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The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert" Live

4.8 out of 5 stars 219 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, October 13, 1998
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  • The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert"
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  • Bootleg Series 6: Concert at Philharmonic Hall
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  • Bob Dylan: "'Ruby, My Dear' by Monk was another one. Monk played at the Blue Note on 3rd Street...I dropped in there once in the afternoon, just to listen--told him that I played folk music up the street. 'We all play folk music,' he said." Read more musical excerpts from Chronicles, Vol. 1 on our Music You Should Hear page.


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Product Description

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.

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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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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 13, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000D9TO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,812 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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2 Comments 75 of 79 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
They couldn't understand it.
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.
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Why all the outrage?
I don't know. I guess most people just went to voice their outrage at Dylan.
Oct 25, 2010 by Andréas |  See all 4 posts
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The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert"
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