dimanche 14 avril 2019

Bob Dylan Spring Tour Europe 2019.


Spring Tour Europe will be interesting, particularly the second leg in
Spain. I bought 2 Flixbus passes for less than 200 Euros. That will allow
me 10 trips in Eastern Europe. Then I booked tickets with ALSA bus
company for the Spain trip. All together a lot cheaper than Inter Rail. I
start from my home town and then a night bus from Paris. Arriving in
Düsseldorf a day before the first show of the tour. I didn’t sleep much
on that bus so I slept all day and all night.

Düsseldorf March 31st 2019.

The first show of that Tour.
I will meet with my friend I. for a cup of tea at noon then have a lunch
with S. We walk all the way to the Mitsubishi Electric Halle. Arriving
just on time to meet with J. and see the black buses (one is the musicians bus, the other one is Bob's bus) pulling inside the parking lot. We see the 4 Band members getting out for the sound check.
Bobby’s bus is well hidden but for sure the Master must be here. A large
group of Bobcats arrive and congratulate each other in front the doors
opening at 6.30 p.m. I easily find a ticket and get in with a nice couple
and their 2 daughters. First Bob Dylan show for them. The seat is not the
best, way too far from the stage but I am happy to be in. On time the
loudspeakers blow a sort of classic music ’cause Stu is absent. Then Bob and the Band take their positions.
Same disposition on stage and same first song.
Shortly before I had bet with J. that the set list would be unchanged. That
show seems familiar to me. It could have been any of the U.S.A. shows. It
sounds a bit of a rehearsal. The sound is not good from where I seat. I
don’t hear Charlie's guitar too clearly. Bob is dressed as…usual
;black pants with white straps, white boots and white jacket. Black and
white again ? I saw him taking the stage with a hat in his hand. But the
hat will never be put on his head ! Only one song center stage and it is
« Scarlet town ». The public is polite. Reacting on « Like a rolling
stone ». But no fuss, not even front stage. I still really like “When I
paint my masterpiece” and Charlie’s guitar is more obvious on “The
early Roman kings”. Bob’s voice is clear and he is blowing his harp
alright. It is somehow a little bit boring. Even George's solo on
Thunder on the mountain" doesn’t move me so much. After the beautiful
Beacon theater, cozy and intimate, it is a deception. That performance
doesn’t fit the 6000 capacity sport arena. I was happy to witness the
coming back, though. That was a nice experience. Thank you Bobby and the
Band and all the good friends. See you next in Würzburg.

Würzburg April 1st.
I arrived in Würzburg on car. That was unexpected but I got a ride
from Hu. a Bobcat. The weather is fine, sunny and warm. My CouchSurfing host finishes work at 4p.m., so we have time together for the visit of the Würzburg castle/fortress. Then we have a pleasant evening cooking Spanish tortilla and a salad. We chat in German, English, French and Spanish. Then it is time for a good night sleep.

Würzburg April 2nd.
We decided with Hu, a BD follower, to visit the beautiful new/old
city of Würzburg, entirely destroyed during WWII, and rebuilt brand new in
the old style. There must be about 20 churches, cathedrals and doms. A nice
walk around the Market place and we bump into …. BD fans. Joachim is
entertaining the crowd with some great songs and we chat around a cup of
coffee or a glass of beer or wine, as it is a city of white wine! I tried a glass of it last night and I really liked it. By 4 p.m. about 15 Bobcats gather for a pre-show meeting. The atmosphere is gay and relaxed: some eat, some drink and all sing along with Joachim. We comment about the Düsseldorf show.
Not bad feelings! Everyone was happy to witness an historic event (we don’t know yet, but that will be one in the book of record of the Never ending tour). By 6 p.m. H. drives me to the S. Oliver Arena, a basketball arena of 3000 seats capacity. Half of the capacity of the previous show. All for the best. The show is not Sold out but scalpers try their chance anyway. A couple, a nice Lady and her husband, approaches me and hands me a ticket. We exchange few words and I know right away they are good hearted people. I have to leave my bag at the locker. Security is strict but with no metal detector. Our seats are on the floor but behind the sound board, so far away from the stage. The view is not the best. On time the Stravinsky symphony is blowing out and the Band and Bob take their positions. Bob seems to be dressed exactly the same as yesterday!
Black and White. The first song is powerful. The sound from where I seat is
perfect, loud and clear. Bob’s voice is clear. The energy is
picking up with "Highway 61". Bobby is putting all his heart in
it and I see George beating hard on the drums. Charlie’s guitar is
powerful. The public is reacting with enthusiasm. Each single song is a
masterpiece as if it is the first time they play. For some of the songs ,
"Like a Rolling Stone", it should be 2000 times but it doesn’t show
tonight. The new arrangements makes it all brand new. H. remarked than the
song is complete, all the verses are sung. There was a perfect silence of
the public on "Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right". I am impressed
by Bobby’s capacity to hold the breath of 3000 fans just by his voice
and piano. The Band is extremely softly playing, and George drums are
totally silent until the final notes. I catch myself doing my Karaoke ,
even on "Make You Feel My Love". "Love Sick" will be my highlight
for tonight. "Pay In Blood" is also touching, even with Bob at the
piano. He had a long applause after "Scarlet Town", the
only song center stage. Someone made a remark to me, saying he looks
like a shepherd,the mike being his stick! For the encore, my friend
and I move in the aisle. We are short Ladies. The security doesn’t say
anything, Cool! I can jump around on "It Takes…". The final bow and
all is over. But what a show! What energy! Electricity in the air! Rock
and Roll will never die! Thanks to all my good friends for their help. I had a wonderful day and evening. Thanks Bobby and the Band. Good night
See you all in Berlin.

Berlin April 3.
I arrive in Berlin at 8 p.m. Thomas , my CS host is waiting
for me with a nice meal : pasta with tomato sauce, salad and ice cream for
desert. We chat in French about politics. It is pretty rare for me, now
a days, to talk about religions or politics. It could be tricky. But
Thomas is one of those ‘citizen of the world’ and we get along. In 2
hours we rebuild the world, making it a lot better and peaceful. Back in
the 60’s and all the hopes envisioned then. But….I go to bed and
dream.

