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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dylan ain't no "Judas" here!
Never mind The Rolling Stones; the combination of Bob Dylan and The Band (with or without drummer Levon Helm) were the greatest rock and roll band in the world. This album is the proof.
Recorded live at Manchester's Free Trade Hall on 17 May 1966 (the "Royal Albert Hall" moniker was deliberately misleading; this was one of Rock's first bootlegs) Bob Dylan...
Published on Dec 31 2005 by John Russell

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated.Couldn't live up to the "HYPE".
I've heard bits of this and the other '66 tour shows for years in bootleg form and the chance to buy the complete Manchester show mixed and mastered from original sources was a good way to judge whether all the kudos and hype (ie.the greatest rock concert of all)was warranted,well in a word,"No"! The first disc features Zimmy going thru' his acoustic set in...
Published on Feb. 20 1999


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dylan ain't no "Judas" here!, Dec 31 2005
By 
John Russell "porkchopsjar" (Edmonton, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
Never mind The Rolling Stones; the combination of Bob Dylan and The Band (with or without drummer Levon Helm) were the greatest rock and roll band in the world. This album is the proof.
Recorded live at Manchester's Free Trade Hall on 17 May 1966 (the "Royal Albert Hall" moniker was deliberately misleading; this was one of Rock's first bootlegs) Bob Dylan was at the height of his powers. He had already shunned the folk/protest "prophet" label he had helped cultivate; feeling pressured by the British Invasion groups (who all in turn idolized Dylan; The Beatles never would have advanced beyond "A Hard Day's Night" were it not for Dylan) he decided to 'go electric' in 1965, and was nearly crucified for doing so. Apparently, Dylan "sold out" at Newport in '65 when he strapped on a Stratocaster and performed with an electric rhythm section. Truth be told, had he stayed solely acoustic and never strayed from what was expected of him, that would have been the sell out. No, Dylan does what he wants to do and has never felt obligated to apologize for it, bless his heart.
Which leads us to Manchester in 1966. Dylan had already selected a four-fifths Canadian bar band called The Hawks (Ronnie Hawkins' former backing band) to back him on his post "Highway 61" world tour. First off, what made The Hawks- Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, Levon Helm and Garth Hudson- stand out was the fact they had already been playing together for about eight years. They were as in tune to one another musically as any group could be; if there was a such thing as musical ESP, these guys had it. Eventually, they became known as The Band, which is a story unto itself. Given Bob Dylan's penchant for spur of the moment song arrangements, it was a match made in heaven. Still, the six of them were not prepared for the condemnation they were to recieve once they hit the road.
"Live 1966" is typical of the layout of the tour's performances. The first half (Disc One) is Dylan, solo, with acoustic guitar and harmonica, clearly humouring the masses. He performs such songs as "She Belongs To Me," "Visions Of Johanna", "Desolation Row" and "Mr Tambourine Man." The performances are, of course, sublime, but nothing compared to the second half of the show.
Disc Two: you can hear the consternation from the first second. Clearly, Dylan's fans at this point did not accept the fact of The Band backing Bob up. They boo, they heckle, they try to throw off the beat by slow-clapping. Yet Dylan and his mates are not deterred. Their performance is at once, heavy, urgent and right in your face. The louder the booing, etc, the louder the playing. The first track is an unrelased goodie called "Tell Me Momma", which sets the tone for the rest of the show. They also perform "Baby Let Me Follow You Down", "I Don't Believe You", and "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", to name but a few, before ending with the one-two punch of "Ballad Of A Thin Man" (Something WAS definitely happening here, Mister Jones) and "Like A Rolling Stone," which alone gets my vote for the single greatest live rock performance EVER. Dylan instructs The Band, "Play freakin' loud!" (my substitution; you can hear Dylan say the real thing loud and clear on the CD) and they proceed to blow the roof of of the Free Trade Hall. "Thank You," Dylan snarls (there is no other way to describe it; one crazed fan acccuses Dylan of being a 'Judas' right before "Rolling Stone") at the end, and history is made. Of course, Bob Dylan and The Band -together and separately- would go on to create more history, but this was where it all began.
