On February 7, 1962, at the Finjan Club in Montreal, Canada – according to a website called www.downtheroadtoecstasy.co.uk/ – Bob Dylan made what might be the first public performance of the standout track from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind”. (Wikipedia mentions that Dylan “debuted” the song at Gerde’s Folk City on April 16, 1962, but that was apparently only the New York debut). I have a copy of this performance also on a Dylan bootleg, and it is chilling to hear Bob Dylan really working hard to present this now-legendary song to an audience that had never heard it before.
The introduction that Bob Dylan gives at the Montreal club makes it apparent that he knows what a new direction he was taking in his songwriting with “Blowin’ in the Wind”: “Here’s a song that’s in sort of in a set . . . a set pattern of songs that say, uh . . . [here, Dylan strums on his guitar for a while] that say a little more than, I love you and you love me, Let’s go over to the banks of Italy, and raise a happy family, You for me and me for . . . me.”