The Petty Archives

Video News & Notes: Reviews
Review by Tony Seideman
Rolling Stone #486 -- November 6, 1986

Hard to Handle: Bob Dylan with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | CBS/Fox Video Music, 60 minutes, $29.98
Teamed with a dream backup band, Dylan growls his way through a full roster of his songs, from the religiously toned "In the Garden" to old standbys "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Just Like a Woman."He serenades a pantheon of heroes that ranges from Jesus Christ to Lenny Bruce, and, uncharacteristically, talks to the audience as comfortably as if he were chatting with a small group of friends.

Petty and his Heartbreakers are a potent act on their own, but here their job is to step out of the spotlight -- and they do it well, providing a solid foundation for Dylan to build upon. Dylan is trying to do something simple here, to sing his songs and have fun with an audience that is more than ready to rock. At times Asutralian director Gillian Armstrong, known for the movie My Brilliant Career, reaches for epic visual effects with dramatic camera sweeps and rigidly cadenced editing. She needn't have.