Bob Dylan - The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration


1. Like A Rolling Stone, - John Mellencamp
2. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - John Mellencamp
3. Introduction by Kris Kristofferson
4. Blowin' In The Wind - Stevie Wonder
5. Foot Of Pride - Lou Reed
6. Masters Of War Eddie Vedder/Mike McCready
7. The Time They Are A-Changin' - Tracy Chapman
8. It Ain't Me, Babe - June Carter Cash/Johnny Cash
9. What Was It You Wanted - Willie Nelson
10. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight - Kris Kristofferson
11. Highway 61 Revisited - Johnny Winter
12. Seven Days - Ron Wood
13. Just Like A Woman - Richie Havens
14. When The Ship Comes In - The Clancy Brothers and Robbie O'Connell with special guest Tommy Makem
15. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - Mary-Chapin Carpenter/Rosanne Cash/Shawn Colvin

1. Just Like A Woman - Neil Young
2. All Along The Watchtower - Neil Young
3. I Shall Be Released - Chrissie Hynde
4. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right - Eric Clapton
5. Emotionally Yours - The O'Jays
6. When I Paint My Masterpiece - The Band
7. Absolutely Sweet Marie - George Harrison
8. License To Kill - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
9. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
10. Mr. Tambourine Man - Roger McGuinn
11. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) - Bob Dylan
12. My Back Pages - Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, George Harrison
13. Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Everyone
14. Girl Of The North Country - Bob Dylan

back to main page

booklet contents and general album data

Name:           The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration
Duration:       -
Band:           Bob Dylan
CD-Number:      C2K 53230

In the end, it was about the songs.

On October 16, 1992, an impressibe and electic group of artists gathered at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the purpose of celebrating the music of Bob Dylan on the occasion of his 30th anniversary of recording. Bringing together the musical greats as far-flung as Jhonny Cash and Eddie Vedder, The Clancy Brothers and Lou Reed, the four-hour show celebrated a truely remarkable lifetime of songs in front of a sold-out audience of over 18,000. Warmly dubbed the Bobfest by participant Neil Young, the show was broadcast around the world and featured a cast of musical notables performing carefully chosen and often surprising selections from the incomparable Dylan songbook. At evening's end, the man of honor himself appeared on stage and gracefully brought it all back home again. In a world where all-star celebrity gatherings have become common- place, the Bob Dylan celebration stood out as, first and foremost, a legitimately memorable musical event.

John Mellencamp, who's been covering "Like A Rolling Stone" in concert for years, bravely took on the Dylan classic early in the show and delivered a fairly faithful and altogether convincing cover featuring strong vocal help from Pat Peterson and Sue Medley. Joining Mellencamp and his excellent band for the event on organ was Al Kooper, reprising his prominent part from Dylan's 1965 original, which was voted best single of the last 25 years by Rolling Stone in 1988. Mellencamp - who's been instrumental in the cativities of Farm Aid, which Dylan helped inspire with his onstage comments at Live Aid, and who directed Dylan's "Political World" video in 1989 - was also in fine form for a rousing, bluesy "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" from 1966's Blonde On Blonde.

One of the obvious emotional highlights of the show was Stevie Wonder's endlessly soulful rendition of "Blowin' In The Wind," a song Wonder brought to the Top Ten of the Pop and R&B charts back in 1966, three years after Peter, Paul & Mary first introduced it to the masses. As Wonder pointed out in his moving introduction, the message of "Blowin' In The Wind" remains, sadly, one of enduring relevance. A contemporary folk standard originally recorded for 1962's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, the song found Wonder working his gospel-tinged magic alongside Booker T. Jones and The M.G.'s - the phenomenally adept band for the show.

Booker T. & The M.G.'s now features Jones on organ, Steve Cropper on guitar, Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass and Anton Fig, filling in for the late Al Jackson, on drums. The group enjoyed a run of instrumenatl hits in the sixties, including "Green Onions" and "Time Is Tight," as well as serving as the legendary house band for countless Stax classics. The very able musical director of the show was G.E. Smith, long- time "Saturday Night Live" band leader and veteran Dylan guitarist. Also making a significant contribution to the proceedings was session drumming great Jim Keltner, who's worked with The Traveling Wilburys and just about everybody else over the years.