Berlin April 4.
The sun light is shining through my curtains at 6.30 a.m. That will be a sunny and warm day, up to 20 degrees Celsius. I want to take a chance to see Berlin again. For the 5th time, if my memory serves me well !I walk out at 10 a.m. towards the Dom. I stroll in the streets until I receive a texto from Johannes telling me he can’t check in his hotel before 2 hours. Could me meet ? Certainly, yes. We find each other at the foot of the TV tower and have a little lunch. Then I walk slowly towards the Mercedes Benz Arena. I found a surprising quarter looking pretty much like Christiania in Copenhagen. I buy myself a grill sandwich and relax for 1 hour along the river bank. I take plenty of photos of the paintings on the buildings. Street Art is the best. Time to move again.
I reach the “Wall gallery” ; a rest of the separation "west Berlin/east Berlin wall" that had been turned into a graffiti gallery. The venue is right next to it. The weather is so nice that hundreds of Berliners are taking the sun outside. I relax before the show time.
At 6 p.m. Fans start lining up to get in.
It is a huge Arena, capacity 10000 !I have no difficult finding a
ticket. My good Samaritan is a big Fan. He had seen hundreds of shows, even
at the beacon ! What a chance. We can chat about the set list !My seat is
on the side but first row, so no on in front of me. Show starts on time and
Bob is dressed in black and white. I read posts where it said his hair was
silver gray. Doesn’t look this way for me. Dyed brown as usual !
The show is professional. No mistake but no surprise, neither. It is my third show on that tour and frankly Würzburg was more energetic. At times, here, I find myself bored. The public is soooo calm.
Highway 61” doesn’t bring much reaction. Few fans start clapping on “like a rolling stone” but for no result. I see few arms up in the air
up front, rapidly disappearing into a sea of heads. Except getting up to
get some beer, no one is moving. Whoa !Bob and the Band are doing their
job. I see Bob getting some drinks from the side often between the
songs. But his voice is clear. Is “thunder on the mountain” slower
than usual ? Or is it my mind drifting away ?I stand up for the final.
That was a good show but for me, not the best. My good Samaritan will be in
Prague. So see you there after Magdebürg. I walk the 40 minutes back
home. Thomas is already in bed. Up tomorrow at 6 a.m.
Good night Bobby. Sweet dreams !

Magdeburg April 5.
I arrive in Magdeburg at 10 a.m. I am supposed to go to my CS host house only at 5 p.m. and I don’t know what to do with my luggage. Johannes will be arriving at noon, so I wait for me at the train station inside a Café. Then we have an arrangement. I can now move to his hotel. Cool !As we walk out we bump into Franck, a BD Fan driving his car. We decide, 3 of us, to have lunch in an Indian restaurant. We chat forever about Bob Dylan music….Then we check in the same hotel. Johannes and I walk later to the GETEC Arena, a 35 minutes walk. The crowd flowing to the venue seems to me of middle age and forlorn. The communication is difficult as they don’t understand English (at least MY English).I manage to get a ticket at the very last moment when Bob is already on stage. I take an empty seat on the top of the arena, far on the left side. I see Bob at the piano, facing me. I have an excellent view on George. I will focus on the drums all night. The sound is powerful. The public is polite again. Only the most famous songs are provoking a reaction. Bob starts to be really exacted on “like a rolling stone”, He is playing with the words, modulating his voice. He is enjoying himself but the first row of the public is too far away to have a strong interaction with his audience. He talks a lot with Donnie and the Band tonight. I expect , maybe, a new song ? Nope. All the same. I manage to catch an instant on my telephone, taking a photo of the “scarlet town” performance, center stage. Just a pic !I enjoyed myself. That was again professional and well done. I loved George on his drums tonight. Charlie was as good as ever. I walk back to the hotel with Johannes, for a good night sleep. Thank you
Bobby ! Sweet dreams. See you in Prague.

Prague April 6.
I was dreaming of those 3 days in Prague. It is always comfortable
to have few days in the same city. From Magdeburg I have a ride with F. Not
that I am a free loader for I booked all my transportation until Valencia,
by buses. I just thought it would be a good idea to travel with a BD Fan
and exchange ideas and memories. And yes it was but…. Each BD Fan has an
image of Bob Dylan and his/her own experiences. Not that I disagree with F.
But we don’t have the same perspective. I never met a Fan that was
riding on my ‘horse’. Funny enough , I sometimes agree with the not BD
Fan. Anyway. The ride is agreeable and we reach Prague in the middle of the
afternoon. F. wants to buy tickets for the shows. That obsession I
don’t have. For good or for bad, this is not my problem, except 1 hour
before show time. If people asks, the static set list is not my problem
neither. I moved on to other considerations : a safe transportation and a
safe place to rest after the show. For the rest I count on my good star.
Even if I say I am agnostic, I seem to have more Faith than most of
the believers, counting on their credit card !F. kindly drives me to my
CS host, Guillaume, a French 'expat'. We chat about how’s life in Prague,
eating a bowl of lentils cooked in tomato sauce and coconut milk.
Guillaume moves to his bedroom and I fix a bed in the living room.
A good night sleep.

