Perpignan, France

Les Estivales de Perpignan
Campo Santo
July 12, 2006

[Eric Wishart]

Review by Eric Wishart

The latest leg on Bob's European tour found him in Perpignan in France's
Catalan region, just north of the Spanish border. The temperatures had
been hovering around the 40 degrees plus celsius all day and had barely
eased as he took to the stage. The location was the Campo Santo, a 14th
century funerary cloister that doubles as a venue for outdoor events.
Around 2,500 people managed to squeeze into this intimate venue with the
stage on ground level and the first seats just in front. A heavy security
presence made sure that there would be no dancing in front of the stage
tonight, even in the encores. Bob's set  heavily tilted towards the 60s,
and included Maggie's Farm, Times They are a-changin', Just Like A Woman,
Down Along the Cove, Highway 61, Desolation Row, Positively Fourth Street,
Stuck Inside of Mobile, Hard Rain and the usual encores of Rolling Stone
and Watchtower. Watching the River Flow, Love Sick and Honest With Me
filled out the set. Bob was in good voice and managed to keep his hat on
despite the heat, although there were a few drips of perspiration as the
show went on. Highlights depended on your personal favourites - Just Like
a Woman, Hard Rain, Times, Love Sick, and the opener Maggie's Farm were
all strong. Positively Fourth Street and Honest With Me were pretty
routine, and there was some upsinging in Desolation Row. But the sin Bob
committed was his failure to talk to the audience. Having come away
content with the show, I found myself surrounded by people condemning him
for his lack of contact. 'A block of ice' was one description (not bad
considering the heat). It reflected the general consensus from the largely
local audience that he had effectively ignored the people who had come to
see him . It showed the gulf between those who know Bob and appreciate him
for what he is, and those who still think that he should talk to the
audience and shake a few hands to justify his pay cheque. The critics of
course missed the point - he spoke to them from the stage for two hours in
the most eloquent and unique way possible. And those who really really
want to hear his wit and wisdom can always tune in to Theme Time Radio.


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