Captured live on Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert, Chan Marshall's spellbinding performance pays tribute to her hero's mark on music history while breathing fresh life into some of his most cherished songs.
In an homage to a pivotal moment in rock history, Cat Power, the stage name of Chan Marshall, graced London's Royal Albert Hall stage for a challenging performance. She embarked on a musical time travel back to May 1966 when Bob Dylan's legendary Manchester Free Trade Hall show, erroneously labeled the "Royal Albert Hall Concert" on bootlegs, altered the course of rock and roll. Dylan's electrifying switch from acoustic to electric during that historic set sparked outrage among folk purists and forever transformed the future of folk music and Dylan himself.
In her version of that special night, Cat Power channeled the spirit of each song with a mix of unwavering conviction and delicate grace, infusing them with a protective aura. The anarchic tension of Dylan's original performance was magically transmuted by Marshall into a warm and luminous joy, displaying her profound connection with the original material. Mirroring the original 1966 concert and Dylan's world tour that year, Marshall preserved the first half of her set as entirely acoustic, then shifted gears to electric with the assistance of a full band.
Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert showcases Marshall's approach to each song in the setlist, a blend of profound respect and an innate understanding of the intricate nature of song interpretation. Marshall openly admits to feeling a nervous anticipation before taking the stage, but her deep devotion to Dylan's music served as a guiding light throughout the night. She shares her reverence, stating, "I had and still have such respect for the man who crafted so many songs that helped develop conscious thinking in millions of people, helped shape the way they see the world. So even though my hands were shaking so much I had to keep them in my pockets, I felt real dignity for myself. It felt like a real honor for me to stand there."
In the hallowed halls of Royal Albert Hall, Cat Power breathed new life into a historic moment, paying homage to one of the greatest songwriters of our time with her own inimitable grace. Her rendition of Dylan's 1966 concert not only honors the past but rekindles the magic, and it’s a fine addition to a discography that already features no less than three covers albums including The Covers Record (2000), Jukebox (2008), and Covers (2022).