in1978, BobDylanwasinMelbourneforits Australia tour. Dylan’spopularity,despitethepress,critics&fansover flatteringhisvariousmusicaltransformations&hisnotoriouslycurmudgeonlyattitude.DavidRansomreportsfor‘Thisday,today’onABC-TV.
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Bob Dylan World Tour 1966 – Australia Photo Gallery (30 Photos)
Australia was the first major stop (outside the US) for Dylan's legendary World Tour in 1966. The fortunate few thousand here who witnessed it saw what proved to be the watershed moment in Dylan's career. It was the culmination of Dylan's evolution from folkie icon to fully-fledged rock star, which had begun with his controversial "electric" debut at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965. The punishing schedule of the 1965-66 period - three landmark albums somehow crammed in around a frantic round of tours and other engagements - took its toll on Dylan.
. The '66 world tour was to be his last major concert outing for almost 8 years: seared by the experience, Dylan withdrew after his famous motorbike accident in July and, apart from sporadic solo appearances at events like the Isle Of Wight Festival and the Concert For Bangladesh, he did not undertake another major tour until the Before The Flood tour in 1974, which reunited him with The Band.
By the time he arrived in Australia, just prior to his 25th birthday, Dylan was at the height of his fame and was now, along with The Beatles, one of the most famous and popular performers in the world.
Thanks to the agressive style of his manager Albert Grossman, he was also one of the most highly paid
Like The Beatles, his popularity, and his perceived role as a social spokesman exposed him to an unprecedented level of media and fan attention. His press conferences and interviews became a cross between an police interrogation and a boxing match, with the wry, caustic and cynical Dylan sparring with (and sometimes mauling) the journalists, who in return probed to find flaws in this new musical demigod.
His songs were taking rock music to a new level of complexity and maturity, but in doing so he had left far behind him the folk style that had made him famous. Many older fans, who took folk music very seriously, felt betrayed by Dylan's move into what they saw as the 'corrupt' world of pop music
He famously outraged the folk audience when he performed his second set at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival backed by an electric band, comprising members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and organist Al Kooper (who had played on the legendary Like A Rolling Stone). Folk patriarch Pete Seeger was apparently so angered by Dylan's electric set that he tried to pull the plug on the PA system, resulting in a fight between him and Albert Grossman.
Dylan was deeply committed to his new music, and determined to present it the way he wanted - whether the press and audiences liked it or not. He began his Fall 1965 Tour in August that year, backed by a 4-piece group that consisted of two members of Ronnie Hawkins' former backing band The Hawks (guitarist Robbie Robertson and drummer Levon Helm), plus bassist Harvey Brooks and organist Al Kooper, who played the organ on Like A Rolling Stone. From the outset they experienced hostility from audiences across the US. Partway throught the tour, in Septemeber, Brooks and Kooper left the group, unwilling to continue in the face of the nightly jeering and catcalls. They were replaced by the other three members of The Hawks - Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Rick Danko - thus completing what many consider to be Dylan's perfect backing band.