Prague I. April 7.
Early rising, breakfast of muesli and Guillaume walks with me to center town. Then he goes his way and I go mine. I go to check the venue. It is surprisingly a tiny hall inside a passage way of cafés and shops. HR. is here and we discuss the capacity ; 800 seats plus some standing tickets are sold. The sign says 2500 but we have a doubt about it. We’ll see tonight. I walk and walk and walk….streets are packed with tourists or ‘Praguers’.The city is an interesting melting pot of architecture ; houses, churches and museums.
In the early afternoon the Band and Bob walk in for sound check. I grab
a sandwich and coffee near by. At 6.30 p.m. the doors open. A large number
of Bobcats congratulate each other. Other Fans are peaceful and nice.
Middle aged crowd as usual. By 7.30 p.m. F. arrives and manages to buy a 4th
row ticket at the box office. He hands me his standing ticket. I do accept
it but somehow I don’t feel comfortable nor happy. He throws it to me
like one throws a bone to a dog ! I feel hurt. I try to overcome that bad
sensation, like a bone in the throat. I need friendship, not
condescending. Anyway, I am in with a standing ticket.
My spot is on first level, all the way on the left of the stage, behind a two seats. On my left there is a pillar that will block my view of George and partly Tony, but I see Bob at the piano, quite clearly. The excitement is at the top when Bob appears dressed in black ;black jacket, black pants. It appears made of light leather to me. He looks forever young !The atmosphere warms up on “highway 61” and on. I can’t stop my body for moving on the rhythm and my feet taping on the ground. I suppress my karaoke for I have a person seated in front of me. I don’t want to badly sing in his ears !From then on , it is me and the music. The public is warm and of course the Bobcats are the first ones to react and applaud, here and there in the public. Bob will trot across the stage few times and go shout at George. After “Thunder on the mountain” he has a good laugh with Tony. George did
something funny ? Always the consultation with Donnie before each song.
Didn’t he know the set list by heart ? And the lyrics sprayed on the
piano ? So far that was the best show for me. Small venue, great view, great sound and….dancing on the floor. I don’t want to spoil my so good
feelings so….I walk all by myself back home, my head full of music notes
and BD images. The others can get drunk on….substances. I don’t need it
!Thank you all the good people. Thank you Bobby. The Band. The roadies
who worked hard to organize the stage. Night, night !See you tomorrow.
It is already another story.


Prague II April 8.
This morning I found a video showing Bob Dylan arriving at the
venue yesterday. There is already heavy discussions, gossips
and rumors as always. I am a long time fan and In was THERE.
First of all...the venue is a small kind of theater (actually a
dancing room) inside a small shopping mall. There is no backstage
entrance. No parking space for the buses to park. So Bob arrived the first
day from the street, stepping out a black car. Already some stalkers had been disturbing his peace.
Screaming his name or asking .... what? The second day, yesterday, security
was re enforced. Two Bob Dylan security guys, plus a group of venue
security guys dressed in black. Since early in the afternoon, the 2 "fans"
you see on the video, the young kid and the man with the hat, had been
stalking around the mall. Not talking to anyone (not to me??) and playing
tricks with security. So....They had been waiting all afternoon when
finally Bob arrives by the street, for his sound check.
The security seems harsh on the video but in that context they did good.

I took a long walk in the city all day. By the time of the show, 6 p.m., my feet are all tired and hurt. I wait patiently by the side of the entrance when a young man comes to me and says yes I have an extra ticket. First he wants to sell it, which I encourage him to do , but then he comes back and says this ticket was for his mother so he will give it to me. Thank you very much !
I walk inside the venue immediately as my ticket is for standing behind the
seating room. But already the first row is packed and there will be no way
for me to see anything. Strangely as it is, the standing sections are
numbered. So there is no way to move around. Oh well ! I am in, so anyway I
will hear the sound well. By a pure hazard, or is it my good star ? There is a chair just next to me, so I seat. When I hear the fist notes of music, I decide to stand up on that chair, at least, to see Bob taking the
stage. Then I stand more and more…..until a security guy asks me to seat.
He is kind and speaks good English. I say I am small, would that be fine if I stand on my chair ? I don’t disturb any view as I am standing against a
wall. That sweet heart smiles and says OK !So….For the first time of my
long career as a Fan (close to 400 shows) it is the first time I attend a
Bob Dylan show, standing on a chair. The sound is not so good, muffled.
Bob’s voice, at time, is not heard. But this is an experience. Of course
all the opposite as yesterday, since I don’t dare make a move on that
chair. My feet are hurting badly but at no time I will step down.
Unfortunately the bar is behind me, and some freaks are chatting
loudly. I do have to ask them to quiet down when Bob starts “don’t
think twice” softly on the piano. I don’t understand why people buy a
concert ticket to be at the bar chatting ! It blows my mind. I seat down
for the brake and get up for the final. But….There is no bow. Bob leaves
the stage rapidly in the dark but the Band plays musically “Tom thumbs
blues”.Then Donnie leaves the stage, then Charlie, then Tony and finally
George who will through his sticks back in the air. That will give the time
for Bob to escape the crowd and leaving the venue incognito. Hopefully
without any disturbance. That was for me the weirdest show ever. But what
Fun I had !Thank you Barron, BigBob and security people to take care of
our MASTER !Thank you Bobby for being still around. Thanks all you good
people !Be nice to one another. See you tonight.

Prague III. April 9.
I walk again the streets of Prague.
It is a nice city and the weather is fine, warm and dry.
Unfortunately that night I will not succeed to have a ticket for the show.
I will walk sadly the 20 minutes back home.
My CS host is not home and I cry a while.
This is one of the 20% of unsuccessful ticket search.
Tomorrow is another day.

Paris I. April 11.
From Prague I took a night Flixbus.
Unfortunately that bus was stopping in many cities in Germany, picking up
and downloading passengers.
I could hardly sleep and broke my back in distorted position.
In entering Paris at 7.30 a.m. ,I am tired, cold and in low spirit, having
missed the last one of the Prague shows.
I arrive at Dominique’s house with a bad feeling.
But she offers me a lot of coffee and bread, butter and jam, the French
style.
I relax until 5.15 p.m. and we both take the metro towards the Grand Rex. She
wants to see Bob Dylan for the first time and I promised to help with a
ticket.
The problem is….the show is sold Out.
We ask at the box office but at 6.30 p.m. , there is no ticket available.
Scalpers are all over the place and aggressive.
But Dominique and I are in a good mood.
A security guy finally accepts to check again at the Box Office and by
some miracle 2 “Carré d’or” tickets had just been released.
We decide against all reason to buy them, sharing between her and me the
high price.
We then join some Bobcats in a Café for a soda drink, and go to another
Café to say hello to more…Bobcats.
A lot of followers will be here tonight, plus the French club.
We move inside at 7.30 p.m.
The theater is splendid, the ceiling is a sky full of stars. If only Bobby
could play “shooting star”!
Right on time they play the Stravinsky and they all take their positions.
Bob is wearing a light color jacket, black pants with the white stripes,
black shirt and white tie/scarf.
Dominique brought her binoculars and I can see his face clearly. But I
don’t focus to long for his face is not the point.
I prefer enjoying the perfect sound tonight.
All the instruments are perfectly clear and Bob’s voice is at the top.
The public is respectful and reactive, applauding on “Like a rolling
stone” and standing up for “Thunder on the mountain”. The harmonica
solos are well appreciated.
Don’t think twice” is holding the breath of the entire audience.
Dominique is impressed by Bob’s capacity of expressing himself with so
much sensibility.
This might be my highlight of tonight.
Bob will finish “Scarlet town” at the piano.
And as in Prague will leave the stage while the Band keeps on playing
their instruments.
Maybe again a trick for Bob to escape the mob outside.
For me, this was my favorite show.
2 miracle tickets with seats so close to the stage (row H), a great show
in good company!
That could not be better.
My good star was back today.
There will be 2 more shows in Paris.
Don’t you dare miss them!
Good night Bobby in the Gay Paris!
See you tomorrow.

