Setting out across a 1975 America exhausted politically, economically and socially, a busload of musicians—assembled by Bob Dylan—hits the road in search of new creative horizons. The resulting tour, the Rolling Thunder Revue, would reveal a Dylan rarely seen: playful, mask-wearing, intense, expansive, rejuvenated. Masterfully capturing both an icon and a nation in transition, director Martin Scorsese tells the tale using footage that was abandoned for decades, now gorgeously restored, taking viewers into the heart of a freewheeling, electrifying musical gamble. Inspired by Dylan’s own restless spirit, Scorsese performs some breathtaking sleight of hand, summoning nostalgic fantasists, boxers, magicians, starlets and testifiers of all stripes, and exploding the boundaries of what makes a conventional documentary.
An essential piece of mythic storytelling, Scorsese’s chronicle features Joan Baez, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Sam Shepard, Allen Ginsberg and, giving his first on-camera interview in a decade, Bob Dylan. ROLLING THUNDER REVUE: A BOB DYLAN STORY BY MARTIN SCORSESE vibrates with the promise of America, a then-200-year-old experiment in a state of flux. The film goes beyond mere reclamation of some of the most extraordinary music of Dylan’s career—it’s a roadmap into the wild country of artistic self-reinvention.
Every one of Bob Dylan’s performances in the film can be found in the forthcoming box set, Bob Dylan – Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings, a comprehensive anthology of music from the tour to be released June 7 as a companion piece to the film. This 14CD, 148-track collection from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings includes all five of Dylan’s full sets from that tour that were professionally recorded, and also provides the listener with an intimate insider’s seat for recently unearthed tour rehearsals at New York’s S.I.R. studios.