By the mid-Eighties, Dylan seemed largely over his Born Again phase – but the radical message of the period (and his refusal to perform old songs on those tours) cost him some of his audience. It was a bad time not only to record some of the worst music of his career (if you dare, check out Knocked Out Loaded and Down In The Groove), but also to bomb onstage at Live Aid in front of a billion people.
In his 2004 memoir Chronicles, Volume 1, Dylan writes that he hit a low point on a 1986 tour with Tom Petty. "It wasn't my moment of history," he wrote. "I couldn't wait to retire and fold the tent. One more big payday with Petty and that would be it for me. I was what they called over the hill...The mirror had swung around and I could see the future – an old actor fumbling in garbage cans outside the theater of past triumphs."