I went to see Bob Dylan in Granada on July 8th. I took some notes that night, with the TV’s news blaring in the background, and I’ve finally got around to shoving them up here.
I write this sitting in a room of the Hotel Ibis in Granada. A smoking room, at that – quite the luxury. It’s been a long long day. After an hour and a half bus ride through the Hemingway country of southern Spain, I arrived in the jewel of Al-Andalus. Stepping out into the street was like climbing into an oven. It was 39C, and felt every bit of it.
After a burger, it was time to head on my pilgrimage. Fifteen minutes later, I arrived at the arena where I’d find Dylan. The man of the hour, once again. You could feel the passion in the air: young, oid, British, Spanish, we were all here to see him. We queued in the baking heat, once we were in, the opening band provided us with deafening atomsphere. Choking, close, like a humid day in Florida.
Then, 30 minutes later, when I was grabbing a drink, I heard a roar, then another. It was time.
Dylan’s still incredible – let’s start with that. The man can still really play, and he moves with a grace you would never expect. He stood on the stage proudly, a shadow of the 60s that refused to die quietly. His voice, gravelly these days, is just as imposing. It growls through the arena like a freight train coming into a station.
Note: Oh Jesus, Donald Trump just came on TV. “Everybody loved me,” go fuck yourself, Trump.
After singing a string of tunes, Tangled Up in Blue pushed us into the interval. Myself, and around 1000 others filed out into the courtyard next to the arena. A weird, tan place between the arena (which normally fields Granada’s basketball team,) and another huge building next door. A bored cop looked on while almost everyone there lit up joints – I didn’t have any weed on me, so just smoked some cigarettes; as it turns out, that wouldn’t be a problem. The smoke morphed into one, a huge, ethereal, gray consciousness hovering above us.
Turns out, I got stoned anyway, and suddenly it was time for us to head back in for set two. Note: think Trump may be the most slimy, foppish weasel bastard around. The set started with Simple Twist of Fate, progressing up to the triumphant encore: Blowin’ in the Wind. Bookends of an era. An era that was reborn briefly tonight.
Looking back from this hotel room, I still can’t quite believe it. I was here when an era had life breathed back into its aching lungs. Today, Granada was 1960s California, whether it liked it or not.
It was a night I won’t forget. Thanks, Dylan. You’ve still got it, and sometimes, we do too.