149 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get thee behind me, Satan!
1966, Royal Albert Hall Manchester, England. Bob Dylan straps on an electric guitar to the chagrin of all his fans. Yes, it's the infamous Judas concert. This also is the best-recorded Dylan concert you could hope to find. The quality, both technical and musical, is superb. This may be billed as a "bootleg" but the sound is nearly that of a studio album.
The first CD...
Published on November 23, 2002 by John
21 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How does it feel?
First let me start by saying I've been a fan of Dylan for many years. However, ever since I bought my first Dylan album I have followed the valued advice of those who came before me: "Never-Ever buy a live Dylan Album". Obviously , I disregarded this advice and bought this one! This is by no means a bad CD it's just that after reading all of the hype on this...
Published on December 16, 1998
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149 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get thee behind me, Satan!,
This review is from: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert" (Audio CD)1966, Royal Albert Hall Manchester, England. Bob Dylan straps on an electric guitar to the chagrin of all his fans. Yes, it's the infamous Judas concert. This also is the best-recorded Dylan concert you could hope to find. The quality, both technical and musical, is superb. This may be billed as a "bootleg" but the sound is nearly that of a studio album.
The first CD of course is Dylan's acoustic set. For seven songs, it is just Dylan, an acoustic, and a harmonica and it is nothing short of amazing. Dylan does not make one false step in the entire set, perhaps wanting to give the old folk days a good send off before ripping into R 'n R. He seems to be playing with a new sense of vigor, although it may be just excitement at not knowing how the crowd will respond to the coming electricity (he had had bad experiences when first plugging in at the Newport Festival - he had to come back and do some acoustic numbers to calm the crowd down). Even the song Mr. Tambourine Man, which I never liked that much, has new life breathed into it
The second CD is Dylan's electric set, backed by a full band. When I first listened to this, I expected to hear loud booing right away but I was surprised that the audience not only claps loudly for Dylan, but actually laughs when he jokes at the beginning of I Don't Believe You ("This is `I Don't Believe You', it used to be like that (referring to acoustic) now it goes like this") before ripping into the song. I was expecting an immediate outcry and I admit I was slightly disappointed that the much-hyped Judas concert was turning out to be nothing like I thought. Then at the end of Tom Thumb's Blues the crowd really starts to lay into Dylan, interrupting him when he talks by clapping loudly as well as heckling him (I could barely make out someone yelling "Sell out!!"). It really gets bad before Like a Rolling Stone though. After the clapping for the previous song dies down there is a moment of nearly complete silence and someone yells clearly "Judas!" and is met with rousing applause from the rest of the crowd. When that dies down you can hear someone once again yelling about how Dylan has "sold out". "I don't believe you" Dylan replies, then right before the song he says "You're a liar!" The crowd is so loud at this point that Dylan turns to the band and yells "Play f**king loud!" And they certainly do! The version of Like a Rolling Stone that follows is something to behold. Dylan's singing is fueled by the crowd's boos and insults and is without a doubt his best performance of the song to date.
Ignoring the historic significance of the concert, the music itself on the electric half is Dylan's best. Every song is infused with new energy, and puts the original versions to shame. Perhaps it is because of the crowds boos, the novelty of performing with electrics for the first time, but whatever it is you can't deny it is something special. If I had to pick favorites, I would pick everything from Leopard-Skin Pill-box Hat through Rolling Stone. The whole thing is great, but the band seems to get more energized and louder as the evening goes on (again, probably propelled by the reaction from the crowd). This is nothing short of essential listening for any fan of good music.
Whether you buy it to hear the rock and roll history, the great music, or just because you are a Dylan completist, the reason does not matter. What matters is that you buy this. It is an experience that you won't soon forget.