Paris II. April 12.
I promised myself to sleep late but I can’t. Even if my home is
a family home. We talk a lot with Dominique. We eat a lot with Dominique. By 3 p.m. , finally, I move out. A short and direct metro ride to the venue.
I arrive right on time to see Bob walking few steps to the venue for the
sound check. No commotion like in Prague. He seems even relax and
tranquil. He will step inside his bus one hour later. Again relax and
peaceful. Fans should understand that he will never sign an autograph or
accept a photo. This is highly disturbing for him.
Ben arrived in the mid time and we move to Café 'Bonne Nouvelle' with members of the French Bob Dylan Fan club. We discuss some….Bob Dylan stuff then it is time for me
to go for my search of a ticket. I have no more money to spend for a ticket
so I have to believe in miracle! And a miracle did happen. A gentleman hands me a ticket after asking me what “friendly” means. I answered ‘free’. I had the feelings he knew me but after I entered the venue and asked him, he said no. Well! So, thank you so much Yaakov. My seat is a folding chair on the aisle, row 3, right in front the piano. On that Tour
I had never been so close to the stage. I can’t believe my luck! The Band
and Bob walks in right on time. Bob is elegantly dressed with a white
jacket all embroidered with white threads. His pants are black, also
embroidered on the side with white thread. His shirt is black with a
tie/scarf around his neck, white with black dots. The Boys also have
beautiful embroidered jackets, light gray. The show is as good as yesterday
but for me a lot better for I can read on Bobby’s lips and follow each
one of his words. He is playing with “The early Roman kings”, reciting
more than singing. “When I paint my masterpiece” is
excellent. “Scarlet town” is done entirely center stage. “Love sick”
will be the highlight for me tonight. The audience is reacting widely on
Like a rolling stone” ,clapping for each end of a verse. At times he
is laughing with Donnie or has a chat with Tony. Though I found him less
intense than yesterday he is excellent in his expressions. “Don’t think
twice” is again holding the breath of the audience. Not a word is heard
from the Fans. I move one more step for the encore but no one will be able
to reach the rail. Bob’s face is white and his eyes had been shrinking
somehow. I am not sure how much he can see. But he is rarely looking at the
public anyway. He is leaving the stage as the Band keeps on playing. A
routine by now. That was again an excellent performance. I am proud of the
French public, so polite and reactive at the same time. I move to the Café
next door to say goodbye to some friends as I will not do the show
tomorrow! Thank you Bobby. Thank you the Band. Thank you Yaakov. Thank you all the good people. Be well and see you soon on the road in …

Paris III. April 13.
I will miss that show as planed by my agenda. I am a Grandma and I will spend time with my Grandson.
Yaakov will let me know later that he was looking fro me and had an extra ticket as yesterday.
Family first!


Innsbruck April 19.
Few words about MY experience and feelings on the
Vienna shows. First of all I didn’t manage to go inside the venue both
nights. The venue was small (1800) and tickets prices were high. The
cheapest being 170€.People at the venue were not the most friendly. I saw
the videos of the « drama ».
The facts are;
First show.
There is a stage rush at the end of “Serve somebody”,
A Fan in the front uses a flash to take photos.
Bob stops “Blowing in the wind” , move to Tony and Charlie and they start “It takes a lot..”
But Bob stops the song again , moves center stage and try to talk in the mike. But the mike is not open so in a flow of anger he steps back and stumbles on Charlie's guitar amp. By a miracle he manages to recover his stability and moves to the mike again.
For the fist time in a long while he addresses the public. But more scolding the photographers.
Do you want me to pose or to play?”.
play! Play!” scream the fans. Bob then moves back to the piano ans starts again “It takes a lot...
I was just afraid of the stumble , it could have been a real drama. Anything else is a question of perspective. Photos ,no photos ? Photos could be OK if they don’t disturb neither the
performers, neither the public. But how will you manage to discipline a
crowd of few thousands. Counting on the good attitude of the fans is a
nonsense. Already it is distracting when people don’t take their seats
on time or when they move for a beer at the bar ( in the middle of a song)
when they chat incessantly. .. so, controlling the cell phones ?
The rules are made for the wise men and the fools !
On the top of all my CouchSurfing experience was not the best of all,
I didn't have the keys of the apartment.
I had a mattress on the floor of the kitchen.
The couple who hosted me had a sweet baby , so they had no much time to share.
My first night had been agitated so in the afternoon I took a nap on a bench in the park of the
Schönbrunn castle.

