Here it is: a blog which wouldn’t have much to say without such themes as Modena, Modena Football Club and Bob Dylan…The review nobody was expecting but somebody published anyway!
A very nice evening in Salzburg, almost a perfect show, which is not something granted at all if you consider that I have seen/heard 15 concerts already and that my beloved blue-eyed bad boy is giving a show almost every day. Dylanite-infected people know it: sometimes you are just scared that expectations and reality will not match, or that he is in a bad mood. This time I had absolutely no expectations and I barely read something on Expecting rain and watched something on You Tube (the Bonn gig, great stuff!) 2 days before the event.
Anyway, I wasn’t “touring” with Bob but just going to this single event, located outrageously 4 minutes on the motorway from my flat. And Bob is Bob. I was curious about the Grand piano and just a little worried that the set list could turn out to be boring. Nevertheless, I agree with many people on the ER Forum: a boring set list does not necessarily mean a bad and boring show. This was the case for this Salzburg gig. All songs I already heard, but in a new version: I don’t regret having paid the 105,50 euros plus some more for ticket office royalties plus 4 euros for the parking lot. (yes, that was the price).
I am not a huge fan of the Salzburg Arena. Austrian venues are not my favourite ones in general: seated places, strict security, unjustifiably high prices (twice as in Germany and in Italy, the bordering countries, all of them in the EU. Why?). Sure: the Arena is easy to find: there is a dedicated motorway exit, and a bus drives you from the centre and makes you hop off right by the entrance as soon as the driver gets the message from the Salzburger Lokalbahn “The crazy hippies and/or rockers are coming, switch to the concert-mode route!”. My experience here in 2008 was not good, anyway. I got a row right in the middle and I remembered a bad acoustic and/or sound. The 2008 bootleg and the 2012 experience actually proved me somehow wrong, and I still don’t know why. It could be that in 2008 my place was particularly unlucky, or that my mood was sooooo bad from the University seminar and from the storm, or that something has been changed. I remembered a parquet-ish floor cover and yesterday I noticed that it was white. Who knows? (if you have any idea, just say something in the comments 🙂 )
Salzburg would be a nice location for an outdoor concert, but the weather here tends to be quite bad. I had a lot of luck the first two years here, with long, warm and mostly dry summers. From 2010 on summers got back to the usual crap. I suggested on the ER forum that he could play in Leopoldskron, or in Hellbrunn, or in the Fortress, or on the Cathedral square, or even on a meadow in Grödig/Fürstenbrunn/Glanegg with the Untersber on the background. But this could lead either to a lucky gig with a magnificent background or to a catastrophe that would double the Udine 2001 experience: a disaster for which no joke about “Thunder on the mountain” or “A Hard rain is gonna fall” would make something to improve the mood. A flirting with disaster that you probably won’t manage to escape.
My short way to the concert…
No way. Each time I tell my self: “This is the last one”. I was serious about it in November. I even got a new job. But this is not my fault: he came to Salzburg! This time, I admit, I have been honest with myself. I will see him again, as soon as possible.
Thanks to the earthquake in Modena my rock summer has been messed up and I missed the Boss in Florence. Going home with a seismic sequence and with everybody still scared and nervous wasn’t a good idea, so I had to postpone my stay at home and consequently missed the gig. Two journeys would have meant paying twice for transports and using too much holidays, allo of which would have resulted in shortage of money and time to me, since I did not manage to marry a rich, gorgeous and gentleman Austrian widower and still have to work. This also made me skip the usual “spiritual preparation”, which consists mainly of permeating the atmosphere around Salzburg with the whole discography of the Duluth boy and with some bootlegs that I mysteriously found on my hard disk, thus contributing to the cultural and musical education of my neighbours and suggesting my front neighbour that he needs better loudspeakers in order to hear his/her opera tunes.
Emotions are always there, buried somewhere, and I caught up with them by taking the usual 4 hours in order to choose an outfit and by driving without thinking for the 4 minutes to the Arena. I got a lot excited all of a sudden. And think that I saw him in November!