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review #141,
This review is from: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert" (Audio CD)I'm not sure what I can say that hasn't been said in the 140 Amazon reviews that have preceded this one, but that didn't stop person #140 or #139 from spouting off, so I'll be darned if it's going to stop me! This particular performance, and the 'real' bootleg that circulated for many years before Columbia finally gave it an offical blessing, probably has as much written about it (or more) than The Beatles first appearance on Ed Sullivan, or the tragic Stones concert at Altamonte. I suppose only Woodstock has garnered more attention, and it took over a dozen bands to eclipse it.
Now I'm not a Dylan junkie... I have owned a number of his vinyl discs down through the years, exclusively his post-motorcycle accident productions. In fact, his re-emergence LP, 'Nashville Skyline' was the first one to catch my interest, mainly because in 1969 I was 15 years old and ready to turn an ear to what I perceived as more 'sophisticated' music, and partly because of all the hype that accompanied his return. So a large part of the appeal in owning this particular live collection is owning a bit of that earlier epoch, the pre-motorcycle accident era, in Dylan's portfolio. I actually find that to be a bigger part of the appeal than the alleged historical importance.
To appreciate the extent of the folk crowd's dissent with Dylan going electric, it is essential to hear just how staid this audience was prior to the power being turned on. Throughout the acoustic set they are the picture of propriety. So when Dylan fires up 'Tell Me, Momma' with The Hawks/The Band, one realizes how goading the several catcalls (all of which receive audience support) and slow-clapping really are. As the 1960's would progress, such timid discord would seem frivolous. What is truly entertaining is to hear Dylan handle it, first seducing the crowd into stopping their slow-clapping by babbling, and then saying "...if you only just wouldn't clap so hard". He of course answers the famous "Judas" taunt by bantering with his accuser, and then finally drowning it all out with the very object of their scorn, instructing The Band to "play loud". All in all, however, the blaring rock cords are met with loud applause from the vast majority of those in attendance, and the actual cat-callers are few. Perhaps the more astute members of the audience knew they were in for it when, during the acoustic set, Dylan converted electric numbers (such as 'Desolation Row') from 'Highway 61 Revisited' to acoustic. One good turn deserved another.
For those who wondered why Dylan had to abandon the acoustic folk nest that had nurtured his early career in favor of powered sound, a simple listen to disc two provides a loudly resonating answer: it was even better that way. Dylan reaches back to his debut 1962 LP for 'Baby Let Me Follow You Down', and his 1964 'Another Side of Bob Dylan' for 'I Don't Believe You' and 'One Too Many Mornings' audaciously elevating the mood of these acoustic masterpieces electronically. Virtually every number on the electric side is a toe-tapping delight. The recording is extremely fresh and clean... Columbia records was doing professional recordings of the tour, and recording technology was beginning to catch up with the demands of rock artists. The only miscues, which today would be handled by splicing in alternate takes from other venues on other nights, are slight drop-offs on the vocals at the very beginning of 'Tell Me, Momma', and briefly on 'Ballad Of A Thin Man' as Dylan switches mics to play piano. Both deficiences are readily corrected.
Dylan had already been performing electric before May 17, 1966 rolled around. He first went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, and his 1965 'Bringing It All Back Home' LP had an acoustic and electric side, so really there should have been no surprises.
