Bob Dylan World Tour 1966

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Bob Dylan World Tour 1966
BobTicketStub.jpg
A ticket stub for the April 29, 1966 show at the Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden. This show began the European leg of the 1966 World Tour.
Tour by Bob Dylan, The Band
Start date February 4, 1966
End date May 27, 1966
Legs 3
Shows 47
Bob Dylan, The Band concert chronology
England Tour
(1965)
World Tour
(1966)
Bob Dylan and The Band Tour
(1974)

The Bob Dylan World Tour 1966 was a concert tour undertaken by American musician Bob Dylan, from February to May 1966. Dylan's 1966 World Tour was notable as the first tour where Dylan employed an electric band backing him, following his "going electric" at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. The musicians Dylan employed as his backing band were known as The Hawks; they subsequently became famous as The Band. The 1966 tour was filmed by director D. A. Pennebaker. Pennebaker's footage was edited by Dylan and Howard Alk to produce a little-seen film, Eat the Document, an anarchic account of the tour. Drummer Mickey Jones also filmed the tour with an 8mm home movie camera. Many of the 1966 tour concerts were recorded by Columbia Records. These recordings produced one official album, the so-called "Royal Albert Hall" concert, and also many unofficial bootleg recordings of the tour.

Dylan's 1966 Tour ended with his motorcycle accident on July 29, 1966. Subsequent to Dylan's withdrawal to Woodstock, he refrained from undertaking a major tour until 1974.

Tour[edit]

Finding The Band[edit]

As Dylan finished the sessions for his 1965 "Positively 4th Street" single, he wanted to reproduce on-stage the same sound that he had polished in the studio.[1] He soon began to gather a pick-up band, with several musicians, such as bassist Harvey Brooks and organist Al Kooper, that had played during the sessions for Highway 61 Revisited.[1] However, the bulk of the players came from Ronnie Hawkins' backing group, Levon and the Hawks (later renamed the Band). They impressed Dylan when he saw them play in Toronto, at the direction of Albert Grossman's staffer, Mary Martin, who told him to visit the group at the Yonge Street club called the Le Coq d'Or Tavern – though Robbie Robertson recollects it was the Friar's Tavern, just down the street.[2] An alternate version of the first meeting, put forward by Williamson, suggests that he saw them in a New Jersey club.[1] Drummer Levon Helm and lead guitarist Robbie Robertson were quickly invited to join Dylan's backing group.[2] As the initial tour in North America progressed, both Kooper and Helm left the band due to stress, which opened up the way for bassist Rick Danko, pianist Richard Manuel, organist Garth Hudson, and drummer Bobby Gregg, all of whom were members of the Hawks (excluding Gregg), to join the band.[2] Gregg eventually left the band as the tour progressed, and Sandy Konikoff replaced him on drums, but Konikoff too left when Dylan traveled to Australia.[2] Mickey Jones then replaced him on drums; and remained with the band throughout the rest of the tour.

Background[edit]

Dylan and his backing group gave concerts sporadically throughout the United States and Canada while the initial sessions for Blonde on Blonde were being recorded.[3][4][5][6][7] Sometime in September 1965, Dylan and the Band embarked to Woodstock, New York to rehearse the songs they would be performing on the tour.[8] Several songs, such as "Maggie's Farm", "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?" and "It Ain't Me Babe" were dropped from the tour's set list as they embarked to different locations.

The first leg of the tour took place in North America, but by now both Kooper and Helm had left the band. The initial sessions with the Band for Blonde on Blonde, proved unproductive, with only two tracks good enough to be released ("Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?" and "One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)"). Dylan soon began recording in Nashville, Tennessee with a new lineup of studio musicians. By April, Dylan had finished the sessions for Blonde on Blonde, and continued the tour outside of North America.[9]

Leaving the continental United States, Dylan first traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii and from there to Australia, where he performed seven concerts over ten days in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. The tour group then flew to Scandinavia for concerts in Stockholm and Copenhagen. After Scandinavia, Dylan toured all over The United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) in May. He made a short trip to Paris before he finished the tour in London.

