page by Bill Pagel
Review by Bob Guest
At the time of writing this no reviews of any of the three recent concerts in Southern Spain have appeared.
This is a shame as, although I didn't get to Benidorm or Cordoba, the concert in Motril was genuinely
excellent. So here's a few words on the evening:
The last time Dylan played the south coast of Spain the venue was the bull ring in Malaga. It was an ideal
setting being both relatively small but with atmosphere. Motril is a small town some 100kms east of Malaga
and at first seemed to be an odd choice for a Dylan concert. However it worked very well. The local
football pitch is on the outskirts of the town and the stage faced the surrounding hills. The weather
during the day was hot and as the sun set the crowd filed into the stadium to listen to the opening act
and settle down for the main event. It wasn't too difficult to find a good vantage point and we managed
to find a spot some 15 to 20 yards from the front facing the right handside and therefore looking back
towards across the stage to the piano which had been set up on the left. Both an acoustic and electric
guitar were tuned up and checked before Dylan took to the stage. They were stood next to the piano but were
Dylan and the band filed on at around 10.10 pm during the usual intro and broke into Maggie's Farm. Dylan,
Tony Garnier and Stu Kimball were dressed in their cowboy hats with George Recile wearing what looked like
a beret and Larry Campbell declining any form of headwear. Dylan didn't bother with a tie and just wore an
open necked shirt under his jacket. From the start everything worked. Dylan sang well and powerfully
whilst the band went through their paces.
I'm afraid I didn't make notes of how every song was performed at the time but many people will already be
familiar with the arrangements. Dylan's voice was good throughout. He put a lot of effort in and often
sustained notes rather than clipping them off early at the end. The piano was hardly audible in the mix but
he played a good deal of harmonica. The first time he picked one up was for Tell Me That It Isn't True. He
was a bit tentative and jerky on this song but thereafter played some very good harmonica breaks, Just Like
Tom Thumb's Blues was a highlight. It didn't seem like all the harmonica solos were rehearsed as once or
twice he would lift one up and show it to the rest of the band to indicate he'd decided it was time for him
to play and for them to take a backseat. Whilst Larry Campbell was playing the intro to Girl From The North
Country Dylan was messing about at the side of the stage with glasses of water or something. There seemed
no way he was going to get to the mic in time until quite nonchalantly and absolutely at the very last
second he swooped onto the mic to start the song.
This was the first time I had seen him playing the piano and it was interesting to watch as he guided the
band through the songs from the side of the stage. Stu Kimball and George Recile who were nearest to him
got most of the attention, musical direction and nods of approval. On the last verse of Hard Rain Dylan
indicated that he wanted to start the verse softly. Tony Garnier, who spent the whole concert with his
eyes studiously glued on Dylan, and Larry Campbell, who did the reverse and hardly looked at him, seemed
to realize what was required but Kimball and Recile were still playing slightly too strongly. Dylan was
not too happy and went over to talk to them before the next song. Apart from that he seemed to really
enjoy how the band were performing except for once when Larry Campbell unfortunately missed a couple of
notes which drew a grimace from the bandleader.
All in all there wasn't a weak song or performance in the line up. The styles ranged from rock through to
something like 'jive' (Summer Days), what could be called 'swing' (If Dogs Run Free) to 'acoustic' (Girl
From the North Country). These in fact were also the highlights. Girl From the North Country was, as has
often been the case over the years, simply beautiful. If Dogs Run Free was spellbinding whilst during
Summer Days the ground literally shook as all the band were playing to the limit.
At the end of Summer Days the band lined up at the front of the stage. Dylan stepped forward to the mic as
if he wanted to say something but there wasn't a gap in the applause so he stepped back and they filed off.
