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Joan Manuel Serrat played yesterday his first show of "El vicio de cantar" farewell tour
Joan Manuel Serrat played yesterday his first show of "El vicio de cantar" farewell tour. Photo: Getty Images

Joan Manuel Serrat brings the audience to its feet in his first farewell concert in New York

Fans came to the big city from all over the country, aware that it was a unique opportunity that they could not miss

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The Beacon Theater, on the legendary Broadway Avenue, was the epicenter of attention last night. At its gates, hundreds of fans were already waiting hours before the start of Joan Manuel Serrat's concert, who chose New York as the first stop on his farewell tour “El Vicio de Cantar”. His performance, full of emotion and nostalgia, was a complete success: the packed room rose to its feet to applaud the Spanish music legend. It was the best beginning of the end.

"Today is a great day", some fans recalled at the doors of the theater, using the title of the mythical song by Serrat. Fans came to the big city from all over the country, aware that it was a unique opportunity that they could not miss. A woman confessed to be "very happy and excited" after driving thousands of kilometers to see her idol.

The same city that welcomed Serrat 50 years ago during his period of exile away from Franco's Spain, vibrated with the rhythms of Serrat and his band. For many, it is part of their personal life story, and his songs make up their own soundtrack. “El noi del Poble Sec” performed for the first time in New York at just 21 years old, and many refuse to accept that last night was his last performance.

Serrat, who had been away from the stage for more than two years – his last show was the one of the fateful fall of his friend Joaquín Sabina-, performed twenty songs, in front of an audience that was captivated by the breezes of the “Mediterraneo” of the Catalan singer-songwriter. The 3,000 spectators present knew every verse of the songs, which they sang loudly.

Serrat's hits were accompanied by seven musicians: organ, double bass, violin, clarinet, drums and guitar, in addition to his inseparable pianist Ricard Miralles. The protagonist of the night showed exceptional humor and energy, and interacted with his fans with constant speeches and jokes. With irony, he explained that "we have to leave the characters his place and we take ours", in reference to his need to withdraw from the stage.

As expected, his performance was full of classics such as "Algo personal", “Para la libertad”, “Nanas de la Cebolla”, “No hago más que pensar en ti” or “Señora”. He started the show with his "Dale que dale" and then continued with "Mi niñez", and took the opportunity to recite the poems by Miguel Hernández, a poet who died in Franco's jail to whom he claimed that "remembering him is a duty of Spain and the world".

From their seats, the fans did not stop throwing signs of affection at him, to which Serrat responded with compliments and smiles. At the height of the night, he performed the long-awaited “Penélope”, one of the songs most requested by his fans. After his majestic performance, it is difficult to assume that Serrat is definitively saying goodbye to live music.

In the face of tireless requests from “another, another” to enjoy a final encore, “El noi del Poble Sec” returned to the stage to perform “Aquellos locos bajitos”, with lyrics suitable for the times he’s living. "May the hands advance on the clock, may they grow up and one day, they will say goodbye to us."

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