The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert[edit]

Towards the end of the May 17, 1966 concert at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, Dylan was called "Judas!" by audience member John Cordwell, between the songs "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Like a Rolling Stone". Dylan answered back, and told the man that "I don't believe you . . . you're a liar!", before he shouted to the members of the band to "Play it fuckin' loud!", where they then finished off the set with "Like a Rolling Stone". A bootleg album of the electric portion of this concert existed for many years, first appearing on the record In 1966 There Was in 1970, before it was officially released as The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert in 1998. This incident soon became a legendary moment in Rock history; its status even drove BBC Radio 1 DJ Andy Kershaw to declare "I still can't believe they've finally put it out. I just keep staring at my copy."[10]

Reception[edit]

Because Dylan was now playing "electric", he was being constantly heckled by folkniks or angry fans throughout the second, electric half of a concert. Even the press began to go along with the dissent of his fans. A review in the magazine Melody Maker of the May 5, 1966 concert in Dublin, Ireland stated that "It was unbelievable to see a hip-swinging Dylan trying to look and sound like Mick Jagger. For most it was the night of the big let-down."[11] In Europe, walkouts were common, unlike in the United States. The press became more and more hostile as he traveled through England, particularly in London. The May 10 concert at Colston Hall in Bristol was savaged by one reviewer, saying that Dylan was "sacrificing lyric and melody to the God of big beat.", while another stated that Dylan had been "buried in a grave of deafening drums."[11] Robert Shelton later wrote in Dylan's biography that the press was behaving like a "conformist, Neanderthal mob".[12]

Concert-goers began to become hostile, yelling at Dylan from their seats, shouting phrases like "phoney" and "traitor" between songs. Dylan would often reply to these jeers, such as in Liverpool, where one man shouted "Where's the poet in you? What's happened to your conscience?", to which Dylan responded, "There's a guy up there looking for a saint."[11] During one concert, as the jeers and shouts reached a terrible level, Dylan lazily replied, "Oh come on, these are all protest songs. It's the same stuff as always, can't you hear?"[12] When the group embarked to Scotland, the audience turned out to be somewhat more receptive, at least in Glasgow, where Dylan's supporters outnumbered his hecklers. But in Edinburgh, a section of the audience attempted to overpower out the band by playing their own harmonicas.[13] In Paris, the French even jeered during Dylan's acoustic set; and during the electric portion, Dylan told his audience, "Don't worry, I'm just as eager to finish and leave as you are."[13] The final two nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London saw the biggest walkouts of the tour, but there was some support, as The Beatles were in the audience, shouting down the hecklers. George Harrison denounced the angry fans as "idiots".[13] When the tour ended, the Band returned to America angry and dejected; Robbie Robertson later said that, "After those shows we were lonely guys. Nobody wanted to hang out with us."

Personality and equipment[edit]

Now that Dylan had separated himself from his folk contemporaries, his personality had greatly changed. The James Dean look of a leather jacket and slacks was gone. Dylan's new style of dress consisted of a dark green hounds tooth suit consisting of a tight, double-breasted waist-coat with a matching pair drainpipe trousers, all laced with diamond flecked stripes. For footwear, he chose a new pair of handmade Chelsea Boots, which were famously associated with The Beatles, and better known as "Beatle boots". According to his primary photographer Barry Feinstein, Dylan picked up the custom tailored suit and boots from a shop on Carnaby Street in London. When he wasn't on stage performing, Dylan was rarely seen without his blue suede military jacket, and custom wayfarer-style sunglasses.

Throughout the tour Dylan used a 1958 black and white Fender Telecaster during his electric performances. During his Acoustic sets he used his famous Gibson Nick Lucas Special. Upon his arrival in Melbourne, Dylan's Nick Lucas Special was damaged and was sent for repairs. He would borrow a guitar from a local luthier for his shows in Adelaide, and Perth until he got back his repaired Nick Lucas Special just in time for his European leg of the tour. He also used the short lived Fender Kingman in his free time off stage.

Despite the transition from acoustic folk music over to rock 'n' roll, Dylan did not see himself as a part of the mainstream crowd of musicians. In a press conference in December 1965 he would detach himself from his contemporaries of rock music and call his style "vision music . . . mathematical music".

During his 1966 World Tour Tour, Dylan is alleged to have taken drugs. During his 1965 tour of England, it was alleged Dylan had used cannabis, but, by the end of 1965, he is said to have taken other drugs.[14] During his 1966 tour, Dylan told Robert Shelton: "It takes a lot of medicine to keep up this pace. A concert tour like this has almost killed me."[14] Dylan told Rolling Stone in 1984 that he "never got hooked on any kind of drug.".[14]

