March 20, 2008
Review by Ricardo Ferrara
From Rosario, Argentina, to Punta del Este, Uruguay, by bus, it takes no more
than 10 hours, but, it took me 10 hours more, due to the "piquetes" made
by the owners and producers of the lands in Argentina, (they want to get, still,
more profits for their exportations, though they were extremely favoured by
the Argentine government for keeping the peso (the Argentine money) very,
very low, so that they could export their productions at a very low price, "they
say low wages are a reality if we want to compete abroad" and that's the reason
I can only see Dylan when he plays in Argentina. I'm like a prisoner in my own
country, It's almost impossible for me to go abroad because my money is
"shallow and weak",..As I said therewere 3 different "piquetes" all along the
road to the Argentine borderline with Uruguay, we had to reach the borderline
before midnight for there was going to be another "piquete". The "piquetes"
were going to close all the "land" borderlines til' the next monday, this time,
the "piquetes" were going to be made by the Argentine ecologists who are
protesting against a factory of paper built in Uruguay in front of the Uruguay
river, the river which separates Argentina from Uruguay...Fortunately we
crossed the borderline, after waiting a long while, at aproximately 23:40.
I finaly reached Punta del Este at 9:00 AM the next day.
Punta del Este, an exclusive "balneario" city by the Atlantic sea, where all the
Argentine millonaires use to spend their vacations, they chose this place about 40
years ago, and made this city big and luxurious...The Conrad hotel, as usual, used
its parking lot for the concert. The tickets were sold out 20 days before the
concert, the rows of he vip sector were not on sale, they were given, gifted, to
the most recognized gamblers of the casino and to the "vip" people of the city.
Unfortunately a great amount of this people began to leave the venue after the
sixth song of Dylan, this was very predictable, but the venue was full, 4.000
people, and it wasn't noticed at all though it was not, obviously, a pleasant
experience to see.
Dylan reached Punta the day before in the early hours, by a private plane from
Rosario, that's what the promoter of the Rosario show said, he also said that
Dylan got off the bus in which he was traveling with his musicians, to drink
cofee, during a bus stop in a station by the road, in San Nicolas, near Rosario, and
that he let the people approach him and that he answered all their questions, and
thanked their wishes of good luck for the concert of Rosario, that he reached
Rosaio just a few hours before the show, coming directly from the Hyatt hotel of
Buenos Aires. The public relations people from the Conrad hotel said that some
hours before the concert in Punta he disguised as a woman to take a ride in his
bike by the city, just not to be recognized by his fans or the press.
There were lots of brazilians who had arrived in charters only to see the concert,
they were mostly from Rio Grande, and it was cheaper and closer for them to see
Dylan in Uruguay than in Sao Paulo. As the tckets were sold out, a young brazilian
lady was trying to buy a ticket during the whole day and could buy one just one
hour before the show, it was in the vip sector, she got it for 250 dollars from a
man who got it free and sold it to her for he didn't care about the show.
It was an open air venue and the night was perfect, a full moon, a soft breeze
coming from the Atlantic ocean just a few steps away, at the back of the stage.
The sight for Dylan and his musicians on the stage were the big, full moon, the
stars and the quiet and deep blue sky, I just imagine how this lovely view could
influence his way of singing and playing along with the rest of his band too.
So, Dylan was on stage at about 9.30 PM, wearing a grey Cordoba hat and a
dark suit, with trousers with red stripes at both sides, very elegantly dressed.
The opener "Cats In The Well" Fine, I didn`t expect it, really..."Lay Lady Lay",
the perfect choice, seeing the full moon, it couldn't be another choice.
"Watching The River Flow" one of my favourites in concerts, what more can I
say? After this one Bob changed his stratocaster guitar for his keeboards as he
is doing in all his shows. The sound was good, the lights were sober and
helped in creating the right muscal atmosphere for each song.
The phsicological climax that he and the band achieves in "Love Sick". I never
realized of that before, it's like traveling inside the singer's mind, each chosen
sound mixed with the strange colour that the organ gives.
It's music never played before by no other musicians, it's a new discovery
brought by Bob, a new continent where he's carrying us all. Colombo leading
his ship (band members) to the banks of an undiscovered land, full of
mysteries, still unknown for the human being.
