On the heels of the two-week San Francisco residency that launched his first tour in support of his controversial Christian LP Slow Train Coming, Bob Dylan settled in for four nights at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Preaching to the Converted documents the climactic November 21, 1979, date, which proves to be one of Dylan's most potent performances of the period. Eschewing his classic hits in favor of devoutly spiritual compositions inspired by traditional gospel, folk, and blues, the performance communicates the true conviction of Dylan's newfound Christian faith in ways Slow Train Coming and its follow-up, Saved, did not, achieving a soulful potency that vinyl simply could not contain. Galvanized by Dylan's heartfelt, passionate vocals and the earthy grooves of his exemplary backing band (featuring keyboardist Spooner Oldham and drummer Jim Keltner), Preaching to the Converted captures the passion and energy of an old-fashioned gospel tent-revival. Regardless of your beliefs, there's little doubting its immediacy. Superlative sound and presentation make this a must-own package for all serious Dylan enthusiasts.
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