They came back to perform Tambourine Man which led into Rolling Stone without a break in between. Dylan
then stepped forward and picked up the mic to do the introduction. Again he waited for the applause to die
down during which time someone threw some red roses onto the stage. Dylan walked around the stage picking
them up, smelt them and said something tongue-in-cheek like 'I've worked all my life for this'. After the
band intro they played a new version of Watchtower which I hadn't heard before. Very interesting and I'd
like to hear it again. In fact if the quality of the field tapes are any good the concert would be well
worth listening to.
Review by Angel Uriarte
Motril is at one top end of the spanish map, you got to cross the northern region of Almeria get to
Granada and still come down to the coast. A total tour de force for travellers,by the the time i had
almost reached Motril i was fainting . Once there, again mature couples together with the beautiful
girls of Granada.this night Bob was more easy going, with less uptempo, in spite of opening with Maggies.
Again love in the air with a moving Tell me that it isnt true, and the same Girl from the north which i
find a bit strange. Granada is where Garcia Lorca was from, so it was only natural that bob did It's all
right, Ma the most lorquiana of all his songs, and perfectly spelled for your information. We were in
front of the poet who took Lorca's famous saying: " I was not worried being born so i wont be busy dying"
and changed it into: " He not busy being born is busy dying " and i have to admit that i like it both
ways.But even if bob and the band seemed to accuse the long journey from Benidorm to Motril, the time
came for gems like Tom's thumb, Hard rain, and Not dark yet, and all these three songs for only 30 euros,
now tell me where else you can buy something like this. We all went up to the skies again with
Tambourine. Someone threw Bob a red rose which he managed to pick up and with it in the hand said: "You
know, i've been waiting all my life for this". Like a rolling stone is where we all can see that bob,
like eveyone else, i mean you and me, are all being wasted away by time, and you know, there is no way
to escape. It is no longer the fast rocking rolling stone it always has, but i guess it is because the
stone is closer to the sea now and the waters may run deeper but not faster. I must say that this is my
first show " a palo seco" which means that i didn't have a single drink nor before, nor at the show, nor
after. And I enjoyed it just as well.
Well , if you never went to Granada to enjoy one of the most beautiful places in the world, The Alhambra
as seen from The Albaicin, please come some day, it is the mecca of love second only to the Taj Mahal, or
to your bed,it,s up to you.
Review by Antonio Curado
It's really hard to explain why a Bob Dylan concert to be played at a so strange venue just like
Motril is, becomes a terryfic experience of performing art and exceeds all expectations. In order
you can understand me, Motril is a town at the southwest coast of Andalusia, with 40000 people
around livin' in it. As I could see the hours before and after the concert myself, the cultural
level of the population isn't too high, just the usual in a little town in the south of Spain,
unfortunately. Well, that's a question that doesn't matter too much by the way: obviously the Dylan
crew had been in so many places that it is a fact that it's not the first time around a village
similar to this. But being the eight time from 20 years to Bob playin' in Spain, he never had been
in a one like this. Usually, he had played in towns that are provincial capital, in spite of being
small towns sometimes. But a Bob Dylan concert in a venue just like Motril was a fact so
unbelievable that the most of the natural inhibitants with a little more of cultural interest are
nipping yet to wake up the dream. Just suppose. I thought if Bob was aware of it when decided to
play Tell me that it isn't true in the second place.
The venue was a small football stadium, being the biggest place I've been watchin' and hearin' Bob
(and this was my ninth time since 1991). This fact is important to understand why the sound was so
strong and clear. Three days before I've been at the Barcelona concert, and I swear that neither
the sound nor the Bob's performance was so terrific. Nor even the set list. To me, the concert had
an added charm, because it was the first time that I was goin' to see Bob with Yoli, my girl
(althought she almost miss the start because of going to the toilette with her lovely cousin Monica,
who missed the ticket for the show before it!!! There ain't no limit to the amount of trouble women
bring…). I met a great friend of all my days, Alejandro, and a couple of long time friends too that
I had not seen for years, and thanks to Bob I can now resume my old music fightin' with Candil, who
at the end of the show (being is baptism) was absolutely out of himself. My old buddy Txus was by my
side too, and we could meet with the most estemeed dylanologists to ourselves down the road, Jan and
Jero, so it was the perfect environment to enjoy the show. A show that became a baptism of fire (as
I said before) to an incredulous audience.
