provide any ''storyteller'' moments where he shares the inspiration behind the songs. I've seen Dylan shows where the audience didn't even get a ''thank you'' or ''good night.''
I'm not defending it. Frankly, after a couple of lousy Dylan shows at Blossom Music Center in the late '80s, I swore off seeing him live for about a decade (I skipped his last Youngstown appearance at Stambaugh Auditorium in 1992 because the Ramones were playing in Cleveland that night).
It is what it is. And you're not going to change it, no matter how long and how loudly you yell for ''Just Like a Woman'' or anything else.
If you're not willing to accept that, save your money. We'll both be happier on Aug. 28.
Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at grayareas@