Barcelona, Spain

El Gran Teatre del Liceu

March 31, 2018

[Laurette Maillet], [Jim Scott]

Review by Laurette Maillet

I've been walking the streets of Barcelona for 2 days now.They are far
away from beeing empty, even packed with Tourists.The Gaudi style was
extravagant but so full of life! My feet are so tired, my brain is so
wired. I stay at the home of a beautiful 'woman Fan' who offered me
shelter for those few days in Barcelona. For the second night I walk the
Ramblas towards 'El Gran Teatre del Liceu' around 7 p.m.The show will
start at 9 p.m.The Teatre is a small stylish building built mainly for
Classical Music and Opera.The same as in Madrid.A deliberate choice for
Mr. Dylan to play for a certain categorie of public?Limited are the seats
and high priced are the tickets.As ticket prices start at 80 euro and end
at 220 euros for a front row.(We are in Europe and particurlarly in Spain
when there is an economic crisis!)By doing so, categorizing the Audience
by social class; (unless you're a super Fan making a super
sacrifice!).But Mr. Dylan is an ICON, Nobel Prize for Literature, not
anymore the 'protest singer' or even 'Rock Star' he used to be.I've been
told the 'Rolling stones' are a lot more expensive.But precisely, I DO NOT
go see the Stones!Believing Bob Dylan is a diferent kind of Artist. I
suppose we don't have only ONE Bob Dylan but so many Bob Dylans, every Fan
defining the Artist differently.Seeing him from a different point of view,
perspective!This Bob Dylan here, or at least this Bob Dylan audiance is
not my cup of tea!But the 'Benicassim Festival' audiance (few years ago)
was neither my cup of tea! As I won't have Bobby in my living room playing
'Chimes of freedom' for me alone.....well! I have to do with the public.
So...I made up my mind not to find any Good Samaritan but I won't give up
the try for a cheap ticket.I just spent 45 minutes with that wonderfull
'Couple Fans' who flew all the long way from Australia to see Bob Dylan
and his Band in Spain (and Lisboa). Thank you my dear friends for lifting
up my spirit.I go out with a big smile on my face which help for any
transaction (as everyone knows!). So...I put my sign out. What do I have
to lose? A little bit of my pride! That 'chic' Lady talks to me? -yes , I
have an extra ticket, my husband can't come tonight.-how much do you
want?-facevalue. (which is 176 euros)A good seat, she says. I hope so, I
think.But, no, way too much for my budget. I've already decided to make
the whole Tour, no matter what.I will just be happy with few shows , here
and there, different cities, different countries, different public. Half
hour and she is still passing by with that ticket, looking more and more
desperate.-Alright, I offer you 50 euros, and it is really all I can
offer.-okay, she says, I am tired anyway.I run to the doors, just to make
sure I am not dreaming. I AM IN!For the fist time after Lisboa! And my
chance is to bump into my good Australian Friends. Oh what a night that
will be!Of course the Opera Teater is magnificent, but I do have mixed
feelings beeing here, like if I don't fit.I expect those paintings and
this decorum in a Museum where I decide to pay for the entrance or not.I
don't wish to pay any decorum for a Bob Dylan show.Luckily he doesn't do
anymore 'Maggie's Farm' or even 'Like a rolling stone'. My seat is in a
BOX, on the side of the piano and relatively close to the stage. I am
seated right in front with another couple behind and the 'chic' Lady on my
right.I can see the entire stage, except Donnie's steel guitar on the far
right. The venue capacity is certainly limited and it is all the
problem.But though I feel sorry for those Fans out with no entrance I want
to enjoy my time. After all I made the sacrifice to come all the way to
Barcelona! Lights out. Stu on.George has difficulty taking his seat so the
Boom! Boom! Is not so clear.(I know people in Australia who are laughing!)
-Things Have Changed It seems that the 'music bridge' changed lightly from
the last Tour. -Don't Think Twice, It's All Right Done with Heart and
feelings. -Highway 61 RevisitedNo reaction from the crowd. -Simple Twist
Of FateBack in the Past. -Duquesne WhistleBob moves to Donnie. Tony moves
to Bob.This one is uncertain.But I recognize the entro of Duquesne ...ti
ti ti ti ti ti ...ti ti ti... ...ti ti ti! You know what I mean?A change
for Summer days; -Melancholy Mood. Luckily this is my favourite
Sinatra.Nice music intro by the Band.Bob is a little stiff at the center
mike. More static than usual. His back is hurting him? -High WaterOh!oh! I
haven't heard this one for ages (maybe 2 years).New melody that I have to
be accustomed to.No more banjo from Donnie but nice drums from Georgie.The
focus is on George? Rightfully as he is the best drummer in the world!
-Tryin' To Get To HeavenWell, well, well!I am bored on this one. And the
public made a mistake applauding when they believed to recognize
'Desolation row'. Same intro. -Once Upon A TimeAt least Bob is center
stage and the song is sweet. -Pay In BloodI like the song but the Band is
playing too much loud. The lyrics are lost. -Tangled Up In Blue
Well!well!well!Bobby Dylan hear me!This is not a great melody. The public
doesn't recognize it. -Soon After MidnightThe lights projecting in the far
back are changing the atmosphere.'It's soon after midnight and I don't
want nobody but you'.It feels so real surrounded by all those 'strangers'.
My connection is with the Man on the piano.Why do I have to share him?????
-Early Roman Kings I still don't get the meanings of the lyrics. Still
don't know who are those 'Early Roman Kings'.A gang in chicago?I don't
know how to sing it but the rythm is one I can dance on. Bomp, bomp, bomp
bomp, bomp!....bomp! bomp!bomp!bomp!George can do it better than me. Bravo
George! -Desolation RowAh!voila!Perfectly executed.Some Fans next to me
are starting the clappings for each verse, they heard about Madrid show
but they don't understand Bob Dylan. He is a REBEL, never doing what you
expect. He's not your Clown. -Long and Wasted YearsLong time heard ...It
could be better center stage, with more drama. -Thunder On The
MountainWith absolutely no technical problems.So my good friend Jason who
is the sound tech explained about the tech problems in Madrid. He was not
responsable.Problems came from the Spanish electricity company Monday:
Digital glitchTuesday: Spanish power failure.Friday: Digital glitch.
-Autumn Leaves Sweet.... -Love Sick And I am ...sick of Love and Love
sick! Did I hear someone tell a lie?Did I hear someone's
distant cry?I spoke like a child; you destroyed me with a smileWhile I was
sleeping I see, I see lovers in the meadowI see, I see silhouettes in the
windowI watch them ’till they’re gone and they leave me
hanging onTo a shadow” This is when we understand why he is a
Nobel!And when I start crying. They leave the stage with the light on and
Bob is making a little bow.Unusual. For what I remember he used to leave
the stage in the dark, letting the public figuring out it was over!
-Blowin' In The Wind -Ballad Of A Thin Man No standing up from the
audiance except at the very end.Polite, over polite, too much polite. Who
are they, all those people? Why did they come to see Bob Dylan? The 'chic'
Lady next to me didn't move a finger. At times I thought she was
sleeping.She hardly understands any English.(?)But she said she liked the
show and I said thank you very much for the ticket. I say hello to Jason I
didn't have a chance to salute until now. I´ll see you in Roma, my
friend! A great show for me after all the struggles. Seeing Bobby at the
piano gave me a new 'life'. And Stu, George, Tony, Charlie and Donnie.
Those guys are my family. See you all in Roma! Night, night Bobby, have a
safe flight!


