Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, acoustic guitar); Joan Baez.
Recorded at Philharmonic Hall, New York, New York on October 31, 1964. Includes liner notes by Sean Wilentz.
In 1964, when the Beatles where still singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand," Bob Dylan was quietly making history at New York's Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall). ANOTHER SIDE OF BOB DYLAN had recently been released, but even the flights of fancy on "Spanish Harlem Incident" and "To Ramona" (both performed here), while unprecedented, couldn't have prepared the audience for the Big Bang of songwriting represented by the still-unrecorded "Gates of Eden" and "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)." In a voice full of youthful vitality and insouciance, Dylan delivered groundbreaking poetic epics to a crowd that must have been equally confounded and exhilarated.
Disc Two contains more of Dylan's older, more conventional material as well as four duets with Joan Baez, including the folk ballad "Silver Dagger," which Dylan would never record. As full of life as this second half of the Philharmonic concert is, it still serves as a breath-catching period in the wake of the world-changing new songs heard in the first set. Probably only a few of those in attendance realized it at the time, but music would never be the same again.
Rolling Stone (4/15/04, p.152) - 5 stars out of 5 - "[A] pivotal evening in his career....The times were a-changin', and you can hear Dylan coming and going, with one foot in each era, on LIVE 1964."
Entertainment Weekly (4/2/04, p.66) - "It's shocking that this pristine tape--the young bard in full-on protest-song mode--was shelved." - Rating: A-
Uncut (4/04, pp.90-1) - 5 stars out of 5 - "This is Dylan in headlong motion, snapped in a unique, brief and vital transitional moment in his development as his comet blazes across the firmament of popular culture."
Uncut (p.75) - Ranked #5 in Uncut's "Best New Albums of 2004" - "[A] joyous, highly entertaining acoustic performance..."
Mojo (Publisher) (4/04, pp.116-18) - 4 stars out of 5 - "LIVE 1964 is Dylan on the cusp. It's the wave moving below the surface of the ocean, shifting our boats unexpectedly, gathering force before it finally breaks the plane of water and comes crashing down."