A lot of catching up to do. Arriving and meeting up
I arrived around 5 PM and soon the buses arrived as well. Some people were already there, more than it was in November for the Mark&Bob concert at 3 PM. Most important of all, I finally met Federica again, aka the “girl with the sign”!!! I was so glad to meet her after so many years. She remembered me very well from my “almost groupie” years. I had a lot of catching up to do with her about the “Italian hard-core fans” group. I got in touch with many others hard-core fans from all around the world. I socialised a lot in Innsbruck as well, but – you know – finding the “right ones” is a completely different thing. Along with having the right ticket, parterre and not some damn lodge, 11th row, of course!
I really miss being in that sort of “family” which is the “wanna-be-on-the-rail” part of the audience. I know I enjoyed my part of being on the road in my early twenties, but the Bob I got to see and hear then was not as good as this Bob of the last months.
Anyway, the “family” was one again there, including a lot of Italians who were not complete unknowns.
Shortly before 18:30 a crowd started to gather near to the gates. I noticed how some people seemed to come right out the “Salzburger Festival House”, judging from their outfits and their attitude. That could only mean business. Not that I hate classical music and that I didn’t enjoy my two concerts at the “House” (suckers!!! I have my acquaintances as well :-P) , but this was Bob and not a Karajan memorial or a Simon Rattle with orchestra. Different way of enjoying the whole thing. No way that kind of attitude was going to ruin our evening. This opinion was shared by many of us and we consequently planned some moves.
Shortly before 8 PM, plans for the conquering of the rail were made. I checked out my place, where actually somebody else was sitting. I stated that I would have taken my place in case I didn’t make it to the rail. You should have seen the fear and the disgust on the faces of all other people from the row!!! Federica suggested that I somehow sit in the 10th row middle with other true fans, just to make the thing smoother and just to be sure to have a better place in case our plan failed. As soon as the light went out, Federica started the run and we all followed. The security was really aggressive but I noticed almost all of us resisted. Here is to mention the fact that Freddy warmly and sweetly encouraged everything to stay there and to resist because nothing was going to happen. She really has a good heart! So, after a few seconds during which I was sure we would have been brutalised as I was told that happened in Ancona 2000, the situation was cleared. We were on the rail! And Bob was there, 2 meters away from us!
A lot of people from the wanna-be-high-society of Salzburg will be pissed off, but I am very proud of the way we stayed together and held the rail in front of the stage although the security screamed and pulled!!!! Thanks, Federica, for the encouragement and for giving me the first row after 8 songs 🙂 I was right where the grand piano was, first behind Federica, then on the rail!
I made acquaintance with the Grand Piano, which wasn’t there in November, and I saw again the Academy Award and Bob’s face (my VIP lodge in November was great for the sound but not for everything else). Bob entered wearing a white hat with a golden stripe. I loved his white and black shoes, very 40s, but as far as the jacket is concerned he has to wear either a more tailored one or a smaller size. Bob, the fact that you are over 70 and that you are not an underwear model by profession doesn’t allow you to disappoint us heterosexual girl fans! We want to appreciate you and your figure no matter what!
I have to repeat a lot of what I said for the November performance: this new chemistry with Charlie instead of the previous tense relationship, Bob’s moves and enjoyment instead of his mostly antisocial and stuffy attitudes that characterised his 2001-2008 performances are an acquired value for any set list. This is very important if we consider that there was no song I never heard before. So, Bob’s moves, expressions (oh, I missed them!!), piano riffs (I almost thought of throwing the organ away, just to be sure…!!) were the highlights of the evening. I would also say the chemistry in the band further improved, a fact which was remarkably clear – according to my humble opinion – in the exchanges among Charlie, Stu and Bob.
