|Tour by Bob Dylan |
with The Band
|Start date||January 3, 1974|
|End date||February 14, 1974|
|No. of shows||40|
|Box office||$5 million ($26.2 in 2020 dollars)|
| Bob Dylan |
with The Band
The Bob Dylan and the Band 1974 Tour – sometimes referred to as Tour '74– was a two-month concert tour staged in arenas during early 1974 that featured Bob Dylan, in his first tour in eight years, performing with his old partners The Band. The tour generated intense fan and media interest and tickets for the shows, available only through mail order, were in great demand. Shows on the concert featured segments with Dylan and The Band together, The Band by themselves, and Dylan by himself. Accounts of the shows emphasized the sometimes drastic rearrangements that Dylan's well-known songs were presented with. A live double album, Before the Flood , was recorded during the tour and released later in the year.
The 40-concert, 30-date, 21-city tour began on January 3, 1974, and ended on February 14, 1974.The tour was one of the largest such undertakings of its era, and took place entirely in indoor sports arenas.
The show reunited Dylan with The Band on stage after the recording of Dylan's Band-backed Planet Waves album, and was the brainchild of David Geffen, who had lured Dylan to his Arista Records label.Dylan, who by this point in his career had developed a strong interest in his financial position, had been dissatisfied with the terms of his Columbia Records deal. Discussions about a tour took place among Dylan, The Band's guitarist and chief songwriter Robbie Robertson, and Geffen during the summer of 1973. The intent was that Dylan would receive the bulk of the profits from the tour. Graham then booked a series of dates without telling the venues who the artist would be.
As The Hawks, the little-known group had backed Dylan on his last prior full-scale tour, the exhaustive Bob Dylan World Tour 1966, between the releases of Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde . Dylan's few public performances in the prior years had been one-offs like his unannounced guest turn with George Harrison at The Concert for Bangladesh.During this time there had been built up around Dylan, as the New York Times stated, "the legend of a mysterious recluse."
This was a high-profile comeback for both acts;in addition to Dylan's hiatus, The Band had only recently emerged from an eighteen-month interregnum itself, rooted in Robertson's writer's block and keyboardist/second drummer/vocalist Richard Manuel's longstanding alcohol dependence.
News of a tour first came out with a report in The Washington Post in early November 1973 based on a conversation a reporter Tom Zito had with Robertson; it was big news because, as he wrote for the paper, "Bob Dylan, the reclusive songwriter who sparked a generation in the early 1960s ... and, by 1965, had become the single most generative force in rock music, is planning to go on the road for the first time in eight years. Dylan will be accompanied in concert by The Band, the American quintet widely regarding as one of the most important and innovative performing rock ensembles."Or as The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Dylan is widely regarded as the most influential and significant star in the last 10 years of American popular music, and this is his first tour in eight years."
Rehearsals for the tour took place at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles, with final soundchecks taking place at The Forum.
Throughout the tour, Dylan and The Band chartered The Starship, a private jet famously used by Elton John, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.Long limousines and large hotel suites were also features of the tour. The traveling road crew for the tour numbered around fifteen people, with local labor augmenting them in each venue.
As Dylan's first full-fledged tour since 1966, the announcement received an enormous amount of coverage from the music and general press. The average ticket price was $8.Top-dollar tickets were $9.50 (roughly $50 in 2017), considered quite a lot for a rock concert in 1974.
Tickets were sold by mail order, as announced in newspaper advertisements in the various cities, with payment required by certified check or money order for up to four tickets per request.The tickets went 'on sale' on December 2, 1973, meaning that was the first day that requests could be postmarked.
There was considerable confusion in some post offices and banks as fans unsure of the process tried to figure it out.The line outside the post office facility Rincon Annex in San Francisco stretched for five blocks when midnight struck. By three days later, there were so many mail requests for shows in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles that Graham requested the postal service return them to the senders forthwith.
There was, in the words of one Dylan biographer, "an extravagant level of hype for this tour," with for instance Geffen claiming that it was "the biggest thing of its kind in the history of show business."As part of the attention, Dylan appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine.
