Bob Dylan Live 1964: Concert At Philharmonic Hall (Columbia/Sony) Rating: NNNN
Somewhere between selling his generation's galvanizing folk anthems for use on corny bank commercials and playing requests for dollar-waving executives at private corporate parties, Bob Dylan pissed away any lingering relevance as a counter-culture rabble-rouser. The release of this sixth volume in Columbia/Legacy's excellent Bootleg Series - an impressively crisp two-disc document of his triumphant 1964 acoustic performance at New York's Philharmonic Hall - is a welcome reminder of the giddy 23-year-old song poet's electrifying presence at a time when it seemed like a clever turn of phrase could change the world for the better. Dylan's at his finger-pointing best here, opening with The Times They Are A-Changin' and continuing through the still relevant A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, Talkin' World War III Blues and With God On Our Side while the rapt audience hangs on every word - which you can actually understand. A remarkable historical artifact.
Bob Dylan mumbles through three shows at Ricoh Coliseum Friday (March 19), the Phoenix Saturday (March 20) and the Kool Haus Sunday (March 21).