On the Road with Bob Dylan - Part Three - 'The Dylan Magic is here to Stay'
Words By: Sam Pethers & Roland Ellis | May 3rd, 2015
On May 2nd 1965, Bob Dylan played a sold out show at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester, England. Up until that point only The Beatles had sold out a concert at De Montfort, not even The Rolling Stones had filled the venue.
Newspaper headlines in Leicester the following day read, 'The Dylan Magic Is Here to Stay'; and 'Bob Dylan Sells out De Montfort Hall'.
Joan Baez was reportedly disappointed about not being invited to join Dylan on stage for the final songs of the night, a trend that continued throughout the whole tour. Dylan later addressed the tension that arose between himself and Baez on the '65 UK tour in Martin Scorsese's documentary No Direction Home:
"You know it was probably a stupid thing to do, not letting her play - but you can't be wise and in love at the same time. I hope she'll see the light sooner or later on that."
Listen below to Dylan performing "The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll" in Leicester, May 2nd 1965.
Dylan performed the entire side two of his new record Bringing It All Back Home at the De Montfort show, but neglected to play any of the album's 'electric' songs. The setlist was as follows:
"The Times They Are a-Changin'"
"Gates of Eden"
"If You Gotta Go, Go Now (or Else You Got to Stay All Night)"
"It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"
"Love Minus Zero/No Limit"
"Mr. Tambourine Man"
"Talkin' World War III Blues"
"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"
"With God on Our Side"
"She Belongs to Me"
"It Ain't Me Babe"
"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll"
"All I Really Want to Do"
"It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"
The all-acoustic format brought with it unreserved appreciation from fans and critics alike. Local paper The Mercury wrote, "His 100-minute solo performance to a sell-out audience of more then 3,000 at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall last night proved by its sincerity and sheer magic that he will outlive and probably outgrow any mere popularity boom"; and "In the last few months his “sound” and the almost mystical lyrics which he writes himself. . .have started off a new bandwagon in popular music, and have begun a fresh teenager cult on both sides of the Atlantic."
How quickly the tide of praise turned on Dylan, however. Upon returning to the venue one year later, he and his backing band were booed and jeered at by the crowd throughout the entire electric portion of their set. Reviewers had done an about-face on their 1965 positions also. One wrote that Dylan was "sacrificing lyric and melody to the God of Big Beat"; while another said that he had been "buried in a grave of deafening drums."
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