Bob Dylan’s New ‘License to Kill’ Video Features Rare ‘Infidels’ Session Footage
A new video for Bob Dylan’s “License to Kill” has been released, featuring a new remix version of the 1983 original along with previously unseen footage from the Infidels sessions. It’s tied to Springtime in New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 (1980-1985), a five-disc set that includes material recorded from 1981’s Shot of Love, 1983’s Infidels, and 1985’s Empire Burlesque.
The video was shot on April 30th, 1983 at the Power Station in New York City. This was near the end of the six-week Infidels sessions and footage includes the entire band, including guitarist/producer Mark Knopfler, guitarist Mick Taylor, keyboardist Alan Clark, bassist Robbie Shakespeare, and drummer Sly Dunbar.
They are miming the rendition of “License to Kill” that appeared on the finished version of Infidels, but it’s been remixed to minimize the gated reverb drum sound and other Eighties production choices that have aged poorly. “We just went with the natural way the drums were mic’d,” a source close to the Dylan Camp told Rolling Stone in July, explaining how they mostly got rid of the original drum sound. “But Sly kept his snare drum very tight. That was a reggae thing, and that’s a sound you’re never going to get totally away from.”
“License to Kill” contains one of the most baffling lines in Dylan’s Eighties catalog: “Man has invented his doom/First step was touching the moon.” In a 1984 interview with Rolling Stone‘s Kurt Loder, Dylan attempted to explain it. “What’s the purpose of going to the moon?” he asked. “To me, it doesn’t make any sense. Now they’re gonna put a space station up there, and it’s gonna cost, what — $600 billion, $700 billion? And who’s gonna benefit from it? Drug companies who are gonna be able to make better drugs. Does that make sense? Is that supposed to be something that a person is supposed to get excited about? Is that progress? I don’t think they’re gonna get better drugs. I think they’re gonna get more expensive drugs.”
Two weeks ago, a video for “Don’t Fell Apart on Me Tonight (Version 2)” was released that was shot around the same exact time as the “License to Kill Video.”
Dylan has been off the road since December 2019, but he kicks off a new U.S. theater tour on November 2nd at the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It wraps up December 2nd at the Anthem in Washington, D.C., but a poster for the tour says it’s part of a worldwide trek lasting until 2024.