Since the openin' Maggie's Farm, it was clear that the Bob's voice was much better than in Barcelona.
Neither babbling nor gabbling. The words falled like a hammer. The volume was high but not distorted.
Perfectly equalized. Tonight the man was to talk right to our consciences. But all the things can't be
perfect. A couple of stupid guys behind me, showing the principal objective of the mass, didn't stop
talkin' and laughin', tellin' things just like 'he can't sing no more' or 'look, he can't carry even
the guitar' or 'nobody understand what he's singin'' (in spanish andalusi motrileño: 'hira, er tipo no
pué ni cantá ni agarrá la guitarra'). And this was the way thru' Tell me that it isn't true till I
turned my head and told them 'Hey boys, shut up, you're hearing Bob Dylan'. They answered: 'That's the
one they say he is'. But fortunately they stop talking (and didn't hit me!!!). That was the audience:
Just a 500 of Bobcats, 1500 real interested people in rock and roll or plain culture, and 7000 naive
people attracted by the legendary myth, not by the great and real performer Bob is today.
After this great Tell me that it isn't true (of course, the newspaper El Ideal the next day keep on
telling that the second song was Most of the Time: Ángeles Peñalver and Mercedes Navarrete were the
'accomplished' writers), came a good Cry a While that prepared the atmosphere to a couple of
highlights, Girl of the North Country and, specially, an It's alright ma, that almost let me out of
breath. One of the better performances I never heard from Bob watchin' him on stage. The band have
came out of his best since Kemper left and came Recile, and this was a good one to prove it. George
Recile marks the master's voice in such a way that remembers the old times of Winston Watson. After
this highlight of the night came a predictable Tweedle Dee (althought I don't remember the exact
order of the set list). I was thinking to myself if the line takin' a streetcar named desire is now
the invisible tribute of Bob Dylan to the great Brando: if you think about it, he is the exact
equivalent of Dylan in the art of playin' role characters on movies, the bigger genious. A beautiful
selection of midsixties acid mercurial tunes just like Positively 4th Street, Tom Thumb's Blues or
the usual Highway 61 (usual but always played with a fury out of control), was performed without too
much expressiveness, but then appeared Hard Rain. I never had heard it live before. Now Bob Dylan is
spitting the words out of its original meaning, conducting the band with the precission of a jet
engine. The drum of Recile emphasize every line while Garnier and Campbell doesn't put the eyes off
the boss. Superb. One of the three or four better performances I ever saw. Specially the last verse.
The incredible demostration of power seen in this one, made the rest of the night turn pale. I must
recognize that after the initial surprise of his rediscovering, If dogs run free is not one of my
favourite choices. But between the two vibrants Love and Theft items, we could hear a last surprise,
a beautiful Not Dark Yet, that almost brought me to tears. The master. This is what we really
believe. That's our religion.
The encore wasn't different from the days before, so it decreased its emotional impact. But it was
funny the band introduction, especially when a nervous Bob, coughin' and bubblin', introduced Stu
Kimball as 'Stu Campbell' and looked displeased but didn't correct itself. He took a couple of
flowers and smelled them before a giant Watchtower. I think that he said something like 'Ow, I'd
give it all my whole life for this'. That was the thing Bob Dylan thought on Motril, Granada, Spain.
On the way back to the car, Txus, Monica, Yoli and me could see the naive people of this naive town
all along the squares and 'bares' wearing t-shirts with the Bob Dylan's face, the dates of the 2004
tour, or even a glorious refrain: The Times They Are-A-Changin'. Maybe, boys.
page by Bill Pagel
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