As Geffen said on the eve of the tour's first show, "We're trying to make this whole thing as uncrazy as possible. But the most significant thing of all about this tour has been the overwhelming response to it."Geffen claimed that up to twenty tickets could have been sold for each available seat. Promoter Bill Graham estimated that some $92 million worth of ticket orders had been placed. Graham said of the ticket sales process, "It was, uh, rather monumental." Although some hyperbole was involved in some of Geffen's and Graham's statements, there was in fact an intense level of fan and media interest in the tour.
There were a problems in a few cities with tickets being held back by local promoters and then sold for much higher prices.There were also reports of counterfeit tickets in circulation as well. In some cases alternative newspapers ran classified listings of people offering sexual favors in exchange for tickets.
The opening show took place at Chicago Stadium.It had a capacity audience of 18,500. The first song performed was a reworking of "Hero Blues," a previously unreleased song that Dylan had recorded back in the early 1960s. Over the course of two hours, Dylan and The Band performed alternating sets broken down into three categories: Dylan performing his own songs backed by The Band, Dylan's solo acoustic set, and The Band's performances of their own songs. Although Dylan played harmonica during a rendition of Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Share Your Love with Me" sung by Manuel, The Band elected not to include Dylan in their subsequent group performances in a meeting after the show.
Beginning with the next concert, the tour took on a standard formula: an opening six-song Dylan/Band set, a five-song Band set, three more Dylan/Band performances, a five-song Dylan acoustic set, a three- to four-song Band set, and a joint finale.
Promotional activities in each city were greatly restricted, with no television cameras allowed in the hall, no backstage passes for press or celebrities, and no local radio station appearances.Audience age range for the shows ranged from teenagers to the grey-haired, but most were in their twenties or thirties. Dylan's stage patter during the shows was generally minimal, sticking to brief mentions of the city they were playing in or other mentions of the intermission.
While virtually all the songs in the shows were familiar and many were familiar from progressive rock radio airplay, few of them sounded similar to their original versions. Driven by Levon Helm's syncopated, contrapuntal drumming, Dylan's songs (exemplified by a Jimi Hendrix-influenced take on "All Along the Watchtower") were re-arranged and sung with a ferocity not found on the originals, while Garth Hudson's experiments with the Lowery String Symphonizer (an early synthesizer embedded in the Lowery H25-3 organ that was adapted from the Freeman String Symphonizer) further enriched The Band's timbral palette.
The tour represented the beginning of Dylan's effort to come to terms with the material that had made him famous by heavily rearranging that material, a project that would continue with the 1975–76 Rolling Thunder Revue and the 1978 shows that went into his Bob Dylan at Budokan album. 'Ya say yer lookin' for someone' ... 'It still ain't me, babe'".As Ben Fong-Torres wrote at the time, Dylan was "putting new italics into old songs —
The Band's playing was more aggressive than it had been when they had recorded with Dylan and more akin to that of their famed 1966 live shows with Dylan, something that Robertson would later acknowledge was a tendency of theirs.Helm later noted that this was the very thing they had been booed for during those shows back then. In any case, The Band had a reputation for being at its best in concert, and received plaudits for their playing on these shows.
"Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine", a lesser-known track from Blonde on Blonde, was a showpiece number for the new arrangements and was highlighted as show opener or closer (as well as being the single released from the subsequent live album). Even though the set list was mostly static, The Band kept their interest going by making changes to how they played each song as they went along.
At the beginning of the tour, a few songs from Planet Waves were performed in concert; however, as the tour wore on, these songs gradually disappeared from the setlist. By the end, only "Forever Young" would remain. Songs like "Hero Blues" and "Nobody 'Cept You" were also performed at some of the earlier shows, but such idiosyncratic choices would eventually disappear as well. Dylan's older, celebrated compositions were already heavily favored, but as the tour wore on, they would completely dominate the shows.
Dylan and The Band were very aware of the nostalgic atmosphere surrounding the tour, even as they recast Dylan's back catalog in dramatic, new arrangements. Helm later recalled, "I sometimes had a funny sensation: that we were acting out the roles of Bob Dylan and The Band, and the audience was paying to see what they'd missed many years before."
However, there were moments where contemporary events did connect with the proceedings: when the tour was going on, the Watergate scandal was dominating the headlines.One of the most popular songs during the shows was "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"; performed during Dylan's solo acoustic sets, it never failed to elicit cheers when Dylan got to the words, "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked." (This reaction can be heard very explicitly on the recording of the song that appears on Before the Flood.) In some cases fans held lighters aloft during the concert, an early instance of this practice among rock audiences, and a photograph of one of these instances became the cover for the Before the Flood live album.
