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Bob Dylan: Tempest
Even those who’ve long given up on Bob Dylan as a live performer—the garbled transmutations of his classic songbook often account for serious head-scratching— tend to agree that the
bard’s last few albums have been late-career gems. Tempest is another. Typically inscrutable at times, clever and witty at others, more enraged than usual and worthy of the intense examination that accompanies every missive from Dylan, it’s an especially potent collection of new songs: a rambling, 14-minute dissertation on the Titanic (and the smash film about same), the ominous ballad “Soon After Midnight,” a tribute to his friend John Lennon, the scorching, wicked “Pay In Blood.” Without the microanalysis, it’s just as effective: Working with that same live band charged with keeping those catalog songs afloat on stage, Dylan doesn’t necessarily leave his comfort zone here, but he never settles for the obvious either.
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