10 de agosto de 2012

El Fausto (2012)

Pablo López (Montevideo, Uruguay)

Jon Lord (1941-2012) Gracias...

Osvaldo Fattoruso (1948-2012) Gracias...

Bob Dylan en Argentina (Abril 26-27-28, 2012)

The old sorcerer of Rock and Roll spread his tricks again in Buenos Aires

Bob Dylan
Gran Rex Theatre
(Buenos Aires, Argentina, Uruguay)
April 26th-27th-28th, 2012

The previous visits to South America… and Argentina

It was the fifth visit of Bob Dylan to South America.

The first one was to Brazil in 1990 when he played the Hollywood Rock Festival among a wide range of local and international artists.

The first time in Argentina was a year later, in 1991, when he sold out three nights at Obras Sanitarias, a 4,700 people basketball arena (Argentine fans are extremely loyal to classic rock and the presence of one of the really big names in the music scene in Buenos Aires received the response it deserved). A particular memory I have from that first coming was the fact that Bob avoided the limo that was waiting for him at the Ezeiza international airport and took a taxi to the hotel as a regular guy. When the cab driver was interviewed by the press afterwards, he said that Dylan was very polite, very generous with the tip and asked him several questions about the city. When the man asked Bob about his occupation he simply replied “I look… and sometimes write and paint things about what I feel about it…”. The shows at Obras were… how to say it… weird for Argentine fans that had been waiting for decades to see his hero playing live. Not only the renditions of the classics were extremely hard to recognize but also was almost unidentifiable the version of “Wiggle Wiggle” from the album he was supposedly presenting during those nights (“Under The red Sky”).

The second visit to Argentina was no less than memorable, when the Rolling Stones (the first major rockers who realized the kind of too overwhelming energy that Argentine audiences offer to their idols in live concerts, paving the way to many mainstream artists that later took advantage of that, deciding the release of commercial DVDs of their shows made here: The Police, Madonna and AC/DC, among others) coincided with Bob in South America on April 1998 and, having recorded “Like a Rolling Stone” for their “Stripped” album, invited Dylan to open their shows in Buenos Aires’ River Plate football stadium and to appear as a guest artist during their performance of the song. A very serious Dylan warmed the stage in both occasions with an 11-song supporting set and went back smiling to the stage to offer an awesome (though short) contribution to the Stones (“Well… how to move on after that” said a respectful Mr. Jagger when Dylan left the stage amidst a standing ovation from a 70,000 standing-clapping attendance the night I was present).

The third landing of our hero in Argentine soil took place in 2008 when he sold 25,000 tickets out of a total 45,000 seats from the Velez Sarsfield football stadium (the second largest in Buenos Aires city). The first song (a triumphant version of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35) was followed by an unforgettable and touching version of “Lay Lady Lay”. Lots of fathers and sons in the audience enjoyed a very good show organized in maybe not the best venue available in Buenos Aires for the current Dylan’s artistic offering. After the unexpected three-song encore (Dylan normally closed their shows of the Latin American leg of that tour with just two last songs) comprised of “Stuck Inside Of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”, “All Along The Watchtower” and the unavoidable “Blowin’ in the Wind” we all left the stadium that night with mixed feelings. On one hand the performance from Bob and his band had been impeccable (as always) but, on the other, the show had been rather “cold” not only for the weather (it was almost the beginning of the Autumn in Buenos Aires) but for the lack of an adequate venue for the event (a half-filled open air football stadium for such a deep artist with so many intimate feelings to transmit was undoubtedly a bad choice from the promoters). Maybe the Oscar prize won by Dylan for the song “Things Have Changed” in 2000, that was present at the show, from his VIP position over Bob’s piano, felt something similar…

The 2012 shows. The perfect stage in town for good old Bob…

Three Bob Dylan shows between Thursday and Saturday in the Gran Rex theatre (a residency which was later expanded through the addition of a fourth concert on Monday, due to an unexpected popular demand) were like having the chance of sharing the songs of the right artist, at the right moment, at the right place. The Gran Rex is a 3,200 seat theatre with the second best acoustics in the city, after the classical art oriented and world-class Colón theatre. As Claudio Kleiman, one of the best music journalists in Argentina, summed up in a review for the local version of Rolling Stone magazine, these concerts, thanks to the inspired band that supported Dylan and an extremely good-mood Bob, were like a kind of epiphany that left all of us in the audience walking back home 20 inches above the ground, floating in the air…

The shows included 17 songs which focused (with the exception of, in my opinion, the peak of the night “Tangled Up in Blue” which was played almost theatrically by Bob, showing himself as an old Southern crooner, aided by his harmonica) in some of the classics from the 60s and tunes from the records that followed “Time Out Of Mind”. The only songs which were played over all of the four nights were “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” (the opening song which played pretty well its role of showing the crowd that the band was determined to burn the house down each night), “Tangled Up in Blue”, “Highway 61 Revisited”, “Thunder on the Mountain” and the succession of three classics “Ballad Of A Thin Man”, “Like A Rolling Stone” and “All Along The Watchtower” which virtually knocked the crowd out before the (predictable, but essential) final encore of “Blowin’ in the Wind”).