I cry a while then move on to the next step…Innsbruck. I reach Innsbruck by Flixbus in the evening. I struggle to walk 1 hour to my CS host. It takes me a long while because in
Vienna, on top of all, I caught a bad cold. My head is like a pumpkin.
Ramona is waiting for me at her house door. She makes a cup of hot
tea and we chat about Australia she had been visiting recently. By 9p.m. we
go to bed, hopping for my cold to go away !Next morning. Ramona has to go
to work at 7 a.m. I am all by myself in the house with the cat Lula. I go buy
food at the supermarket, make myself a nice breakfast and decide to go
out for a walk. The weather is so fine. I don’t want to miss a nice
day out. Innsbruck is surrounded by high mountains, pics covered with
snow. It is breathtaking just to look out. My sunglasses are finally
useful. By 6 p.m. I move to the venue. I’ve been here before. It is a
sport arena. Not the best for the sound but large enough to give
me the opportunity for a cheap ticket. Some Bobcats are here, mainly the
German crew. Some say hello and good luck , some…. Nothing. They ignore
me…so do I. I decide to put some 30€ in a ticket. People here
don’t understand what « friendly » means. They want to sell.
Alright, I don’ feel like having another deceptive night. Austria is
definitively not a « social » country. My seat is on the balcony, right
side of the stage. I see the piano board very well. I am not sure if it is
on time or later but the lights go off and they enter the stage. Bob is all
in black. It is tonight the first night of Passover but ..Mr Dylan is
working.
The sound from where I am is not the best. I just relax, happy to
be in. Globally the show is average. I would say even boring at times. ”Cry
a while” is powerful. So will be “Love sick” with some echo
added, here and there. I remember he used to have that echo on « Ballad».
The public is quiet, not even reacting on “Like a rolling stone”.
The couple next to me is chatting incessantly and they will
leave long time before the end. Bob seems to have a problem with his stool.
He is pushing it few times back. I am now afraid that he will fall on his
ass ! No fun. George is the best tonight. I love George. He will totally
disappear on “Don’t think twice”, not even beating up at the
end. Right after “You’ve got to serve somebody” the lights are off
but I see all of them staying on stage. The Band and Bob are chatting,
right on stage. I wonder if there will be a change or an additional
song…but no, they start quickly with “Blowing in the wind” and
the final “It takes a lot…. “. The bow is back. So I was correct
thinking it was only a trick in Prague and Paris due to the arrangements
of the security after the show. Does Bob go now for a Seder dinner
somewhere in a Synagogue ? Nothing is certain but he was in a hurry to
finish that show. I am satisfied though not over excited. I had a nice
day and a pleasant evening. I walk the 40 minutes back to Ramona’s
house. Going to bed early as tomorrow will be catching a train to Augsburg.
Thank you the good people. Thank you Bobby and the Band. See you all
tomorrow.

Augsburg April 20.
That was a show I was supposed to skip due to the
logistic. Because I found 3 CouchSurfing hosts I told myself that should be
a friendly city. I made an arrangement with Mathilda and I booked a train
to Augsburg and another train from Augsburg to Zurich. Then I will meet J.
at the Zurich train station to finally book a train to Locarno. Reaching
Augsburg at noon, Mathilda is waiting for me at the train station. It is
lucky for she lives far away outside the city center. She prepares a vegan
meal and we try to communicate but her English is limited. We also use
French.
By 6 p.m. we drive to the venue. Far away on the other side of the
city. Mathilda is not a Dylan fan but because she drove me I have the duty
to find her a ticket. 2 friendly tickets in one night....it could be
impossible for some. I have been in that situation before and it always
worked so....This is not Austria but Germany. The chances are better. For
me it works pretty fast. A BD Follower I know hands me a ticket. Thank you so much my friend! Mathilda is not cooperative.
She doesn't know the tricks. By some miracle a nice Lady hands me another
ticket. Both are parkett/floor. We walk inside immediately. The venue is
reasonable size of 4000. My seat is row 19 and by chance (again) no one
will take the seat next to me, on the aisle. I am right next to the sound
board. The view on the stage is not the best but the sound is perfect. Bob
has a light color jacket tonight. A tie/scarf around his neck. There will be
no surprise. It is the same show as Innsbruck.- Some echoes on "Love
sick". - George will disappear totally on "don't think twice"- Bob and the
Band stay on stage, in the dark, just before the encore.- There will be
a bow before they all leave the stage. But because I can dance on my chair,
I feel that the show tonight is a lot better. Unfortunately no karaoke
tonight due to my voice extension(the cold getting to my throat and
lungs).There is not so much reaction from the public, just
a sustainable applause on " thunder", thanks to George. Tonight I liked
"when I paint my masterpiece" "Love sick" "Soon after midnight" "Pay in
blood" The fabulous "Thunder...." By George. And the final "It takes a lot
to laugh..."All other songs were well done .I was focusing on George and
Charlie and Donnie on banjo on "Scarlett town". Bob was just a silhouette
behind the piano. The show is over too soon. I say thanks to Jason at the
sound board and Chris at the lights board. They do a good job. The flow
moves out. Matilda is already waiting for me. She doesn't make any comment.
I am not sure she appreciated. It could be the case from people who don't
understand English and Bob Dylan. She drives me through center town to have
a look at the beautiful architecture. I take a warm shower expecting my
cold to go away for good. I don't regret the Augsburg detour. I had a nice
day and evening. Thank you Bobby. Thank you the Band. Thank you the
techs. Thank you the 2 Good Samaritans tonight. See you next in Locarno.

Locarno Easter Monday April 22.
I wake up early from my Youth Hostel in Zurich ( a lot cheaper than in Locarno). I will meet J. at the train station and we will be traveling together to Locarno. I cash some Swiss francs at the machine ( thanks the machine to give me money!). We have a morning drink(coffee and tea) together with J. All is well. Locarno is a nice little town but expensive. Nonetheless I buy myself some food at the super market. (I can't go without food.)We separate with J. ; he will go his way and I'll go mine. I go straight to the venue as I have to carry my luggage. As I am relaxing on the grass behind the Palexpo (gray and ugly building) I bump into another BD follower ;HO. We chat a while and he will offer me water and an apple ( a day to keep the doctor away).Our ways separate also but he kindly offers me to keep my luggage inside his car.
Cool! I am now free to walk around. Bob and the Band arrive for the sound
check. Bob dressed in his green/blue hoodie Nahoko likes so much.
A TV crew is trying to get some photos and an interview but....they
will finally interview...me! The question is "why Bob is so private and
doesn't give interview or sign autograph?". I have to excuse him for being
paranoid! Oops!I will talk of privacy, respect, Art, performing his songs
on stage for a large public....bla bla bla.I ask if they go to the
show...."oh no! We have other things to do!"):)I relax until 6.30 pm. Then
I start...panicking. I need a free ticket. Money is getting low. A long
security line forms. People are patient and friendly. Tickets are
available but for sell. Some time ago a handsome young man
said he may have an extra ticket. I spot him again at 7.45 p.m.
and YES he hands me that miracle ticket. I rush in at the moment
the lights go off. I sit right where I am, behind the soundboard,
first row of the second division of the floor. I can see Bob Donnie and
Charlie. No view of Tony and George as Jason is blocking my view. It
doesn't matter for the sound is perfect. They have the suits they were
wearing the first night in Paris. Sparkling in the dark. I like that show
very much. "Scarlet town" has a different melody. Faster tune with
different banjo arrangements. Is this Bluegrass? Or sort of? "Love sick"
has some echoes provided by the dexterity of Jason? Bob's voice is
powerful. Playing on the melody of ERK. He seems to enjoy himself. The
public is tranquil. I provide some applause on LARS. and some Fans behind
me follow the clapping. Fans rise to reach the stage but I don't believe
they pass the security for the Encore. Bob and the Band had not leave the
stage, pretending to concert...I know the trick. No surprise! Regular final and bow.4 to 5000 fans are now rolling out. Quite satisfied for what I see and hear. I fetch my luggage, say Goodbye to HO. We promise to meet again in July and I step in Stefano's car for a ride to Bergamo. At 1 a.m. we crash until 6 a.m. next morning. Time for Stefano to go to work, time for me to
catch...a train, a metro and a coach to Pamplona! Hole!

