Bob Dylan's August 31, 1969, appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival represented his much-anticipated return to the live stage following his reported motorcycle accident three years previously. A reunion with the Band, the support unit on the 1966 U.K. tour that remains the unequivocal zenith of his touring career, the show failed to meet expectations, hampered by an unusually tame and tentative Dylan performance coupled with a set list heavy on rustic, nuanced John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline material that failed to translate to the outdoor festival setting. Especially with four tracks later resurfacing on the much-maligned official release Self Portrait, the bootleg Isle of Wight is recommended strictly for serious Dylan enthusiasts – the performance is noteworthy almost solely for its historical significance, its limited entertainment value further diminished by the mediocre fidelity of the tapes in circulation.
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