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5.25.2009

One of the single most important moments in the history of popular music

I finally picked up The Other Side of the Mirror, the collection of Dylan's performances between '63 and '65 at the Newport Folk Festival. I've got legitimate complaints as far as presentation goes: the shitty cardboard digipack, the uninspired cover artwork and, most egregiously, the fact that "Phantom Engineer" is missing from the 1965 performance. But. This DVD has earned its place in history for finally bringing the public one of the single most important moments in the history of popular music, the performance of Maggie's Farm. When Dylan blew everyone's mind and forced popular music to grow up.

Of course, what is really evident is that Mike Bloomfield deserves just as much credit as Dylan. The exact moment when everybody's mind is blown occurs roughly 23 seconds in to the clip below, when Bloomfield begins to unleash a searing, vicious performance with all the dirty, evil voodoo that Chicago can muster. It's a brilliantly vicious performance by Bloomfield, who is roundly booed for it. To me, this is proto-noise and segments of this wouldn't sound out of place on White Light/White Heat. Sadly, Bloomfield overdosed in 1981, but he should go down as the man who really caused all that commotion at Newport in 1965.

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