Written for the 1998 Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll
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Like, who cares if the acoustic set sucks? Even if it was exquisitely perfect, it would still just be a set-up, a lead-in to the greatest, wildest, most fucked-up visionary set of rock and roll music ever recorded by anybody. For me, that means it kills the Clash, stomps the Replacements and makes the Who and Nirvana smell like sensitive little singer-songwriter bands. And don’t even get me started on the Rolling Stones or Sex Pistols or Led Zeppelin or Bruce Springsteen. Feh! Pretenders and poseurs all. That’s why it’s easy to vote for this — impossible not to, really — even though it’s been in my life as a boot for just about ever.
And of course, it’s nearly impossible to add to the volumes that have been written about the electric set, with the guitars crashing into each other like drunken electrons while Garth Hudson’s organ makes the sound of Christmas lights. Or Mickey Jones playing his crashing and rolling drums like he can’t decide to put the brakes on or just speed into the spinout. Or that crazy fucker, Dylan, almost gleeful in the hate he is generating, as if he knows that he’s gonna get in trouble for this one so he might as well take it as far as it could possibly go. So he did.
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