Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary Concert Revisited

On October 16, 1992 at Madison Square Garden, Sony Music put on a pay per view all star concert to celebrate Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary on Columbia Records. Dubbed "Bobfest" by Neil Young from the stage, the four hour show featured a wide variety of artists performing Dylan songs. It was too bloated, but there were many highlights. Here are some videos (with some mp3s) of the best performances.

Eddie Vedder was joined by Pearl Jam bandmate Mike McCready and Saturday Night Live bandleader G.E. Smith for this seering version of "Masters of War."

Eddie Vedder - Masters of War

The night allowed for a variety of musical styles, usually to great effect. The best example of this was the O'Jay's reprising their classic cover of "Emotionally Yours."

The O'Jays - Emotionally Yours

There were also some fun collaborations. Here are Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, and Rosanne Cash taking turns on "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere."

Booker T & the MG's backed up most of the artists on this night. Here they really got to show their stuff with Neil Young on a fantastic "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues."

Neil Young - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

Another great moment was when George Harrison played what I believe is his only live performance of a song he covered early on in his solo career, "If Not For You."

The highlight of the show was when Neil and George joined Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, and the guest of honor, Bob Dylan, among others on "My Back Pages."

Of course, no all star concert would be complete without an even more gigantic singalong, this time on "Knocking on Heaven's Door."

After all of that, Bob came back to the stage alone for one last encore, singing "Girl from the North Country," before exiting to a huge standing ovation.

Hopefully, this concert will be available on DVD at some point, but in the meantime, you can order the live album below. Thanks for checking this out.

Buy Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration from


  1. aMAZING SHOW. I was there that night.

    I wouldn't say it was "bloated". For a man whose portfolio is probably larger than any other singer songwriter's, and is clearly the most influential of our time, what could one expect?

    Yes, it was long, some performances were better than others, but it was a night to remember. Among the best concerts I've seen. Up there with the Allman Brothers the night they recorded live at the Fillmore, and the Stones at the garden in 1969 and 1972.

    Seeing George perform brings tears to my eyes.

    Thanks for the memories.

  2. Was "If not for you" really co-written with George Harrison? That's new to me. I know George Harrison covered it though.

  3. When I watched this live back in '92, I remember that Dylan really sounded bad. So much so that Columbia made him (to the extent you can make Bob do anythihg) redo his vocals on "Back Pages." Watching the video that was made and is shown here, you can se that a decision was made to use alternate camera angles to conceal the fact that his vocals are not matching up with his lips, due to the overdubbing that took place. He sounds halfway decent here, thanks to the studio overdubs. That night, he was awful. To hear just how bad his voice was, listen to his un-dubbed singing on "Girl from the North Country." This must have been a rough period for Bob, apparently right before he gave up the drugs and alcohol.

  4. George Harrison did not co-write "If Not For You".

  5. I was there and it was great. The highlight for me was Neil Young's version of Watchtower. Lou Reed was, well. Lou Reed. As for Dylan's vocals, maybe it was the emotion of the moment or the begining of the voice we've come to know and, get used to.

  6. Eric Clapton doing "Don't think twice" doesn't get a mention?

  7. Fixed the comment about George Harrison cowriting "If Not for You." I thought that was something they worked on together but it turns out I was wrong.

    Eric Clapton probably should have been on here, but then again so should ten other artists. I was trying to keep it from going too long.

  8. i've a feeling it's not just dylan's vocals that have been "touched up" on MBP. it's one of my favourite clips but i have serious doubts about how "live" it really is.


  9. Great album, thank you

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