Bobfest, an event held in 1992 to celebrate 30 years of Bob Dylan as a recording artist, saw the great and the good of the musical world join forces at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The show, quite remarkably, was topped off when Dylan shared the stage with George Harrison, Neil Young and many more for a special performance of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’.
Bob Dylan’s tremendous talent means that it was no issue recruiting the biggest names in the music industry, all of which flew in from different quarters of the world to pay tribute to his iconic recording career. The Madison Square Garden evening was on the 30th anniversary of Dylan’s first-ever record release through Columbia Records.
The entire cast came together at the end of the concert, a showing which was as wholesome as it gets as Dylan was not only joined by Neil Young and George Harrison but also Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, Chrissie Hynde, The O’Jays, Eddie Vedder, Sinéad O’Connor, Tracy Chapman, George Harrison and Lou Reed for a momentous moment.
Dylan shared a close relationship with nearly all those that he personally invited to take part in proceedings, but George Harrison and he shared a bond that was extremely tight-knit. The two legendary figures worked together on a plethora of occasions — most notably with their supergroup The Travelling Wilbury’s alongside Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.
“George got stuck with being the Beatle that had to fight to get songs on records because of Lennon and McCartney,” Dylan once said of Harrison. “Well, who wouldn’t get stuck?”. He added: “If George had had his own group and was writing his own songs back then, he’d have been probably just as big as anybody.”
The respect was a two-way street with Harrison crediting him as a major influence on his post Beatles career and even his work with The Fab Four who tried to emulate the coolness that oozed out of Dylan following his arrival in the ’60s.
It’s remarkable to think how many of the artists performing alongside Dylan for this rendition of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ would have gone on to have had the career that they have had if it wasn’t for his trailblazing, a pioneering state that opened doors for others and they were more than happy to pay back the favour at Madison Square Garden.
To have such an array of world-class talent on the stage together at the same time is a moment that has rarely been seen in the history of music and it is a truly mesmerising sight to behold. Here’s to another 30 years of Dylan!