May 27: Bob Dylan & The Hawks, London 1966

bob dylan london 1966

The final show of the 1966 world tour. Thankfully the entire acoustic half has emerged on acetate. CBS in fact recorded both nights at the Royal Albert Hall for a possible live album. Before performing “Visions of Johanna,” Dylan launches into a verbal attack on those critics who accuse him of writing drug songs, informing them the next song, “is not a drurg [sic} song. It’s just vulgar to think so.” But the highlight of this, the final 1966 acoustic set is a six-and-a-half minute “Just Like a Woman,” Dylan veering in and out of control of his phrasing. During the electric set, tempers, both on and offrhe stage, become frayed. Before “I Don’t Believe You,” Dylan announces, “I get accused of dismissing my old songs. That’s not true. I luuurve my old songs.” At the time critics are divided as to the merits of the two London shows. Ray Coleman, in Disc and Music Echo, felt that Dylan, “insults his own talents … [with} a shamble of noise.” The London Times reviewer, writing up the first London show, much preferred the acoustic set, entitling his article, “The Better Half of Dylan.” After Dylan· s motorcycle accident, though, the shows will quickly achieve mythic status.
~Clinton Heylin (Bob Dylan: A Life in Stolen Moments Day by Day 1941-1995)

Royal Albert Hall
London, England
27 May 1966


  • Bob Dylan (vocal & electric guitar)
  • Robbie Robertson (electric guitar)
  • Garth Hudson (organ), Rick Danko (bass)
  • Richard Manuel (piano)
  • Mickey Jones (drums)

The last three songs of the May 27 acoustic set at Royal Albert Hall are good enough to stand next to the best work of any twentieth century artist (performer, painter, poet, mathematician… )
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)

  1. She Belongs To Me
  2. Fourth Time Around
  3. Visions Of Johanna
  4. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
  5. Desolation Row

  6. Just Like A Woman
    But the highlight is a six-and-a-half minute ‘Just Like A Woman’ Dylan veering in and out of control of his phrasing.
    ~Clinton Heylin (A Life In Stolen Moments)
  7. Mr. Tambourine Man
  8. Tell Me, Momma
  9. I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
  10. Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Eric von Schmidt)
  11. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
  12. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
  13. One Too Many Mornings
  14. Ballad Of A Thin Man
  15. Like A Rolling Stone

bob dylan london 1966


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8 thoughts on “May 27: Bob Dylan & The Hawks, London 1966”

  1. I was 4 years old in 1966….and I’m still hearing things on BLONDE and live recordings from then that are new to me this very day. There’s an aura that’s thick enough to cut with a chainsaw. It all boils down to artist refusing to cater to the expectations of his “fans.” And that is why his performances crackle with bolts of static electricity. Geranium kiss!!!!!

  2. Johanna’s Visions, can’t thank you enough for your posts. Every day is a new adventure. RJF

  3. Dylan is not spitting venom on “Like A Rolling Stone.” Anyone who has ever actually sung on a stage will be able to hear that he’s exhausted, out of breath. His inner reserves are so depleted that he’s just heaving it up blindly and wearily, sometimes hitting it, often not. Having been in that place a time or two, I can’t find this performance beautiful.

  4. The crackling of the lps here — ghosts of electricity gone so long ago –reminds me of better days, but some memories are haunting like the echo of Bob’s voice in these great recordings.

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