In a winning example of one ingenious lyricist honoring another, Lou Reed righteously rocked out on "Foot Of Pride," an obscure outtake from the 1983 Infidels album that Reed, like son many other less famous Bob Dylan fans, discovered on 1991's The Bootled Series (Vols. I-III) set. Hardly an obvious song choice, Reed's "Foot Of Pride" was a gutsy as well as hard-rocking reminder of just how much depth there is to Bob Dylan's body of work.

The riveting acoustic rendition of "Masters Of War," by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready, was arguably the evening's most pleasant surprise. These two young Dylan fans didn't need any loud Seattle sonics to get across Dylan's pointed classic from The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Vedder, who blissfully watched rehearsals for the concert from the front row of a nearly empty Madison Square Garden, proved with his wonderfully intense interpretation that when it comes to a great song, there's nothing as a generation gap.

Tracy Chapman - who helped bring folk music back to the forefront with her acclaimed 1988 debut album, and who has toured with Dylan occasionally in recent years - offered an eloquent and moving solo acoustic version of the often-covered "The Times They Are A-Chanin'," the title track of Dylan's 1964 effort. In Chapman's capable hands, the song's power remains undimmed by time.

Country and rockabilly legend Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan have a long history of mutual admiration for one another. They first met at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964, and went on to record a session together in Nashville in 1969. The normally T.V.-shy Dylan even appeared on a Cash television special taped at the Grand Ole Opry in 1969. Cas and Dylan's duet on "Girl Of The North Country" was featured on Dylan's groundbreaking country-rock effort Nashville Skyline, for which Cash wrote the Grammy Award-winning linear notes. At the show, Cash and June Cater Cash, his wife and longtime musical partner, teamed up for a surprisingly celebratory, down-home version of "It Ain't Me, Babe," a song from Another Side Of Bob Dylan that Cash took up the charts in 1964, well before the Turtles turned it into a pop smash in 1965.

Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan are clearly two kindred spirits. Recently the pair collaborated on "Heartland" from Nelson's new Across The Borderling album, which also included a cover of Dylan's "What Was It You Wanted" - a standout track from 1989's Oh Mercy that Nelson perfomed for the first time at the event. Playing bass on his swampy and sly rendition was Don Was, who produced Across The Borderline as well as co-producing Dylan's 1999 effort Under The Red Sky.

Nelson and Was stuck around to back up Kris Kristofferson for his appropriately mellow version of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," the song from Dylan's 1968 album John Wesley Harding. Kristofferson - one of the many gifted and literate young singer-songwriters of the sixties and seventies who faced daunting cirtical comparision to Dylan - became friendly with Dylan on the set of Sam Peckinpah's 1973 western film Pat Garret And Billy The Kid, in which they both appeared. Even earlier, however, Kristofferson worked as the studio janitor during the famed Blonde On Blonde sessions.

A monumental display of blues power came from veteran Texas guitar hero Johnny Winter, who threw down a furious deep-blues take on "Highway 61 Revisited," which Winter first cut on his 1970 three-sided sophomore Columbia release, Second Winter. The guitar line-up of Winter, Steve Cropper and G.E. Smith was in fierce form form for the song, living up to the spirit of the late Mike Bloomfield's riffing on Dylan's 1965 original.

Ron Wood's barn-burning version of "Seven Days" provided another of the evening's most happy surprises. An unreleased rocker performed live by Dylan on 1976's "Rolling Thunder Review," the song was subsequently recorded by Wood for his 1979 album Gimme Some Neck. With Heartbreaker Howie Epstein joining the house band on bass, the Stone alone, who has often played and recorded with Dylan over the years, came through with a great throatly vocal that was more than a little reminiscent of the song's writer.

Richie Havens, who in his early days played many of the same Greenwich Village folk haunts as Dylan, first cut "Just Like A Woman" for his Mixed Bag album back in 1967. He's subsequently recorded and performed numerous Dylan songs, some of which can be heard on his 1987 collection Richie Havens Sings The Beatles And Dylan. His solo acoustic version of the song at the celebration was a powerful testa- ment to his abilities as a distinctive interpretive singer.