Review by Jim Scott

The concert was in the historic Liceu Opera House on Las Ramblas. There was
a fair amount of press interest in the 2 concerts and on the Saturday a
number of local tv stations alluded briefly to the previous night’s
concert and ran features on Bob and his history on the lunchtime news

The atmosphere outside and inside was bland. As is now obligatory the
concert started within 20 seconds of the published time. The show was in
the 17+3 format which had been established a few days into the tour and Bob
sat at the piano for the 17 songs, traipsing towards the centre of the
stage but far back either in line with or behind the band for the other 3.
The previous default mode of a highly charged on stage tension whereby the
backing group watched Boblike hawks (sic) was completely missing. Where
formerly the musicians warmed up before every song and the same intro might
suddenly lurch into anyone of 3 or 4 different songs, this time there was
no spontaneity whatsoever. Breaks between songs were all timed at between
45 and 55 seconds so that the whole show was processed with impressive US
style efficiency.

Signs of Bob’s age and frailty were still more starkly evident than in
previous years. We were in the 3rd or 4th tier up, though positioned face
onto him as he sat at the grand piano, and his one handed performance
there was quite impossible to miss. Though the voice remains extremely
strong. But by now wholly bereft of subtlety. So evidently of surprise.

Where we sat we were beside a local Catalan couple, aged perhaps in the
45-50 bracket. They had never seen Dylan before and, despite my pre-concert
warnings as to how bland and predictable the shows have become, they were
impressed. Very impressed, I think would be a fair summary.

One of the few people to review other concerts in this tour has commented
on lyric-variants. In the real songs, that is. Whilst I gained the
impression that there were changes from the lyrics in 2 of the classics,
perhaps Simple Twist of Fate or Tangled Up In Blue¸ perhaps both. But the
delivery was such that I could not be sure. Still less state what the new
lyrics were.

The clear exception to this lack of precision was the exquisite
enunciation employed for the unreal songs.

At the end, as the performers accepted the applause of an appreciative
audience, I thought I observed a nano-second-long hand on heart gesture
from Bob. Or maybe I just wanted to see it?

I have only listened to the recording of Blowin’ In The Wind from this
show available online. The recording does not do the performance justice at
this point since the sound system was excellent on the night whereas the
recording has, to my ears, a very tinny quality.

In closing, the strongest emotions in retrospect from the show are to
recall having seen the play Girl From The North Country recently and having
been struck by there morseless negative sentiment which pervaded that show;
with the fully catatonic mother setting the tone for all the rest of the
characters.  Secondly, I took the trouble on the day after the show to
check out the liner notes to my first ever album: “Times are a-changin’ ”

“when will he open up his eyes?”

“who him? doncha know? he’s a crazy man

he never opens up his eyes”

“but he’ll surely miss the world go by”

“nah! he lives in his own world”

“my my then he really must be a crazy man”

“yeah he’s a crazy man”

Jim Scott


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