Jesus Christ, Bob. Give that harmonica a break.
Live 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert is a two-disc live album by Bob Dylan, released in 1998. It is the second installment in the ongoing Bob Dylan Bootleg Series on Legacy Recordings, and has been certified a gold record by the RIAA. It was recorded at the Manchester Free Trade Hall during Dylan's world tour in 1966, though early bootlegs attributed the recording to the Royal Albert Hall so it became known as the Royal Albert Hall Concert. Extensively bootlegged for decades, it is an important document in the development of popular music during the 1960s.The set list consisted of two parts, with the first half of the concert being Dylan alone on stage performing an entirely acoustic set of songs, while the second half of the concert has Dylan playing an "electric" set of songs alongside his band the Hawks. The first half of the concert was greeted warmly by the audience, while the second half was highly criticized, with heckling going on before and after each song.
Jesus Christ, Bob. Give that harmonica a break.
It's wild that a bootleg album made it to the 1001 list. I Buying bootlegs of my favourite bands' live performances was my only real indulgence in the early 80s. You had to know the one or two stores in town that carried them. The place in Toronto was The Record Peddler. Sudbury had a place, called Recycled Records, that would place orders for me. Knowing the names of the stores wasn't enough. You had to know the secret handshake to get the store owner to show you the goods. The bootlegs were never kept in the bins with the "legal albums" as the owner was always paranoid that Law Enforcement would find out and put him out of business. If a stranger asked the guy at the Record Peddler where the bootlegs were kept, he would probably deny even knowing what a bootleg was. If you didn't have the right connections at the store, the other option was mail order although half the time I tried this route my money disappeared and I received nothing. Let's just say that finding a bootleg was much harder than finding half a gram. When you finally got your hands on a bootleg, it came with serious sticker shock. A bootleg would cost three times the amount a legal album costs and the price did not guarantee quality. Many bootlegs sounded like they were recorded on a $10 dictaphone like the brothers on Madmen use. Other bootlegs, however, were recorded by the guys on the mixing board and the quality of these was better but still nothing like the quality of a legal live album. The exorbitant price applied regardless of quality so you had to do your homework. There was a book called Hot Wacks that was dedicated to bootleg reviews so you could know, before parting with your cash, whether the quality was good. Having the latest edition of Hotwacks was as critical to a bootleg buyer as having Robert Parker's Bordeaux bible would be to a wine snob heading to a wine auction. The difficulties finding a decent quality bootleg added to the mystique. A decent quality bootleg of your favourite band was your most cherished vinyl possession. You would be happy with the lower album quality since you had a treasure that (almost) nobody else had. In those days, bootlegs were magic. In 2021, I can peruse YouTube and easily find loads of bootleg quality live recordings for free. The magic that was there in the early 80's is gone and when you take away the magic, all that is left is a live recording that is mediocre quality.
I've heard from some very reliable sources that seeing Bob Dylan live is one of the greatest experiences you can ever have. Some prefer Bob Dylan dead.
I remember the excitement surrounding the official release of the Manchester “Judas” concert (misnamed as RAH here on purpose). You know, no YouTube then so it was just a legendary story. That they edited the heckling out of this was slightly disappointing, but it’s an incredible set, and we finally got to see the “Judas” moment in Scorcese’s film later.
How strange that this project has delivered two perfect Dylan companion albums on the week of his 80th birthday, you could almost put it down to a higher power (namely, the reddit co-ordinator who manages this shit) From the infamous free trade hall gig on the 1966 UK leg of Dylan's World tour; this album is as much a historical document as the magna carta or Shakespeare's manuscripts. The first half is just Dylan with his acoustic guitar but he isn't singing protest songs, these are his new numbers from the Holy trinity of albums: bringing it all back home, highway 61 revisited and blonde on blonde. The fact that he transforms some of these electric rock n roll songs back into an acoustic form makes a mockery of the whole "judas" debate and what shines through most pertinently is the words. This is Dylan at his most bard like, the elegiac mood that he creates is so powerful and profound that to be honest I too would have been a little disappointed to see him emerge in the 2nd half with his rock n roll backing band, the hawks (later to become The Band). What follows though are some of the greatest and most pioneering rock n roll songs of all time. Scorsese's No Direction Home is a brilliant documentary that summarises this time so well as Marty understands that it was a moment of unparalled cultural significance within the 20th century. Happy birthday Bob.