In Atlanta, Dylan and The Band visited notable fan and governor of the state Jimmy Carter at the Georgia Governor's Mansion, with an enjoyable stay capped by Rosalynn Carter preparing breakfast for them.The visit was reported in February 28, 1974's Rolling Stone .
Toward the end of the tour, Dylan and The Band made a stop at Oakland Arena. Dylan would write in his tour diary that, though he felt the Oakland shows went fairly well, he had done them on little sleep. Meanwhile, Dylan's performances became less and less restrained, and Dylan would later acknowledge this in an interview taken in 1980: "When Elvis did 'That's All Right, Mama' in 1955, it was sensitivity and power. In 1969, it was just full-out power. There was nothing other than just force behind that. I've fallen into that trap, too. Take the 1974 tour. It's a very fine line you have to walk to stay in touch with something once you've created it ... Either it holds up for you or it doesn't."
Dylan's wife, Sara, was present at those final shows. During the final show of the tour, which took place on Valentine's Day, Dylan broke from the standard setlist to play Sara's favorite song, "Mr. Tambourine Man". Accompanied by Garth Hudson on accordion, it was only the song's second appearance on the entire tour, and would not be included on Before the Flood.
The final shows at the Los Angeles Forum drew a number of fellow musicians and celebrities, including Carole King, Ringo Starr, Joan Baez, Jack Nicholson, and Warren Beatty.Others who tried to attend but could not get in included Roger McGuinn and Jerry Garcia. By then, Danko, Manuel, and Helm were all having problems with their singing voices. The final song played on the tour was an added-to-the-setlist "Blowin' in the Wind".
The tour generally got a positive reception from music critics. Robert Christgau referred to the tour arrangements as both crazy and strong and wrote that "But while the Band sounds undisciplined, threatening to destroy their headlong momentum by throwing out one foot or elbow too many, they never abandon their enormous technical ability. ... [Dylan's] voice settles in at a rich bellow, running over more than one of his old songs like a truck. Such a sacrilege. Uncle Bob purveying to the sports arena masses. We may never even be sure that this is a masterpiece."
A minority voice was that of Nat Hentoff, who would write, "Dylan's sound and beat are of the past... the gestalt is anachronistic."
The Rolling Stone Record Guide subsequently wrote that in the shows of Tour '74, "Dylan reinterprets all of his old material drastically, singing the lyrics as though they mean nothing at all or something very different from what we've always understood them to signify."The guide said that this change was "discomforting" but "interesting" and sometimes even "fascinating". In his 1979 volume Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island, famed rock critic Greil Marcus included a rendition of "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine" from the tour in his "Treasure Island" list of essential recordings in the history of rock music.
In terms of box office performance, by one estimate, more than seven percent of the U.S. population had submitted orders for tickets, and while some shows faster than others, eventually all were sold out with a total of 658,000 tickets being mailed.The total gross receipts for the tour were around $5 million.
Both Dylan and The Band made a lot of money from the tour, although some of it was spent on a luxurious traveling life.And some of Dylan and The Band's tour revenue was when the artists - against the advice of Levon Helm - invested it in tax shelter schemes that went bad a few years later.
The tour helped to promote Planet Waves, which became the first Dylan album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 album chart.Nevertheless Dylan thought the record should have sold even more given the amount of publicity the tour received, and the experience overall with Geffen was not to Dylan's liking. Thus Dylan soon re-signed with Columbia Records on more favorable terms.
While the shows were received with great enthusiasm on the part of the audiences,Dylan himself later disparaged the tour, feeling that it was overblown. "I think I was just playing a role on that tour, I was playing Bob Dylan and the Band were playing the Band. It was all sort of mindless. The only thing people talked about was energy this, energy that. The highest compliments were things like, 'Wow, lotta energy, man.' It had become absurd." By one account, Dylan liked the money but not the experience.
Helm echoed those sentiments, writing in his autobiography: "The tour was damn good for our pocketbooks, but it just wasn't a very passionate trip for any of us."
The live album Before the Flood was released in June 1974, and contained a representative sample of the tour, drawn from shows in New York City and Los Angeles.
