Dylan, Bob : Concert At Philharmonic Hall Oct 31 1964 (Bootleg Series Vol 6)

Young man sings good songs in big hall. Ladies swoon...

There’s nothing inherently good about old music. The good folk at Farto magazine may drop a bollock each month in their ceaseless quest to uncover what the bass player from Santana had for lunch on January 20 1967, but in the real world – where people fall in and out of love with things far more important than records – nobody with anything approaching a satisfying emotional life really gives a shit. Who cares? It’s over, let it go. Pop music is about the moment, not about the memories.

No one has had to suffer more endlessly rehashed memories than [a]Bob Dylan[/a]. His career has been so relentlessly picked over, the poor bastard has been forced into cloaking every aspect of his life in an attempt to keep some privacy. But there was a time before a nascent rock press decided he was the Most Amazing Bloke Ever, when he was just an absurdly charismatic young guy with an odd, tuneful/tuneless voice, an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. His songs were full of passion, but no one was wanking off about what it all meant, they just dug him. He was kind of nerdy, kind of sexy. Ten steps ahead of everyone else.

“This is, err, a song about a boxer,” Dylan giggles while introducing ‘Who Killed Davey Moore’, before admitting, “it’s not about boxing. It’s not even about a boxer,” and he laughs nervously like he’s high as fuck and hoping no one’s spotted it yet. “It’s got nothing to do with nothing! I just shoved all these words together, that’s all…” Then the giggling stops and this unbelievable voice bursts from his larynx and New York’s Philharmonic Hall vibrates like an over-filled balloon. Listen closely and you can hear people’s minds opening. Every person in the room wishes they were even a fraction as cool.

He forgets lines, people heckle, ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ reveals a future no one had any idea was coming, concert-goers eyes meet and shine with excitement. Outside, the world turns inexorably on its axis.

No one – no one – gave a shit what he had for dinner. Utterly brilliant.

Rob Fitzpatrick

Get ‘Bootleg Series Vol. 6’ at the NME Shop


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