4.4 - Never having given this album a close listen, I’d thought it was overrated like some of Dylan’s output. But now that I’ve had a chance to actually listen, I see that I was wrong - this album lives up to the hype. The schism between the acoustic portion of this concert compared to the electric one sounds jarring to me as a casual listener and I can only imagine how dramatic that schism felt to the concert goers who were expecting a solemn folk affair. Aside from the lore, Bob Dylan truly shines here. I love the songs. I love the vibe. It’s rare that I find a Dylan album I enjoy from start to finish - he often throws in wrenches to challenge the listener. In this case, by going electric, Dylan propelled this concert to a different stratosphere.
Dylan is a great song writer but... not something I would hear for 1.5 hours. First side drones on with the harmonica grinding your ears. Second side is better but besides a few songs, it's pretty much the same long melody.
If I were to rate this album by the overall quality of the songs included, which on the studio version are spread across various extremely iconic and enjoyable albums, Dylan would deserve a 4 or even a 5 in some cases. If I were to rate the album by it's execution, and its execution alone, the score drops significantly. To be frank, I understand the stigma behind saying Dylan is a genius vocalist, which I somewhat agree with, but I dislike it a whole lot more on his live performances. The same opinion I have is on the instrumentals, where i find the harmonica sounds extremely grating and headache-inducing. Because Dylan is well represented on the top 1000 list, a 2/5 for this live version is deserved.
Genre: Folk Rock 2/5 I'm honestly sick of this man. I'm not sure what he did to deserve his legacy. He's a phony and a charlatan, and everything I hear from him is bland, lyrically confusing, and vocally inept. The man cannot sing a note, he can hardly pronounce his own lyrics, he plays the harmonica and guitar about as well as your average wayward fellow does and never to an extent that feels virtuosic, and above all that, his live shows are boring and uninteresting. The first half of this 90+ minute experiment in boredom is Bob and a chair. The only things that kept me listening were the hilarious, once-a-minute voice cracks and the chuckles I'd get once his harmonica started to squeal. Truly sonically unbearable, and left me primed to levy my first 1 rating on an album. However, the full band does come out for the second half of the show, and brings a bit more liveliness to the program, but not enough to warrant any sort of merit. Apparently this second half was filled with boo's and jeering from the crowd, but it has all been carefully edited out in order to remove any Dylan dissent from hitting any fanboy's ears. I would've certainly enjoyed this album more if I had someone to boo along with. This was the cherry on the shit sundae that is Bob Dylan albums in this book, and I know I still have more to listen to... But, as for this, it's an entirely avoidable album, with an entire first disc that provides nothing worthwhile to the listener. A real stinker.
Couldn't stand it. Nothing but poor rhymes and same nasal drone.
It's so hard for me to be objective with Bob Dylan. If you know me, you know my deep reverence for the poet, the musician, and the cultural icon. I've drifted away from daily and repeated Dylan listening sessions but listening to Royal Albert Hall is like meeting up with an old friend where time and distance apart has zero impact. So I thought I'd approach RAH with the lens of this 55-year-old woman who knows all the songs and try to not rotely listen to them this time. It's not hyperbole to say this man speaks to me more than any other musician (even The Beatles and Taylor Swift). The definition of "musician": a composer, conductor, or performer—Dylan masters all three. Now weave in "poet": a maker of verses of great imaginative and expressive capabilities and special sensitivity to the medium: "Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves Let me forget about today until tomorrow." How he punctuates with that harmonica! Has anyone else in the world played such poetic and musical harmonica? No. I listened to the Bootleg Series Vol. 4 version of the concert and didn't hear the audience dissatisfaction that is so well known for on the second set. Maybe the hecklers were cut from this version? It's hard for me to understand why the electric Dylan was so unliked by his fans in the same way it's hard for me to understand why people simply don't love Dylan. I mean C'mon...electric Baby, Let Me Follow You Down...how does your head not shake and your toe not tap?! Long-form songs are my jam and I'm certain that's due to Dylan (see ATW10MVTV). Listening to live Dylan and hearing where he changes the words is a little thrill and game for Dylan heads—what did he imply by transposing "finally sees" into "sees finally"? Why "negativity don't 'GET' you through" rather than "'PULL' you through" on Tom Thumb? These are questions for which many a historian has pondered (see Richard F Thomas, a classics professor at Harvard). I suspect when he transposes words or changes things it's simply a wee mistake (see Patti Smith performing A Hard Rain at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony at Stockholm) rather than a major statement. Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat has what I consider to be the sexiest Dylan line: "Well, if you want to see the sun rise Honey, I know where" I know I'm all over the place with this review but that's because he stirs up so many thoughts and feelings. Isn't that the point? This concert is Dylan at his best. The audience got the best of both worlds-folk & electronic. His voice is great...those long long notes that he holds and uses for the perfect accentuation: "IIIIIIII started out on Burgundy.." The band is great and perfect for Dylan at this stage. They are the foundation of his signature electric sound. I wonder if the hecklers feel like assholes now? (they should have felt that way when he was singing "Ballad of a Thin Man.") This is an 11 but 5 will have to do.
