Live 1964: Concert at Philharmonic Hall
The Bootleg Series, Volume 6
The Music Box's #4 specialty package for 2004
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2004, Volume 11, #7
Written by John Metzger
Live 1964: Concert at Philharmonic Hall is the sixth chapter in the fascinating series of official bootleg recordings documenting Bob Dylanís lifework, and like its predecessors, itís an essential slice of American music history. Recorded on Halloween night, the set captures Dylan at a pivotal moment in his career, and it offers a rather thorough, yet concise exploration of the path heíd already traveled as well as a glimpse at the direction in which he soon would head. Perhaps as a means of signaling this transformation, he opened the show with The Times They Are A-Changiní and never looked back, immediately grabbing hold of his audience ó with his voice, acoustic guitar, and harmonica as his only weapons.
Indeed, Dylanís performance was positively spellbinding as he regaled his fans with a perfectly paced suite of songs that ranged from socio-political observations to introspective tales of love and lust, and his playful banter and comedic lyrics ó "Donít let that scare you. Itís just Halloween. I have my Bob Dylan mask on. Iím masquerading," he quips after a particularly potent rendition of Gates of Eden ó provided respite from the intensity of his delivery while seemingly mirroring the countryís growing unrest. Part poet, part philosopher, and part entertainer, he effortlessly broke down the barriers between the old and the new, pitting protest songs like Talkiní John Birch Paranoid Blues against the surreal imagery of Mr. Tambourine Man. Undoubtedly, few in attendance knew quite what to make of the previously unheard material, yet all were held in rapt attention, transfixed by his staggeringly bold innovations.
During the latter half of the concert, Dylan returned to more familiar territory that included four duets with Joan Baez and ran the gamut from the playfully flirtatious and somewhat ragged Mama, You Been on My Mind to the hauntingly lovely With God on Our Side. Yet, his secret new beginning had been revealed. Bob Dylan was about to lead another revolution, this time as a rock ínĎ roll star, and although many would take issue with the electric reverberations that filled his subsequent outing Bringing It All Back Home, many more would join the ranks of his adoring minions.
Of Further Interest...
Live 1964: Concert at Philharmonic Hall is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box