Arguably the foremost Irish folk singers in the world, The Clancy Brothers from Carrick-On-Suir in the county Tipperary were already a famous group during Dylan's early folkie days. For the Dylan show, they were joined by their longtime musical associate and special guest Tommy Makem as well as their nephew Robbie O'Connell for a haunting traditional take on "When The Ship Comes In," a stirring ballad which first appeared on The Times They Are A-Changin' album. The Brothers flew in from Irelan specially to play the show.

Rosanne Cash, Mary-Chapin Caroenter and Shawn Colvin - a trio of the most gifted women singer-songwriters around and major Bob Dylan fans all - teamed up to trade off verses for a gorgeous, harmony-drenched cover of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," a Basement Tapes gem that was recorded by Dylan with Happy Traum for the 1972's Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. II set, as well as being a standout cut on The Byrd's 1968 classic Sweethearts Of The Rodeo album.

Another kindred spirit and inspired party guest who turned in a great performance at the celebration was Neil Young, who somehow transformed The M.G.'s and drumming ace Jim Keltner into a fantastically loose, Crazy Horse-styled outfit for a strong reading of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" from Highway 61 Revisited, and an extended, firely version of "All Along The Watchtower" that borrowed some of its kinetic power from Jimi Hendrix's famed reworking of the John Wesley Harding song.

Everyone from Sting to Bettle Midler to the Heptones has covered "I Shall Be Released," but Chrissie Hynde, the gifted Pretenders auteur, managed to make the song her own with a radiant performance at the Dylan event, featuring some prominent keyboard assistance from Paul Shaffer. The song was part of the famed Basement Tapes, written and casually recorded with The Band at Big Pink in Woodstock in 1967, and subsequently covered by The Band for its extraordinary 1968 debut album.

The traditionally show-stopping Eric Clapton, who performed a duet with Dylan on "Sign Language" from his No Reason To Cry album in 1976, came through with a startling and moving performance at the celebration. The highlights of his set - which also included a luminous "Live Minus Zero, No Limit" - was a truely revelatory rendition of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," from The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, that Clapton and Booker T. Jones radically rearranged into a seductive new bluesy masterpiece, complete with some incendiary soloing from the guitar master himself.

Famed for such seventies soul smashes as "Back Stabbers," "Love Train" and "For The Love Of Money," The O'Jays had a Top Five R&B hit with "Emotionally Yours," a delicate love song from 1985's Empire Burlesque that the group recorded in two completely different arrangements on its 1990 Emotionally Yours album. Backed by a gospel choir featuring the great Cissy Houston, The O'Jays brought a churchly spirit to the festivities with their stately version of the song.

The history of The Band is, of course, inextricably tied to that of Bob Dylan. It was inly fitting, then, that the current incarnation of The Band - featuring original members Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson - came together for a fine loose-grooving version of "When I Paint My Masterpiece." The song was originally recorded with Leon Russell on piano in 1971 for Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. II, the same year that it became a highlight of The Band's album Cahoots.

A fellow Traveling Wilbury and longtime friend, George Harrison goes way back with Dylan. Before their prominent Wilbury collaboration, Dylan and the then newly former Beatle co-wrote "I'd Have You Anytime" for Harrison's All Things Must Pass, the 1970 album for which Harrison also recorded a version of Dylan's "If Not For You." For the celebration, Harrison returned to Madison Square Garden, site of the 1971 Concert for Bangla Desh, and utterly charmed the crowd by delivering an exquisite, clearly loving rendition of "Absolutely Sweet Marie" from Blonde On Blonde.

Tom Petty (another wildly talented Wilbury brother in good standing) and the eternally impressive Heartbreakers recorded and toured the world extensively with Dylan for a period during the mid-eighties. At the Dylan event, Petty & The Heartbreakers - guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench, bassist Howie Epstein and drummer Stan Lynch - were in peak form, offering a totally inspired and subtle reading of "Licence To Kill," an underappreciated number from Dylan's 1983 Infidels album. Switching gears brilliantly, they tore into a wild, rollicking rave-up performance of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35," from the Blonde On Blonde album, that brought the house down.

