The Petty Archives

Review by Jon Pareles
The Spokesman-Review - Friday, November 14, 1986

"Hard to Handle" | Bob Dylan with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. CBS-Fox Video Music. 60 minutes. $29.98.
With Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as the backup band on his 1986 tour, Bob Dylan was well equipped to revive his oracular mid-1960s songs and supercharge his newer material. At a show filmed in Australia by the director Gillian Armstrong ("My Brilliant Career") the only impediment is Dylan himself, who in the past decade has been more arbitrary tan inspired. Now and then -- in "Like a Rolling Stone" and "When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky" -- he sings a line as if he means it; more often, as in "It's Alright Ma" and "Ballad of a Thin Man," he treats some of his most brilliant lyrics as singsong doggerel.