Extremely well dressed with a black suit and a white hat, Dylan constantly went and came back on stage from his old Korg organ to his guitar and his harmonica, always giving rare hints to his musicians about the direction he wanted to provide to each song at the much unexpected moment. The good mood from Dylan and the band was evident. Hard-to-smile Bob showed his teeth several times in Buenos Aires, as if approving the whole performance, the friendly dialogue established with the rest of the band and the relaxed and enjoyable vibe created all over the place.   

The only words which emerged from Dylan were devoted to introduce the band: the talented Charlie Sexton who clearly plays a lead role from his electric guitar, Stu Kimball who makes his moves between the guitars and the mandolin, Donnie Herron who played wonderful pieces of steel guitar, banjo, violin and guitar, and the spine of the group: the meticulous George Recile on drums and Bob’s old mate, Tony Garnier, on both acoustic and electric basses.

After the final song “Blowin’ in the Wind” came to an end Bob called his musicians to the front of the stage to finally say goodbye to the public. The whole band and Dylan stood there motionless for several seconds, standing there with serious faces, no smiles at all, almost like challenging the crowd as a gang before a kind of confrontation, when in fact they had just only turned our brains and our hearts upside down with their music (and their talents) as a lethal weapon over the course of the previous two hours.

The old Master did it again. It may have been the last stop of the Never Ending Tour in Argentina but it’s alright. We saw it all, as we never thought we could. After 50 years on the road Dylan showed that he is still at the top of his game as these concerts with no doubt will be remembered as some of the best rock and roll shows ever witnessed in our country and, for many reasons, were by far the best performances from Bob in Argentina.

Hat’s off for Mr. Dylan.

Not one of us attending these shows (including my new Italian friend Roberto, who came to South America just to see Bob playing live overseas) are to be the same after this unforgettable demonstration of music, poetry, commitment and art, at its highest expression.

Marcelo Olguín
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)


Agosto 26, 2012

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
It Ain't Me, Babe
Things Have Changed
Tangled Up In Blue
Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
Trying To Get To Heaven
High Water (For Charley Patton)
Spirit On The Water
The Levee's Gonna Break
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
Highway 61 Revisited
Love Sick
Thunder On The Mountain
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Like A Rolling Stone
All Along The Watchtower
Blowin' In The Wind

Agosto 27, 2012

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
Girl From The North Country
Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
Tangled Up In Blue
Honest With Me
Desolation Row
Cry A While
Make You Feel My Love
The Levee's Gonna Break
Love Sick
Highway 61 Revisited
Simple Twist Of Fate
Thunder On The Mountain
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Like A Rolling Stone
All Along The Watchtower
Blowin' In The Wind

Agosto 28, 2012

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
To Ramona
Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
Tangled Up In Blue
Summer Days
Not Dark Yet
Ballad Of Hollis Brown
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
Highway 61 Revisited
Forgetful Heart
Thunder On The Mountain
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Like A Rolling Stone
All Along The Watchtower
Blowin' In The Wind

Paul McCartney en Uruguay (Agosto 15, 2012)

Good old Paul brought all his tricks to a tiny place in South America

Paul McCartney
Centenario Stadium
(Montevideo, Uruguay)
April 15th, 2012

Uruguay is one of the smallest countries in South America. Located between Argentina and Brazil (countries from which it deeply depends from an economic standpoint), the place has always been well recognized in this part of the world for the high level of its people’s education and a remarkable interest for political issues, football matches and arts in general… Considering those characteristics of the country and Paul’s intention for this leg of the South American tour of playing small countries never visited by him or the Beatles in the past (with the exception of Brazil, where “unusual” musical cities such as Florianópolis and Recife were chosen), Uruguay seemed like a perfect place to “let the ball begin rolling” for the tour.

The show was organized in the Centenario, the main football stadium in the capital city (Montevideo) and most of the infrastructure had to be imported from Argentina, Chile and Brazil (much larger rock and roll markets) considering Uruguay’s inexperience in this class of high-level productions. 50,000 tickets were sold out in terms of minutes and the consequent eBay black market led to transactions at up to 10 times the face value of the tickets (mine included). A week before the event the walls of the city were covered by very few posters announcing the show (honestly it was almost unnecessary, from a marketing point of view) but lots of the usual ad from Paul supporting the Vegetarian cause written in Spanish.

Considering that Uruguay has 3 million people population and is estimated that around 5,000 Argentineans and Brazilians arrived in Montevideo just to see the show, around 1.5% of Uruguayan citizens had the chance of attending the concert. Furthermore, Montevideo City’s local government decided to install a big screen in a park where more than 10,000 people are estimated to have seen the last final hour of the show (as agreed with Paul’s producers) and the only two Uruguayan provinces with fiber optic telecommunication technology made the same agreement and opened up football stadiums to allow local people to enjoy the last part of the event for free.

