The great Dylan circus

A documentary by Martin Scorsese and a box set of more than 10 and a half hours of music bring the legendary Rolling Thunder Tour Revue of the great American songwriter back to life...

By Marc Zisman | Video of the Day | June 13, 2019

In 2002, Dylan dedicated volume 5 of his Bootleg Series to his famous Rolling Thunder Revue, his legendary tour from Autumn 1975/Spring 1976, which until then had only been featured on the album Hard Rain.

A 57-concert adventure that followed the release of one of his best albums, Blood On the Tracks, on which he collaborated with his ex Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Kinky Friedman, Bob Neuwirth, T-Bone Burnett, David Bowie’s guitarist Mick Ronson and violinist Scarlet Rivera.

It was an exceptional tour, partly because of how unconventional it was in the writer’s career. The songs of Dylan (who was 34 and in an emotionally chaotic time in his life) found an original style, blending folk tradition (the spirit of Woody Guthrie prevails throughout), an informal “friendly” atmosphere, and a modern spirit thanks in part to Ronson’s glam guitar. Moreover, the Zim transformed his several-month tour into a rock circus where the prevailing real fake artistic chaos took on the form of supreme art.

With The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings, Dylan fans are going to pass out in ecstasy: 148 titles (including over 100 unpublished tracks!) over 14 albums, for over 10.5 hours of music! This genuine treasure trove, reserved for his most hard-core fans, features the five complete concerts recorded during the tour, as well as rehearsals at the SIR studios in New York, and at the Seacrest Motel in Falmouth. On top of this, a bonus album compiles other rare performances from this Rolling Thunder Revue.

You need to take the time to fully immerse yourself into this lengthy but fascinating historical document: a slice of life and of the creativity that explores the Dylan in all his complexity. His relationship with tradition. His way of existing in his time. His relationship to writing as well as to those around him. A proper goldmine, released concurrently with Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, a fascinating documentary produced by Netflix and directed by Martin Scorsese about this pivotal tour in rock history.


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