That is the sound of a gauntlet being thrown to the floor. I would ask any fellow nutcases to join me in reviewing individual nights from the 36 CD box set. Don’t cheat and do Manchester. I’ll kick us off with Paris 24th May 1966 (CDs 26&27)
There are a few reasons why I picked to listen to this show first. Not only because it’s one that hasn’t escaped in any form before now but cos it was played on his 25th birthday after a week of being battered by British audiences. With a whirlwind of boos and catcalls following him across the channel, performing this show in front of a 50ft Stars and Stripes flag may have been asking for trouble.
Listening to the show is fascinating as it appears that the acoustic set is where all the drama happens for a change. Dylan appears to have walked onstage with a guitar which is out of tune and spends a good section of the set retuning it. First he deals with this with sardonic humour – “my electric guitar never goes out of tune” but then as the audience start getting restless and heckling he loses his cool.
“Hey man, I’m doing this for you” he snaps “I don’t actually care, I can play it like this if you want it. Just enjoy watching this or go to the bowling alley”. Myth has led us to believe that the guitar tuning was Bob playing games with his audience to rile them into reaction or test their faith. Yet on this evidence he is genuinely annoyed even asking if anyone has a guitar he can borrow at one point. “II want to get out of here just as much as you” is perhaps how he feels about the tour by now.
However the electric set is probably better received than anywhere else on the tour it seems. Due to tape changing we often lose the in between song drama but the enthusiastic applause and foot stamping at the end of the set suggests a splendid time was had. This is one of the mono soundboard feeds that make up the box and although technical flaws are apparent – like the mic popping during the acoustic set on certain phrases – its riveting stuff.