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Bootleg Series 6: Concert at Philharmonic Hall

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Audio CD, March 30, 2004
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Bootleg Series 6: Concert at Philharmonic Hall + Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Bootleg Series Volume 5) + The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert"
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The next installment in the Dylan Bootleg Series is a Halloween night show recorded 10/31/64 at NYC's Philharmonic Hall and originally intended for release as a live album. Dylan biographer Robert Shelton calls this show "one of his greatest concerts," and it's certainly got its share of firsts and highlights, including the only known live version of Spanish Harlem Incident ; the premiere of the songs Gates of Eden and If You Gotta Go, Go Now , and four duets with Joan Baez. With a 52-page book.

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The brooding Bob Dylan of the 1966 live collection in the Dylan bootleg series gave way to an even more hooded character on the second live bootleg album from 1974. Which makes the jump back to a younger Dylan in this set all the more jarring. Here is Dylan as an eager-to-please 23 year old with nothing between him and his worshippers but a guitar, a harmonica, and, for four songs, his lover, Joan Baez. In marked contrast to the acerbic electric Dylan of the mid-'60s and the tight-lipped living legend of the mid-'70s, here is Dylan as entertainer. Joking and bantering with the crowd, Dylan deals up some favorites ("The Times They Are A-Changin'," "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"), but is already shedding his earnest folkie persona; imagine another artist a mere two years into his career declining to perform a hit on the scale of "Blowin' in the Wind." But Dylan was moving fast. Having completed the last all-acoustic collection of his early years three months before the Philharmonic concert, he would record the half-electric/half-acoustic Bringing It All Back Home three months later. Three of the four acoustic songs from that album are presented here, as are a handful of then-unreleased songs, including "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues," "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" (which was soon given a rock arrangement), and a protest-period remnant, "Who Killed Davey Moore?" Had Concert at the Philharmonic Hall appeared the year it was recorded, it would been seen as a respite for folk fans to catch their collective breath before Dylan reappeared in his rock & roll Rimbaud guise. Heard for the first time decades later, it's simply a testament of his gifts as a showman and songwriter. --Steven Stolder

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 30, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000DG069
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,997 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Mike London on June 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 6, a bootleg that has been around for decades, is a Halloween show from the Philharmonic Hall in New York City. One of the most important shows in Dylan's early career, this show gave quite an overview at the time from Dylan's ever-growing song book, including new, bizaare songs that would show up within a few months on Dylan's fifth LP, BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME. While much has been made of the later electric performance of the 1960s, it is here that you can see how good Dylan really was with just a guitar, a harmonica, and the signing girlfriend. Covering such a broad overview, Dylan shows all the budding facets of his art up to this time, from the protest songs (including ones that never made the studio records), the more introspective material, and the radical new direction Dylan was pursuing with the three songs from the unreleased (and unrecorded, for that mater) fifth album, BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME. He proves him a very masterful solo performer. If you like Joan Baez, you greatly enjoy the four songs she performs. If you don't like Baez, this won't win you over.
This 1964 concert, the first all acoustic performance (barring MTV UNPLUGGED, which also has a band) to enter Bob Dylan's discography, captures Dylan at a peak period as he was making a transitional move into rock and roll. Historically significant, funny, and overall Dylan, this installment of the Bootleg Series show a new side of early Dylan, and as VoodooLord7 points out, quite a contrast from the 1966 Manchester concert. What is so startling about this concert is how Dylan comes across as giddy, young, and, overall, a Minnesota boy just honoured to be playing at such a distinguished venue.
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on April 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Much has been made through the years about Bob Dylan's early electric concerts -- more than simply legendary, they can almost be called mythical. Consequently, his earlier acoustic concerts are very often downplayed and under celebrated. On this, the first all-acoustic live album to enter Dylan's massive official canon, it is overwhelmingly clear just how vibrant and simply great these performances were; their immense historical importance is also on awe-inspiring display. This '64 show at New York's Philharmonic Hall was Dylan's big show of the year -- a Halloween show in which Columbia Records was putting its new star on display. It turned out to be one of the most important shows in Dylan's career -- and maybe even one of the best.
Another thing that stands out is how different these performances were from all subsequent Dylan performances. Dylan seems positively jovial throughout the show -- giggling, making jokes, introducing songs, playing with and teasing his audience. This is a stark contrast to the cynical, aloof Dylan that was on display in Don't Look Back, only a handful of months after this concert was recorded. It will also be a genuine shock to anyone familiar only with Dylan's current concerts, in which he talks to the audience only in order to introduce his band -- if, indeed, he does so at all. There are several reasons for this. Unbeknownst to the audience, Dylan's most recent acoustic album -- the then-three-months-old Another Side of Bob Dylan -- was to be his last. Dylan was only a few months away at this point from recording his first mostly-electric album, Bringing It All Back Home; soon after, he would both bring the electricity to his live shows and abandon the protest movement to focus on personal narratives and surreal esoterica.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
It's not that I didn't like the last Bootleg from 1975, it's just that this show from '64 showcases Dylan at the peak of his acoustic genius. This is before he went electric and started messing with the music and lyrics of his songs when he played them live. His voice is top form throughout the 19 song set, which features 4 amazing duets with Joan Baez. Aside from those 4 songs, the rest of the set is just Bob with his guitar and harmonica. The newly remastered sound is a wonder to behold. It truly feels like Dylan is standing right in front of you while the disc plays. The setlist features a bunch of my personal favorites, but to me the highlight is "It's allright ma". When the line where he sings "Even the president of the united states sometimes must have to stand naked" comes, it gave me chills, only because this show was recorded less than a year after Kennedy was killed, and the U.S. was on the verge of a full scale was in Vietnam. Bob is also unusually chatty with the crowd, who after every song in the set gave out thunderous cheers, especially after Dylan and Baez end her appearance with a great "It aint me babe". My advice to any fans is simply go out and buy this double disc right now.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R. P. Storch on October 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
For me Dylan was always there but I didn't get it. I mean Johnny Cash told me that Bob Dyaln was a great song writer, But I just never got what all the Dylan fuss was about.

Then I check out this cd.

Now I get it. Man do I get it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian W. Fairbanks VINE VOICE on October 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Bob Dylan may be alone on stage at Philharmonic Hall during most of this 1964 concert, but he's friendlier, even gregarious at times, as he jokes with the audience and even requests their assistance when he forgets the opening verse of "I Don't Believe You." He's an entertainer here, a role he seems to have reclaimed in recent years as he barnstorms the world on the Never Ending Tour.

Otherwise, this concert finds him transitioning from the relatively idealistic troubadour of "The Times They Are-A Changin'" to the more cynical, introspective poet of "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)." The latter performance is the highlight of this collection. Dylan would perform this song many times in the decades to come, but only rarely as effectively as he did in 1964 when it was new and still five months away from its appearance on "Bringing It All Back Home." Dylan clearly enunciates each word, no doubt impressed with his achievement, but also intent on having the audience experience it fully.

Joan Baez turns up for four songs, the best of which is the duet on "Mama, You Been On My Mind." But the most memorable moments are when Dylan is on his own, offering excellent readings of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."

I prefer later, post-64 Dylan and, therefore, rank this set below the previous entries in "The Bootleg Series." But it's a terrific concert and makes for a particularly intriguing listening experience when one contrasts it with the 1966 and 1975 concerts.

Brian W. Fairbanks
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Bootleg Series 6: Concert at Philharmonic Hall
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