i wasn't really in the mood for it. for a live recording it wasn't that energetic.
An undeniable songwriting talent, Bob Dylan is already one of my favorite titans of music. This bootleg recording from '66 is a great example of both his one-man-acoustic style and his full-band-electric style. Just a dang good record front to back.
4.5/5. A strangely compelling acoustic guitar + nasal singer, then some weirdly catchy old school standard rock band. There's probably a bunch of strong lyrics that I glossed over too
For whatever reason, it always feels weird to write anything about Bob Dylan. What can I say about him as a poet, musician, pioneer, bear-poker, and overall just fascinating human and artist. Now, this album. Fantastic. The date of this show is one night after the infamous "Judas!" heckle to which Mr. Dylan responded beautifully (just looked it up: I knew the heckle and Bob's response; what I didn't know is after he responded to the heckler, he turned to his band and growled, "Play it fucking loud!", and, by gum, they sure as hell did.
There's no denying that this album has so many classic Dylan songs. I normally don't like live albums because I feel like the crowd is a bit noisy and the music isn't as good however, Bob did an excellent job of making this album more personal than a lot of other live albums. I mean can one give any less than 5 stars to Bob Dylan. This album perfectly encapsulates his ability with instruments and the lyrical genius that he is so well known for. I am a bit confused however as to why there is a bootleg album on this list, I feel like Dylan has many more albums which were original that deserve to be on here two than stretching for a bootleg one, but hey, it's a phenomenal album.
Love Dylan. But a live album is a bit if a fraud. Like having a greatest hits on the list. Cover art 1/5
People hated it when Dylan went electric. Dumb. I love seeing retrospective videos with all those squares beating their chests about "folk music isn't ELECTRIC." The Hawks (the Band) could jam so hard. They were simultaneously loose and super tight. That's a tricky combination to pull off. 1966 was Dylan at the pinnacle of his coolness, IMO. "Ballad of a Thin Man" is one of my favorite of his songs. Not sure if it's from this specific concert, but there is such a beautifully shot live video of him playing the song on this tour. I think it was in the Martin Scorcese film "No Direction Home."
What an extraordinary document of a moment in pop history. What surprises the listener here is how good Dylan sounds live - captivating with just voice, guitar and harmonica in the first half, then absolutely rocking out with The Hawks in the second half. The songs sounds so vivid and vibrant and heartfelt - sometimes more so than their studio record counterparts. The story of his ‘betrayal’ of folk music is so, well, folkloric, that to have captured it here is a glimpse into another world and time. An essential recording and a bootleg to boot.
Really enjoyed this. A lot of it sounded like a studio recording and not live. It was cool hearing the two phases of Bob Dylan in one set/one album.
I'm very much a Dylan guy and was really impressed with how much he sounded like his studio recordings during this concert. Great set list.
Some people love live albums. I am not one of those people. But I think I'd make an exception just given how huge a moment in music history it was when Dylan strapped on his electric guitar. Obviously full of bangers.
