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The Other Side Of The Mirror: Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 [DVD]  [Region 1] [NTSC]
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Collection of live performances from the iconic singer-songwriter, recorded at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, '64 and '65. The footage includes songs such as 'Blowin' in the Wind' and 'Like a Rolling Stone' and features his first-ever, controversial, purist-baiting appearance with an electric band.
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Highly recommended - but don't forget that misinformation about the format in the current listing (09/01/2010).
Murray Lerner has said, "The music is a clear, lucid, isolated expression of Dylan - that's all you need". He's right, and quite simply, this magnificent 80-minute DVD is essential viewing for anyone with the slightest interest in Bob Dylan's music.
Could we now please have a DVD release of Howard Alk's brilliant NBC-TV film of Dylan's legendary 'Hard Rain' concert at Colorado State University on May 23, 1976.
I, for one, shall be getting a copy as soon as it is released. Just one down side that came to me when watching it, and it was nothing to do with the programme I was watching, but was the fact that the BBC themselves have allegedly discarded the two Dylan specials that were recorded specially for them "In Concert" way back in 1965. It seems as though I will have to make do with the lo-fi audio I have of those gigs, unless (he says hopefully) they are found to still exist at the Beeb in the wake of the recently broadcast Newport footage!
Go buy .. I'm sure you will if you saw last weekend's broadcast of this!
In '63, he is this fresh-faced kid singing songs of rich lyrics and imagery all smiley and enjoying the whole groove with Joan Baez.
In 1965, he now has this air of supreme control as he takes on the folkies with an electric backing band. The development is amazing. Some of the folkies boo his performance but it is clear Dylan is now on a plain of his own and beyond them and is already a unique performer and huge star.
And that is exactly what this DVD demonstrates, we see Dylan taking part in the Newport Folk festival over a period of years and the audience hangs on every word. His songs are politically charged, lyrically poetic, and his style is evolving. His clothes change to reflect his image change from countryboy to arthouse thinker. This feature also shows the infamous 1965 'going electric' moment. Controversy surrounds the booing of Dylan - is it because he went electric? Or is it because the set was so short? You watch and decide - I love the moment where he is asked (practically begged) to come back on stage - and he does so, and then asks the audience if anyone has an "E harmonica" and to just throw them up on stage.
Speaking of agitated audiences, the DVD also shows the heckling for more Dylan, making the man himself step back onstage to awkwardly say that there are others to perform. Dylan is becoming a prophet to some, and they want more and more of him. Dylan is obviously getting uncomfortable with his star-status, and some folk fans are now dismissing him 'not needed' due to his becoming bigger than the event.
This DVD isn't simply a rehash of what has already been seen before, it is new and raw - but has been treated to sound superb. Appearances from other singers, in particular Joan Baez (her impression of Bob is magic) ensure that this is a DVD is one to sit back to with the lights down and enjoy. After watching the early Bob Dylan you'll be wanting to get your CDs out and maybe even fancy yourself as a budding revolutionary cultural figure.
A lot of the footage in this docu-film had not been seen before, and it is fantastic that it is now available for the world to enjoy. For non-folk, or non-Dylan fans then this will be a bland black and white series of musical numbers - but for those who enjoy folk and recognise the artistic talents of the great man Dylan, this is a chance to witness the song writing legend coming of age. You don't get any real insights to the man behind the music, but so much of him is in the songs that it doesn't matter, and the little moments of humour, and the cheeky smiles, give you a much wanted glimpse of the man rather than the musician. I would have liked some more bonus features, but the 5.1 sound and the main feature are well worth the money.
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