Masonic Hall Memorial Auditorium, San Francisco

November 27, 1964

Mama, You've Been On My Mind
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Talking World War III Blues
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Gates Of Eden
If You Gotta Go, Go Now

An incomplete audience recording of what seems to have been a relaxed yet highly controlled Dylan concert. It's amazing how effortlessly he went from wistfully romantic to seriously somber to lighthearted good humor without ever jarring or confusing his audience. The sample of songs on this tape shows what a master showman he was in late 1964, perhaps the absolute peak of Dylan's folk performance years.

The duet with Joan Baez on Mama, You've Been On My Mind was a real crowd pleaser, but he could turn around and sing an absolutely devastating early version of It's Alright, Ma in a deliberate slowed down manner that leaves the audience breathless. Imagine how it must have seemed to hear these words for the very first time and realize that he was saying all the things everyone was probably thinking but could never put into words. Just an absolute magnificient performance. Followed on the tape by Talking World War III Blues, the comic effect is enhanced by the very fact that it comes after an amazing song of utmost seriousness. When "Don't Think Twice" is sung in an exaggerated swagger, the crowd laughs not inappropriately at the fun of it all. Likewise If You Gotta Go, which follows the amazing Gates of Eden, gets huge laughs. Even Gates of Eden gets a few laughs at the grotesque images that must have seemed very novel at the time ("gray flannel dwarf", etc.). The rest of the concert must have been just as good.

Sound quality is pretty good for a 1964 audience tape. The crowd is quiet throughout (except for some hearty laughter), a true testament to Dylan's ability to keep an audience on the edge of its seat.

CDs and LPs: None that I know of.

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