Paul Zollo’s Favorite New Releases: Bob Dylan’s 30th, The Dukes Of September, The Strypes And More
Bob Dylan & Many Stars
Bob Dylan, The 30th Anniversary Collection
Pure joy. So thrilled that this amazing concert was not only filmed so beautifully, but is finally released here in this deluxe collection that gives us a CD of the music, and a DVD with the best of the great performances. And such a night it was. It was October 16, 1992, and many of the brightest luminaries of the music world united at Madison Square Garden to pay tribute to – and to have a lot of fun singing the songs of – Bob Dylan. And unlike most Dylan tributes, of which they are many each year now just as there are Shakespeare festivals around the planet, Dylan himself appeared at this one. Which is momentous, because in these times – and to our world – the impact of Dylan is as vital and profound on our souls and our culture as was Shakespeare in his time. With language and music merged, Dylan changed our world. He changed the course of popular song, as songs continue to reflect and impact our world with a power few other things can muster. And so to celebrate the impact of that legacy in this way is righteous, as it shows the respect Dylan is held in by his peers, as well as the greatness of the material and its vast range. Each artist takes on one or more Dylan songs and make it his own – that is the essence of great songwriting, to write work that not only its creator can convey, but when can be inhabited by every kind of singer, and every performer. Dylan’s songs lend themselves to a show like this. The DVD contains what was the PBS version of the show, which just gives us the highlights of the show. But each artist played several songs, and on the CD we get to hear the whole show, at last, for the first time. Most impressive is the way these great songwriters so inhabit their Dylan songs of choice. Bob has written such a vast range of songs – on every topic under the sun, and in so many music styles – that the choice is immense, and telling. Tom Petty chooses what was a relatively new song in 1992 – “License to Kill,” from Infidels. His performance of it, with the Heartbreakers backing him up, is revelatory, bringing such quiet intensity to this mysterious, dark lyric. To perform a song on this level is to go inside the thing, to live inside of every line.
Click here to continue reading