Looking over the setlist reveals the treasures purchasers of this CD are in for. Every song is a winner, whether acoustic or electric. Isn't it great that we can hold history in our hands, and replay it over and over for our ears? If you cared enough to read about this, you must be thinking about owning it. Perhaps Bob said it best: don't think twice... it's alright.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RAW, ELECTRIC, PASSIONATE PRE-PUNK,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert" (Audio CD)Like most young music fans who have explored Classic Rock by investigating the roots and influences of current stars, I finally arrived at the music of Bob Dylan. Wary of the stereotypes of his nasal voice and adequate, sometimes uninspired guitar playing, yet equally aware of his place in Pop-Culture, I decided to pick up this much publicized album. I was impressed, yet not mesmerized by the quiet acoustic set, and qickly popped in the electric disc 2....From the tinkling of noises that finally gather to form the first powerful chord of the little-known "tell Me, Mama", through the famous Judas chant until the hard-rocking, ragged and venemous version of "Like a rolling Stone"...this is the greatest 40-something minutes of rock music ever recorded...Dylan's vocals are as eccentric as ever yet have the same awkward power of Hendrix, Van Morrison, Springsteen...and a poetic knowingness that exceeds even the most intense work of Lou Reed/Velvet Underground. The band is equally powerful...especially on "pillbox hat", and "i dont believe you"....This album captures the strongest, most self-assured and hungry Dylan that ever existed...so important, so relevant, its almost criminal!! thank you Columbia records
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It used to be like that...,
Before it all happened, before...this, Bob was a folk singer, just another guy with an acoustic guitar and some words he had to get off his chest. I say that because before all this, Dylan used to write protest songs and folksy epics. And his only weapons, his only method of delivering his messages to you were a harmonica, a gee-tar, and that voice of his. And then...everything changed.
In 1965, popular folk singer Bob Dylan put down his acoustic guitar, slid his topical antiwar and love songs into a drawer, and changed himself completely. He picked up an electric guitar, hired a five-piece rock band, and wrote introspective, funny, surreal, and downright brilliant songs, with lyrics built like Chinese puzzle-boxes, poetry which begged to be analyzed and examined. In essence, Bob transformed from a great artist into a genius. That fateful year of 1965, he released two Earth-shattering albums. The first was entitled Bringing it All Back Home, and the second, his masterpiece, was called Highway 61 Revisited. These two records were filled with the afformentioned electric rock and surrealist poetry. Both became popular in some form or another, and suddenly everyone knew it: Dylan had changed. Dylan had gone electric.
And boy, were the folk fans pissed.
This album was recorded in 1966 in Manchester, England, at one of the many shows of that era in which Bob would play an acoustic set, take a brief intermission, and return with a vengeance, backed by a kickass rock band, an electric guitar in his arms and that trusty harmonica worn 'round his neck. And come hell or high water, Bob and the boys would proceed to rock.
This particular show was neither the first nor the last Dylan concert of this sort, but it probably was the best, both musically and historically speaking.
Bob came out that night with only his acoustic guitar and harmonica, and the audience burst into applause. There he was, all alone, miles from the scourge of electricity! They became silent as ice, obedient, adoring, as he began the first song in his set, a soulful "She Belongs To Me," bursting into applause at the end and then falling back into adoring silence as a lovely rendition of "Fourth Time Around" begins. Dylan is, of course, spectacular throughout the acoustic set. His voice is passionate, his playing energetic. His harmonica wheezes, his guitar bounces, his voice shimmers and draws you in and doesn't let go. The fans were right to be so silent and adoring.
But in reality, its part two that makes this performance so unforgettable. The first signs we hear of the electricity are the gentle hums of amplifiers, the guitars being pulled into tune, and the shuffling of the band as they make last preparations for the night's onslaught. But what really has a lasting effect is the noise that is audible just behind the amps and performers: The audience, which was so ethereally quiet a short while ago, is positively vibrating with murmurs and whispered accusations. "What's he doing?" "What's going on?" the crowd seems to ask. Surely, at least a few members of the audience must have seen this coming (remember, this isn't the first time that Bob has done an electric set). But for the most part, it seems that the audience's collective jaw has hit the floor.
Then, without any sort of answer, Dylan launches into a hyperactive rocker, "Tell Me Momma," and boy does he let loose. Gone are the sublimities of the acoustic set, all replaced by his howls of the chorus, while the highs and lows of the verses are almost as electric as the music itself. All the while, the band is playing like their lives depend on it, and with an incredible force and passion that does nothing less than epitomize rock. And after all this onslaught of visceral perfection, the audience's reaction is, well, flabbergasted, but not in any sort of good way. "Something,' they are thinking, "Has gone horribly wrong." Bob introduces the next song in the set with a joke, a the scattered laughter is tense and heavy. No matter- the band launches into a superb rendition of "I Don't Believe You." After the song ends, the audience is really pissed. As the band gears up for the third number, members of the audience make their first major strike against their former idol: They begin clapping, loudly, rhythmically, vengefully, not as a form of applause, but as an attempt to drown out the sounds, to bury this new and scary music under the sounds of a thousand slapping palms. Well, guess what? Not only are Bob and the boys unfazed by the gesture, they seem to scoff at it. All they do is crank up the volume, and tear into a jaw dropping "Baby Let Me Follow You Down."
And when I say jaw-dropping, I mean absolutely, utterly, stunning. The guitar solos in between choruses and verses are so perfectly, heartbreakingly lovelorn, they seem to take on a voice all to themselves. And Bob's wails of "I'll do anything in this God-almighty world if you'll just once blow me out of my mind!" are nothing short of perfection.
In fact, the song seems to briefly quell even the audience, as they applaud joyfully at the tracks ending and allow him to transition into "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" quite smoothly.
But after that, they're back with a vengeance. The clapping brigade is louder than ever, this time interspersed with audible boos and jeers. The audience gets nasty, too. When Bob attempts to introduce the next song but falls into an exhausted mumble, the audience laughs and cheers. As the band gears up for the next number, one particularly aggravated audience members screams "Sellout!" and the audience voices their approval. To quote David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine, "This isn't rock & roll; it's war."
Bob and the boys take it all calmly, and after a brief pause hurdle into a fantastic run of "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat." The war wears on, through "One Too Many Mornings" and an excellent version of "Ballad of a Thin Man," with its accusatory piano lines, and lyrics that so closely parallel what that malicious audience must be feeling. Something is happening but you don't know what it is, indeed.
And then comes the greatest, most legendary moment that the concert has to offer. The band is preparing for the final song, the audience's onslaught continues, when suddenly, one enraged fan in the throes of betrayal screams out "Judas!" The rest of the spectators are much amused by the declaration and applaud the fan's audacity. But Dylan, cold as ice, simply waits out the applause, and then, his voice dripping with acid, proclaims "I don't believe you." A murmur rises from the crowd. And then Dylan bellows, "You're a Liar!" And then, he turns around to face his band and, seething with visceral rage, issues the immortal order: "Play f****ng loud!" This is, quite simply, the most perfect, transcendent, and spine tingling moment in the history of rock. Those three words, they echo and take on an almost biblical meaning, and suddenly everything has changed, and the fans know it. And then, "ghost of 'lectricity howls" in that room, as Bob, the band, and the unwilling audience are all dragged as one into an absolutely Homerian blast of white hot energy, an eight minute epic reading of "Like A Rolling Stone," an aural mountain range of dizzying peaks and gut-busting valleys, a journey that floats on the wings of some spectacular keyboard work, devastating guitar lines, and Bob's scathing velvet moans of "How does it feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel?" In the choruses. Every word is a sentence, a shout and a raspberry at his audience, a declaration of independence. And in the end, the audience is overcome with applause and it seems that Bob has won the war after all.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A defining moment,
The electric half crashes open with 'Tell me, momma'. Dylan starts to play the acoustic 'I don't believe you' and then reveals: "it used to go like that, now it goes like this..." By 'Baby, let me follow you down' the folk fans are vocally expressing their disgust. Each subsequent song receives an increasingly hostile response and in parallel Dylan's lyrics become more contemptuous, rough and unrefined. The result is the gutsiest live performance in rock n' roll history. Never has (or will) the 'Ballad of the thin man' be so appropriate: Dylan sneers AT the audience "you know that something is happening but you don't know what it is..." And they don't.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pathbreaking,
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both Sides of Bob Dylan,
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dylan Unplugged and plugged...,
The real edge of the concert is the fact that Dylan had completely turned his back on the "folkys." It was a complete and utter betrayal of all that was sacred in Pete Seeger's crowd. Had you been one of them, you would have been angry too. Rock was seen by that crowd as pretty much tantamount to satan and the great deceiver, and Dylan dove head first into the "evil". It takes massive guts to alienate your core audience. It's difficult to think of a modern day analogy, but imagining AC/DC setting up banjos and lapsteel guitars and cranking out country classics in front of their hardcore fans may capture the sense of betrayal the folkys felt.