Pamplona April 25.
A long trip on bus from Milan through the south of France took
me to San Sebastian then Pamplona. Alfredo is waiting for me to hand me
the key of his apartment and put me on the bus 18 before cycling to his work. I got lost in the few meters around his building! But then all is fine. I have my private room and bathroom. It is early on the 25th but the weather is overcast and dark. It is almost snowing out. I decide to stay home and rest. I just make a rush to the supermarket for food. Alfredo arrives by 6.30 p.m. He cooks me a Spanish omelet and a we chat around a glass of wine. He tells me his
life. I tell him my adventure with Bobby. Time for an early night.

Pamplona April 26.
The sun is back. I decide to walk the 1 hour walk to the center city. I enjoy
the leisure morning and I find a public library to book and print my bus
ticket to Bilbao. Cool! I then walk to the venue ; Navarra Arena. It is a huge place in the middle of nowhere. I was expecting to find a super market. I bump into a Bob Dylan T-shirt guy. He decides to give me a ride to the gigantic shopping area 10 minutes away. I realize later that I do know that Bobcat from Facebook: Gabriel from Dylan Art. I wait
for Bobby's bus to arrive for the sound check, as I have nothing else to
do. Bob arrives first but wait for the musicians to step out of the bus,
walking next to George to be incognito. He is wearing a tight Jeans , his
same blue/green hoodie and his leather jacket on top. 45 minutes later he
is moving back to his bus surrounded by his 2 bodies and 4 more security
guys are watching the....3 fans still hanging around! A bit of paranoia?
The time is passing slowly. The show will be at 9 p.m. All the shows will be
at 9 p.m. in Spain. I take my sign out. No much luck except a young guy who
has a ticket for sell but doesn't truly promote it. 15 minutes before show
time we star bargaining the price. I end up paying 20€. It is a good seat
in a huge venue. Alexandro is in his 20's from Equator. A Dylan fan of
Nashville skyline”. The young girl next to me, on my left, is also
a Fan but during that show she will get 5 gin tonic! I find the
audience relatively cold. No much reaction on any song. Except a
drunk on my left spiting I don't know what. Same powerful set list. The
public doesn't really demand an Encore (they don't understand it is the
end?) so Bob and the Band leave the stage before coming back for BITW.
I chat with Alexandro and Myriam who decides to give me a ride back
home. Thanks as it would have been 1 hour walk. We promise to keep in
touch through email. Nice young fans. I enjoy their company.
Next trip to Bilbao.

Bilbao April 26.
I go straight to the venue with my luggage as I will take a night bus right after the show to Gijon.
I spend my time sleeping on a bench and listening to some music in a Café.
The only good thing happening for me in that town.
It is a boring city, at least where I am.
By 6 p.m...
I spent 4 hours desperately looking for a ticket but all in vain.
By 10 p.m. I give up.
One of those 20% unsuccessful search and desperate day.
I catch the metro back to the bus station and again my luck had run away.
They close the bus station at 11 p.m. We are few travels waiting literally in the streets for our buses. It is freezing cold, I just want to close my eyes and sleep. As another ordeal my bus is half an hour late.
Finally, with tears in my eyes I step inside the bus and fall asleep.
Bilbao had been a disaster.


Gijon April 27.
I arrive with ALSA bus early morning. Alberto and his girl friend(my
CS hosts) are nice enough to let me in their home so early on a Saturday
morning. We have a warm cup of tea and chat a little , waiting for the
weather to warm up. Then the 3 of us go for a walk along the beach, have
lunch in a special restaurant and walk back home for a nap. It is 9 p.m.
when I wake up. Just time for a snack of cheeses and wine , listening to
some music and we all go to bed. I sleep 7 hours straight until next
morning, which is unusual for me on the road.

Gijon April 28.
Alberto has to go to vote in another city. Tanya and I decide to go
to a market place nearby. It happens to be right next to the venue. The
trucks and buses are already there. Back home for a snack of bread and
cheese and olives. Then we split : Tanya and Alberto stay home, I go for a
long walk. There is a museum next to the venue. An open air old houses
village. I walk in and find that they have a Band on stage; electric
guitar, acoustic guitar, standing bass, banjo and a Lady singing and drumming
a little drum. A pre-show. Cool. I also buy myself the famous "sidra", a
sort of cider. It makes me tipsy and I fall asleep on the grass.
In the afternoon Bob and this Band arrived. I said hello to George who is always
in a good mood. Bobby's bus is heavily protected by fences. The paparazzi
won't reach him!
By 7 p.m. fans start piling around the entrance of the sport arena. Capacity 4000 to 5000.To find a ticket will not be easy. I have to negotiate but in vain. Some people walk inside with extra tickets they don't even want to sell for 10€. Weird! Finally 2 Ladies accept to
let me in with them. The tickets are on their telephone. They say that
they were in Düsseldorf the year previously to see Bob. I say that I have
seen him, too, there, on that Tour. The night is not dark yet when Bob takes
the stage; dressed in black with a white shirt. I had the impression that
he had a hair cut. The sound is not the best, a little muffled. My
view is not the best either and the seats are so tight that I touch my
heavy neighbor at times. No chance to dance. Just to tap my feet. He will
do “Dignity” again, which I love. He puts a lot of feelings in it.
"Dignity could never be photographed".
The public warms up on LARS. Bob starts "love sick" center stage then finishes on the piano. I feel a little sleepy on "Make you feel my love". I had a long day and the public is not the most enthusiastic. Polite. Too much polite. A lot of them are not familiar with the
English language, not even my 2 Good Samaritans. George didn't do his
full solo on " Thunder". "Don't think twice" tonight is boring (for
me). Even if Bob is trying a new phraseology. They leave the stage before
BITW. Right after the song Bob walks center stage, pose and I have the
feeling he wants to bow. But Tony says something and he moves to the
piano for the final. Did he forget he had another song? For the real
final Bob will put his fingers to his mouth as if he wants to give a
kiss, but he will stop with his fingers to his mouth, not sending that
kiss. Then the bow. I had a wonderful time in Gijon making it for the bad
time in Bilbao. Thank you Bobby, the Band, the crew people. Thank you my
hosts. Thank you Ladies for the ticket. See you in Santiago de Compostela.


