The concert started at 10:00 P.M. sharp. It seemed more like a Bob Dylan concert than anything else. She played 23 songs in a soft voice and it was for the best. Her voice at 70 sounds much better and her performances have improved a lot. The four-piece band was formed by a bouzouki and guitar musical director, an acoustic bass player, a multi-instrumentalist -- banjo, piano, violin or mandolin -- and her own son Gabriel on percussion.
She began singing the traditional Lily Of The West -- 11 songs (out of 23) played were recorded or performed by Dylan!! -- and this is one of them --, an unusual move for her these days. Maybe a way to answer the EL PAÍS reporter in her interview today. Scarlet Tide and God Is God followed, both new songs from her recent 2008 album. She said she was going to do a mixture of old and new but for some reason, except these two, all the rest were 'oldies'. Silver Dagger, a song about a mistreated woman, was the next one (as well performed with Dylan acompanying her with his harmonica in the early sixties). Then Love Song To A Stranger from 1974 written on tour when she felt desperately alone -- she said. Another trad. one, Railroad Bill which she played dueting with Dylan during the 1976 leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue. For the next number she was left alone on stage to sing one of several songs from his Spanish album from 1975, Llorona. Every time she sang in a language different from English she used a music stand. She played a couple of wonderful tiny Martin guitars -- like the one Dylan borrowed from her to record Blood On The Tracks. She used two to keep them in tune due to the transported capo; a female tour assistant entered after every song. De Colores and then the most successful tune of the night: Adiós ríos, adiós fontes, the Rosalía de Castro poem with music by Amancio Prada. Galician language sounded pretty much better than Spanish from her mouth (Manolo's words -- not mine). Tremendous never-ending applause.
Back to English with Joe Hill (the unionist - I Dreamed I Saw St.Augustine song) and my favourite of the night Long Black Veil, a song about a man charged and executed for murder and whose only and never-told alibi was to have spent the night with his best-friend's wife. Not a hasty upbeat rendition like Joannie used to do but a heart-felt one. Niiice!!! Music stand and sing-along No nos moverán. And then a beautiful Gospel Ship, a country-gospel number like those Bob used to do in the turn of the century -- Somebody Touched Me, Hallelujah I'm Ready To Go, etc. Ask for more?: Farewell Angelina (a Dylan penned song) Even more....?: Pretty-Peggy-O. Ahhh I'm sure you hadn't had enough Dylan, well... Don't Think Twice (she got lost, out of words at the beginning of the third stanza). What about a bit of Leonard Cohen now?: Suzanne, followed by a capella and out of mic Sweet Chariot Ehmm, no, by this time I'm sure you still miss some Dylan stuff, so why not ending the set with...............Forever Young! No, not enough, I'm sure...........................................................................Blowin' In The Wind.
A couple of minutes and on with the encore. Music stand and El preso #9. She gets lost again but the audience helps her along this time. Now she's getting ready for Diamonds & Rust (I guess), a song about her relationship with Bob to round it up.......... buuuuuuuuuuut a voice shouts from the audience Gracias a la vida!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She accepts the challenge -- the band seems perplexed -- but they run into a furious jazzy performance of the song and Joannie remembers every word this time with no music stand to help. She exits the stage again to come back this time, alone, with Here's To You, the soundtrack for the executed anarchists Nicola and Bart film. And that's all folks!
I really didn't expect it. I had a helluva night.