When Bob Dylan’s popularity could no longer be contained within the United States, the mercurial singer-songwriter made his escape to Europe and gathered up fans at a serious rate. After his tour in 1966, it’s fair to say that the whole of Ireland was under his spell. It meant that Bob Dylan’s reach had gone global and the spokesperson of a generation had yet more followers.
That’s because, after his arrival on the emerald isle, he delivered some of his finest performances of all time, charging his new electric sound and delivering a convulsing set that beguiled the audience and left them chattering of a new lyrical messiah. While off-stage he may have come unstuck, Dylan was nearing his potent peak on stage.
Dylan was on one of the most seminal tours of his career when he made a stop at Dublin’s Adelphi Theatre in May of 1966. Having been through London, shared a very stoned taxi ride with The Beatles own John Lennon, and generally became accustomed to the Beatlemania-type fandom surrounding him, the weight of his stardom was growing. He could be a recording artist of searing proportion, but he still needed to deliver on stage.
What transpired is one of the most engaging and electrifying performances Dylan would ever give. As pure and innocent as his first outings—a simple acoustic guitar around his neck and the future of music in his eyes—the set really got going when Dylan plugged in his guitar. The freewheelin’ troubadour letting the wattage emanate from everything he did.
When Dylan “went electric” he gathered up a host of haters. The singer-songwriter was happy to defy them with every shout of “Judas!”, asking his band to turn it up whenever they did, but his real protest at being categorised was done with his performances.
That didn’t mean that Dylan wasn’t capable of pulling out a simple and subtly beautiful performance like the one below. Singing the classic track ‘Just Like A Woman’, Dylan is gentle and delicate when performing the Blonde on Blonde song. While the song has often been attributed to his relationship with Factory ‘It girl’ Edie Sedgewick but that has never been fully confirmed.
The song has been covered by a range of incredible artists including Nina Simone and Joe Cocker. But for our money, you don’t hear a better performance than this one below.