With live music looking set to return in a safe and socially distanced manner, we’re stepping back into the Far Out Magazine vault to get in the mood. Here, we’re remembering the moment Bob Dylan and Neil Young joined forces.
When Dylan kicked off his ‘Never Ending Tour’ in 1988, Young stepped forward and arrived on the stage of California’s Concord Pavilion to perform a very special rendition of ‘Gates of Eden’.
Young, whose home is within touching distance of the venue, rocked up and delivered a rousing contribution to the song. “Neil drove up in his Cadillac convertible,” Richard Fernandez, the tour manager told Young biographer Jimmy McDonough: “His Silvertone amp in the back,” he added. “Was Young ever intimidated to be joining one of his heroes on stage?” McDonough asked, to which David Briggs replied: “I’ve never seen him be intimidated by anyone musically.”
“Neil took over the whole show,” his manager Elliot Roberts recalled before Young came bouncing over to Dylan: “Great show! See ya tomorrow night, Bob” he said to which Dylan casually replied, “Yeah, Neil,” with almost exhausted acceptance.
The song that duo took on, originally appearing on Dylan’s fifth studio album Bringing It All Back Home, was released in 1965 through Columbia Records and featured as the B-side to the now-iconic ‘Like a Rolling Stone’.
According to Oliver Trager, the author of the encyclopedic sourcebook detailing many of Dylan’s songs, ‘Gates of Eden’ arrived as Dylan’s declaration that “blind belief in a forgiving afterlife is the ultimate lie because it creates complacency in this one.”
“That’s Neil Young on the guitar,” Dylan said. “Give him a hand!”
See the 1988 footage, below.