I expected "Thunder On The Mountain" was going to be placed in the first
encore, if it was going to be payed at all. It's all right to change it's order and
play a little bit with what the people is expecting, a fine detail..I can`t enjoy
the live version as much as I do with the one on the record.I think it can`t get
the strenght of the officialy recorded version of the song, which I like so much
and is so powerfull, powerfull enough that was put as the opener of "Modern
Times". The live versions, in my opinion, at least the ones I heard, are faster
and weaker. Maybe if Bob slows it down a little bit, it can improve its strengh.
It happened the same in all the concerts I saw in South America (the two in
Sao Paulo, Cordoba, Buenos Aires and Rosario)
First surprise of the night: "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" soulful performance, I
wonder how can he do it? being still so connected with each one of the words
of its lyrics, I began to look for his darling blue eyed son among the audience,
he surely was, somehow... a moving version, like the one in San Panlo the
second night. My argentine friend, Adrian, would have liked to be here, just to
hear this song, he was in Cordoba, Buenos Aires and Rosario, he says that
seeing Dylan on stage is as addictive as the drug "Paco"uh!!
"High Water"...just as good as always...
Second surprise,"Girl Of The North Country" wow!! I've never heard this new
arrangement before, not even on bootleged CD`s, so, for me, it was a nice
surprise. The arrangement sounded like the one he did with "Boots Of Spanish
Leather" for the last Finland show. It's like a version done for the court of some
rightgeous and kind and sensitive king in Scandinavia or somewhere else in the
world. Nice peaceful, full of romanticism, and has some kind of classical music
influence in there. I love this song and this version, one of the highlights of the
night, (along with "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall"), be sure of it, Bob cherishes each
of its words and let them go with such tenderness, uhh!! I can say a whole
It was no surprise for me that he didn't sing "Workingman Blues Nº2", my
favourite one, the song I like most, from the recent shows ...It shows the
respect that Bob has for this one.
"Spirit On The Water" - "I love the sweetness of his voice singing it" - said
to me a 18 years old girl named Luli whle she was qiuing alone to see the
show So Luli , you got it
"Rolling And Thumbling" similar to the record, that's to say a lot, isn't it?
"Just Like a Woman" well, another of my favourites, just like in Buenos Aires, Bob
very, very into it...curse...hurts...worse...iiis this...paiiiiiiin in here.....stayyyyy in
here aint ìt cleeeeeeear...sometimes love is full of bitterness.Andres and Leandro,
argerntine fans of Bob, say it's the best bridge in a song ever, and they're right.
"Highway 61" An explosion, from here to the end of the show, the audience,
specialy the younger audience, stood, dancing by their chairs, everybody
clapping, the band members, a solid rock machine that drowned the audience
with waves of energetic sounds. One of the best bands Dylan has ever had, in
my opinion. Tony Garnier, an drummer George Receli, wow man !!, what a
rhythmical powerful conjuction!!
"When The Deal Goes Down", a waltzed version which invited us to dance in a
warm summer night, indeed, the last night of the South American summer, put
your best suit on, your best hat, see the moonlight shining on your beloved one,
while you dance with her, with big gardens all around the huge ballroom hall.
"Summer Days" Swing me back home, Bobby...Who is the one who doesn't tap
the beat in this one? I really don't know.
"Lke A Rolling Stone" Everybody was waiting for this one, standing, shouting,
asking how does it feeeeel? They were feeling good, everybody was really feeling
the ectasy. It kind of exploded in our faces..
After some minutes Bob came for the encore, to stone us all, for everybody
must get stoned, with "Rainy Day Women nºnº 12 and 35", people still in ectasy,
the field was prepared for a trip to, let's say, the midwest? the inside of our
minds? again, the version of the last song he played in Punta, "All Along The
Watchtower", like "Lovesick", for me, is the new sound Bob is trying to bring us
and he succeds to achieve, the sounds of the inner mind, the sound of the
psyche, one climax after another. It did stick in my mind for a while after the
concert had finished. The final silent pose for the audience with Dylan and the
band members, stood, in reverence, and that's it, the show ends. Dylan's
singing was great, near perfection, and he also played the harmonica several
times, in that unique way to do it. So, Mick Monday, not bad for your show
nº 200, so much more than that, it was an excelent show..I want to thank
Federica for her invaluable help. Also some people, they know who they are,
thank you infinite times. All the best, you, kind people!!! I think Punta is my
last show if Bob doesn't come back again to Argentina, maybe I don't see him
anymore or maybe I'll have another chance, who knows? Anyway, he's going
north, I'm going back home, but I think he'll be in me forever, someway, anyhow.
Thank you Bobby!! May God bless and keep you always.
"Bravo bobbyyyy !!!!"
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