BetteBack January 31, 1974: Bette Midler & Other Celebs Take In Bob Dylan Concert

Delta Democrat
January 31, 1974


Bob Dylan stepped onto the darkened stage, Madison Square Garden burst into a lightning storm of flash bulbs and thunderous applause.

Wednesday night’s New York concert was the 15th stop of Dylan’s tour, but the 33-year old singer told friends he was eager to return to where it all began over a decade ago in the small, smoke-filled coffeehouses of Greenwich Village.

For over two hours Dylan and The Band–one of America’s finest rockgroups–gave 20,000 young and middle-aged fans one of the finest displays of music and showmanship yet seen on the tour.

And the audience- -including such personalities as Dick Cavett, singers James Taylor, Carly Simon, Bette Midler and Yoko Ono, sporfscaster Fiank Gifford and columnist Tom Wicker–responded with warmth.

Outside the giant hall, scalpers were asking–and occassionally getting- .$10 and $50 for $8.50 and $9.50 tickets.

Police arrested at lenst six persons on charges of scalping, purse snatching, impersonating a police officer, criminal trespass and possession of marijuana.

Dylan’s repertory was identical to Monday’s concert at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum but similarities ”¢ended there: where Nassau had been mellow, New York was electric; where Nassau fans applauded each song, New Yorkers also applauded finely executed -uitar or harmonica solos.

As the concert enflcd with the rock classic, “Like a Rolling Stone,” the darkene d auditoriu m suddenl y resembled a starry sky as thousands of lit matches were held aloft.

The mood had its’ desired effect: Dylan came out for a rare second encore and the hushed crowd joined in singing “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

After it was over, Dylan, his face glistening with perspiration, leaned forward and said, “You’re the greatest, you’re the best…Thank you and goodnight.”

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