DVD Review: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
The Other Side of the Mirror: Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965
By David Chiu

The evolution of Bob Dylan from folkie to icon can be traced to his historic performances at the Newport Folk Festival between 1963 and 1965. Directed by Murray Lerner in timeless black-and-white, The Other Side of the Mirror begins with a skinny short-haired youthful Dylan who was still relatively new. He didn’t have the charisma of a stage performer yet but he still delivered some poignant performances such as the Medgar Evers tribute, “Only a Pawn in Their Game” and an amazing duet with Joan Baez on “With God on Our Side.” When he returned to Newport in 1964, Dylan this time around showed more confidence and assuredness—this segment features him performing “It Ain’t Me Babe” and “Chimes of Freedom” as well as Johnny Cash performing “Don’t Look Back” and Baez humorously imitating Dylan on “Maggie Hamilton.” The penultimate moment of course when a leather-clad, curly-haired Dylan performed with an electric band: the reaction is decidedly mixed between cheers and boos. Dylan soldiered on through with “Maggie’s Farm” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” featuring some great guitar by the late Mike Bloomfield. Towards the end of that memorable performance before a divided audience, Dylan played acoustic on “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue.” The 1965 set was a turning point in Dylan’s career –for that reason, this DVD a must for Dylan fans.


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