Santiago de Compostela April 29.
Arriving in the early afternoon I take a walk to the Cathedrals. The streets are packed with people. They look more regular tourists than pilgrims to me. I am not over impressed by the atmosphere; tourists are eating and drinking in the restaurants near by, like anywhere else. By 5.30 p.m. I have a chat with I. in a bodega then meet my CS host Lu living near by. I take a quick shower and walk all the way to the venue.
It is 7.15 p.m. by now. Folks are already entering the venue. I negotiate a ticket and find myself on the floor. But I don't want to take my seat in between people I don't know. At first I am on the left side on the stage, on the aisle, with I. but we find out that the sound is no good so I. will go to the balcony and I find a seat empty on the aisle, on the floor, on the right side closer to the stage. I can see Bob alright on the piano. The sound is not much better though, kind of muffled like in a cave. Bob is wearing a white long jacket. He sounds as good as usual. The capacity is about 4000 to 5000 but some seats are still empty. The audience is polite as for all the Spanish shows. I am having a good time, singing along and stamping my feet. I like the second part of the show better after "Trying to get to heaven" which I find a little boring after "Honest with you ".The second half is more energetic. Public reacts on LARS ,clapping along. Bob leaves the stage after "Serve somebody" which seems to surprise the Band. Tony will follow, then the rest of them. It takes a while before they come back again for BITW.I thought they would never come back! There is absolutely no stage rush. Even folks are leaving the venue all together! I stand up for the final "It takes a lot to laugh...."Finally the audience stands up for the final pose, salute and bow. I don't see much photo being taken. On my side the security is vigilant. We can't even open a cell phone. I will have a ride
back home. Lu is not sleeping. We share some words and we say good
night. Tomorrow is another day....See you all in Porto. Buenas noches.

Porto May 1.
I arrived the day before the show. Checked in a fancy hotel( for my standard) as I am sharing a room with I. I am the first one to arrive at the hotel. As I don't manage to figure out how to take a shower (the switch is tricky)....I will take a bath. I relax and walk the path to the Coliseu Porto ; a sort of theater with the entrance right on a main street like in Barcelona. That will be a change from all the sport Arenas. I believe it fits a lot better the " modern" Bobby: a comfy theater with a respectful public. We go to bed early. Sleep well.
May 1.
Early morning rise for a good buffet breakfast. First good meal for a while for me. I enjoy. Then we split ; I. will go her way and I'll go mine. I will walk the streets of Porto in solitude though not alone for the streets ( with names I can't pronounce) are packed with tourists. I check the back entrance of the Coliseu. The buses are parked on the streets. Bob will have to step in his bus from a car. There is a First May demonstration in the downtown area and the streets are blocked to the traffic. Bob and the Band will arrive 1 hour late.
Maybe too late for the sound check. Anyway Bob steps out of a dark car,
hoodied with his Blue/green sweater, a white windbreaker on the top and
Jeans which seem to be way too big for his skinny legs. He hops in his bus
undisturbed. I NEVER mention my presence to him. It feels incredible to
see that HUGE/little man just being dressed casual and trotting away. I go
back to my hotel, 2 blocks away to be ready for the show. That "encounter"
with Bob completely changed my mood. I am in a much better spirit now. I
am confident I will find a ticket.1 hour later 3 young men approach me
and hand me a ticket. They speak a perfect English but are from
Porto. They ask me if I am a real Fan and if I will not sell that
ticket. Of course I am REAL fan! I propose to walk inside with them. They
are so kind to take me all the way to my seat; on the floor, row 23, seat 6. On the side of the piano.
Stravinsky music intro and George back on his "Boom boom" to notice the Band and Bob to take their space. Immediately there is a standing ovation from the public. The
atmosphere is hot. After "Highway 61" it is obvious that the audience is
a well educated Bob Dylan crowd. The clapping is almost natural for the
beginning of each song but stops as soon as Bob starts
singing. Applauding at the end is always when George beats his last
beat. Whoa! What a great public! Bob feels it and he is definitely looking
towards the public. He will move center stage after almost each song and
will pose ( in the dark) before moving back to the piano. His voice is
clear and more powerful. I can feel his happiness. He is enjoying
himself. I am still not enthusiastic on "Honest with you" and " Trying to
get to heaven" but this is MY problem. Anything else is a Perl. They don't
leave the stage after "Serve somebody" which might be a sign of his good
humor. The last song is a WONDER! BOB moves center stage , pose for
quite a while and....send a real kiss to the audience. The bow .... And
off he goes. For the many followers on that Tour this show was 1 of the
best if not THE best. Thanks to the beautiful public reaction! I love
Porto and Portugal. I certainly will come back on vacations one
day. Thank you all the good people in Porto. Thanks Bobby. Thanks the
Security guards who didn't stop me to watch Bob stepping in his
bus. Thanks the crew people. Thanks the Band. I hope you enjoyed Porto
as much as I did. See ya all in Sevilla!

