Cap Roig, Spain

Cap Roig Festival
Botanical Gardens Auditorium

July 14, 2012

[Almofada], [Cris], [Trevor Townson]

Review by Almofada

Bob Dylan plays his songs often in the most remote-st of the world's
remote concert sites. It is a real damned sacrifice to get there, and the
exorbitantly insane ticket prices might have their share also, that there
appears a strange mixture of an "elite" of super-arrogant
moneymaking-aristo-crazy-ness with high-heeled catwalk women and thick
platinum watches on their wrists who can easily afford exaggerated meals
before the show, and broke-down grey-haired music fans who sit quietly on
fences, biting fingernails, having travelled through the whole Europe to be
near to their idol for two hours, even without a ticket... Some sport old
Dylan tee-shirts like speaking proves of long-ago sufferings: look, iI was
there, twenty-three years ago - and you...? Where were you then?  The
average age in this concert is certainly nearer to the 60es, than the 30es
(of age...). With 25, 30, you must feel as a toddler here in the
surroundings of big bellies, white hair, fancy cars...
The black "Beat the Street" buses, the "Rock 'n' Roll Touring" trucks are
parked on adventurously sliding corn fields... This has nothing to do with
the other leg of tours, the faceless easy-to-access football fields, like
RoRo ferries of petrified boredom. They also have to exist, for sure: there
must be forks and knives, to cut something...

Finally, we got there, of course not among the rich, but also not selling
our souls for rock and roll. Being painstakingly corrected by proud
Catalans that it has to be pronounced "Kap Rrroit-schsch" instead of "Cape
Roi-k", we have to let pass those VIPs in their BMWs, Chevrolets and Audis,
with the back seats behind blackened windows... A local Audi dealer seems
to have sponsored the festival, so he has the right to present the new A1
and the SUV Audi Q3 - but would you buy right now a new car, here?
The magic of the site, reflected in the natural breathtaking beauty of
small beaches, rough rocks in the azure-blue waters, a cloudless sky, rare
plants of the local Botanic Garden...

Very easy, very relaxed, the gate opening. Al Santos can be spotted, but as
we know, no spoken words from him on this tour... Cameras, of all sizes,
are admitted. No problems... I remember, a couple of years ago, I was
carrying a camera in my bag, in Valladolid, and the tight security forbade
me to enter in the concrete concert hall, even with a paid ticket, no
chance. Tens of badly recorded videos, with shaky cell phones, appeared
later on YouTube.. but I was excluded...  Saddened, I went back to the
hotel, while my wife enjoyed the performance...
So this time, I went without camera, and it was common for everyone to
carry cheap or expensive optical gear openly into the ranks without being
seized and confiscated. How things have changed...
Suddenly, a voice, in Catalan, Spanish and English, announces: 10 minutes
until the concert. 5 minutes until the concert. At Ten o'clock, exactly,
the voice announces: The concert is about to begin.
And it did. The spectators, used to a rather relaxed Spanish handling of
laws, times, salaries, traffic rules... suddenly had to rush and run and
hurry for their seats. It lasted for at least one and a half song, and even
so, a handful of seats, with ticket prices of 200 € and more, stayed empty
throughout the whole concert.

What is described by many as a Grand Piano, in fact it seems to be "not so
grand"... the shape of a Grand Piano, but the cover is closed where the
sound should come from of a "real" classical piano, so I suppose the sound
was generated and amplified electronically. Dylan took his seat almost
sideways, like sitting on a women's saddle, thus his strange  movements
with his legs were visible. Onstage was also the odd old electro-organ, but
he did not really touch that yellow thing, the notes from his "new hobby"
seem to be more exciting. He is far from being a genius on the instrument,
plays it merely like a sound experimentator, like he used to noodle on the
guitar in the end of the last century... But it sounds both ridiculously
out of place, and chaplin-esque, dalí-esque, picasso-esque
impressionistically dropped and repeated notes
of comments to his own songs, both childish and wise... The applause came
rather low key, as if the clappers were nourished by a certain fear, to
rattle with their silver bracelets.. Also the "stage rush" before and
during "Like a Rolling Stone", was not a violent longing for being finally
near the stage, and overturning of the security, but a more "civilized",
slow, serene, settled walk towards the "snake pit".. like " it had to be
done by someone, so - why not supposedly we?" Fittingly, Dylan picked up a
bouquet of roses at the end of the show.