Tour Dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America
February 4, 1966 Louisville United States Convention Center
February 5, 1966 White Plains Westchester County Center
February: 6, 1966 Pittsburgh Syria Mosque
February 10, 1966 Memphis Ellis Auditorium
February 11, 1966 Richmond Shrine Mosque
February 12, 1966 Norfolk Municipal Auditorium
February 19, 1966 Ottawa Canada Ottawa Auditorium
February 20, 1966 Montreal Place des Arts
February 24, 1966 Philadelphia United States Academy of Music
February 25, 1966
February 26, 1966 Hempstead Island Garden
March 3, 1966 Miami Beach Convention Hall
March 5, 1966 Jacksonville Jacksonville Coliseum
March 11, 1966 St. Louis Kiel Opera House
March 12, 1966 Lincoln Memorial Auditorium
March 13, 1966 Denver Denver Auditorium Arena
March 19, 1966 Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl
March 23, 1966 Portland Paramount Theatre
March 25, 1966 Seattle Center Arena
March 26, 1966 Vancouver Canada PNE Agrodome
April 9, 1966 Honolulu United States International Centre
Oceania
April 13, 1966 Sydney Australia Sydney Stadium
April 15, 1966 Brisbane Brisbane Festival Hall
April 16, 1966[A] Sydney Sydney Stadium
April 20, 1966 Melbourne Festival Hall
April 22, 1966 Adelaide Palais Theatre
April 23, 1966 Perth Capitol Theatre, Perth
Europe
April 29, 1966 Stockholm Sweden Stockholm Concert Hall
May 1, 1966 Copenhagen Denmark K.B. Hallen
May 5, 1966 Dublin Ireland Adelphi Theatre
May 6, 1966 ABC Theatre
May 10, 1966 Bristol England Colston Hall
May 11, 1966 Cardiff Wales Capitol Theatre
May 12, 1966 Birmingham England Birmingham Odeon
May 14, 1966 Liverpool Odeon Theatre
May 15, 1966 Leicester De Montfort Hall
May 16, 1966 Sheffield Gaumont Theatre
May 17, 1966 Manchester Free Trade Hall
May 19, 1966[A] Glasgow Scotland Odeon Theatre
May 20, 1966 Edinburgh ABC Theatre
May 21, 1966 Newcastle England Odeon Theatre
May 24, 1966 Paris France L'Olympia
May 26, 1966 London England Royal Albert Hall
May 27, 1966
Festivals and other miscellaneous performances
A Dylan performed two shows that day.

Set lists[edit]

Beginning all of his concerts with an acoustic set, Dylan performed seven songs each time. As well as playing material that was recorded as folk songs, he played several of his recently recorded electric songs acoustically ("She Belongs to Me", "Visions of Johanna", etc.). During the second half of a concert, he performed eight songs each time; but on the other hand, played some of his older, once acoustic material as electric blues ("One Too Many Mornings", "I Don't Believe You"); but the bulk of each set was centered around recent Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 Revisited material, whether it be acoustic or electric. The song "Tell Me, Momma", which opened the second half of the concert, was never recorded for a studio album.

During the initial US Tour (August 1965-March 1966), Dylan rarely played the same set list twice in a row. The set list below is that of the 28 August concert at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, New York City.[3]

Acoustic Half
  1. "She Belongs to Me"
  2. "To Ramona"
  3. "Gates of Eden"
  4. "Love Minus Zero/No Limit"
  5. "Desolation Row"
  6. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"
  7. "Mr. Tambourine Man"
Electric Half
  1. "Tombstone Blues"
  2. "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)"
  3. "From a Buick 6"
  4. "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"
  5. "Maggie's Farm"
  6. "It Ain't Me Babe"
  7. "Ballad of a Thin Man"
  8. "Like a Rolling Stone"

Dylan added several songs to the set as the tour progressed, including "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down", "Visions of Johanna", "4th Time Around", and "Tell Me, Momma", while he omitted "To Ramona", "Gates of Eden", "Love Minus Zero/No Limit", "Tombstone Blues", "From a Buick 6", "Maggie's Farm", "It Ain't Me, Babe", and "Positively 4th Street" during the later part of the tour. He also performed several songs only once, including "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?" and "Long Distance Operator". After these revisions, the set each night became consistent, following the pattern below.

Acoustic Half
  1. "She Belongs to Me"
  2. "4th Time Around"
  3. "Visions of Johanna"
  4. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"
  5. "Desolation Row"
  6. "Just Like a Woman"
  7. "Mr. Tambourine Man"
Electric Half
  1. "Tell Me, Momma"
  2. "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)"
  3. "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down"
  4. "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"
  5. "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat"
  6. "One Too Many Mornings"
  7. "Ballad of a Thin Man"
  8. "Like a Rolling Stone"

Each show lasted approximately 90 minutes,[9][15] not including the break between the acoustic and electric halves.

