June 27, 2008
Review by A Madrinha Asociados Ltd. & Tedhead
It doesn´t fit any doubt, June 27, 2008, is already a date that will be remembered in Vigo forever.
The day dawned radiant, it couldn´t be in another way. The Tour´s Staff stayed 2 days before in the
city, with the cattering prepared in the fairground, checking sound and testing the band in order that
nothing was out of order. And certainly, it was obviously by the way things later happen. A bad
news crossed the city as a gunpowder: " Mr Tony Garnier has problems of back and the presence
of a doctor has been needed " someone said. Doc "Paco" rose at the instant to the fairground and
solved matter but: " Tony, will play sat down" (bad pressage?). Maria - one of the 3 "runners" of the
local promotion - was near to Bob " He looks great " said the brown skin " gipsy face " girl. "I have
a feeling that tonight its gonna be a mythical concert, she sighed. At 21:35 the band went out for
the stage with Bob behind with his already classic gray hat with feather included. All dressed in
impeccable black suits with the covered heads, something that in Europe doesn´t stop being
calling us the attention for the foreign of the apparel. Anyway, great.
" Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat " started strongly unusual, with Bob dedicated and singing with clear
and bright voice. The sound only can be qualified as exceptionally. Mr. Garnier sat in a high stool,
was accompanying on the double-bass without a symptom of decay. Doc "Paco" did undoubtedly a
good work. The band was sounding compact, powerful and total. Then Bob attacked " Lay Lady
Lay ", followed by " Lonesome Day Blues " and " Girl of the North Country ". More than 5.000
people there, vibrated with the classic ones revisited and the reinterpretation of the new song. The
tears were starting showing. We were prepared for a great concert, but not for one a spectacular
night. The versions of the songs full of hues & shades, were recreating perfectly with their own
architecture, leaving free field to Bob with his melodic & expressive lines. Bob never had been so
intensive in the last 3 concerts he played in Galicia since 1992. " The leeve's gonna break " gave
the step to the impeccable interpretation of " Stuck inside of Mobile " in which the public was out of
themselves. When we begun to believe that concert had come already to climax, it returned again
with "Moonlight" and " It's allright, Ma " simply genial. Then, " Spirit on the water " and " Things
have changed ". We were astonishing, every song was there for sure. Perfectly constructed and
tested songs, with precise arrangements and a Bob delivered with pure and crystalline voice. And
then came, it couldn´t be in another way. The song of the night that noone of us recognized until
the sound of the celular phone with a sms told us" Handy Dandy, i´ve got you? Je ". The great
"Pelda" (bassist also suffering from the evil´s back of the day) had recognized the great version,
which of any form already it had filled us with enthusiasm. The sound was precise, exact, acuratte.
The acoustic guitar and the banjo was listened perfectly with brightness, over the sonorous
electrical base. Tony by moments, stand up & turning the double-bass, we can saw him happy and
that was transmitted for sure. Everything seemed like in a dream, almost unreal, and then started
the most powerful version that we had heard before of "Highway 61 Revisited ". The fairground
almost broke down, it was really great. The lighting returned to go down and there sounded "
Beyond the Horizon " & " Summer days " to give the final step to " Ain't talkin " with a low lighting,
projecting their shades on the backdrop. Bob's voice was magic, sounding cozy and frightening at
the same time. A farewell without precedents that leave us petrified. The public applauded nonstop
and after 5 minutes the band returned to the stage to dazzle with " Thunder on the mountain "
while the curtain was spreading out with the logo of the tour. Bob presented the musicians and
they said bye with the brilliant grand ending " Like a Rolling' Stone " & the audience can sang at
last. After a while and for a moment it seemed that the band was going to return to the scene, but
sincerely, it had been a rudeness to ask for more. If we had to qualify last night event in Vigo, we
can say one thin g for sure: to certain science that there will be one before and one after this day.
Now the public already knows what Rock and Roll is, and where are the artistic levels who only the
chosen ones can show us. The popular music of the last two centurys has reached to the top
yesterday in Vigo.
A Madrinha Asociados Ltd. & Tedhead
Review by Brian Steedman and Jenny G.
Jenny and I are still trying to improve our ‘declining years’ with
periodic trips to see Bob; we are still ‘up for it’! We did
Sheffield, Leipzig and Berlin last year, plus a visit to Chemnitz for the
Drawn Blank Series Exhibition ….. Jenny also added Glasgow, but she’s
younger!. We prefer the front row, and so look always for unseated gigs
if possible. This strains the aging limbs, but adds to the contact with
greatness. This year we felt like Spain with a side order of Portugal
and, as the dates are hard to connect together by public transport fixed
on Vigo alone. The idea was to fly to Porto, take in a huge craft fair
starting at dawn in Barcellos, go on by train to Vigo, stay a few days
there and return to Porto for a look round before flying back to London.