After an unexpected 30-minute waiting (the usual photographs and memorabilia from different eras of Paul’s career shown in the screens on and on, increasing the audience’s expectations), finally, at 9pm, Paul came into the stage with a blue jacket to receive the loudest standing ovation ever witnessed in Uruguay. “Hello Goodbye” was a triumphant opening for the show which was followed by “Junior’s Farm” and “All my Loving” which got all the people up in their feet to which Macca responded with a “Hola Montevideo! Buenas Noches Uruguayos!” (“Hello Montevideo! Good Evening Uruguayans!”) in a very decent Spanish.

After the sound became better and the band succeeded in warming the ambient (the night was particularly cold) with versions of “Jet” and “Got to Get You Into My Life”, Paul took off his coat and made a rendition of “The Night Before” explaining that it was the first time he was playing that Beatles tune in South America. The vibe was definitely fully created in the place and then Paul approached Wings’ “Let Me Roll It” including the wonderful Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” snippet. The “Paperback Writer” version was fabulously played by the band with Paul (as he told the crowd) using the original guitar with which the song was written and played back in the 60s.

The energetic “Back in USSR” was the first song played for the people seeing the show outside the stadium, after which an extremely professional Paul said in Spanish “The people from Maldonado and Rivera are watching us now on the telly… Welcome!”. Then a very-rocky version of “I’ve Got a Feeling” showed both Macca and his band at their very top form. Then Paul greeted again people inside and outside the stadium, this time including the Argentine people who (as he was informed by the production team) had come especially from Buenos Aires, Argentina (including my friend and me… who slept very few hours that weekend and took a three-hour ferry to cross the Río de la Plata river that separates my city Buenos Aires and Montevideo).
After the expected (and extremely moving) tributes to John (“Here Today” at whose end Paul turned back to the screen opening his arms, as trying to emotionally embrace his old buddy) and George (“Something”, as usual with the ukulele opening, backed by wonderful shots of Harrison on screen) our hero even had a moment to mention the Uruguayan football player Luis Suárez (an Uruguayan idol), who is currently the main star figure of Liverpool, the British football team (ironically the rival of Everton, the club supported by Paul since his childhood). 

There were two peaks moments in the night.

The first one was a highly inspired performance of “Yesterday” with thousands of cell phones illuminating the stadium, converting the open-air venue in a kind a “sacred ceremony” rather than a merely rock concert played by the #1 Rock and Roll star alive in the planet.

The second one (in my opinion the best) was “My Valentine” including the world premiere on a live stage screen of the recently launched video featuring Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman, a magical combination of a superb love song (dedicated by Paul to his new wife Nancy) and an extremely touching artistic visual content, brilliantly played by two of the cutest and most talented actors of their generation. “You can see that video on Youtube right now… Yeah! We logged it man!” joked Paul after the song.

The night was perfect. The idea of playing never-before visited places was very appropriate to please (at least forty years later) the love and devotion of thousands of Beatles’ lovers who had never even dreamed of seeing Paul performing live in their hometown. When we were getting out of the stadium with my good pal Eduardo, everything was happiness, with smiles and tears all over the place, coming from entire families, couples, friends and people from different generations, exchanging that positive energy that one feels very profoundly, after having passed through a deep emotional moment in life. As these four lads from Liverpool taught the Universe, “In the end, the Love you take is equal to the Love you make”.
Marcelo Olguín
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)


Hello, Goodbye (The Beatles)
Junior’s Farm (Wings)
All My Loving (The Beatles)
Jet (Wings)
Got to Get You into My Life (The Beatles)
Sing the Changes (The Fireman)
The Night Before (The Beatles)
Let Me Roll It (Wings) (Comienzo de Foxy Lady)
Paperback Writer (The Beatles)
The Long and Winding Road (The Beatles)
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings)
My Valentine
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’m Looking Through You (The Beatles)
Two of Us (The Beatles)
Blackbird (The Beatles)
Here Today
Dance Tonight
Mrs. Vandebilt (Wings)
Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles)
Something (The Beatles)
Band on the Run (Wings)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles)
Back in the U.S.S.R. (The Beatles)
I’ve Got a Feeling (The Beatles)
A Day in the Life (The Beatles) (including Give Peace a Chance)
Let It Be (The Beatles)
Live and Let Die (Wings)
Hey Jude (The Beatles)


Lady Madonna (The Beatles)
Day Tripper (The Beatles)
Get Back (The Beatles)

Encore 2:

Yesterday (The Beatles)
Helter Skelter (The Beatles)
Golden Slumbers (The Beatles)
Carry That Weight (The Beatles)
The End (The Beatles)