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Published: 2009/08/10
by Mark Burnell

Bruce Springsteen - Road Trip: 40 years of the BossBob Dylan: Never Ending Tour Diaries

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Once upon a time, the true testament to a fans devotion was not how many official releases they owned but how many bootlegs adorned their album shelves. Since the advent of file sharing and bit torrent, diehard fans no longer have to shell out outrageous sums of money to show their loyalty, but instead have a seemingly bottomless well of DVD releases on which they can blow their hard-earned cash.
40 Years Of the Boss is a three hour documentary that tells the story of Bruce from his humble beginnings in the ass-end of New Jersey to the global domination that Born in the USA brought. Unfortunately, it tries to do so without being legally able to play more that a few fragmentary snippets of Springsteens songs as background music, nor is it able to show any footage of either Bruce or the E Street Band live on stage. This brings to mind the old adage writing about music is like dancing about architecture, so three hours of people talking about how amazing the Boss is really just doesnt cut it. And thats a shame, because the makers have obviously tried very hard to make this more than a superficial Behind the Music style endeavor. There are dozens of interviews with people who played with and knew the man, going all the way back to high school days, and theres some very erudite commentary by Bruce fans and scholars. Theres even some actual but very brief 1974 interview footage with the man himself, but without authentic, quality music content, this DVD will be pretty tough going for everyone except the most diehard of Springsteen diehards. The Brit-accented narration is pretty damned grating, too.
Never Ending Tour Diaries is 100 minutes of ex-Dylan drummer Winston Watson being interviewed, along with brief snippets of home movie footage he shot while on tour with His Bobness from 1992 to 1996. The premise of Watsons story is quite interesting: he was an unknown when recruited to the Never Ending Tour band, but this is clearly a straightforward attempt to cash in, promising an intimate portrait of the inner workings of life on tour and the mercurial Bob Dylan himself and delivering nothing of the sort. Watson, who was either fired by Dylan or left of his own accord to play with Van Morrison, depending on who you believe, isnt terribly interesting when talking about his time with Dylan, and his photos and home video clips are even less engaging. Look! Heres Dylan walking from his tour bus to backstage! And heres Dylans band members fiddling with motorcycles!
Hard core Dylan and Springsteen fans, of which there are many, will eat up these releases. For the rest of us, the purchase of these DVDs from a secondhand store may work out to be cheaper than investing in a bottle of Tylenol PM.

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