Roger McGuinn, founder of The Byrds, has been a major interpretor of Dylan's material over the years. In 1965, he and other Byrds transformed Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" into a global smash, and went on to record many other Dylan compositions, including "All I Really Want To Do," "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," "My Back Pages" and "Chimes Of Freedom." Joined by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, McGuinn and his Rickenbacker let "Mr. Tambourine Man" ring out wonderfully one more time.

As for the man of honor himself, Dylan began his own set with "Song To Woody," a moving composition from his debut album that remains a gracious salute to Dylan's own early influence, Woody Guthrie. Unfortunately, technical problems prevent the song's inclusion here. Dylan followed with a wonderfully intense rendition of "It's All Right, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" from Bringing It All Back Home, that served as a vivid reminder of his incomparable acoustic power. "My Back Pages," originally from 1964's Another Side Of Bob Dylan, became a history-making group effort, whith McGuinn, Petty, Young, Clapton, Dylan and Harrison all trading off the classic verses. Then "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" - the elegiac standard from the Pat Garret And Billy The Kid soundtrack recently covered by Guns N' Roses - brought all the evening's players out for a memorable ensemble encore.

Finally, after the television satellite feed was shut down, Bob Dylan generously returned to the stage for a lovely, understated version of "Girl Of The North Country" that proved one more time what one man can do armed only with his voice, guitar and extraordinary songs.

- David Wild

Song: Absolutely Sweet Marie Duration: 4.43 Track No.: 2-7 Composer: Dylan Vocals: George Harrison Year: 1992
(Can you handle another guitar hero? Let me give you a little clue: Hallelujah, Hare Krishna, Yeah yeah yeah ! George Harrison!) Well, your railroad gate, you know I just can't jump it Sometimes it gets so hard, you see I'm just sitting here beating on my trumpet With all these promises you left for me But where are you tonight, sweet Marie? Well, I waited for you when I was half sick Yes, I waited for you when you hated me Well, I waited for you inside of the frozen traffic When you knew I had some other place to be Now, where are you tonight, sweet Marie? Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately. Well, six white horses that you did promise Were fin'lly delivered down to the penitentiary But to live outside the law, you must be honest I know you always say that you agree Well, where are you tonight, sweet Marie? Well, I don't know how it happened But the river-boat captain, he knows my fate Ev'rybody else, even yourself Just gonna have to wait. Well, I got the fever down in my pockets The Persian drunkard follows me And I can take him to your house but I cannot unlock it You see, you forgot to leave me with the key Yeah, where are you tonight, sweet Marie? Yeah, where are you tonight, sweet Marie? [*]
Instruments & additional info.:

Song: My Back Pages Duration: 4.39 Track No.: 2-12 Composer: Dylan Vocals: Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, George Harrison Year: 1992
Crimson flames tied through my ears Rollin' high and mighty traps Pounced with fire on flaming roads Using ideas as my maps "We'll meet on edges, soon," said I Proud 'neath heated brow. Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth "Rip down all hate," I screamed Lies that life is black and white Spoke from my skull. I dreamed Romantic facts of musketeers Foundationed deep, somehow. Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. Girls' faces formed the forward path From phony jealousy To memorizing politics Of ancient history Flung down by corpse evangelists Unthought of, though, somehow. Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. A self-ordained professor's tongue Too serious to fool Spouted out that liberty Is just equality in school "Equality," I spoke the word As if a wedding vow. Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand At the mongrel dogs who teach Fearing not that I'd become my enemy In the instant that I preach My existence led by confusion boats Mutiny from stern to bow. Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats Too noble to neglect Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect Good and bad, I define these terms Quite clear, no doubt, somehow. Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. [*]
Instruments & additional info.:

Song: Knockin' On Heaven's Door Duration: 5.38 Track No.: 2-13 Composer: Dylan Vocals: Everyone Year: 1992
Mama take this badge off of me I can't use it any more It's gettin' dark, too dark to see I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Mama, wipe the blood from my face I'm sick and tired of the war [...] I feel like I'm knockin on heave's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door [*]
Instruments & additional info.:

George Harrison - Lyrics Pages -- 1996/97
Last changed: 11/28/1996