10 Great Bob Dylan Live Performances
Bob Dylan- poet, one of the best song-writers ever, amazing live performer. Bob has been well known to kick ass live. This list is pretty biased towards the few videos on YouTube with good sound quality. Normally, when thinking of Dylan, everyone thinks of “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin”, so I’ve decided to mix it up a bit and put in some classics you may not have heard.
10. Girl From The North Country Fair With Johnny Cash – 1969
Apolitical, simple and mainstream- a side not usually on display. But here it is in all it’s glory. Plus- Johnny Cash! They kinda stumble through the song- pretty much the same as on Nashville Skyline- but there’s something cool about it, it’s laid back, they’re two friends having a sing-song, and it rocks.
The sound quality here isn’t as good as one might hope, but what with it being such a cool rendition of a classic tune I just had to include it. Dylan, as always, likes to mess around with his songs, never playing them the same way twice, and never was this more obvious than on tour in the mid-seventies.
8. Visions Of Johanna 1966
The studio version is often used as the perfect example of what Dylan called his “wild mercury sound” from the mid-sixties, specifically on Blonde on Blonde. Stripped of its bells and whistles however, the song still stands as one of the greats.
Scarlett Riviera’s violin makes this video- the combination of the beauty of the violin and the roughness of Dylan’s rasp makes for something that can only be described as “hauntingly kick-ass”.
6. Ballad Of A Thin Man 1966
Bob sitting at the keys looking like a stoned fragile little bird- this is the “wild mercury sound” live.
5. Lay Lady Lay 1976
Originally a mellow country song, Lay Lady Lay has been rocked up 70’s style. This I guess you have to be a proper Dylan fan to like, the words get garbled and the vocals do have their low points- but having said that, there’s something magnetic about the performance and it’s somehow become one of my favourites.
Embedding disabled, but this version rocks so hard I just can’t deny you it.
See it on Youtube (opens in a new window).
Proof that eye-liner on men can be cool. He misses out the best verse though! “She opened up a book of poems, and handed it to me- written by an Italian poet from the 15th century! And every one of them words rang true and glowed like burning coal, pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul!”
Bob makes eyeliner and poetry cool in a single effort. Can Billie Joe Armstrong do that? (Arguments in the comments are always fun)
3. It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding 1965
Pure poetry and some killer guitaristry here. Simple guitaristry, but still a million times cooler than anything to come from Malmsteen! “If my thoughts and dreams could be seen, they’d probably put my head in a guillotine- but it’s alright ma, it’s life and life only!”
2. Like A Rolling Stone 1966
“I don’t believe you!”
I know I said there’d be none of the really well know ones, but how could I not include this? Sadly it lacks the snare kick of the studio version, but this is still one legendary performance.
1. Isis 1975
Dylan the frontman- “If you want me to… YES!”
I love it. Warning- takes a while to start, and is quite loud.