Monday, May 18, 2009

Before The Flood re-mastered: very impressive

You’re not supposed to like Before The Flood.

It’s supposed to lack subtlety. You look for subtlety in rock music? If I want subtlety I avoid rock and turn to jazz or opera instead.

I think Before The Flood is a spellbinder in which Dylan reinvents his ‘60s songbook into a cacophanous tumult; rock has rarely been this raw.

Great vocals, inspired band, set-list without equal. What’s not to like? Dylan’s performance is impassioned, vituperative, driven. What more could the nay-sayers reasonably expect?

I’ve listened to Before The Flood in the car, on a cheap tape, recorded from worn-out vinyl via a scratchy needle, for years, so the sound on the new re-mastered double CD set is a revelation to me; maybe if you’re used to a hi-fi version, the sonic upgrade would be less impressive.

If you delete the intrusive (if otherwise excellent) tracks by The Band, you have a legendary, almost seamless, Dylan rock concert.

Before The Flood re-mastered: very impressive

Gerry Smith