The trip was great.
Ticket collection was chaotic, but we also found out that the band
ate near our hotel (minus Bob) and had a great (and not over-
expensive) meal there the following lunchtime. Reports were that
Bob’s boat was in the harbour, and that he stayed there (can’t speak for
the truth of this). We left for the gig at 4.30 pm by taxi, and imagined
we would be at some open air fairground. Instead it was a huge indoor
exhibition site close by the airport. It was very hot, but we succeeded
in making it to the front bar, and had position directly in front of Bob
(mine obscuring Bob’s lower half; Jenny’s getting the whole twitchy
picture). A rather intense young man gave us 30 minutes of Spanish
acoustic playing that was mildly diverting, but we failed to get his
name. There was a period of charged excitement as the stage was readied
for Bob and, at 9.30, the band were on stage, in daylight. Bob looked a
little tottery, but very engaged. The crowd was not vast, but it was
almost entirely Spanish, teens and twenties. There was great excitement
and clapping in time, especially at the beginning of songs, plus singing
along in loads of places. Between songs, sections of the crowd would
break spontaneously into chants of ‘DEEEE-lan!!!’, over and over.
Applause was huge, and there was massive and deserved appreciation of
everything done. This seemed to charge up Bob, and in particular to bring
about the playing of Handy Dandy. Bob scurried across to Tony and a
little huddle ensued on that side of the stage (by this time darkness had
fallen and we were into the customary lights out between songs). There
was a thirty second briefing, and then the song began, to massive lack of
recognition. I filled in by telling everyone around me that this was a
song from UTRS, to cries of ‘aaah!!!’; I suspected that this was a first,
and it was. At the end, in the darkness, Jenny and I clearly saw Bob
raise both hands above his head in celebration, and punch the air; he
tottered a little. and Tony laid a hand on his shoulder. The lights went
up, and the band came to the front to massive cheering and applause …..
Bob nearly smiled, and seemed about to speak but, as usual, didn’t. I
felt he was hugely happy at the reception. I have heard that Bob has
smiled a lot on this tour – I felt it was more like a cross between a
leer and a grimace – I remember the smiles from Leipzig last year. As
much as anything this felt to me like him living the songs ….. I cannot
emphasise how much it adds to my enjoyment to seem him driving the band
(and himself) on.
Our general impression was that the concert was great – I would say my
best, but I HAVE done that lots of times ….. I will add that I often find
the middle section of concerts a bit tame as we go into the Modern Times
section. On this occasion, I felt that there was no slackening, and that
Bob kept the band driving on. There was the usual great drumming from
George, and the base holding all together from the peerless Tony. George
as ever was trying to get Tony as excited as he was, but Tony was very
intently watching Bob, more than I have ever seen before. Once, Bob
seemed to ask George to calm down, but more often he pushed him on!
Donnie was not so central to the sound as previously, but still played as
sensitively as ever – there did seem to be any of those ‘back and forth’
exchanged between him and Bob. I have no great love for the guitar work
of Steve and Denny, but both played well, contributing to the overall
sound and were more engaged than previously. There was one absolutely
massive bum note, but I have yet to locate it in the recording. I can say
the same for the yodel Bob effected at the end of one song, but I SHALL
locate these!! I was so glad to find the recording waiting when we got
back (much thanks to Andre and Hal) but feel, sadly, that it is no more
than an average recording of a great gig. I do hope a better one emerges.
Just to add that there were TWO mixing desks (I think) and LOTS of quite
tense security ….. It crossed my mind that there might have been a good
official recording being made for some purpose. There was a lot of
security attention to the cables.
I can’t pick out any bad songs, because there were none. I loved Lay Lady
Lay, It’s All Right Ma (this current version is majestic), Stuck Inside
of Mobile, and Ain’t Talkin’, which was majesterial. The version of Handy
Dandy was excellent and LOTS of people thanked Bob personally. Like a
Rolling Stone was so memorable if only for the huge gratitude it produced
among mainly young listeners. I was enthralled, and time flew by. We
walked out very slowly, surrounded by raving young Spaniards, and were
lucky enough to grab a taxi immediately. At such moments one forgets the
expense in the sheer joy of the moment, and in 30 mins we were in the
centre of Vigo downing celebratory beers. Life does not get much better!!
See you next year, Bob; as long as you go on, so shall we!!!
Brian Steedman (inthealley) & Jenny G
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