June 24th, 2010
I haven’t posted a documentary in ages so I thought now would be a good time to do so.
This one is called “Ghosts of Electricity” and is from the BBC. It looks at the legendary Bob Dylan concert from 17 May 1966 at Manchester Free Trade Hall where an audience member yelled “Judas!” towards the end of the electric set. (Dylan was backed by The Hawks here who would go on to become The Band.) Dylan had already gone electric by this time having done so about 10 months earlier at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival but he hadn’t toured the UK since that performance. The Manchester concert was the 6th of the tour.
In addition to being the stuff of legend, the concert is notable for a couple reasons on the bootleg front. The first is that it was only available as a boot until 1998 when Dylan released it himself as the fourth installment of his Bootleg Series. And so, for most people, it was purely legendary for decades as they had no way to actually hear it for themselves. Secondly, you’ll notice that the official release is called Live 1966: The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert. Early bootlegs mistakenly identified the show as having taken place at the Royal Albert Hall in London where Dylan performed later in the month on the 26th & 27th. And so we have an instance of bootlegs shaping rock history, albeit in a very limited way.
Note that this is the rebroadcast from 2005 in which the identity of the guy who shouted “Judas!” is revealed and interviewed.