The night of 22 May was unforgettable. We had the night of our lives
at the concert in the Faculty of Medicine at the Universitat Complutense de Madrid
1968 was a year of ferment in Madrid and one of the high points was
the concert given by
on 18 May, a
concert that has gone down in history with the song titled “18 de maig a la villa”
. Wanting to
celebrate the anniversary, students in Madrid organized events
throughout the week, including roundtables, exhibitions and a concert,
featuring a performance by
On Thursday evening I visited the two exhibitions. There were stirring
photographs of the concert and some fascinating documents relating to
the event, such as the dean's statement to the police and the judge,
press cuttings from the period, songs banned by the censor, posters,
album covers, original paintings by Miró and Tàpies used to illustrate
the covers of recordings by
audiovisuals, and so on.
The concert hall was packed to the rafters. The organizers had set up
giant screens in the entrance, so that as many people as possible
could see the concert, which was also broadcast live online.
It was wonderful to see eleven television channels covering the event,
just as it was a joy to see how well Raimon was treated by the media
in Madrid, with the usual exceptions.
At the concert we met various Catalans who have taken up residence in
Madrid, including Manuel Campo Vidal and Enric Sopena; Catalans who
had come to Madrid specially for the concert, such as Jordi
García-Soler, Ramon Muntaner and Rafel Ribó; and Madrid natives, such
as Caco Senante, Rosa León, four government ministers, one former
minister and the Valencian Jordi Sevilla. The audience included older
people who may well have been at the original concert in 1968 and
young people, probably students at the Complutense. To add to the fun,
there was a large group at the entrance, waving placards and chanting,
complaining that the generation of ’68 had betrayed them and
demonstrating against the Bologna Process.
stage, he was greeted with a three-minute ovation. His set was serious
and honest and made no concessions to nostalgia. It was the same
concert he has given elsewhere this year, with a few of his old hits
but mainly new material and four previously unreleased songs. To end
the concert, he sang the inevitable “18 de maig a la villa”. First,
lyrics in Spanish and quite a few people followed the words in the
program, using their mobile phone as a torch.
As was to be expected, the audience demanded several encores, which
included some of the old favorites, ending with “El Vent”
, to which the
Madrid audience sang along.
is a vital
part of our culture, the sort of artist we would have to invent if we
did not already have him.