Rites of Spring - World Tour - 1966
She Belongs To Me - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966
Fourth Time Around - Live - London - May 27, 1966
Monologue On ‘Drug Songs’ - Live - London - May 27, 1966
Visions Of Johanna - Live - Melbourne - April 20, 1966
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue - Live - Melbourne - April 20, 1966
Desolation Row - Live - London - May 27, 1966
Just Like A Woman - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966
Mr. Tambourine Man - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966
Tell Me Mama - Live - Liverpool - May 14, 1966
I Don’t Believe You - Live - Liverpool - May 14, 1966
Baby, Let Me Follow You Down - Live - Liverpool - May 14, 1966
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues - Live - Melbourne - April 20, 1966
One Too Many Mornings - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966
Ballad Of A Thin Man - Live - Birmingham - May 12, 1966
Like A Rolling Stone - Live - London - May 26, 1966
Links Removed - See Below For Details
Bob Dylan’s 1966 concerts are considered by many critics to be among the finest achievements of twentieth century rock music. With these recordings, you have the opportunity to judge for yourself.
Though the most notable concert, performed in Manchester, was released to great acclaim in the 1990s, and a few other incredible performances were released over the years, like “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” from Liverpool on Masterpieces and “I Don’t Believe You” from Belfast on Biograph, many other recordings have circulated among collectors over the past half-century. The acoustic sets are, overall, better represented. Many of the electric sets suffer from extreme distortion or truncated run-times. Still, one is able to piece together a ‘full show’ from circulating unreleased recordings. Concerning lineage, the recordings that make up this compilation are drawn entirely from the unparallelled “Genuine Live 1966” box set.
The concert setlists remained static from the start of the tour to its conclusion, excepting some early performances of “To Ramona” and “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” in the United States and “Positively 4th Street” in Sydney (found on The Thousand Highways Collection - Shades of Blue). No good recordings of the American shows are extant as of early 2015.
One of the most interesting aspects of the songs above are the between-song commentary. “Visions of Johanna” is introduced as ‘not a drug song,’ and its author asserts his disdain for British music journalism. “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” is explained as a tale of Tom Thumb, a 125-year-old Mexican painter. Dylan reminds his audience ahead of “One Too Many Mornings” that he, too, was just a baby once. Finally, he gives his only band introductions of the tour before the final, caustic “Like A Rolling Stone,” assuring the audience sarcastically that he and The Hawks have enjoyed every minute of playing for them.
This is a deeply confrontational series of songs. Though the acoustic songs manage to express a kind of delicate beauty rarely found outside of classical music, the electric songs hurl every ounce of raw sound at the audience. At times, the quality suffers, as “I Don’t Believe You” gets a bit distorted and “Like A Rolling Stone” threatens to fall apart throughout its ten minutes, but you just can’t turn away. It’s really fascinating, and sounds no less alive and moving than the day it was recorded. In particular, “Just Like A Woman” is utterly heartbreaking, “Mr. Tambourine Man” is spellbinding, and “Ballad Of A Thin Man” is a truly definitive performance.
I hope you enjoy the songs. If you haven’t purchased it yet, do yourself a favor and obtain the official Bootleg Series release documenting this tour - its sound quality is quite remarkable, and puts this compilation to shame. If you really find yourself wanting more, look into the recently released Side Tracks album for a few more top-notch performances.
Thanks for listening! In May, we will move on to the wild, unknown country of Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.
Update, November 14, 2016: Note that the links have been removed from this collection, since Columbia just released the entire year of concert recordings in extraordinarily great sound quality. You can buy that here. I haven't picked up a copy yet, but I'm looking forward to taking the dive at some point!