Gets rolling pretty quick, wild to think how many great songs this guy whipped up in his first handful of years. The first half sounds superb: the room, the dynamics in his strumming and voice, the rippin’ tin sando – it really feels like your sitting in front of the mixing board. The less-intimate back half also sounds great, but I’m not quite as engaged by big volume Bob for some reason. Regardless, I’d come back to this one. 3/5
A handbag full of mince meat and peas resting on the lap of an older woman with a stiff upper lip. She's on the way back from the abortion clinic where she's been campaigning for free abortions for white males aged 8-13. She has had a successful day's work.
This is far from essential and I love Dylan
It was awful. The man can't sing and long harmonica solos just become unbearable.
Whiny voice, boring songs that all sound the same. I want to throw his harmonica out a window.
Overrated. Every time this guy shows up, this list seems less credible
I've never been a fan of Dylan, and this performance does nothing to change that. Dylan's "style" of singing always rubs me the wrong way, and takes away from what might otherwise be pretty decent songs.
Bob Dylan's music can kiss my ass. Just droning on and on, I have no idea how anyone could like this snoozer of an artist. And enough with the harmonica, it's not good and actually had to turn down the volume at times cause it pierces right through your ears. I really tried to make it through this album but had to bail for my sanity. I won't give him a 1/10 because at least the guitar playing is pleasant, really the only redeeming thing with this album. 2/10.
Cat Power is a singer with an astonishing voice. At times husky, belligerent, soaring, goading and insistent, and always beautiful. I could listen to her sing the phone book. She doesn't get a mention in the 1001 list, though Bob gets about a hundred entries. This is not fair. This year (2022) she performed a concert at the Royal Albert Hall recreating this entire album. It's about the only way I think I could enjoy Bob.
Love the contrast between the first and second halves of the album. Hard to believe so many of his hits had been written before 1966. GOAT songwriter
There's no getting around how many classic Dylan songs are on this album. I normally don't like live albums because I feel like the crowd detracts from the songs, but this album it felt very intimate, like Dylan wasn't in a studio but was just singing direct to me in Albert Hall. I really enjoyed it, probably the best Dylan album I've gotten so far
This is more than an album, it's a historical artifact. The music is amazing but it also captures an important time in the history of music and one of its most influential artists. Great pick for father's day! 5 stars.
there are severall versions @ spotify so I hope I listened to the correct one, great recording but, agaim, what is it with this list and the live recordings? were there not enough albums?
Esencial para entender la música
Dylan es Dylan...
One of the most important live performances of the 20th Century. BT: Just Like a Woman, Tell Me Momma, Like a Rolling Stone
So happy to see this
Already listened, bloody amazing alum
A live album that earns its worth by capturing one of the most influential aesthetic shifts in music history basically in real time
This is an absolute classic!!
I enjoyed it.
As a big fan of live concert recording, you can't deny the importance and significance of this live concert from Dylan. Musically, the first disc is Bob, solo acoustic and the second disc features Dylan electric with the band with songs from his previous releases. What a performance! In my opinion, this is Dylan at his best and I'm sure glad this show was recorded! Thank you bootleggers!
Great concert....there are a lot of live Dylan albums out there...this one obviously is there because of the "Judas" "I don't believe you, you're a liar" confrontation in Manchester from the folk(ies) who thought he had "sold out".... it you like Dylan, it is a great gig. (Both acoustic and electric!)
First half solo, 2nd half with band, boo'd by crowd.
Yup, that was really good
Whenever I have the chance to see Bob live, I listen to this album or watch Pennebaker's/Scorsese's films. They are so good that I know I must go. Then I watch a few minutes of Rolling Thunder (I can't listen to the whole thing) and save my money. This album is perfect, particularly Tamborine Man, which he attacks, and the sheer noise of Baby, Let Me Follow You Down. Bob and the band are having so much fun. I wish he'd taken it down a few notches for Ballad of a Thin Man. The band have that sardonic tone down, but Bob's into full noise mode, not servicing the lyrics. Meanwhile, that nasal bellow is perfect for Like a Rolling Stone. "No secrets to conceeeeeeeeeeeeeal!" Perfect!