Tour ticket sales proved to Dylan that his commercial prospects were still strong on the road.Furthermore, his critical status beginning to grow again after years of minimal activity interspersed with indifferent releases; it would bound far higher with the following year's release of one of his most acclaimed albums, Blood on the Tracks .
|January 3, 1974||Chicago||United States||Chicago Stadium|
|January 4, 1974|
|January 4, 1974|
|January 6, 1974||Philadelphia||The Spectrum|
|January 6, 1974|
|January 7, 1974|
|January 9, 1974||Toronto||Canada||Maple Leaf Gardens|
|January 10, 1974|
|January 11, 1974||Montreal||Montreal Forum|
|January 12, 1974|
|January 12, 1974|
|January 14, 1974||Boston||United States||Boston Garden|
|January 14, 1974|
|January 15, 1974||Landover||Capital Centre|
|January 16, 1974|
|January 17, 1974||Charlotte||Charlotte Coliseum|
|January 17, 1974|
|January 19, 1974||Pembroke Pines||Hollywood Sportatorium|
|January 21, 1974||Atlanta||The Omni|
|January 22, 1974|
|January 23, 1974||Memphis||Mid-South Coliseum|
|January 23, 1974|
|January 25, 1974||Fort Worth||Tarrant County Convention Center|
|January 26, 1974||Houston||Hofheinz Pavilion|
|January 26, 1974|
|January 28, 1974||Uniondale||Nassau Coliseum|
|January 29, 1974|
|January 30, 1974||New York City||Madison Square Garden|
|January 31, 1974|
|January 31, 1974|
|February 2, 1974||Ann Arbor||Crisler Arena|
|February 3, 1974||Bloomington||Assembly Hall|
|February 4, 1974||St. Louis||St. Louis Arena|
|February 4, 1974|
|February 6, 1974||Denver||Denver Coliseum|
|February 6, 1974|
|February 9, 1974||Seattle||Seattle Center Coliseum|
|February 11, 1974||Oakland||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena|
|February 11, 1974|
|February 13, 1974||Inglewood||The Forum|
|February 14, 1974|
|February 14, 1974|
The Band was a Canadian-American rock band formed in Toronto, Ontario, in 1967. It consisted of four Canadians and one American: Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson, and Levon Helm. The Band combined elements of Americana, folk, rock, jazz, country, and R&B, influencing subsequent musicians such as the Eagles, Elton John, the Grateful Dead, the Flaming Lips, and Wilco.
Jaime Royal "Robbie" Robertson, OC, is a Canadian musician, songwriter, film composer, producer, actor, and author. Robertson is best known for his work as lead guitarist and songwriter for The Band, and for his career as a solo recording artist.
Richard Clare Danko was a Canadian musician, bassist, songwriter, and singer, best known as a founding member of The Band.
Mark Lavon "Levon" Helm was an American musician and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and one of the vocalists for the Band. Helm was known for his deeply soulful, country-accented voice, multi-instrumental ability, and creative drumming style, highlighted on many of the Band's recordings, such as "The Weight", "Up on Cripple Creek", and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".
Richard George Manuel was a Canadian composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a pianist and singer in The Band. The five members existed from December 1961 as The Hawks, becoming The Band in 1967, effectively breaking up in 1976, then re-formed in 1983. Manuel was with them until his 1986 suicide, a few hours after The Band performed a show.
Eric Garth Hudson is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist best known as the keyboardist and occasional saxophonist for rock group the Band. He was a principal architect of the group's sound, described as "the most brilliant organist in the rock world" by Keyboard magazine. With the deaths of Richard Manuel in 1986, Rick Danko in 1999, and Levon Helm in 2012, Hudson is one of only two living original members of The Band, the other being Robbie Robertson.
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid is the twelfth studio album and first soundtrack album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on July 13, 1973 by Columbia Records for the Sam Peckinpah film, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Dylan himself appeared in the film as the character "Alias". The soundtrack consists mainly of instrumental music and was inspired by the movie itself. The album includes "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", which became a trans-Atlantic Top 20 hit.
Planet Waves is the fourteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on January 17, 1974 by Asylum Records in the United States and Island Records in the United Kingdom.
