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01 Jul 2019

Home Video Review: Netflix's 'Rolling Thunder Revue' Tells the Story of an Amazing Chapter in Bob Dylan's Musical Career

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A scene from Rolling Thunder Revue. A scene from Rolling Thunder Revue.

Bob Dylan peaked, in my opinion, during that strange time in the mid-1970s when he hit the road with a traveling circus of his music/poetry friends, covered his face with white makeup and delivered some of the rawest, most-straightforward rocking performances of his career. Thankfully, that’s the focus of Rolling Thunder Revue on Netflix.

Martin Scorsese, for the second time, has made a documentary focusing on the musical icon, combining archive concert footage with interviews (most notably a new chat with Dylan himself) to tell the story of the most-interesting tour of the man’s career. Dylan had just finished touring stadiums with The Band, and wanted to play more-intimate venues. So he did, and he brought the likes of Joni Mitchell, Allen Ginsberg and Joan Baez along with him.

The concert footage shows Dylan focused, driving and sometimes very funny as he delivers new music along with his already-classic songbook. New songs like “Isis” and “Hurricane” destroy alongside transformed versions of “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.” While watching these concert moments, it becomes immediately clear that anybody who was present for the shows was witnessing vital music history.

The interviews flesh out the “story” in what amounts to another triumph for Scorsese, who has given himself a nice side gig doing rock documentaries.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese is now streaming on Netflix.

2 comments

  • Comment Link Rick Tuesday, 02 July 2019 10:40 posted by Rick

    This writer seems unaware that several "people" interviewed are in fact fictitious and that this "documentary" is quite akin to the mockumentary "This Is Spinal Tap." Aside from the concert footage, nearly none of the rest can be taken as fact.

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  • Comment Link Ric Tuesday, 02 July 2019 09:27 posted by Ric

    This was strangely dissatisfying to long time Dylan fans like me. I have several boots from this tour. Scorcese's project presumably used all the archival footage that Dylan shot for 'Renaldo & Clara.'
    Then he added some tongue in cheek interviews with Dylan, tour members, and out right imposters. Resulted in a tumbling mess with not enough concert footage.

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