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Review: PBS Dylan 30th Anniversary special puts fresh look on a great night

Images from PBS' "Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration."
Images from PBS' "Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration."Courtesy of Ken Regan

Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration

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"Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration,” which will air in March on PBS' “Great Performances,” brings back the long out-of-print concert and its stunning music back to TV with a an equally stunning picture. (It premieres at 9 p.m. ET March 7 on THIRTEEN in New York.)

Bob Dylan at the Dylan 30th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden.
Bob Dylan at the Dylan 30th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden. Courtesy of Ken Regan

While not the complete concert, there are some real musical gems to be seen here. There's Richie Havens' soulful “Just Like a Woman” that sounds even more emotional since his death, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' rollicking version of “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35” with the crowd yelling emphatically, “Everybody must get stoned!,” George Harrison's brilliant cover of “Absolutely Sweet Marie” and Roger McGuinn's great “Mr. Tambourine Man” that brings back memories of the Byrds' version.

Not to mention, of course Dylan's “My Back Pages” and “Knockin' On Heaven's Door” he performs with the entire cast.

As we said, the picture looks tremendous, clear and sharp, not like the fuzzy VHS. And the special includes some vintage video of Dylan and with interview footage on the road and off-the-cuff, plus comments from many of the artists at the show.

Columbia/Legacy is re-releasing the Dylan 30th anniversary concert on Blu-ray, CD and DVD Tuesday with unreleased rehearsal footage, interviews and more.

All we can say is it's about time.

(You can see a trailer for the show on PBS site.)

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