In 1974, Bob Dylan returned to the road after an eight-year hiatus, reuniting with the Band, which had backed him on his 1966 jaunt. The tour played arenas for two months, and was exceedingly financially successful. Perhaps predictably, Dylan craved something else altogether.
The following year, he hit the road again, but in radically different form. The Rolling Thunder Revue traveled to unlikely venues in smaller marketplaces — Plymouth, Mass.; Niagara Falls in upstate New York; Bangor, Me. It also wasn’t completely Dylan’s show: The touring group also included Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and several other well-regarded musicians, as well as the poet Allen Ginsberg.
The tour is the subject of a new boxed set, “The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings,” which collects five full concert performances, rehearsal tapes and rarities on 14 CDs. And it is captured, in a way, in a new film on Netflix, “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese,” which leans heavily on footage filmed during the tour (some of which was used in the 1978 film “Renaldo & Clara”) and which — spoiler alert — incorporates fictionalized characters to create a tension between falsity and truth, narrative and metanarrative.
On this week’s Popcast: