Relive the moment Elvis Costello joined Bob Dylan for an encore of ‘I Shall Be Released’
During the mid-1990s, Bob Dylan was quietly going about his business as the never-ending troubadour he is. Press attention on the star was largely dwindling but while the public were preoccupied with other singers, artists from across the music world still knew of Dylan’s mercurial majesty.
One such artist was Elvis Costello who, when asked, jumped at the chance to share the stage with the freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. That invitation arrived in 1995 for a very special duet of ‘I Shall Be Released’.
By the time of this tour, Dylan had been on his tour for a solid eight years. A simply mammoth time on the road that is unlikely to ever be repeated. But while Dylan’s touring was not newsworthy enough to gather press attention, the singer was giving his audiences some of the best value performances they had enjoyed in decades.
It’s hard to figure out exactly why Bob Dylan suddenly turned it on in the mid-nineties, with many pointing to the singer’s recent move in quitting alcohol as the reason for the revival—but what is clear is that Bob Dylan certainly turned it on for his fans in 1995.
The renewed focus saw Dylan start to open up his back catalogue to the chance of getting on the setlist. Songs like ‘If You See Her, Say Hello’, ‘Man In The Long Black Coat’ and ‘Jokerman’ were all given a run-out on the tour. When Dylan and his band touched down in the UK in March of that year, anticipation for a special show was very high.
Taking the stage at the famous Brixton Academy, despite the high quality of performances, things got off to a shaky start. Dylan audibly asking his band to launch into ‘I Believe In You’ was left dumbfounded when guitarist John Jackson began performing ‘I Don’t Believe You’. It was an easy mistake to make and one Dylan quickly put behind him.
The singer moved through his incredible set with the kind of effortless ease that only comes with eight years of touring practice. But Dylan had something special up his sleeve for the final encore of ‘I Shall Be Released’ as he invited the enigmatic Elvis Costello on stage to share the mic with the folk icon. While the next night Costello would come complete with Carole King and Chrissie Hynde on backing vocals, it is on this performance that Costello and Dylan really shine.
Watch below as Elvis Costello shared the stage with Bob Dylan to sing ‘I Shall Be Released’ in 1995.