If you listen to those perfectly recorded "bootleg" shows that are spread
on the internet, you might think: upsinging - mm-hm. harp playing solos -
mm-hm. a song list with no surprises - mm-hm. But this dry far-away
attitude lacks completely the visual aspect, the sensual part, the
intrinsical logic of the performances: suddenly, the "bad state of his
voice" seems logical, the little funny dance steps seem to become coherent,
the white hat begins to tell us "something", or another thing, the Sinatra
parts fall into their right places... It is hard to put that into words,
but it is a feeling, an overwhelming sentiment that arises, and stays for a
long long time, may there be those day-to-day struggles or inevitable
deceptions to come, for sure. It is not the set list that had almost no
mentioning of "Spain", "Spanish leather" or "Barcelona" or even "Madrid"
in it, as it could have had. This is not important any more. What counts,
is the togetherness of the beauty of the site, the attitude of the singer,
the spectators, the "peaceful easy feeling", I speak for me only...
maybe... And "Every Grain of Sand" would make a perfect song to be played
at my funeral... in Emmylou Harris'  version, or in the writer's Cap Roig
We were there, and
Thank You, Bob... for making this... possible.

("I believe in you / even through the tears and the laughter")



Review by Cris

This was the 13th time I saw Bob, having started  precisely 13 years ago,
when I saw him by chance, in a concert.

Too late? Maybe, but much better late than never, because he is someone who
can do something very, very difficult: to change a person life.

It seems quite exagerated, but Cap Roig´s was really THE BEST SHOW I saw in
all my life.

Bob is in an amazing shape and his voice better than ever! And he was also
in a very good mood, lots of eye contact, moving nicely at the center
stage, being, as always, absolutely inspired. And he is supported by an

 In “Things have changed” he underlined these words looking at the crowd,
and I felt something has really changed in the concerts, and it is not only
the presence of the grand piano.

All was fitting in this show: the incredible performances, the weather, the
place, the views, the starry sky, the setlist, even the castle behind
stage... It was perfect and all the difficulties I had to get there, at
this particular place and day, are nothing compared to what  I´ve received
from Bob.

The performances are so good that it is difficult to select the better, but
my favorite was “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”, I think nothing can
be better sung, and he put us on fire. He is repetitive when it is needed,
and that is carrying us to another spiritual level, I think.

Well, I need to say: Thanks Bob, for making this possible.*



Review by Trevor Townson

You can get away with any admission, however appalling, so long as it's
preceded by the words "To my shame..." (Russell Brand)

