Monday, April 28, 2008

New DVD box set, Live Transmissions, is a must-buy

I didn’t fancy it at all. The cheap packaging design made it look like a bootleg; it carried no indication of the source of the video material; and it was clearly linked to the Transmissions CD/book which received very faint praise from a Dylan Daily reader.

On the other hand, it was on sale at Borders, so it couldn’t be a full-on bootleg. And it offered three DVDs for £5.99.

Fully expecting it to consist of a few crappy film clips, filled out by interviews with tedious D-list ‘60s survivors, to be endured once and then binned, I bought it. Reluctantly.

Lordy, oh Lordy. Don’t judge a DVD box by its cover!

Bob Dylan: Live Transmissions Collectors Special Edition, 3DVD box released Jan 2008 by Edgehill Publishing, is a real find. It compiles US TV broadcasts from 1979’s Saturday Night Live to 1994’s Woodstock 2. Its 37 tracks – most of which were new to me (though I’m not a collector) - contain many a heart-stopping Dylan performance.

I particularly liked the Gospel stuff, but the highlights are the duets with McGuinn on Mr Tambourine Man and My Back Pages, from the 1990 Roy Orbison Tribute and the 30th Anniversary Bobfest respectively. Some of the more recherchĂ© songs – Heartland, Pancho And Lefty, Hard Times – are reminders of the depth of Dylan’s live repertoire.

If you’re a Bobvid collector, you’ll probably already have most of these clips. If not, Live Transmissions is a must-buy. It’s a revelation.

If you see one for £5.99 at Borders, don’t even think about not buying it! Even at the typical £12 online price, it’s highly recommended.

Gerry Smith