Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bob Dylan’s Tribute Concert

30th Anniversary Celebration out on Home Video

By David Luhrssen
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In 1992, Bob Dylan was in one of his periodic creative slumps as a recording artist, and his live shows were already getting shaky. Perhaps the admiring musical cast assembled that year to mark the 30th anniversary of his first LP helped revitalize the songwriter that changed the direction of music?

The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration: Deluxe Edition has been released on Blu-ray and DVD. It was a superstar summit of Dylan’s generation; only a touch of grey was visible and the players were vital musically if not always creatively. Added to the musicians who made their mark in the ‘60s were representatives of what was then the younger generation: Eddie Vedder, Sinead O’Connor and Tracy Chapman.

In a few cases, it was a homecoming for such onetime Dylan collaborators as The Band and Johnny Cash. The Clancy Brothers played the same Greenwich Village scene as Dylan; in the “Behind the Scenes” bonus documentary, they recall him as a “fresh-faced lad” and considered that “there’s more to this fella than meets the eye.”

Mostly, the roster represents musicians who were influenced by Dylan’s groundbreaking combination of folk, rock and poetry, among them Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty and Chrissie Hynde. One of the cool things about the concert is how it paired off artists who might not otherwise work together, like Neil Young with Steve Cropper and Booker T.

A tragic note is inescapable when viewing the concert in 2014. George Harrison, in his first U.S. concert appearance in 18 years, would die in 2001. Lou Reed joined him last year.

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