page by Bill Pagel
Review by Guillem Turon
It has been 5 years since we seen Bob here last time. It was my 6th time
and my first one since then.
The first remarcable thing was the change on the opening act. The duet
Amaral hasn't been there because of an "arm incident" of his male
component. Then the opening act has been a show of an unknown duet called
"Àngels" that wasn't good enough. It has been a little bit embarrassing
when the audience responded with an applause when the singer said they
were going to end.
Bob's show started about quarter past ten with one of the lot of songs Bob
start the shows with lately: The wicked messenger. Bob was wearing black
trousers and jacket with a pale shirt, and also a black hat. At the
beginning, Bob's voice were very rough, except the few moments he sang
high tones. The second one was The times they are a-changin', that made
most of the audience very happy. Then, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, that I
found very similar to the album version, except for some little details.
Still with the rough voice then he sang Just Like a Woman. In the chorus
the audience helped singing "Just like a woman", so in the 2nd chorus Bob
didn't sing it, letting us sing this part until the end of the song with a
happy face. In fact, he didn't seem much in a good mood by then, never
looking at the audience and staring at the floor except for this moments
in Just Like a Woman.
Then a correct Stuck Inside of Mobile and two of my mother favourites (she
was there too and it made her very happy): Ballad of a Thin Man and
Highway 61. Good versions and Bob's voice seemed to turn much better. In
fact, he sput a few times, and always when he ended a song went out the
stage, and we thought he had mucus problems that seemed to solve by this
part of the show, making his voice since that moment much better.
Then a strange slow bluesy version of Can't Wait. I never heard it like
this and seemed that musicians weren't used to it. While they were
playineg the song they seemed to find the rythm and Bob seemed to tell
them "OK boys, that's it" or something similar. It ended being a great
moment, with great Bob's singing. A good Most likely you'll go wour way
and a very good Ballad of Hollis Brown followed.
The lowest point of the show was Floater. I never liked much this song and
I disliked hear they were starting it, but I disliked more when I heard
the version. Bob wasn't playing the right key in the keyboard sometimes
and I think he didn't sing well. People didn't seem to understand what was
he doing. In some part of the song I think he changed the words and
(that's sure) laughed to some musician.
Fortunately, a powerful Honest with me came to arrange the situation, even
when Bob was traing to cut the verses in two parts and singing the second
"under" the guitar riff, so his voice difficult to hear sometimes. It
seemed a liitle bit like he was trying.
Then a correct version of Every grain of Sand, a little bit difficult to
recognize before he started singing, and the powerful Summer days. During
that song, another curiosity: Bob called someone in the backstage. A man
came from our left and Bob talked to him. He came back with a guitar, Bob
talked again and the man started playing besides Stu Kimball.
A little break and they came back to play a correct Mr. Tambourine Man.
Its end was linked with the first chords of Like a rolling stone, that
started with a shout of joy of the audiece, that started singing in the
chorus "What does it feel?" etc. Bob liked it and made sings of being in a
good mood like telling us with the hands "OK" and then he started
"dancing" while he was playing the keyboards. Then was the first time he
started looking at the audience.
At the end he went to the central microphone, took it in his hand and
presented the musicians. I think he made some joke but I didn't hear well.
Then, he took an acoustic guitar while All along the watchtower was
starting. He played some chords of the song, went to the keyboards, tried
to play both at the time for a moment (!) and then left the guitar to go
to his keyboards and play and sing the rest of the song.
At the end, a good show of about 2 hours, half with a bad, rough voice,
half with a decent voice, with lots of harp details and Bob mostly staring
at the floor but showing good mood in some moments, when the audience was
more participative. It wasn't my best one, but I think it was mostly a
good Bob's show.
Review by Mike Morgan
We've just got back from three days in Barcelona in the presence of three
creative geniuses, Antoni Gaudi, Pablo Picasso and Bob Dylan. Like Picasso
before him, Dylan is always evolving and reworking his material, so to
talk of correct versions like Gillian does is misleading. What we got last
night was Dylan himself in better voice than last autumn's tour, with
more, power commitment and melody in the singing. This was very evident in
the second number, Times they are a changin, which the crowd recognised
and tried to join in with. After the compulsory Tweedle, they got their
chance with Just like a Woman where he stopped singing in the chorus and
let the crowd take over. It was almost like an old Pete Seeger concert
with Dylan improvising around the crowd's singing. They didn't get another
chance until Like a Rolling Stone, where Bob actually conducted the
singing with a little hand gesture to tell them when to come in. At least
that's what it looked like. Maybe he was signalling to us to shut up?
We got fine versions of Stuck inside of Mobile and Tom Thumb. In the
latter there was a lyric change in the last verse 'Next time you do,
please won't you pick up a phone?'. The sound in general was much better
than in Cardiff last month, and Dylan's singing combined with the acoustic
of the Spanish square made the words very clear. It's hard to judge that
when you know all the lines anyway, but my daughter was hearing some of
the songs for the first time and heard and even laughed at some of the
The highlight for me was I can't wait which captured some of the pared
down atmospheric of the original Lanois production enhanced by some
passionate singing from Bob. The band were generally tighter than in
Cardiff. Stu Kimball has been integrated well but lets Larry's playing
take the spotlight. I did miss Freddy's playing on Highway 61 and Honest
with Me which had changed from the rock n'roll flavoured versions of last
autumn to something more like heavy metal. At times toward the end of the
set it got a bit loud and shapeless, and Bob seemed to be getting tired
becuase he started growling and doing that upward inflection mannerism.
Floater was a mess. Larry had to retune his fiddle and it still didn't
sound quite right.
Every Grain of Sand is one of my favourite songs but we got a restrained
growly version compared to the way he's sung it on recent recordings.