My favourite arrangements were Don’t think twice (a song I adore), Every grain of sand and Tangled up in blue ( a song which bored me to death for a long period and yet yesterday caught me completely in trance). Another great version was the melancholic Can’t wait instead of the more rhythmic one I usually heard. Tweedle Dee: I just love that song, so it was nice hearing it again (after my 2002 tour and Salzburg 2008, of course!). I didn´t expect Visions of Johanna: it was nice hearing it again! Talking about songs which are not new to be heard: Highway 61, with Bob trusting himself and the piano. Bob, the harmonica and the piano were the protagonists of the show: he experimented his riffs and solos and a lot of moves. Almost perfect in every note (I am a perfectionist, sorry for that 🙂 ) and move. The band was presented during All along the watchtower, which was performed nicely. The only critic from my side is: Bob, my dearest, I cannot hear Like a rolling stone and Blowing in the wind anymore, I am sorry. I even yawned during BITW!!! (shame on me!!!). Unless he performs like this, I would prefer to hear, who knows, Knocking on heaven’s door? Why not have Stu and Charlie embarrass Slash in a G’n’R-ish version and Bob getting more female appreciation than Axl in his good, old days? (the latter being probably already the case, at least in the bad girls club, a bunch of nice gals who would beat the average Axl-infatuated girl from 20 years ago without even trying 🙂 ).
There is an ongoing discussion about the new “thing” during High water, the crowd making a sort of controtempo shout or a dialogue with Bob’s harmonica. I don’t mind it at all, but I am not a huge fan of participation during Bob’s performances. I sense the boy likes to “do it” his own way and I tend to like it that way.
Little update about the lights: no “Eye” on the background, only lights and spots. It took some time to me to notice it! (I had to watch a video from Bad Mergentheim with the Eye making its display on the stage to remember it…). I must say: it was pleasant, and the crew did a good job with the lights. I have no idea if it was a technical issue or a precise choice. What do you think?
I had the impression that apart from true fans the audience sucked. I didn’t notice any felt participation during LARS, for example. I am totally fine with that, as stated above, because I hate hearing people singing along with “Him”, but …geez…move your ass a little, do something, don’t get melted with the chair! Maybe I am wrong?
The venue was everything but full. Accurate research from my side (in other words: some facebook gossiping) explained the very small audience with the great amount of peasant and village parties on the same week end. I went to the ATM prior to the show and witnessed a carriage loaded with people in Trachten, who were staring at my not-so-typical outfit 🙂 A local radio deliberately ignored Bob’s concert after listing Bryan Adams (who played there on the 6th) and those feasts as the highlights of the week end!! Could you believe it? There is no religion anymore! 🙂
Another remark to the audience, especially to the youngsters: I understand that the excitement of uploading your own video made with your expensive i-Phone and of sharing it with the world within minutes is too much to resist, but why do it when leaning on the rail, where inevitably the security comes every 2 minutes and asks you politely to stop? It is quite annoying for you and for us, old people who just want to enjoy His Bobness. Thank you for your understanding. We already have good tapers, let them do their own job!
For the “bad girls club”: Bob making moves while sitting at the piano, opening his legs in my direction. Bob’s eyes. Bob’s sweat. Bob’s expressions. Boy, I swear that when I came home I was damn hungry, even though I had my Frankfurter with Semmel right after the show. I am not a smoker, so I usually get very hungry (and then sleepy) after…you know what…! I really felt like I had sex with Bob! I think the excitement of being 2-3 meters away (with him opening his legs in that not so gentlemanly but definitely not unpleasant way) from him made the trick to my brain. Who knows, maybe in the ocean of sweat I was floating in I even smelled him! 🙂
Little update, always for the bad girls: I forgot to write that I totally approve Charlie’s new look with the beard!!!!
Can’t wait to see what I will see next! Is my rock summer over? Will I ever meet Bob? Will I stop seeing him, as I promise every time to my bank account and to my ? Will I fly to the States to see him?
I leave you with a few pics. The ticket is dedicated to the tapers (do a good job!!! ;-), especially to the one who then took the picture of me with my mobile, see below) and to the people who “mysteriously” got a front seat card “in the first minutes of the on-line sale” while I got an 11th row and then had to deal with my big fat Modenese ass instead.
More info about the concert from more serious people than me – then, further below, my pictures: