|Patti Regan stands in front of her house, once the home of Neil Young, that was visited unexpectedly by Bob Dylan. (Marcel Cretain, Sun Media)
WINNIPEG - Music legend Bob Dylan wanted to see how another rock icon grew up when he was in town earlier this month.
Dylan casually pulled up in a cab outside John Kiernan's duplex in River Heights on Nov. 2 prior to a performance at MTS Centre to sneak a peek of the place that Winnipeg-raised music legend Neil Young once called home.
"We had just got back from grocery shopping," said Kiernan, 53, a landscape architect, who lives with his partner Patti Regan and his two daughters at their home on Grosvenor Avenue.
Kiernan said the family -- who have lived in the home since 2001 -- is used to having Young fans dropping by to see where Young grew up during his Kelvin High School years. But the guys stopping by that day seemed older than the usual curiosity-seekers.
"So these guys were standing at the front of the house about to get back into their taxi. I noticed he was wearing these expensive-looking leather pants tucked inside these world-class boots. Then I studied his face and tried to keep cool," said Kiernan, who only then realized one of the curiosity-seekers was Dylan.
"He was very articulate and introspective."
Eventually, Kiernan invited Dylan -- who was unshaven and had his toque pulled down -- and his associate inside for a quick tour of the two-storey house, where Dylan asked "thoughtful questions" about how much the place had changed since Young lived there.
Kiernan showed him Young's old bedroom, which now belongs to his 16-year-old daughter Julie and is painted bright pink.
"When he said 'Would Neil have looked out this window when he played his guitar?' I realized what a spiritual experience he was having at that moment, knowing that he would have been doing the same thing at the same time in Minnesota," said Kiernan.
Kiernan told Dylan, 67, the only room that would have changed since the 1960s was the kitchen, which has since become a laundry room.
"I think my abiding memory will be Bob Dylan standing amongst my dirty laundry on a Sunday afternoon," he said.
"I see Sir Bob Geldof is coming to town next month. If he comes by and shovels snow, I'll let you know."
After 25 minutes, Dylan thanked his host and returned to the cab.
Kiernan thinks he was heading to Crescentwood Community Centre, where Young performed with The Squires in those early years.
"Having grown up with (Dylan's) music, it was a wonderful experience," said Kiernan. "I found him to have huge presence with a quiet charisma. And just think ... if we'd have come home a minute later, we'd have missed him."
Both Julie and sister Laura, 19, were not home when Dylan came by.
"I'm not a huge fan, but I'm upset I missed him as something like that doesn't happen every day," said Laura.