Hearing "Live 1966", digitally remixed and remastered, makes you feel like you were there. It also makes you wish you were. As far as musical combinations go, these six guys were simply unbeatable. You have to hear it to believe it, and you never regret Bob Dylan's decision to plug in. It was the best decision he ever made, probably.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most entertaining electric live set I've ever heard..., May 15 2004
This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
I'm only 22 years old, which means I haven't even been thought of yet when Dylan took the stage in Manchester, but I'm pretty aware of what was going on at the time this event took place. Folk lovers considered the kind of stuff Hendrix was putting out "devil music," so some of the people in this audience weren't exactly thrilled when Dylan finished his acoustic set and began to rock out. It's definitely a legendary concert. This well-priced, handy-dandy souvenier represents one of the most important voices of the 20th century at the crossroads. Some liked it; some didn't. It's the ones who didn't that make this "Royal Albert Hall" concert the essential live document of Bob Dylan at the apex of his career.
Throughout the electric portion of the concert, Bob is greeted with boos, unwarranted clapping and cursing from his audience. At one point, when the audience tries to annoy Dylan by clappinig ferociously as he's tuning up, he leans into the microphone and begins to ramble about a bunch of nonsense. He does so until the crowd finally shuts up, at which he says, "If only you wouldn't clap so hard." Sure enough, they clap harder and yell louder. One guy in the audience even yells out "SELL OUT!"
But the real biggie here is when someone screams out "JUDAS!" after Bob plays "Ballad Of A Thin Man." I guess at this point, Bob was done being polite. "I don't believe you," he sneers. "You're a liar!" He turns to his band and yells indistinctly, "Play it f---ing loud!"
"Like A Rolling Stone" is then thrown into the audience's face with audacity and contempt. The song finally ends, Dylan sarcastically says, "Thank you," and walks offstage.
Cool, huh? The electric set is certainly the stand-out here, but the acoustic songs are nothing to shy away from either. In fact, I think "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" is better here than on the album version (ASOBD).
Another suprise you'll find with this release is how well Columbia packaged it. It comes with a fat booklet filled with glossy pages of pictures and notes of the concert and other appearances. This is truly worth your money. HIGHLY recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one, if not, THE best live album i've ever heard, May 16 2004
This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
i really don't know what to say to make you buy this. one of my favourite albums ever. period.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where's The Riot?, April 22 2004
By 
Kurt Harding "bon vivant" (Boerne TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
Hype is a funny thing. Sometimes one gets caught up in it, sometimes it turns you off. It generally turns me off, but in the case of this "historic" release, I got caught up in it.
I have been a sometimey lukewarm Bob Dylan fan over the years. His heyday was a little bit before my adolescence but his musical maturity began its development about the time I started high school. I am quite familiar with the music of those days, but was curious to go back and try to feel a little bit of the magic and expectation that earlier fans of Dylan experienced.
When I bought this, I expected to feel some of the excitement and tension in the air as the old clashed with the new. I wanted to hear the catcalls and Dylan's sarcastic retorts. I wanted to hear the riot!. But there was none. "One of the great confrontational performances of the 20th century" turns out to have been mostly the creation of the media myth machine. If there was any rioting to be heard, Columbia sure did a good job of screening out its sounds.
The liner notes mention the opening of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring as another great confrontational performance. Yes, it was great theater, but it was all orchestrated by Stravinsky, Diaghilev and a claque of concert-goers who were given free tickets to the premier with the understanding that they would foment a riot thus generating press attention for Stravinsky and Diaghilev. The notes should have instead mentioned some of Astor Piazzolla's performances where fisticuffs between Piazzolla supporters and old-guard tango purists (sometimes involving Piazzolla himself) were regular occurences and death threats were a daily fact of life.
