Bob Dylan Comes to Boston on the Heat of New Album

Posted November 11, 2014 by Catherine Martin in Theater & Arts
Orpheum Theatre

To celebrate the release of his new album, Bob Dylan kicked off a tour that began November 4 in Minneapolis, MN and will end December 2 in New York City. For one night only, on November 14, Dylan will play in Boston at the Orpheum Theatre. The music icon’s new album does not contain a single new song. Its story is actually a famous and familiar one: a retreated artist records a plethora of songs with a close group of fellow musicians and friends, not under the wing of a studio but in the safety of a private home. The recordings find their way out into the world and reveal themselves to be genuis, marking a permanent change on the face of popular music.

Such is the story of this collection of songs made by Bob Dylan and the Band in the late 60’s, which would become some of Dylan’s best-known, most influential work. In the midst of recovering from a motorcycle accident and a not-so-crowd-pleasing tour, Dylan started writing and recording music with his Band in the basement of the the famous “Big Pink” house in Woodstock, NY. The recordings leaked from these sessions would come to be known as “The Basement Tapes,” and were rock music’s first bootlegged songs.

In 1975, Columbia Records released the famous “The Basement Tapes” album, consisting of only 16 tracks from the session. It quickly became a critically lauded, wildly popular album, and inspired fervent, mass curiosity about the rest of the basement tapes. Now, every salvageable recording from those basement sessions has been curated and organized as one master set, called “The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 11.” Released on November 4, “The Basement Tapes Complete” is 138 songs, on either 2 or 6 discs, presented in near-chronological order. The collection has already been praised for how pure and close to Dylan’s musical home it is; the songs are “as close as possible to the way they were originally recorded and sounded back in the summer of 1967,” according to the press release on Dylan’s own website.

“The Basement Tapes Complete” was released with a little announcement inserted into its packaging: Bob Dylan will release a new album in 2015 called “Shadows in the Night.” Rumors about the album began circulating after a recording was released in May 2014 of Dylan covering “Full Moon and Empty Arms,” a song first made famous by Frank Sinatra in 1945. A few publications, including Rolling Stone, have postulated that “Shadows in the Night” might be all covers of Sinatra’s songs. This would be out-of-character for the famous folk musician, but would also be fitting in the modern landscape of music, where genres bleed into each other and everyone samples and covers everyone else.

Located in the heart of downtown just across from Park Street Station, the Orpheum was once compared to the Apollo Theater in New York, and has featured artists like James Brown, The Police, and U2. Dylan will grace the Orpheum’s stage just before performances from alt-J and Missy Ekko, and Lucinda Williams later that week. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com, and are selling out quickly, as is to be expected.