The coast line all looks pretty much the same around the posh part of the
Med so it is pretty hard to say but I think that I had took myself away to
Italy, Italy. I must however confess to not knowing where Cap Roig is even
apparently having been there, anyway has anyone been to Cap Roig who
actually knows where the place is. Probably some intellectual types into
Italian cuisine and fine wine will probably know where it is but the rest
of us, not a clue. Even the Italian taxi driver that I asked to take me
there did not seem to know and he was only about six miles from the place
at the time that I stumbled into him. I did not know what his problem was
either as I am certain that I pronounced the place perfectly in best
Italian Catalan whilst using my best Yorkshite dialect. Actually I think
even one of Bobs tour buses looked a little lost as it crawled slowly up
the hill. By the way, how many tour buses do they use these days and do
they get one each? Wherever I go these days I seem to get almost run over
by one of them somehow. Actually to make it easier for Bob fans touring
around Europe somebody should run a fan bus, hire a Beat The Street and
just say "follow the others". One more black bus on the roads whilst Bob
is on tour is not going to look out of place and would not be noticed
amongst the rest of them, well apart from the fan bus having all the City
to City prices pasted on the rear like an also available in white National
Express. That way though everyone could get safely and sanely from A to B
in the most cost effective minimal Euro manner. On staggering through the
entrance I will never know how on earth she did not rip and ruin my
ticket. It was only paper out of a cash point similar to that slip that
gets printed out that reminds you how poor you are. Anyway why would you
scan the thing then tear it. As all seasoned Dylan followers and ticket
collectors know if there is any chance of them tearing the ticket on entry
you prepare it, right, get it ready to tear perfectly along the
perforations. She took me by surprise though as she scanned it then
immediately proceeded to tear it. My reactions were not at their quickest
at that point as my all but paralized body and brain could only silently
cry out "My hundredth ticket ruined". Well guess what, it didn't happen
and I have my hundredth ticket completely intact as it actually tore
perfectly along the perforations so something went right this night. That
is a really good idea I thought as I walked in along what I vaguely
remember to have been a gravel pathway. Bless and praise those Italians I
thought as we are guided not into the theatre, arena, Roig or whatever but
into a garden bar for a top up. Later a strange announcement comes over a
speaker in Catalan, then in Italian, then in English so that even a
Yorkshire man in attendance has a very remote chance of understanding. I
did not however understand any of it so relied on sign language as I saw
everyone moving away so decided to follow. It was like travelling to the
elections in The Prisoner as I found myself in a similarly strange Village
with people dressed in equally strange costumes that I think that you
could call Chic. Much better than Number 6 but obviously not as good as
Number 2 but no matter, I was Number 3, no sorry, I am not a number, no I
mean that I was on Row 3 so had quite a long way to stagger from the
botanical beer garden to the village square to be en throned in the place
that every one of you would have liked to have been in that moment, to
appreciate and capture one more night in the presence of His Holiness The
Bobd, however....."To my shame.....I let myself down, most of all though I
let Bob down, I was drunk". OK so what, I am not the first guy to get
drunk at a Dylan gig, OK so what, I am not probably the first guy to go
several times around a round table trying to find a straight bit to lean
on, OK so what, anyone would go dizzy at that point but did I spill any,
no not a drop, staggering is not spilling and it was only a few rare
plants and flowers that got squashed in any case so no harm done. OK so
what, may be I failed to notice that there was a castle behind the stage
as Cris did, OK so what, may be I did not pick up on everything and yes it
was good to be reminded of some of the things that Almofada mentioned.
Although called a festival this was not one of those festivals that a lot
of us would wish Bob would not attend as although in the open air it was
quite intimate and all seated and we were really lucky that on this night
the rain in Italy stayed mainly on the plain. It was a fairly standard set
list at Cap Roig. When we say things like that by the way we say it in the
context of Bob Dylan, a tour totalling 250 songs with 46 being different
and new songs being added night on night right to the end. Who else but
Bob would do this, well apart from Mr Springsteen but he just does it
because he is depressed. When we talk of Bob Dylan though we judge by
other measures, the highest of standards. When I decided to get drunk for
my hundredth Dylan concert the bar, sorry for the pun, got similarly
raised. It cannot be normal to still not be able to talk three days later
can it? I was still getting an e-mail from the boss (no not Bruce) the
following Wednesday titled "Talking?" to check if I actually could. It has
been one hell of a road doing 100 shows and has took me pretty much
further than I ever wanted or intended to go for anything. Cris said in
his Cap Roig review that Bob is someone who can do something very, very
difficult : to change a persons life. I am not sure that I would credit
Bob with that as I think that I ruined my life myself without any help
from anyone else especially Bob. This is however of no consequence at all
in the end as finally I packed it all up in a suitcase and Lord, I took it
all to Italy, Italy Brilliant!   

Trevor Townson


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