Musicians[edit]

Musicians per Olof Bjorner.[16][17][18][19]

Aftermath[edit]

On July 29, 1966, two months after the last concert of the World Tour, Dylan was involved in a motorcycle accident while riding on the property of his manager, Albert Grossman.[20] The true nature and extent of his injuries has never been publicly disclosed.[20] Although Dylan still had bookings for the rest of 1966 and beyond, he canceled all engagements for an indefinite period after the accident.

There were many reasons that contributed to his decision. He had come under increasing pressure over the preceding few years—his transition to "electric" music had provoked intense criticism from his former colleagues who were still involved in the folk music scene. His concerts and press conferences became increasingly hostile and confrontational, and it has been said that he was using drugs by the end of the tour.

Another significant personal factor is that Dylan was newly married, and with a young family. He had secretly wed Sara Lownds on November 22, 1965,[21] and their first child Jesse was born two months later (Dylan also adopted Lownds' child from a previous relationship, and they had three more children over the next three years).

Dylan's withdrawal from touring coincided with a similar decision by The Beatles, who had decided to halt public performances after their unpleasant experiences in The Philippines[22] This were soon followed by the touring hiatus imposed on The Rolling Stones caused by the drug busts and subsequent trials of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones, which prevented them from touring in the United States for several years.

Another important factor is that the high public profiles of these artists were increasingly making them targets for violence.[23] The surviving members of The Beatles have recorded in The Beatles' Anthology that they received death threats, and were in fear for their lives during their final U.S. tour in 1966.

However, Dylan continued to record in the period following the accident, taping a large body of work with The Band at their home in Woodstock, New York, which became known as The Basement Tapes. Dylan returned to the studio to record 1967's John Wesley Harding, and 1969's Nashville Skyline. In 1969 he began making occasional one-off appearances, usually at festivals or large charity concerts, including his highly anticipated performance at the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival, and George Harrison's 1971 Concert For Bangladesh. However, Dylan did not undertake another full-scale concert tour until the "Before The Flood" tour that reunited him with The Band in January 1974.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Williamson, N. "The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan", p. 56, 58
  2. ^ a b c d MacDonald, Bruce. "Part 2 (1960-1965): Clip 6" (Video). Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll Stories. Toronto: Bravo Canada. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  3. ^ a b Bjroner (August 7, 2000) Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, New York City, 28 August 1965 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 20, 2010
  4. ^ Bjorner (February 6, 2002) Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, September 3, 1965 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 20, 2010
  5. ^ Bjorner (August 7, 2000) Carnegie Hall, New York City, October 1, 1965 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 20, 2010
  6. ^ Bjorner (February 6, 2002) Columbia Recording Studios, New York City, October 5, 1965 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 20, 2010
  7. ^ Bjorner (May 21, 2010) Columbia Recording Studios, New York City, November 30, 1965 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 20, 2010
  8. ^ Bjorner (August 7, 2000) Unidentified Location, Woodstock, September 1965 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 20, 2010
  9. ^ a b Bjorner (February 17, 2000) Sydney Stadium, Sydney, April 13, 1966 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 21, 2010
  10. ^ Williamson, N. The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan, p. 209
  11. ^ a b c Williamson, N. "The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan", p. 68
  12. ^ a b Williamson, N. The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan, p. 69
  13. ^ a b c Williamson, N. The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan, p. 72
  14. ^ a b c Williamson, N. The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan, p. 64-65
  15. ^ Bjorner (May 21, 2010) Manchester Free Trade Hall, Manchester, May 17, 1966 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved August 9, 2010
  16. ^ Bjorner (February 17, 2000) Island Garden, Hempstead, February 26, 1966 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 21, 2010
  17. ^ Bjorner Jacksonville Coliseum, Jacksonville, March 5, 1966 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 21, 2010
  18. ^ Bjorner (March 13, 2009) PNE Agrodome, Vancouver, March 26, 1966 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 21, 2010
  19. ^ Bjorner (August 7, 2000) Arie Crown Theater, Chicago, November 26, 1965 Bjorner's Still on the Road. Retrieved July 20, 2010
  20. ^ a b Williamson, N. The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan, p. 73
  21. ^ Williamson, N. The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan, p. 57
  22. ^ Mackenzie, M. "The Beatles: Every Little Thing", p. 104, ISBN 0-380-79698-8
  23. ^ Williamson, N. The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan, p. 41
  • Sounes, Howard: Down the Highway. The Life of Bob Dylan.. 2001, ISBN 0-8021-1686-8
  • Williamson, Nigel: The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan (1st ed., 2004), ISBN 1-84353-139-9
  • Bjorner, Olof: [1] Still on the Road 1965
  • Bjorner, Olof: [2] Still on the Road 1966