The Rolling Thunder Revue was a 1975–1976 concert tour by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan with numerous musicians and previous collaborators. The purpose of the tour was to allow Dylan, who had now become a major recording artist and concert performer, to play in smaller auditoriums in less populated cities where he could be more intimate with his audiences.
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in popular culture during a career spanning nearly 60 years. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements. His lyrics during this period incorporated a range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defying pop music conventions and appealing to the burgeoning counterculture.
"I Shall Be Released" is a 1967 song written by Bob Dylan.
The Basement Tapes is the 16th album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and his second with the Band. It was released on June 26, 1975, by Columbia Records. Two-thirds of the album's 24 tracks feature Dylan on lead vocals backed by the Band, and were recorded in 1967, eight years before the album's release, in the lapse between the recording and subsequent release of Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding, during sessions that began at Dylan's house in Woodstock, New York, then moved to the basement of Big Pink. While most of these had appeared on bootleg albums, The Basement Tapes marked their first official release. The remaining eight songs, all previously unavailable, feature the Band without Dylan and were recorded between 1967 and 1975.
The 1969 Isle of Wight Festival was held on 29–31 August 1969 at the English town of Wootton, on the Isle of Wight. The festival attracted an audience of approximately 150,000 to see acts including Bob Dylan, the Band, the Who, Free, Joe Cocker, the Bonzo Dog Band and the Moody Blues. It was the second of three music festivals held on the island between 1968 and 1970. Organised by Rikki Far, Ronnie and Ray Foulk's Fiery Creations, it became a legendary event, largely owing to the participation of Dylan, who had spent the previous three years in semi-retirement. The event was well managed, in comparison to the recent Woodstock Festival, and trouble-free.
The Bob Dylan World Tour 1966 was a concert tour undertaken by American musician Bob Dylan, from February to May 1966. Dylan's 1966 World Tour was notable as the first tour where Dylan employed an electric band backing him, following him "going electric" at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. The musicians Dylan employed as his backing band were known as The Hawks, who later became famous as The Band.
"Stage Fright" is the title track of the Band's third album, Stage Fright. It features Rick Danko on lead vocals and was written by Robbie Robertson. According to author Barney Hoskyns, Robertson originally intended it to be sung by Richard Manuel but it became clear that the song was better suited to Danko's "nervous, tremulous voice."
Robert J. Gregg was an American musician who performed as a drummer and record producer. As a drum soloist and band leader he recorded one album and several singles, including one Top 40 single in the United States. But he is better known for his work as a drummer on several seminal 1960s songs, including Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence". He was also temporarily a member of The Hawks, which later became known as The Band.
"Santa-Fe" is a song that was recorded by Bob Dylan and the Band in the summer or fall of 1967 in West Saugerties, New York. It was recorded during the sessions that would in 1975 be released on The Basement Tapes but was not included on that album. These sessions took place in three phases throughout the year, at a trio of houses, and "Santa-Fe" was likely put on tape in the second of these, at a home of some of the Band members, known as Big Pink. The composition, which has been characterized as a "nonsense" song, was copyrighted in 1973 with lyrics that differ noticeably from those on the recording itself.
The Bob Dylan World Tour 1978 was a concert tour by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. In 1978, Dylan embarked on a year-long world tour, performing 114 shows in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe, to a total audience of two million people.
"Behind That Locked Door" is a song by English rock musician George Harrison from his 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. Harrison wrote the song in August 1969 as a message of encouragement to Bob Dylan, who was making a highly publicised comeback to the concert stage, accompanied by the Band, with a headlining performance at the Isle of Wight Festival. "Behind That Locked Door" is a rare Harrison composition in the country music genre and the second song dealing with the friendship between himself and Dylan, after their 1968 collaboration "I'd Have You Anytime". Its lyrics address Dylan's elusive nature, and reflect the high regard in which Harrison held the American singer's work. The same reluctance on Dylan's part to re-engage with a concert audience led to him retreating again from live performance until August 1971, when he responded to Harrison's request to play at the Concert for Bangladesh.
The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete is a compilation album of unreleased home recordings made in 1967 by Bob Dylan and the group of musicians that would become the Band, released on November 3, 2014 on Legacy Records. It is the ninth installment of the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series, available as a six-disc complete set, and as a separate two-disc set of highlights – common to the rest of the series – entitled The Basement Tapes Raw.