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Bob Dylan - The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert! (2016) review


Bob Dylan - The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert! (Columbia, 2016)

In 1966 Bob Dylan knew that he was completely stepping out of the folk flavors that gave him a foot in door, allowing him to venture into the fledgling folk-rock era, where with Blonde On Blonde he would flatten the world under the weight of his hazy, nearly psychedelic presentation, that still today, remains to most fans as his most potent, productive, and magical album. In that same year he and his hired guns turned their eyes east and headed across the pond into Beatle-land, where standing behind an American flag, he let the world know where the magical mystery tour really began.

Anyone with any musical knowledge at all, has known for years that what was called the Royal Albert Hall Concert actually took place at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, on the 17th of May. Up turned faces across the world raised their hands to the sky in a collective sigh when history was finally corrected with the second installment of Bob’s Bootleg series in 1998 [which is tagged as the fourth volume, though the first three editions were gathered together in the 1991 boxset], meaning that as sampler album for the staggeringly huge boxed set, the obvious conclusion was to finally release the actual Royal Albert Hall Concert that took place on the 26th of May, 1996.


This presentation delivers the same formate as the Manchester show, complete with an acoustic set as the opener, and the electric set to follow and plaster you to your seat. Both adventures sound rather similar, and are almost equally as good, though the actual Albert Hall’s event features an electric set is much more lively, spontaneous, and dare I say even a bit more wild.

Is it possible to have too much from Bob Dylan? Probably … but I’ll keep listening nonetheless.

- Jenell Kesler
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