Long album - few classics in there thought it would have a bit more of a live feel - good to hear bobs voice before the crackles started to show
It's amazing to have such a famous and important concert recorded and on an Album. It's a bit of a shame that the famous "Judas", "I don't believe you" exchange was cut from this album although you can make out some other heckling from the audience in some of the songs. You can get a sense of atmosphere and imagine the scene of the band rolling on the drum kit and amplifiers for the second half. 4.5/5
"Judas!!" "I don't believe you...you're a liar...play it fucking loud" One of the most pivotal moments in music history, Dylan goes electric. If you know me, the score is no surprise. Absolutely perfect.
this was a perfect listen.
"It makes you sick listening to this rubbish now.... Bob Dylan was a bastard in the second half." The wild mercury sound that hit the tips of the tongues of those who were not amused by Bob Dylan's full blown affair with rock and roll must have been beyond too much for them, as the man who was positioned to be the spokesman for his generation not only turned inward but became strung out and strange in the process. What was concession and halfassed compliance in the first half soon turned into a battering ram of ferocious velocity that was the "bastard" in the second half. These times were not only tumultuous but significant, as it was a document of what the worlds of folk and rock were and were about to become in the year 1966, and there was only one voice to tell those how it was going to be. The only question that remained was: Would you let him follow you down?
Not into this
One of my favorite lives albums. Dylan essentially invented the rock concert. He started the practice of musicians bringing their own speakers and audio equipment to venues. And his audience wasn't ready for it. They angrily turned on him, and as their chanting and anger reaches a crescendo, he tells Robbie Robertson to "play fucking loud".
Dylan at his absolute best
Només pel seu valor històric ja es mereixedor de les 5 estrelles, però és que a més el concert agafa a Dylan en un dels seus millors moments artístics, i les dues parts del concert, acústica i elèctrica, contenen interpretacions d'un gran nivell
I read some of the other reviews before listening to this and there were quite a few saying it lacked energy or droned on too long. While I know Dylan can get pretty long-winded, I loved every second of this and felt the energy packed hall. I also love everything about Bob Dylan, but still. I'd give my eyeteeth to have been able to see him in his prime...
“I don’t believe you! You’re a liar! Play it fucking loud!” 5/5
stone cold classic
I saw Dylan live last year, some 56 years after this was recorded. Nice to have another live album to compare and contrast with; his voice may be a little more crinkly and he spent most of his time hiding behind his piano, but it was still undeniably Dylan and brilliant. This album is also great.
Dylan’s lyrics can’t be beat
This is the greatest live album of all time. And Spotify ruined it :( And YouTube doesn't seem to be any better. First, a review of the album, then a review of the streaming versions. Not only are the performances great, the history, and Dylan's "fight" with the audience are also huge. We hear closed-minded people who can't acknowledge that their "poet" is making music twice as good as before. A significant part of the audience can't handle change. This is music history, and we get to hear it taking place. I love, how, before the last song, Dylan turns to The Band and says, "Play it fucking loud!" He's mad at the audience, and you can hear it in the music. And then, when the song is over, Dylan says "Thank you" and leaves the stage, and you can hear some patriotic anthem coming faintly through the speakers, letting the audience know that there will *not* be an encore. Absolute classic. ------------------ So all that stuff I wrote above, about listening to Dylan argue with the audience and telling The Band to "play it fucking loud!" ... a very significant part of what makes this a classic, is not on the Spotify or YouTube version! I noticed, especially in the electric part, that there were gaps of silence after each song, and then it hit me: they cut out all but the music and very minimal clapping. This is a travesty. It's still a great performance, and on that alone, it warrants five stars, but they key part of the album is missing from Spotify and YouTube. (Relative to the 1001 Albums project, anyone that rated an album above this needs to rethink. This concert happened almost 60 years ago, and in the meantime, it was discussed as a legend and passed around on bootleg cassettes until finally officially released 30 years after the fact. Sixty years from now, no one is going to care much about 99% of the albums from 60 years prior...and that includes Muse :) If you don't love Bob's music, okay, but if you can't recognize its greatness, you're missing something.)
just perfect. every dylan album we’ve had has been excellent, every live album we’ve had has been excellent. this combines all of that. i wish i could give it a 6.
