The expectation to discover the new musical facet of Guillem Gisbert in his post-Manel era spoke clearly of the speed with which, last September, all the tickets for the presentation concert he gave this Friday in a packed Apolo hall for listen to ‘Balla la mazurka!’. “Tinc al davant la línia dura de Manel, us ho vull agrair,” Gisbert joked when remembering the rapid sale of tickets, weeks before publishing the first songs.

Far from surprises, the eleven songs finally published last March did not clash in the imagination of the followers of the Barcelona quartet, whose former members were present last night in the room to support their former partner. On stage, in addition to Gisbert, there were Jordi Casadesús (formerly La Iaia, bass and guitar), Arnau Grabolosa (guitar, bass and keyboards) and Glòria Manuel on drums and percussion, all located in the very first line of the stage, small as a psychedelic living room illuminated by warm flashing lights.

As he had already announced, Gisbert did not resort -almost- to the wild card Benvolgut to rouse the public, nor to the nostalgia of the ukulele. The intention of the Barcelona musician with this point and part of his career was to distance himself from the Manels, with whom he shared a project for 15 years, so he gave the spotlight to his new stories, musical stories from electronic to folk that They walk through Barcelona, ​​nostalgic looks at the years of university uncertainty, love stories or evocations of the artist’s work crossed by characters drawn through long stanzas and slow cadences with which the composer wanted to please the public, who greatly appreciated the effort. .

With these rules of the game established, there was little to play with the new material live, beyond some variations in the order, which did not prevent surprises such as the free version of the musical Anyone Can Whistle, by Stephen Sondheim, with which Gisbert started the performance, he alone at the piano, after making his appearance between the rolls of a fanfare from a major Fallera orchestra. Tots a casa xiulen, Gisbert sang to the applause, to continue with the dreamlike dialogue of Les dues torres, between the Arts hotel and the Mapfre tower that draw the profile of the Barcelona coastline from the Olympics, a tune that a part of the audience showed they knew, like they would do with other topics.

He dances the mazurka! that gives the album its title, he continued the recital by repeating like a litany “balla la mazurca” while Gisbert left the side of the stage to walk around the stage with a disdainful air before hanging up his guitar and performing Empatia total, dark pop for the complex prose of the song “Today you hate me, tomorrow you will call me brother/Then you will have understood that you are not so different from me”.

“Tonight begins the culmination of the work of a couple of years”, said Guillem Gisbert before lowering the pulsations to a minimum with the oscurantist picture set to music Els gegants de ciutat (Oil on canvas), to raise the flight to renglón followed thanks to Waltzing Matilda, the album’s first single and one of the most acclaimed and chanted songs last night, which included vocoder arrangements by Arnau Grabulosa.

The game continued with Gisbert explaining how Matilda’s story continued while the audience, complicit, ordered silence to listen to the master of ceremonies, who with a thin face and contained euphoria – this was the majority tone of the evening – gave way to Prou ​​de plors , second version of the night based on Neil Diamond’s Dry Your Eyes, well defended by the quartet.

Miracle a les plans, a melancholic loop of student frustrations, gave way to the nice Un home realitzat, a tribute to Rafael Azcona and the blank pages accompanied by the sound of the harpsichord at the beginning and the audience’s choirs to fall back into lament by Hauries hagut to come dominated by the beat of the synthesizer, like the bucolic Cantiga de Montse, well known by an audience that came with their homework done and the desire to prove it.

We had to wait for the encores to hear something by Manel, Ai Yoko, which Gisbert performed alone on the piano, as at the beginning of the concert, to welcome the band back with Les aventures del general Lluna and its almost eight minutes of folk rhymes set to the rhythm of guitar, piano and harmonica around the neck like Bob Dylan. Estudiantentina, the Las Tunas interpretation of Miracle a les Planes performed acoustically with castanets and ukulele, closed a great night for both Manel’s followers and Gisbert’s neophytes, happy after demonstrating that he is capable of embarking on a solo path.