Sevilla May 3.
I took a long ride bus to Sevilla; 1/2 a day and night, passing through Lisboa, with a 2 hours stop.
I meet Julien-James. Born in Italy from Colombian parents and he is living now in Tenerife.
We chat in Spanish, French, English. In Lisboa we leave the luggage in a locker and we go for a bite to eat.
He is young, fun and " gracious".
The ride to Sevilla is not a pleasant one for it is difficult to sleep. The bus is crowded.
Arriving in Sevilla overtired and stomach sick.
Fortunately my good friend I. invited me to share her hotel room.
I check in before her and use the shower and the bed.
I. will arrive later.
We go for a walk in the beautiful city and we bump into more Bobcats.
At some point I go my way, walking more and more until I am so tired and go back to the hotel. Later I. And myself catch a metro to the venue. It is a huge venue again. I find a ticket for 20 Euro and check my seat. I have a nice view on the stage and the sound is fine.
It is an average show that will not stay in my memory.
After the show I. And I catch a taxi and we go to bed.
Sevilla is a pleasant city with interesting architecture but again, I found it too much crowded.


Fuengiroala close to Malaga May 4.
I have a ride with I. I did book a bus ride but
sometimes it is more fun to travel with Bob Dylan fans...sometimes. I. is
fun, we get along. Fuengirola is a sea resort. We arrive in a Palace
(literally).By a 'simple twist of fate' the view from our balcony is right
to the open air venue. We see the buses arriving for the sound check. We
wait 25 minutes to see Bob stepping outside his bus, trotting towards
the stage, taking the stairs (and not the ramp) and retrieving to his bus
20 minutes later. The sound check was a short one. We heard only " Duquesne
whistle" tune. They will not perform it on stage. We have a pre_show
party at a bar for Julien came from Belgium for the show and it is his
birthday. 7 p.m. time to see what will happen. It is an open air concert. A
ground floor is covered with plastic chairs and they added tribunes on the
back. Even if I don't get in....I could hear. But I am lucky again and
manage to find a good seat on the ground. After a while I stand up and dance. As will do few others. Nice atmosphere. The atmosphere of a festival with a view on the blue sea in the distance. The sky will darkened and the stars appear " I will hold you for a million years to
make you feel my love"...Great show with a specific feeling of festivity. I miss my good friend Ben. I know this is what he loves the best at a BD show. For the encore I move front. Though the security is trying to move people back I keep my stand and enjoy seeing Bob so close now. Julien and I. are right next with me. Great feelings of friendship. This show was maybe not the beat technically but it was a great experience. I love it also. After the show Julien will celebrate his birthday and we will festive far away in the night. The sleep is short as the next show is in Murcia.

Murcia May 5.
I ride with I. and 2 other fans. It is a long way and we are all
tired arriving in Murcia. I have a CS host here. I go to the apartment at 5 p.m. to find out I am right next to the Plaza de Torros. I go out and we can
hear the sound check from the street. I meet with I. and S. We have a bite
to eat and a drink before getting ready for another open air show in a
bull arena. I get a tribune seat but manage to get down the floor and I
find myself a comfortable plastic chair with a view on the piano. The 6
seats on my left are empty. I can do my dancing and my karaoke. I enjoy
myself but the public is "cold". The 3 girls in front of me are incessantly
chatting. Why did they pay for tickets? Bob's voice is not as clear and
powerful and he drinks between the songs. It makes me think that he may
have a cold. Nonetheless I like the favorite songs "My Masterpiece" "Love
sick" "Thunder" "Scarlet town" I am bored on "Don't think twice"....Even LARS don't cheer up the public. The only change will be "Cry a while" again instead of "Dignity" The Plaza de Torros Could have been on fire but...that didn't happen! I move to the front only for the salute. No stage rush tonight. Bob sends a lot of kisses. One fan through him a hat on stage. Bob is amused but don't pick it up. Bye bye! See you for the last and final in Valencia.


Valencia May 6.
Arriving by bus.
My good friend S. Is waiting for me and we walk the way to my CS host.
Manuel is waiting for me and we have a chat and dinner after walking a while in the center city.
The city is original by its architecture.

Valencia May 7.
Next morning I walk more before meeting a BD fan from Barcelona. We have a long chat. I tell my BD stories. I could talk forever…

By 6 p.m. I check the Plaza de Torros. An open air arena again.
A French Lady sells me a ticket for 20€. When I check the seat I realize I am on the floor section.
They give me a blue wrist band.
Manuel and a friend will arrive later. She figured out that 3 seats are empty row 10 center. So we seat there. Nice view on the stage and great sound.
Bob is dressed with a black suit embroidered with red and a red shirt (for a change).
He is in a good mood. The public is reacting nicely.
That will be one of the best shows on that Tour.
Same set list as I expected.
A kiss towards the public at the end.
I said bye to Big Bob and Barron and the technicians.
Who knows when or if we will meet again ?
15 Bobcats gathered in a bar for a last drink and a lot of talks and laughs.
I managed to witness 19 shows on that Tour.
Some excellent , some average but all interesting.
That was a nice Tour.
Thanks to all the good people.
Thank you Bobby.
Take care ….


So globally that tour was a great experience again.
That was 5 weeks on the road.
I traveled mainly by bus with some car sharing here and there with Bobcats.
The night trips by bus were the least comfortable as the day trips were enjoyable.
My accommodations were mainly by CouchSurfing ;
CS is a world group of individuals offering hospitality to travelers for free. The idea is of course to same some money but also to share experiences and life styles in different countries and cultures. I was happy to have great hosts who understood that my priority was to go to the Bob Dylan shows and even some of them were willing to join me. They were happy to cook for me their local recipes and show me the cities they were living in, discussing the particularity of the architecture or history.
I was also happy to share rooms with my good friend I. , (a Bobbycat). We had laugh and joy.
I managed to attend 19 shows out of 24, missing 5.
The best of all for me being Porto and the worst Düsseldorf technically speaking.
The worst experience being Bilbao (against all my expectation).
Thanks to my good friend Julien who was celebrating is birthday that day, the best experience was Fuengirola (which I was not even supposed to attend, considering the difficulty of the logistic).

So... thank you to all the good people for rides, hospitality, food, drinks, tickets, nice words, considerations, fun, joy …
Thank you to The Band, the technicians and roadies and security guards.
And most of all thank you to
Bob Dylan
to make all those experiences and dreams take place in reality.
See you all somewhere on the Avenue...