October 31: Bob Dylan – Philharmonic Hall, NYC 1964

bob dylan live 1964

BOB-DYLAN-2-PHILHARMONIC 1964

Don’t let that scare you. It’s just Halloween. I have my Bob Dylan mask on. I’m masquerading ha ha.
~Bob Dylan (before If You Gotta Go, Go Now)

‘Live 1964 brings back a Bob Dylan on the cusp. . . . It brings back a time between his scuffling sets at the downtown clubs and his arena-rock tours of the 1970s and after. It brings back a long gone era of intimacy between performer and audience, and the last strains of a self-aware New York bohemia before
bohemia became diluted and mass marketed.’
~Sean Wilentz

Here is “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding”:

There are…. Hey anything you say! Hope I never have to make a living. This is called It’s Alright Ma It’s Life An Life Only. Yes it’s a very funny song.

From Wikipedia:

Released March 30, 2004
Recorded October 31, 1964
Genre Folk, folk rock
Length 104:12
Label Columbia
Producer Steve Berkowitz and Jeff Rosen

When Dylan and Sony began planning for The Bootleg Series Vol. 6, they weren’t sure what to release. Steve Berkowitz, an A&R head at Sony Music who worked on all the Bootleg Series discs with Dylan’s office, stresses that Dylan’s office is behind the brainstorming and decision-making for the Bootleg Series, not Sony. Concerts held at Carnegie Hall and New York’s Town Hall, both in 1963, were considered for The Bootleg Series Vol. 6, according to Berkowitz, but they were ultimately rejected.

The Halloween concert of 1964 had been previously bootlegged on vinyl and CD, but those releases were incomplete and taken from poor dubs of the soundboard tapes. The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 presented the entire concert for the first time from the original master tapes.

Don’t let that scare you. It’s just Halloween. I have my Bob Dylan mask on. I’m masquerading ha ha. ~Bob Dylan (before If You Gotta Go, Go Now)

If You Gotta Go, Go Now:

Setlist:

  1. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  2. Spanish Harlem Incident
  3. Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues
  4. To Ramona
  5. Who Killed Davey Moore?
  6. Gates Of Eden
  7. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
  8. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
  9. I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
  10. Mr. Tambourine Man
  11. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
  12. Talking World War III Blues
  13. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
  14. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
  15. Mama, You’ve Been On My Mind
  16. Silver Dagger (trad.)
  17. With God On Our Side
  18. It Ain’t Me Babe
  19. All I Really Want To Do

And in ‘Mama You Been on My Mind’, to hear someone sing ‘It don’t even matter where you’re waking up tomorrow’—or, as he has it on the unreleased studio cut, ‘I don’t even mind who you’ll be waking with tomorrow / Mama you’re just on my mind’: well! That level of unpossessive sangfroid took the breath away; in an era when more than a couple of dates with someone meant either owning or being owned by them, this was delirious libertarianism.

Some Dylan aficionados were surprised to find themselves disappointed by this concert when officially released—surprised to find Dylan’s voice unappealingly harsh: not rough but piercing— while others, already content with their reasonable- quality bootleg copies, considered it ‘a waste’ of a Bootleg Series slot. (Others still tend to wince or reach for the skip button when JOAN BAEZ comes on. She duets with Dylan on ‘Mama You Been on My Mind’, ‘With God on Our Side’ and ‘It Ain’t Me, Babe’, and Dylan plays harmonica as she sings ‘Silver Dagger’ alone.) Yet for most, this is a near-crucial addition to Dylan’s officially released canon.
-Michael Gray

A few critics, including biographer Clinton Heylin, were dismissive. “I’ve never rated [the Halloween show] as a performance,” Heylin explained in a phone interview. “Dylan is very focused when he comes to doing the new songs…But the old material, he’s completely and totally bored with. It’s not a good performance. He’s clearly stoned…The concert was a real landmark, not in the positive sense, but in the negative sense because it looked at the time like Dylan was going off the rails.”

However, the set was well received by most critics, with NME’s Rob Fitzpatrick giving it the magazine’s highest rating (a 10 out of 10) and called it “utterly brilliant.”

Spanish Harlem Incident:

The best bootleg to surface before the official release was probably:

All Hallows Eve & More (1996):

bob dylan All Hallows Eve & More

The Halloween show is one of the absolute ‘must haves’ for every collection. The show  is near perfection. Dylan is funny, charming, and powerful. The performance drips with the self confidence of a young man with the world at his feet. Every bit as captivating as ’66 Manchester, and for my money; more enjoyable.
-bobsboots.com

Entire album on spotify:

-Egil & Hallgeir

3 thoughts on “October 31: Bob Dylan – Philharmonic Hall, NYC 1964”

  1. It is a fascinating set, but I can understand the criticism. It has always felt a little slight to me–that even as his songwriting was taking a more urbane and dark turn, his performance style (at least on this night) kind of undercuts it. I rate the earlier Town Hall and Carnegie Hall shows a little more.

    Hardly off the rails, of course.

  2. yeah . . . great comment psb . . . i really think some writers just grab at some pretend ball they see in the air in front of them, an’ run with it, playing their own little game . . . but, of course, the trouble is, we sometimes get involuntarily forced to view these silly games that writers play (an’ they get paid for it, go figure . . . )

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