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There was no Beatles session today, but an important piece of rock history took place a couple hours north, where Bob Dylan and the Band played a show at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester.

This was the tour where Dylan went electric, prompting hostile responses from the folkie traditionalists in his audience. In Manchester, he had just finished “Ballad of a Thin Man” when someone yelled out “Judas!” Dylan, of course, burst into tears and called off the rest of the show.

No, he didn’t really do that. What he did was snarl “I don’t believe you . . . you’re a liar!“ and then tell the Band to “Play it fuckin’ loud!” before launching into “Like a Rolling Stone.”

One reference I read led me to believe that one or more of The Beatles might have been at this show, but upon further inquiry, I don’t think that was the case. It is true that at least some of The Beatles attended the tour’s final shows at the Royal Albert Hall on May 26 and 27. Says The Wikipedia,

The final two nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London saw the biggest walkouts of the tour, but there was some support, as The Beatles were in the audience, shouting down the hecklers. George Harrison denounced the angry fans as “idiots.”

Confusing matters is the fact that the May 17 Manchester show, for some perplexing reason, became known to history as the “Royal Albert Hall” show. (The 1998 CD release is titled The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The “Royal Albert Hall Concert.”) I suppose it’s too late to fix that but, good Lord, history, get a clue.

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