New film shows ‘Other Side’ of Dylan at folk festival

For the vast majority of Americans, pop culture music has captivated and moved people. Few artists have had as significant an impact as Bob Dylan. His music and personality attracted people to him, and his lyrics drove them to action.

Joan Baez, his long time partner, introduced him at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963 by referring to him as a man with “an ear on his generation.” He knew how to move people and connect with those around him.

The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival, 1963-65, a DVD released by Columbia Records, captures all of Dylan’s performances at the Newport Folk Festival from 1963-65. Although some of the footage was used in Martin Scorsese’s 2005 documentary, No Direction Home, the majority of it has never been seen before.

Complete and thorough, this DVD offers a look at Dylan in his element. Documentary film producer Murray Lerner used footage taken for a documentary on music festivals to deliver a complete look at Dylan’s transformation from quiet folk singer to electric rocker.

During the 1965 show, a time when Dylan was trying to prove he was a rock singer, he decided to play his set with an electric guitar, much to the dismay of the crowd. They were so enraged that they booed Dylan off stage following a tremendous performance of “Like a Rolling Stone,” leaving host Peter Yarrow to deflect comments from the angry crowd. After realizing their mistake, the crowd begged for Dylan to come back on stage with an acoustic guitar. When he finally reappears, the crowd exploded.

For his final encore at the Newport Folk Festival, Bob Dylan stunned the audience with a seething performance of “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” After finishing, Dylan removed his guitar strap like he was removing a noose and quietly walked off stage, signifying the transformation of Dylan into a rock star.

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