Thursday, April 21, 2011


Crowd: "Judas!"

Dylan: "I Don't Believe You!....
You're A Liar!...
Play Fuckin' LOUD!"

The date was May 17, 1966. The venue was The Free Trade Hall in Machester, England. This was Dylan's first tour with The Hawks as his backup band--and his first tour going electric. For years Bob Dylan was the 'voice of a generation' to beatniks and fans of the folk movement. Simple acoustic guitar and harmonica would suffice for his devout followers. He was their folk hero.

This tour, as you can imagine, was blasphemy to his folk fans. Throughout the tour he was heckled as a traitor, his fans felt betrayed, they felt he sold out, and many booed and expressed their dislike in various harsh ways. But many did not realize they were in attendance for the start of a revolution; it was the dawn of a new era; and they were first hand witnesses to the birth of Bob Dylan, ROCK STAR.

Dylan first debuted his electric persona at the Newport Folk Festival in the summer of 1965. It was around the release of the LP Highway 61 Revisted, which included his classic "Like A Rolling Stone," (which was recorded in one take, and is rumored that Dylan said afterwards he'd 'never make a record like that ever again'). By May of 1966, not even a year after Highway 61 Revisted's release, Dylan was prepping to "drop" his next album, Blonde On Blonde, which includes the famous and misunderstood track "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" (Everybody Must Get Stoned!... its a raucous, vulgar drinking song--not a 'drug song'), "Visions of Johanna" (a personal favorite), "Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again," and "Sad Eyed Lady of the LowLands."

The rock gods must have been watching over Dylan, and thankfully this actual concert was recorded on video and released on Bob Dylan The Bootleg Series Volume IV.

It has to be one of the greatest recorded moments in all of rock-n-roll history. Words can never fully describe the mood, the tension, the sounds of the crowd, Dylan's reaction, and the band blasting away those hecklers. "How Does it Feeeeeeeeeel," as Dylan sings in the chorus, seems aimed right at those who would criticize him, pretty much a "fuck you" to his dissenters. Pure genious, Bob.

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