It may be his first live album in six years, but Real Live
still is his fourth live album in ten years, and, as such, it still feels a little redundant. Nevertheless, it doesn't feel anywhere nearly as unnecessary as At Budokan
and if it doesn't capture a historically significant tour, as Hard Rain
did with the Rolling Thunder Revue, this is a better record all the same, capturing a working band -- a working band featuring ex-Stones
guitarist Mick Taylor
, no less -- on a pretty good night. That means there are few revelations -- though diehards will certainly revel in "Tangled Up in Blue," which has several brand-new (not necessarily better) verses -- but it's still pretty good all the same, providing lean, relatively muscular renditions of Dylan
's great songs. This isn't an important, necessary Dylan record, but it's a good, solid live album, his best live album since Before the Flood
, even if it's hardly as monumental as that.