Summer Days was even more of an extended jam than usual because Bob
wandered off to have a long discussion with a bald-headed roadie who
strapped on a guitar and joined in. The encore was great, especially the
moment when Bob actually played guitar on Watchtower. He seemed to be
playing well, then realised he had to sing as well so went back to the
keyboard. I also like the eery slide guitar effects Larry has added to
this song on this tour.
So altogether a good show in a great venue. The Poble Espanyol is a
replica town built for the tourists but it has more atmosphere than most
arenas and sells much better pizzas. Behind the stage to the right a
floodlit pseudo-medieval tower rose into the night sky. The crowd was
mainly locals including some dressed for the Pamplona bull run which is on
this week as well. The only real disappointment was that there was no
Boots of Spanish Leather, but maybe that would have been too obvious.
Review by Veronica Lambert
Jordi, my son, bought my Dylan ticket as a (late) Christmas present, actually
he bought two of them, so he could come with me, which delighted me as he has
been listening to Dylan since the moment he was conceived!! It was a good job
he got the tickets nice and early as they were sold out weeks before the
concert, and ticket touts were selling 40 euro tickets for as much as 140 euros.
(At least that was what they were asking).
We got to the Poble Español with plenty of time to spare and Jordi, who has
heard all about my previous adventures at Dylan concerts, said he would just
follow to see what I got up to!!! The first thing I did was to suss out where
the buses were. We waited for almost an hour hoping for a glimpse of the man
and finally at about 10.15, a quarter of an hour after the concert was supposed
to have started, there was a sudden concentration of guards and so we knew
something was about to happen. I had decided that he would come out of the middle
coach (the only one that had an electricity cable running in to it) and walk
across the road into one of the back entrances, but in fact he surprised me and
the other 2 or 3 people waiting there, as suddenly a van backed down the road
and Bob and a youngish girl got out of the coach and jumped into the van. I
managed to call out "Bobby! Hello!", but he showed no sign of having heard me
even though he was so close… oh well….
So we then rushed round into the square where the concert was being held and
got there maybe half way through Wicked Messenger.
It hurts me to say this as I love Bobby so much, but it wasn't one of the best
concerts I've seen. There were moments, especially at the beginning of songs that
the band and Bob didn't seem to be on the same wavelength and in Floater, towards
the middle, I thought oops, they're losing it, I don't quite know what happened
but the rhythm went a bit astray! It was also the first concert I'd been too
where there weren't any magic moments, when you felt that Bobby was singing just
for you. He just seemed to belt them all out, like he was angry with the world.
Maybe it was just me, but the band were playing hard and loud and I sensed a
feeling of impending doom. I felt there wasn't enough contrast between the songs,
Having said that, there were some wonderful moments when Bob played the harp.
The songs that stood out for me where Just Like a Woman (he let us sing the
chorus!!!), Ballad of a Thin Man, Highway 61, Most Likely You Go Your Way (And
I'll Go Mine) and Hollis Brown, and of course the encores! Larry played some
absolutely brilliant passages.
Bob concerned me a bit, he was on the keyboard, as I'd expected, but he kept on
wandering off to the back of the stage between songs and during one of the songs
he walked off and had a long chat with a roadie before sauntering back again. I
don't know what was happening, whether he didn't feel the sound was right,
whether he felt ill, I've just no idea. On the odd occasion he walked into the
middle of the stage and sort of side stepped/danced a bit which drove some of us
wild!!! But a lot of the time, he didn't seem to respond to us, I know he's not
known for being chatty, but he does usually respond to the crowd in some subtle
way. I didn't notice that this time round.
The band were all looking very smart in their suits and Bobby was wearing another
of his over-the-top models, a black suit, which would have been neat if it hadn't
been for the gold (I think) buttons all the way down the trousers - where does he
get these outfits?!! He was wearing a cowboy neck tie (not sure what they're
called) and something sparkly, maybe the thing that held the tie together, maybe
the corners of his shirt collar. He was also wearing the big black hat!
Remembering the last two concerts he did at the Poble Español, when the encore
started Jordi and I made our way out of the square, round the back to where Dylan
would come out. And as soon as the concert finished, George Receli tumbled out of
the door and almost collapsed outside, I even asked him if he was alright, to
which he said yes, just hot and tired. I thanked him for the great concert (which
although I seem to have been very critical I did thoroughly enjoy!!!) and he said
No, thank you for coming to it! Just after that all the rest of the band came out
with Bobby. My goodness, he looked so exhausted. He was very pale and seemed so
tired that he didn't really know where he was. I said hello to him and he say
hello back, then I thanked him for the concert and he smiled and nodded his head
at me as if to say, my pleasure. Then I thanked him for all the happiness he
brings to so many people and he nodded his head to me again, but I got the
impression that he was so exhausted that he really didn't know whether he was
coming or going. The rest of the band said thanks, and good bye and other banal
comments like that, and away they all went.
I then thought about it, and I was wearing a thin skirt and a sleeveless top, and
ok, so I had been dancing most of the evening, but I was absolutely melting, and
had drunk a litre and a half of water, and I thought about Bobby and the band,
with those suits and shirts and neck ties and hats, and in addition to the very
warm summer evening, they had all the spotlights on them too, so I'm actually
surprised that they even managed to get through the concert at all!!! They
certainly deserved a nice cool shower, a long cold drink and a good rest. They
didn't have a concert the following day, so I wonder whether they actually took
time to visit Barcelona and the Forum. I hope so. I also wonder if they ever have
time to remember where on earth they even are!! They have such a hectic timetable.
Anyway, thanks Bobby and thanks to the band for a wonderful evening, and for
giving me the chance, once again, to get close to Bob and to talk to him.
page by Bill Pagel
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