If the CD package does not live up to its hype, then why own it? The main reason is to experience the budding transition of Bob Dylan from folk legend to rock and roll hero. The first disc features a fine acoustic set of which my favorites are Its All Over Now, Baby Blue and Just Like A Woman.
The second CD features an electric set that showcases the talents of his sidemen that were later to gel into The Band.
I like Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, the bluesy Ballad of a Thin Man, and the driving Like A Rolling Stone the best. There is a lot of musical tension and energy that makes the entire set memorable. Much of what the liner notes refers to as catcalling and slow clapping can be heard at any concert between songs. What people are usually calling out is a request. Only after Ballad of a Thin Man can you hear a real "insult" when someone shouts "Judas!" at which a few audience members applaud.
Despite the lack of any real riot, I recommend this album to any Dylan fan precisely because of its historic nature as the marking of a pivotal point in Dylan's long and storied career.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rock On!, March 9 2004
By 
E. Dolnack (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
Okay, let's get one thing straight: acoustic music is such an overdone concept today that a little electricity seems like a novel concept. I imagine that Bob Dylan felt exactly the same way by the mid-60s; not just with the music industry in general, but with his own personal output as well. I mean there is only so much one can do with an acoustic six-string guitar and a harmonica!
If you ask me, acoustic music is for people who have too much time on their hands and need to feel intellectualized. The very early Dylan records are okay, but pale in comparison to Dylan's 1965 and 1966 output. By the time of "Another Side of Bob Dylan" the man was creating personal music that was highly reflective and subjective, rather than the typical, expected folk anthems for tired old hippies.
Surely Dylan felt the hypocrasy and march-in-line mentality behind modern Leftism by 1964, and also realized that the Beatles had more to say than Peter, Paul, & Mary, Joan Bayez, and the Kingston Trio combined. Surely Dylan also has a sense of humor and a fun personality and realized that the principal usage of popular music is to entertain rather than to preach.
Hence this CD: a monumental music barrage of rolk/folk that combined, is worth more than either of its seperate components. True, the Byrds and others had been experimenting with blending folk music with rock & roll before Dylan traded his acoustic guitar for a telecaster and amp, but no one could sing a tune like Dylan.
The two CDs in this set are two sides of a concert tour: disk 1 is the first acoustic set of the concert, while disk 2 is the second half of the show when Dylan emerged with an electric backing rock & roll band behind him.
Personally, the electric set is what made this 1966 tour unique and is the whole reason to even purchase this CD. The first acoustic CD is thus kind of redundant (yet more live acoustic Dylan - like we all haven't heard enough of that!).
For those who will undoubtedly give my controversial review here a negative vote, I say poo! You are living in the stone age and refuse to accept the inevitable march of time - making you the exact opposite of a true individual like Bob Dylan! Indeed, the baby-boomer hippies who try & claim Dylan as their champion are the ones who understand him least. Sell-outs! Dylan's about the trial of the individual, NOT becomming a number in a quasi-democratic mass-generation of voiceless nobodies who all think the same.
Face it, the 60s are as dead as Jacob Marley! The brilliance of this live, electric rock set, [and the dismal state of all modern popular music] is proof of that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars JUDAS!!!, Feb. 21 2004
By 
Stephen Foster (Seattle, WA United States, via Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
What comes out most surprisingly here is how Dylan, for all his famous causticity, is obviously unsure of himself and genuinely dismayed by the response he's getting. At times he almost seems to be begging the audience for just a little kindness and consideration.
But oh boy do I relate to that crowd! I despised Dylan for going electric! I'd much rather have spent the next 30 years sitting at his feet with my legs crossed and a look of blissful awe on my sappy upturned phizog...
The BBC played some of the songs from this tour (from Glasgow, I believe, with the Scottish audience MUCH more creative in their lack of respect), with me literally cradling the radio in my arms, only to recoil in horror as he systematically destroyed songs that I had come to think of as oxygen for my brain...
