Chances are that by now someone—or maybe 10 people—have said to you, “You’ve gotta see Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder Revue concert documentary on Netflix!” Well, let me add to that chorus: It’s one of the coolest music docs to come down the pike in a while; so utterly compelling and inspiring. It captures Dylan at a true peak, in the mid-1970s, post-Blood on the Tracks (and a year after his historic reunion tour with The Band). He’s loose but lucid; the music deep and blazing with life, whether it’s acoustic-based or electric. Seriously, don’t miss it!
This Throwback clip is not from the Rolling Thunder Revue film or even that magical first tour, which happened in the fall of 1975 and played mostly smallish venues on the East Coast. Rather, it is a chunk of one of the final shows on the second Rolling Thunder tour, in the spring of 1976, from a stadium in Fort Collins, Colorado. This concert became the basis for the TV special and album called Hard Rain—the album is wonderfully raucous, though not up to the level of the 2002 “Bootleg Series” release (Vol. 5) Bob Dylan Live 1975: The Rolling Thunder Revue. In the acoustic segment we’ve cued to, Dylan and Joan Baez play a jaunty version of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” the old murder ballad “Railroad Boy” (which Joan recorded on her second album, Joan Baez Vol. 2, in 1961), and Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos).” Then it’s back to ragged electric music, sometimes great, sometimes confounding. Twas ever thus with Dylan. —Blair Jackson