4.5 (22 votes)
DVDylan ID: D016
Recording type: ProShot
Also known as commercial bootleg "At Heaven'Gate With The Pope"
  1. Athens, Greece with Van Morrison (27-Jun-89)
  2. Athens, Greece with Van Morrison Raw Footage (27-Jun-89)
  3. Athens, Greece (29-Jun-89)
  4. Roy Orbison Tribute (24-Feb-90)
  5. Bill Clinton Inaugural (17-Jan-93)
  6. Nashville, Tennessee with Willie Nelson (13-Jan-93)
  7. Willie Nelson's Big 6-0 (20-Apr-93)
  8. Supper Club, New York, NY (11/16-17/93) (from Highway 61 Interactive)
  9. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Gala (2-Sep-95)
  10. Frank Sinatra 80th Birthday Tribute (19-Nov-95) (complete "Restless Farewell")
  11. Frank Sinatra 80th Birthday Tribute (19-Nov-95) (incomplete "Restless Farewell")
  12. Tokyo, Japan (10-Feb-97) (fragment shot by Dave Stewart)
  13. Bologna, Italy (27-Sep-97) (performance for the Pope)
Number of discs: 1
Video standard: NTSC
Authoring: DVDs with menu and chapters are circulating

I obtained this DVD for the sole purpose of hearing the highly-regarded "Restless Farewell." It is everything I'd read about it, and more. The song is moving, stirring, and absolutely captivating. It was a declaration of independence in 1964; in 1995, it is thoughtful, wistful, evocative and deeply resonates in the heart. I don't care much for Sinatra, but Dylan clearly does, and he devotes all his attention, all his focus, all his talent for this one song; to play and sing this time the very best that he can. What a performance. Even the Hollywood glitterati seem to be mesmerized by the performance.

The rest of the compilation is mixed. There are some horrible low points-not in the performances, but in the quality of the multi-generation copies. But the high points are a treat, and make this worth having if your collection is just beginning, as mine is. Tambourine Man, with Dylan joining Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, and Chris Hillman is great fun. Duets with Van Morrison are nice. Duets with Willie Nelson are nicer, with "Pancho and Lefty" superbly rendered. The songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1995 Gala are very well done, and the duet of Bob with Bruce Springsteen on Forever Young adds another fine version to my collection of performances of one of my favorite songs.

The 3 songs sung for the Pope are very well done-especially "Heaven's Door," and the camera work is great. I always assumed that the Pope would be right in front of Bob, and that the audience would be off to the side. It's strange that a performance for the Pope doesn't face the Pope. When he was young, Bob seemed to throw darts at many targets just because they were prominent and established. Now, his darts are saved for aiming at the pretentious. He appears considerably humbler now, and is not afraid to show respect. His brief contact with the Pope seems a little uneasy, a little weird, but certainly humble and polite.

The performance of "Chimes of Freedom" for Bill Clinton is the fastest version of the song that any of us will ever hear. No time to emphasize any words or images as he sings this one. I'm not sure if there was a message in the performance or not, but he certainly did not put the care and craft into it that he did in singing for the Pope and for Frank Sinatra. Just a guess, but I'm not sure he feels the same respect for the president that he felt for the other two.

In summary, some horrible clips from Athens and Japan and the supper club are easily compensated for by some delightful performances with McGuinn, Springsteen, and Nelson, plus the nice pairing with Morrison, and the strong performances for the Pope and the Hall of Fame. I gave each "ordinary" song a 1-5 rating, and the average is about 3.5; not bad when there are some 1's in the total. But if I include the "Restless Farewell," performance, this becomes immediately a MUST HAVE disc. It's that good; heartbreakingly good.

Reviewed by davidigor on 30th July 2006

You feel like a mortal peeking at the gods on Mt. Olympus as Dylan and Van Morrison strum guitars and sing in the sunshine on a hilltop in Athens, the Parthenon looming in the background. Sound and picture are excellent throughout this DVD, and here it sparkles as they work loosely through a few songs like friends on a picnic. Friends abound on this disc, and soon Dylan is joining the Byrds onstage for Tambourine Man like a Ciro's ruinion, and Dylan grumbles lyrics while McGuinn and Crosby hot those California harmonies. He sings at Clinton's inaugural, and then with friend Willie Nelson, Dylan duets for a fantastic Pancho and Lefty, and then a sweet version of Hard Times. The Supper Club footage from Hiway 61 Interactive is pretty sketchy, compared to the other stuff on this disc, but interesting historically. Dylan plays with pal Springsteen, and then sings a gorgeous Restless Farewell at Frank Sinatra's 80th birthday, a perfect pick for Old Blue Eyes looking back on his long years, and finally another old man is regaled with song by the singer who has dined with kings and been offered wing, this time the Pope who seems to be knocking on heaven's door. Dylan doffs a ten-gallon hat and shakes the Pope's hand, and sings Forever Young to an appreciative Italian audience.
This disc is amazing in both sound and visuals, and content, and could well be called "Dylan and Friends." I thoroughly enjoy this collection, both musically and for the professional quality of the production, that spans the late 1980s to the late 1990s. Where else can you see this scruffy songwriter play with old friends Willie, the Byrds, Springsteen, and Van the Man, as well as perform before a Pope and a president and Frank Sinatra?
Get this disc!!!

Reviewed by warehouseeyes on 22nd August 2004

The Popestock tracks at the end of this highly entertaining and varied DVD are worth the price of admission alone.

Before the performance the organizer of the festival, Cardinal Ernesto Vecchi, said that he had invited Dylan because he is the "representative of the best type of rock" and "he has a spiritual nature."

Bob proves him right with an incredibly moving performance of 'Knocking on Heaven's Door', one of my favourite versions of 'Hard Rain' and, having had a word with the John Paul the Second, an fitting and very beautiful version of 'Forever Young'.

I'm no fan of the Pope, but this is a terrific performance and get an easy ten out of ten for weirdness value alone. D The excellent picture and sound quality will add to your pleasure. A must see!

Reviewed by Niall on 13th December 2003