Man, I love bob dylan. The sound of that shrill harmonica in that gigantic concert hall really hits different. “She belongs to me” and “just like a woman” were especially captivating. Loved it
I am late comer to Dylan. Although I’ve always loved a few of his hits I used to dismiss him for the same reasons most Dylan doubters do: weird voice and singing style, plus the annoying harmonica and the hardcore fans. The last few years I’ve come to enjoy Dylan but I never took a deep dive into his discography. This double album live bootleg may not be the most obvious starting point, but I think it’s a great way to hopefully understand his genius. The intimacy of the first half and the inspired and louder band dynamic of the second half is a testament to his greatness. Amazing stuff.
As good a live record as one has ever heard. There is a beauty in the songs and a vulnerability in the singing that isn't nearly as present or detectable in the studio recordings. And the contrast and distance between the two sides (acoustic and electric) is stunning; one gets fully the power and force of the dichotomy Dylan must have been experiencing, even if one doesn't hear the crowd's outrage described by the editors (one very much wishes one could hear it). The acoustic cuts are powerfully gentle, haunting in the humility of their presentation. One wonders if Dylan ever felt unsure of himself singing with that voice and in that peculiar style – could such an inscrutable genius have felt that way as a young man? The electric side rocks – rawly and energetically and the direct line to the perfections of Blonde and Blonde couldn't be much bolder or clearer. Hearing this, one feels humbled anew by Dylan's genius and output, and profoundly grateful for the man's work (as well as the opportunity to have seen him several times). As long as one's been a fan, hearing this record – and a few of the songs in particular – was like hearing him for the first time.
This is incredible. Taking the historic status of the performance out of it, these are just phenomenal renditions of legendary songs. The electric set has a fierce energy to it, and which is aided by the what is perhaps the most overqualified backup group in history.
Classic Bob Dylan. Just a man, his guitar, harmonica and poetry. This album made me feel like I was in a smokey coffee shop in Greenwich Village in the 60’s. Great listen!
Great concert of Dylan at his peak.
This album is from such an interesting time in Bob Dylan's career and documents the reception he received when he went electric. This concert has been passed around for quite a while (although it was actually recorded in Manchester) and was already quite influential before it received a proper release. The first half is an acoustic set that is so captivating that I was hanging on every word. The last half is one of the most energetic performances I've ever heard committed to tape. Taken together, the album is simply phenomenal.
A five star album all the way. The first half acoustic set is the finest live release in his early repertoire. The second half then kicks it up a notch. The voice, the sound, the lyrics. All brilliant
Amazing live album.
Need to simmer this down further
Took me a while to get into it but I like it!
Disc 1 was more enjoyable than disc 2.
I've never listened to Bob Dylan seriously, and this showed that can be an experience. I'm not a native english speaker so maybe I lost a good part of the meaning of the songs, but I liked the mood.
Always think I'm gonna like Bob Dylan less than I end up. Desolation Row was especially great.
One of the best Live albums that I’ve heard. Actually enjoyable, and edited well.
half-listened, distracting day
Very good live album, especially the second half
Wordsmanship at its finest with a hint of folk rock
I like it a lot, I just don't know how often I'll come back to a 1.5 hour Bob Dylan album. 8
why does it seem like he is whispering in my ear?
Super good shit
7/10. Weird choice to put a vertically stretched picture of Mike from Stranger Things on the cover. Fairly enjoyable album, but didn't have much of the excitement that live albums often have, and Like a Rolling Stone and Desolation row were the only stand-out songs in my opinion.
It loses a star for the length and the amount of harmonica but overall fantastic. Comfortable. 8/10
Man he’s got a lot of stamina with these long songs. Bob Dylan albums can be a little tough for me, but I liked this one more than I expected to. Had a good feel- need to revisit to appreciate the lyrics. The history of the bootlegging is cool.
The first seven songs are beautifully preformed, just a man his words, his guitar and his harmonica. But when the songs are electrified and played with accompaniment, the album just explodes out of the headphones. Tell Me Momma bangs so hard. I’d give this a 5, but I can’t bring myself to give a live performance/best of album a 5.