Real Live is a live album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on November 29, 1984 by Columbia Records. Recorded during the artist's 1984 European Tour, most of the album was recorded at Wembley Stadium on 7 July, but "License to Kill" and "Tombstone Blues" come from St James' Park, Newcastle on 5 July, and "I and I" and "Girl from the North Country" were recorded at Slane Castle, Ireland on 8 July.
Produced by Glyn Johns, it features Mick Taylor (formerly of the Rolling Stones) on lead guitar, Ian McLagan (formerly of the Faces) on keyboards, and a guest appearance from Carlos Santana. The performances on Real Live were recorded in support of his successful Infidels album. While Infidels was hailed as a "return to musical form" (as described by Kurt Loder in Rolling Stone magazine), critical reception for Real Live was generally mixed.
Released in December to capitalize on the Christmas shopping season, Real Live still sold in disappointing numbers, reaching a then-career low of #115 in the US and #54 in the UK.
In his review for Rolling Stone, Loder writes, "Although cynics may find that Dylan's trademark wheeze is verging on self-parody by this point, his singing is truly spirited throughout. The band he assembled for the tour generally serves him well, if without inspiration...Dylanologists will savor the heavily revised, third-person* lyrics for 'Tangled Up in Blue' (although they scuttle the original song's compelling intimacy), and some fans may get a giggle out of the rhythm riff – lifted from Ray Charles' 'I Believe to My Soul' – that graces 'Ballad of a Thin Man.' But 'Highway 61 Revisited' and 'Tombstone Blues' suffer from formless arrangements, and the band simply can't replicate the reggae groove called for on 'I and I'...If [Dylan's] rag-and-roll approach to rock is dated, that's essentially a cosmetic problem. One continues to hope that he'll someday assemble a full-time band he really believes in...a band that will enable him to reassert his brilliance in the modern rock marketplace."
- Loder neglected to realize, however, that the lyrics were originally written from a third-person perspective prior to rerecording.
All songs by Bob Dylan.
- Side one
- "Highway 61 Revisited" – 5:07
- "Maggie's Farm" – 4:54
- "I and I" – 6:00
- "License to Kill" – 3:26
- "It Ain't Me, Babe" – 5:17
- Side two
- "Tangled Up in Blue" – 6:54
- "Masters of War" – 6:35
- "Ballad of a Thin Man" – 4:17
- "Girl from the North Country" – 4:25
- "Tombstone Blues" – 4:32
- Additional musicians
- Colin Allen – drums
- Ian McLagan – keyboards
- Carlos Santana – guitar on "Tombstone Blues"
- Gregg Sutton – bass guitar
- Mick Taylor – guitar
- Technical personnel
- Glyn Johns – producer