'Nuff of that nonsense. I bought this album for the acoustic CD, of course. I played it exactly once, let it gather dust, and eventually gave it away to a dyed-in-the-wool acoustic Dylan fan (whom I have never again fully respected).
The electric set is ... well, electric! There are rough spots, no doubt due to the Hawks, fresh from "Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks," adjusting to their new Master, and yes, there is just a little too much of Robbie Robertson's rather sterile "virtuosity," but 35 years later I finally discovered just what oxygen actually IS.
Go ahead: play the acoustic Holy Grail of "She Belongs to Me", but then immediately follow it with the ex-acoustic "I Don't Believe You." If the utterly-jarring transition doesn't make you throw up all over your beads, then you too will have finally joined the 20th Century.
Einstein, Turing, Von Neumann, Gorbachev, Dylan...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Visions of....some curly-haired guy with a guitar...., Feb. 4 2004
This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
This has got to be the most hyped live recordings in history. Fortunately, the electric disc is also one of the best.
First, a bit of complaining:
I'm not saying that this is not a great live album, because it is. This is Dylan, so how could it not be?
But if no-one had ever heard of the "Royal Albert Hall" concert before (except the people who were there), people might not be falling all over themselves, acting like this release is the second coming.
Eh, never mind. I suspect that the magnificent reputation of this recording weighs in when people throw superlatives around, but that doesn't change the fact that "Live 1966" has a lot to offer, even if you're only a moderately serious Dylan fan.
The acoustic side is fine, in spite of a couple of slightly pedestrian performances (remember how drunk he was), but of course the electric second disc is the most interesting. Dylan and the soon-to-be Band tear through fiery, hard-driving renditions of "Tell Me, Momma", "I Don't Believe You", "Baby Let Me Follow You Down", "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" and of course "Like A Rolling Stone".
The sound is actually very good for a live recording that's nearing its 40th birthday. The drums snap, the electric guitars bite and Garth Hudson's organ lends texture and personality to the newly-electric arrangements. And all the little details are kept in, from Garth Hudson playing the first eighteen notes of "An English Country Garden" during sound check to Dylan's famous on-mike "I don't believe you" to a heckler in the crowd, and slightly less famous off-mike "play f***ing loud" to the Band.
"One Too Many Mornings" sounds better on "Hard Rain", mainly because of Dylan's vocal delivery, and "Ballad Of A Thin Man" threatens to unravel at times, but all in all, "Live 1966" almost fulfills the sky-high expectations.
4 stars...a fine, classic live album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review #141, Jan. 19 2004
This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
I'm not sure what I can say that hasn't been said in the 140 Amazon reviews that have preceded this one, but that didn't stop person #140 or #139 from spouting off, so I'll be darned if it's going to stop me! This particular performance, and the 'real' bootleg that circulated for many years before Columbia finally gave it an offical blessing, probably has as much written about it (or more) than The Beatles first appearance on Ed Sullivan, or the tragic Stones concert at Altamonte. I suppose only Woodstock has garnered more attention, and it took over a dozen bands to eclipse it.
Now I'm not a Dylan junkie... I have owned a number of his vinyl discs down through the years, exclusively his post-motorcycle accident productions. In fact, his re-emergence LP, 'Nashville Skyline' was the first one to catch my interest, mainly because in 1969 I was 15 years old and ready to turn an ear to what I perceived as more 'sophisticated' music, and partly because of all the hype that accompanied his return. So a large part of the appeal in owning this particular live collection is owning a bit of that earlier epoch, the pre-motorcycle accident era, in Dylan's portfolio. I actually find that to be a bigger part of the appeal than the alleged historical importance.
To appreciate the extent of the folk crowd's dissent with Dylan going electric, it is essential to hear just how staid this audience was prior to the power being turned on. Throughout the acoustic set they are the picture of propriety. So when Dylan fires up 'Tell Me, Momma' with The Hawks/The Band, one realizes how goading the several catcalls (all of which receive audience support) and slow-clapping really are. As the 1960's would progress, such timid discord would seem frivolous. What is truly entertaining is to hear Dylan handle it, first seducing the crowd into stopping their slow-clapping by babbling, and then saying "...if you only just wouldn't clap so hard". He of course answers the famous "Judas" taunt by bantering with his accuser, and then finally drowning it all out with the very object of their scorn, instructing The Band to "play loud". All in all, however, the blaring rock cords are met with loud applause from the vast majority of those in attendance, and the actual cat-callers are few. Perhaps the more astute members of the audience knew they were in for it when, during the acoustic set, Dylan converted electric numbers (such as 'Desolation Row') from 'Highway 61 Revisited' to acoustic. One good turn deserved another.
For those who wondered why Dylan had to abandon the acoustic folk nest that had nurtured his early career in favor of powered sound, a simple listen to disc two provides a loudly resonating answer: it was even better that way. Dylan reaches back to his debut 1962 LP for 'Baby Let Me Follow You Down', and his 1964 'Another Side of Bob Dylan' for 'I Don't Believe You' and 'One Too Many Mornings' audaciously elevating the mood of these acoustic masterpieces electronically. Virtually every number on the electric side is a toe-tapping delight. The recording is extremely fresh and clean... Columbia records was doing professional recordings of the tour, and recording technology was beginning to catch up with the demands of rock artists. The only miscues, which today would be handled by splicing in alternate takes from other venues on other nights, are slight drop-offs on the vocals at the very beginning of 'Tell Me, Momma', and briefly on 'Ballad Of A Thin Man' as Dylan switches mics to play piano. Both deficiences are readily corrected.
Dylan had already been performing electric before May 17, 1966 rolled around. He first went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, and his 1965 'Bringing It All Back Home' LP had an acoustic and electric side, so really there should have been no surprises.
Looking over the setlist reveals the treasures purchasers of this CD are in for. Every song is a winner, whether acoustic or electric. Isn't it great that we can hold history in our hands, and replay it over and over for our ears? If you cared enough to read about this, you must be thinking about owning it. Perhaps Bob said it best: don't think twice... it's alright.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the "greatest rock concert of all-time!", Jan. 11 2004
By 
Marvin Bluth "Nine Pound Hammer" (Los Angeles, Ca.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
How anyone could listen to this, and not be totally overwhelmed, is beyond understanding.
THIS IS UNBELIEVABLY GREAT!!!!!
Trying to review this is like reviewing The Bible.
No matter who you are, or what you believe, this is one powerful display of art, and true beauty.
BUY THIS.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Historical artifact that even appeals to the non-Dylan fan, Dec 17 2003
By 
This review is from: Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD) (Audio CD)
I've never been much of a Dylan fan, not because of any inherent dislike, but rather because I was just a little too young to catch him in his songwriting & performing peak.
That's why "Royal Albert Hall 66" is so compelling - you get a snapshot of just how mesmirizing and commanding this guy was at the height of his powers. And, as such, this CD is more than just a record...it's nothing less than a historical artifact. It literally feels like it's Dylan vs. the world out there on stage...and the world is caught shorthanded. Dylan's talent is simply overwhelming.
The two CDs have their own unique storylines - there's the well-noted confrontation with the audience on the Electric CD, featuring rhythmic anti-clapping and other forms of what could be called civil disobedience (the famous 'Judas!' screech notwithstanding).
However - as others have noted here - the Acoustic CD is the standout here. The lyricism and Dylan's command on the stage - essentially taking the hall over with words and harmonica - are a thing to behold. The side reaches its zenith with the masterful 'Visions of Johanna.' No less an authority than England's Poet Laureate Andrew Motion called it "the best song lyrics ever written." Listen, and you'll understand why.
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