The 20 greatest concerts in Boston history: 16

Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue | Harvard Square Theatre | November 20, 1975
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  October 25, 2006

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A poster advertising Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue
Imagine “It Ain’t Me Babe” with Bowie sideman Mick Ronson on guitar, and an evocation of the early days of Cambridge’s historic folk haven Club 47 conjured by Dylan reuniting with Joan Baez on stage to sing “Mama, You Been on My Mind” and “The Water is Wide.” Picture Dylan supported by a diverse cast, including country singer Ronee Blakely, the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Greenwich Village singer-songwriter Bob Neuwirth, and a T-Bone Burnett so young he hadn’t formed the Alpha Band. That was Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. It was Dylan in peak form, riding the crest of his finest work, playing solo and leading his gold-plated rag-tag troupe of a band through songs reaching up to that year’s Blood on the Tracks and The Basement Tapes, as well as back to the very beginnings of his career. As the recording from the tour, Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Bootleg Series Volume 5) (Sony) attests, Dylan was in great voice. He was also feeling a need for connection. And, with Elliott, Baez, Mitchell, Burnett, and all the others who joined the revue, he plugged in to the music of his past, his peers, and the present. It was the Lollapalooza of its day.
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