So why did he do it? He wasn't just trying to irk them. Perhaps he saw and felt the limitations of the folk scene (it still hasn't completely died, but it hasn't progressed much either) and saw an end in sight. More likely he just changed visions and couldn't pretend anymore. In either case, he let everyone know he was evolving in an anything but subtle way.
The audience unease isn't completely obvious until half way through disc two. Incessant clapping and shouting permeates the space between songs until right before "Like a Rolling Stone" the infamous "Judas!" is shouted. Bob is vindicated by an amazing version of the song which sadly gets lukewarmly received.
Overall the sound quality is incredible. In headphones it's easy to hear where two of the songs had to be spliced together since the original tapes ran out. Without headphones it's nearly untraceable. Some amazing engineering was done on these tapes from 1966.
The acoustic set is also amazing, and many of the songs have a very different feel to them than the album versions. "Just Like A Woman" sounds more introspective and brooding, and there's a great version of "Mr. Tamborine Man."
This set gives you the best of both worlds of Bob. He never completely abandoned folk music nor stopped playing solo acoustically, but his scope definitely changed in 1966, and it is announced loudly and brusquely in this set.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yikes! What a Dylan concert!,
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A few reactions:
"Desolation Row": This is a classic Dylan song, with strange netaphors and eleven minutes of vignettes and images that are wild and original. Lines with very different sentiments are juxtaposed in a way that provokes (e.g., "Everyone is making love or else expecting rain"; Ophelia's sin of "her lifelessness"; an introduction to characters mentioned in the song, from Albert Einstein to Ezra Pound to T. S. Eliot). Great harmonica and lines stretched out, as Dylan sings slowly and stretches out the words.
"Mr. Tambourine Man": Strange phrasing in this one, but the song is still compelling. Some lines end with the two words "going to," and the "to" explodes from Dylan's lips.
Then, the electric music begins.
"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues": Again, what lyrics! Strange images emerge. The tempo of this song is very slow; the guitar work is terrific from Robbie Robertson. Some evocative lines: "Sweet Melinda. . .She invites you up to her room. . .She steals your voice and leaves you howling at the moon." Or a reference to ". . .the cops don't need you and they expect the same." And his flight: "The joke was on me, there was no one there to call my bluff. I'm going back to New York City. I do believe I've had enough."
During the electric portion, the crowd began to express its displeasure. For instance, talking during the songs and otherwise expressing discontent (listen to "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat").
"Ballad of a Thin Man": In case one had forgotten what a cool song this is, please listen! The clueless Mr. Jones is taken to task. The tag line goes" "You know something is happening, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?" Neat language. At one point, Mr. Jones asks"'What's mine?'" and is answered by "somebody else," "Well, what is?"
"Like a Rolling Stone": At the end of "Ballad of a Thin Man" and just before "Like a Rolling Stone," one person in the audience shouts out to Dylan "Judas." Clapping occurs after that. Dylan says "I don't believe you" and "You're a liar." Then, he uses salty, colorful language, asking the Band to play real loud. 40 years ago, the Band and Dylan launched into this anthem. The words are stretched out. "Do you want to make a deeeeeeaaaaal." "How does it feeeeeeeeeeeeeeel, to be on your owwwwwwwwwwn, With no direction hooooooooooooome, like a complete unknoooooown, like a Rolling Stooooooone." The recording is rough; it's not always clear what Dylan is singing.
All in all, a terrific recording of one of the key events as Bob Dylan moved from being a folk singer and protest singer to something more than that. Well worth acquiring.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Stirring Performance,
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