The Bob Dylan “Curry Hicks Cage” show at UMASS on April 26th, 1964, had two very influential musicians on the road with him. It is unknown if they were roadies or just along for the ride. These two men were, Paul Rothchild, who would later go on to find success producing The Doors, and, John Sebastian, soon to be the founding member and lead vocalist of the Lovin Spoonful, famously known for their smash hit, “Do You Believe in Magic.” Talk about famous friends!
On April 26th, 1966, Bob Dylan performed at the Curry Hicks Cage at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The concert is now legendary for a number of reasons, including the fact that it was one of the last shows Dylan performed before his infamous motorcycle accident later that year.
The Curry Hicks Cage, which is now known as the Mullins Center, is an arena on the UMass Amherst campus that has hosted a wide variety of events over the years. At the time of Dylan's performance, the Cage was primarily used for sporting events, and it was unusual for a musician to play there.
Despite this, the venue was packed with fans eager to see Dylan perform. The concert began with a set by The Hawks, who would later go on to become The Band. Dylan and his backing band then took the stage and launched into a set that included some of his most beloved songs.
One of the highlights of the show was Dylan's performance of "Visions of Johanna," which many fans consider to be one of his greatest works. The song features intricate lyrics that paint a vivid picture of a woman named Louise, and Dylan's delivery on this night was reportedly particularly moving.
Another standout moment was when Dylan performed "Ballad of a Thin Man." With its scathing lyrics and intense delivery, this song has become one of Dylan's signature tunes, and the version he played at the Curry Hicks Cage is still talked about by fans and critics alike.
Despite the show's high energy, there was a sense of melancholy in the air that night. Dylan had been touring heavily for several years, and he was reportedly exhausted and burnt out. Many of the songs he played that night had a dark, introspective feel, and some fans felt that he was signaling a desire to move away from the intense public scrutiny he had been under.
Of course, no one knew at the time that this would be one of Dylan's last performances for several years. Just a few months later, he would be involved in a motorcycle accident that would force him to take a hiatus from touring and recording.
Despite this, the Curry Hicks Cage show remains a significant moment in Dylan's career. It captures him at a moment when he was at the height of his powers as a performer and songwriter but also struggling with the intense pressures that came with his fame. It's a testament to his enduring legacy that fans still talk about this concert over fifty years later and that his music continues to resonate with new generations of listeners.
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