Hard Rain is a snapshot of Bob Dylan's fabled Rolling Thunder Revue, a traveling circus that was more notable for its excess and character than the music. Hard Rain bears this out, being neither as sacrilegious or as exciting as Blood on the Tracks, and never seeming necessary -- after all, it arrives just two years after the last live album. There are some new interpretations along the lines of what appeared on Before the Flood, but this lacks kinetic energy, rolling along on its own sense of inevitably. That's not to say there isn't good material tucked away here, as a few of the new versions hit home and Dylan is generally spirited throughout, but ultimately, this remains the province of the dedicated.
Hard Rain Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine