The Bootleg Series Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert at Philharmonic Hall is a complete recording of Bob Dylan’s October 31, 1964 “Halloween” show at New York’s Philharmonic Hall. It was released 30 March in 2004.
Although some collectors of Dylan bootlegs was aware of this material for years, this cleaned-up authorized version is a superb technical feat from Columbia. Its focus is on the 23-year-old Bob Dylan both as a folksinger in the making and the mind-expanding artist later exploring new horizons offered by acid, free verse and electricity.
The set list was dominated by Dylan’s protest songs, including “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”. Joan Baez, a major supporter of Dylan’s in his early career, duets with Dylan on three songs, as well as singing another alone (“Silver Dagger”). However, Dylan performed these songs along early versions of three songs from the soon-to-be-recorded Bringing It All Back Home. New compositions like “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” showed Dylan moving in a new direction, becoming more immersed in evocative, stream-of-consciousness lyrics and moving away from social, topical songwriting. Even as he was moving in this new direction, Dylan was still portrayed as a symbol of the civil rights and anti-war movements, and the Halloween concert of 1964 caught Dylan in transition.
The album debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart on April 17, 2004 at number 28. It spent 4 weeks on the chart. It also reached number 33 in the U.K.
The Bootleg Series Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert at Philharmonic Hall on Spotify:
Thom Jurek (Allmusic):
“…the sound is spectacular, wonderfully warm and immediate, and the transfer is extremely clean with wonderful dynamics. Secondly, the package is deluxe. In addition to a fine essay by Princeton historian and author Sean Wilentz (he made the gig when he was 13), there are a truckload of killer photos from the show and the period, along with complete discographical information that puts the bootleg packages to shame. For those interested in the acoustic Bob Dylan, this concert is like the grail; his voice is in impeccable shape, and his delivery is revelatory. For those interested in the transition from acoustic to electric, this show is the seam, and for those who are die-hard fans, this is another welcome item in the official catalog.”
A must have for all Dylan fans!