Bob Dylan’s Return to Utah Renews Name for ‘Holy Grail’ of Misplaced Recordings: His 1976 Salt Lake Present

Bob Dylan performs music alongside Invoice Briggs throughout a efficiency in Utah between 1965 and 1975. Dylan’s 1976 efficiency in Salt Lake Metropolis stays a thriller to his greatest followers; some name the present’s misplaced recordings the “holy grail” of its unrecorded reveals. (Utah State Historical past)

Estimated studying time: 7-8 minutes

Editor’s word: This text is a part of a collection reviewing the historical past of Utah and the US for The history section of KSL.com.

SALT LAKE CITY — Bob Dylan returns to Salt Lake City on Thursdayand a few of his greatest followers are utilizing this present to jump-start their seek for any kind of recordings of his efficiency within the Utah capital 46 years in the past – a present that’s virtually legendary now.

That is as a result of that live performance, held on the Salt Palace within the spring of 1976, reportedly contained an “uncommon” set checklist that includes songs hardly ever carried out by the legendary folk-rock artist all through his 61-year profession.

“It is most likely the Holy Grail Dylan tape at this level,” stated Ray Padgett, which runs a Substack site dedicated to every Bob Dylan concert in history. “All the opposite reveals on this tour have been taped, however this one (it wasn’t) and he has all these uncommon performances – and it was most likely the final present on his most beloved tour ever. time.”

Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Overview Tour

Dylan got here to Salt Lake Metropolis on Could 25, 1976, in what was the ultimate leg of his Rolling Thunder Overview tour.

According to a 1976 report by the Deseret Newswho reviewed the present, Dylan was on tour elevating cash for the protection fund of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a former boxer convicted of homicide in 1967 who was within the midst of a high-profile retrial in 1976. Though Carter’s conviction wasn’t overturned till 1985, his case impressed Dylan’s 1975 basic “Hurricane.”

However by all studies on the time, the tour was partly superb and partly chaotic because it rolled out in late 1975 and early 1976. It’s thought of right this moment considered one of Dylan’s finest excursions ever. , if not the largest, because of the manner it has been organized, based on Padget.

“It was kind of its touring carnival vibe, the place totally different company would come on stage, and it was very unfastened,” he defined.

However the tour was not with out controversy. Nick Snow, the music author for Deseret Information on the time, wrote that issues arose in some cities. In Austin, Texas, for instance, followers have been “offended” after they found their $9 tickets – simply over $45 in right this moment’s foreign money – did not precisely reserve a seat for them. . Some even picketed outdoors the present due to this drawback.

And the Salt Lake Metropolis present was an accident in some methods. Dylan was presupposed to wrap up the tour in Denver, however the present was moved to Utah simply two weeks early “with out clarification”, baffling Mile Excessive Metropolis followers, based on Snow. Jay Meehan of The Newspaper, a Park City outlet at the time, wrote that Dylan hung out in Fort Collins, Colorado, the place he shot a television special that would air later in the year on NBC.

An evening to recollect’

All of those questions culminated in a legendary night. Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Overview workforce – supported by Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Bob Neuwirth and Kinky Friedman – traveled again in time on the ultimate present of the tour.

“Nineteen Sixties hope, embodied by Bob Dylan and his Rolling Thunder Overview, defied Seventies disillusion Tuesday night time on the Salt Palace,” Snow wrote in his overview of the present. “And for 4 hours, the 70s fell into oblivion because the 60s emerged.”


Regardless that he solely stated a complete of about 10 phrases to the viewers, his dashing stage method and unreserved efficiency appeared to point that he had fun. I do know I did.

–Jeff Howry, within the Could 27, 1976 version of the Day by day Utah Chronicle


Utah followers listened to Baez sing a “whimsical” cowl of Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing within the Avenue” and carried out an a capella model of Aretha Franklin’s “Do Proper Girl, Do Proper Man,” wrote Snow. Jeff Howry, a reporter for the Daily Utah Chronicle at the University of Utah at the time, added that McGuinn carried out “Flip, Flip, Flip” and “Chestnut Mare” from his time with The Byrds.

Dylan then opened with a “shifting rendition” of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” based on Meehan’s report of the night.

“If it had ended there, I would not have been disillusioned,” he wrote.

It did not finish there, nevertheless. The following set list, reconstituted by tales, gave start to a present that has develop into legendary in its personal proper. Dylan adopted with “Gates of Eden”, a tune he would not have performed in over a decade on the time, or not less than not on the one tour. He and Baez carried out “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts,” which Padgett says seems to be the one time Dylan carried out the tune reside.

His set additionally reportedly included “Black Diamond Bay”, which can even have been the one time he carried out the tune reside. Though he performed outdated and new hits, Howry wrote that just about each tune he performed was “rearranged or altered in a roundabout way”, including to the distinctiveness of the present.

In brief, it was a nook of paradise for anybody who loves Bob Dylan.

“Dylan’s voice sounded higher than ever and, though he solely stated about 10 phrases in whole to the viewers, his dashing method on stage and unreserved efficiency appeared to point he had fun. I do know it’s,” Howry wrote. “It was an unforgettable night.”

A seek for recordings over 4 a long time

The one drawback with the night – not less than for individuals who weren’t there – is that it appears to be like just like the present was by no means taped. Dylan’s archives, which Padgett visited in Tulsa, Oklahoma, present that the musician had recorded all of his different live shows all through the tour. The archivist on the archives had nothing left of the Salt Lake Metropolis present in 1976.

There are some rehearsal snippets of Dyland and Baez singing “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” earlier than the gig, which helps verify that they most likely carried out it on Could 25, 1976; nevertheless, it appears to be like like there was an error attempting to report the precise present.

“Sadly, that they had returned their recording tools previous to this closing present and so they relied on borrowed tools that…did not work,” Padgett defined.

It will definitely sparked a frenzy amongst loyal followers who both discovered of the collection or needed to relive it. For instance, superfans Dag Braathen and Twitter person @dylyricus earthen a newspaper ad from March 1977; a Californian requested viewers tapes, photographs and newspaper clippings from the Salt Lake present.

The legend has solely grown over time; 46 years later, the search remains to be ongoing for any sort of recordings of the night.

With Dylan’s return to Salt Lake Metropolis, Braathen and @dylyricus consider the time is true to renew the search. They launched a website and corresponding social media accounts devoted to his efforts to search out recordings of the present. Padgett, who helps the corporate, thinks there could also be a pirated recording someplace.

Expertise has radically modified live shows, for higher or for worse. It is virtually unattainable to see a present the place somebody is not holding a cellphone to report a tune or a complete present lately. But the expansion of the web and social media can also be why Padgett thinks it is potential to search out somebody with a recording, maybe mendacity in a basement or attic.

At this level within the search, he is hoping a non-Dylan fan who simply recorded rock live shows within the Seventies might have recorded it. There could also be a gold mine round their home with out their information. If in case you have it or have any leads, the trio of Dylan followers hope you will e-mail them at lacking@doyouhaveit.data.

In any other case, the night of Could 25, 1976 on the Palais du Sel is probably one thing that lives on solely in folklore. The search will refocus on different misplaced recordings of Dylan on this case.

“Folks have identified about this present…for many years now, and the Dylan world hasn’t,” Padgett stated. “If the official Dylan information cannot discover it, I believe at that time it is sort of the final likelihood that any individual’s sitting on it and so they do not even understand what it is like. he has.”

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Carter Williams is an award-winning journalist who covers common information, the outside, historical past and sports activities for KSL.com. He beforehand labored for the Deseret Information. He’s a transplant from Utah through Rochester, New York.

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