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Arts & Culture

GREAT PERFORMANCES: Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration

Bob Dylan (center) surrounded by some of the greatest names in popular music. GREAT PERFORMANCES presents an encore of highlights from 1992’s star-studded concert tribute to pop music icon Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden.
Courtesy of Ken Regan
Bob Dylan (center) surrounded by some of the greatest names in popular music. GREAT PERFORMANCES presents an encore of highlights from 1992’s star-studded concert tribute to pop music icon Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden.

Airs Friday, March 7, 2014 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

GREAT PERFORMANCES presents a special encore of highlights from 1992’s star-studded concert tribute to the American pop music icon at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in "Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration" in March 2014 on PBS. Selling out 18,200 seats in a frantic, record-breaking 70 minutes, the concert gathered an amazing Who’s Who of performers to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the enigmatic singer-songwriter’s groundbreaking debut album from 1962, "Bob Dylan."

Bob Dylan. GREAT PERFORMANCES presents an encore of highlights from 1992’s star-studded concert tribute to pop music icon Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden.
Courtesy of Ken Regan
Bob Dylan. GREAT PERFORMANCES presents an encore of highlights from 1992’s star-studded concert tribute to pop music icon Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden.
Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan.
Courtesy of Ken Regan
Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan.
Bob Dylan (center) and performers at the finale. GREAT PERFORMANCES presents an encore of highlights from 1992’s star-studded concert tribute to pop music icon Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden.
Courtesy of © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.com
Bob Dylan (center) and performers at the finale. GREAT PERFORMANCES presents an encore of highlights from 1992’s star-studded concert tribute to pop music icon Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden.

Taking viewers from front row center to back stage, the special captures all the excitement of this historic, once-in-a-lifetime concert as many of the greatest names in popular music—including The Band, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Roseanne Cash, Eric Clapton, Shawn Colvin, George Harrison, Richie Havens, Roger McGuinn, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, Eddie Vedder, Ron Wood, Neil Young, and more—pay homage to Dylan and the songs that made him a legend.

Dylan, heralded as the definitive voice of the turbulent 1960s, brought to rock and roll the traditions of poetry, protest and personal confession. Each performer offers personal interpretations of Dylan favorites, revealing the indelible impression he has made on American music from folk to alternative rock, from country to gospel.

Tracy Chapman, heralded as the folk revivalist of the 1980s, sings a haunting rendition of “The Times they Are a-Changin’,” Dylan’s authentic, prophetic call to arms of a generation in the throes of imminent and irrevocable revolution. The nostalgia continues with Stevie Wonder’s heartfelt version of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” another inspired Dylan tune that galvanized America’s youth as the most compelling anti-war protest song of the day.

Richie Havens, who first met Dylan at the folk clubs and coffee houses of Greenwich Village in the 1960s, sings the lyrically irreverent “Just Like a Woman.” John Mellencamp’s highly-charged performance of “Like a Rolling Stone” and George Harrison’s rollicking version of “Absolutely Sweet Marie” are other highlights of the tribute. The final set features Dylan himself.

In addition to the performances, "Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration" features rare archival performance and interview footage of Dylan on the road and off-the-cuff and behind-the-scenes interviews with many of the artists.

"Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration" was directed for television by Gavin Taylor and produced by John Diaz; Jeff Kramer, Jeff Rosen and Kevin Wall are executive producers. For GREAT PERFORMANCES, Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.

GREAT PERFORMANCES is on Facebook. Past episodes of GREAT PERFORMANCES are available for online viewing. Bob Dylan is on Facebook.

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