In 1965, Dylan went electric. The resulting world tour created controversy wherever he went, winding up with a series of confrontational shows in Europe, of which this is the most notorious. The group has roared through classics like Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues; One Too Many Mornings , and Ballad of a Thin Man to a definite mixed reaction. Suddenly a shout rings out in the crowd: "Judas! Judas!" Dylan responds in kind: "I don't believe you. You're a liar." He then turns to the musicians and says, off mike but clearly audible, "Play !@#$ing loud!" With perfect timing, the band (that is, The Band) crashes into a furious eight-minute Like a Rolling Stone and the rest, ladies and gentlemen, is history. This 2-CD set contains the complete concert, mastered from two different sets of tapes, includes a 56-page booklet.
The greatest live recording in rock & roll history was--officially, at least--buried in the vaults of Columbia Records for more than a quarter of a century. But no more: Live 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert has surfaced on two discs mixed and mastered from three-track source tapes that put the myriad pirated recordings to shame. More important, Live 1966 documents a momentous artistic showdown between a willful, inflamed, and utterly fearless performer and his headstrong core following. The Dylan of the mid '60s had made the leap from socially conscious voice of his generation to surrealistic electric poet, a transformation that was met with contempt by a vocal element of his audience. The most telling moment of the recording centers on the standoff: A folk zealot in the audience shouts, "Judas!" earning cheers from the contentious crowd. Dylan responds by snarling, "I don't believe you. You're a liar," then turns to his group, the Hawks (soon to become the Band), and, as the intro to "Like a Rolling Stone" takes shape, commands, "Play loud!" A crucial moment and, time has demonstrated, the correct call. --Steven Stolder
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