Singer-songwriter Cat Power, a.k.a Chan Marshall, took the stage Monday night as The Tonight Show’s musical guest. Dressed in a black suit and a loose necktie, Marshall and the band performed Bob Dylan’s iconic “Like a Rolling Stone,” from her new album Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert.
The record itself is a recreation of Dylan’s fabled 1966 concert, which – unlike Marshall’s – didn’t actually take place at London’s Royal Albert Hall at all. One of the more famous moments on the original record is an audience member yelling, “Judas,” just prior Dylan’s performance of his closing number, “Like a Rolling Stone.” The audience at 30 Rock, however, refrained from recreating this moment for Marshall last night.
After her performance, host Jimmy Fallon announced that Cat Power’s world tour would kick off in February.
Marshall’s album was recorded last November in London, whereas Dylan’s famous 1966 concert — where he went electric halfway through, and the folk purists in the crowd went apoplectic — actually took place at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. For years, a bootleg recording mislabeled the venue.
Before releasing the record, Marshall shared her thoughts on some of the concert. In a statement, she said of the opening number: “When singing ‘She Belongs To Me’ in the past, sometimes I turned it into a first-person narrative — ’I am an artist, I don’t look back.’ I really identified with it like that. But for the show at Royal Albert Hall, I, of course, sang it the way it was originally written — with the respect for the composition… and the great composer.”
She also described the moment, in her concert, where an audience member yells out “Judas,” before her rendition of “Ballad of a Thin Man.” In 1966, “Judas” was shouted after the song, and just before Dylan’s closing number, “Like a Rolling Stone.”
Nevertheless, Marshall put her own spin on the response. Rather than flat-out firing back, “I don’t believe you, you’re a liar,” like Dylan, she simply responds, “Jesus.”
“It was something impulsive. I wasn’t expecting the audience to recreate their part of the original show as well, but then I wanted to set the record straight — in a way, Dylan is a deity to all of us who write songs,” Marshall said.
Cat Power Sings Dylan is available now via Domino.