Though he’s often been affiliated with The Beatles, Bob Dylan always had a special place in his heart for The Rolling Stones. Having seen their meteoric rise to prominence alongside his own, the two artists share a special bond. As a homage to the British invasion band, Dylan once covered The Stones’ song ‘Brown Sugar’ with an exuberant power and a style which suggests he may not only be a contemporary but quite possibly a fan too.
If there’s one thing to always expect when going to see the great Bob Dylan at one of his gigs, it is that Dylan will almost certainly do something unexpected. Dating all the way back to when Dylan went electric, the mercurial troubadour has always had an ace up his sleeve and has never been afraid to lay it down. Whether it’s changing his entire style, delivering a Christian sermon or just a few covers.
It was no different in 2002 when, after returning to the stage following a short break during his Never Ending Tour, the singer-songwriter had completely changed the set, added a piano for almost half the show, and chucked in a few classic covers too. They were the unexpected changes which were to be expected.
He arrived at Seattle’s Key Arena with a practically new set with a host of covers from one of his songwriting heroes, Warren Zevon. Dylan paid homage to Zevon with a cover of his songs ‘Accidentally Like A Martyr’, ‘Boom Boom Mancini’ and ‘Mutineer’. It was a serious commendation of Zevon and, perhaps, another hint that Dylan is an artist who likes to compromise, meaning if he wanted to put on a show of entirely covers, we’re pretty sure he’d still sell-out across the globe. If the Zevon songs weren’t enough he sprinkled it all with a little ‘Brown Sugar’.
The video below may not be the best quality, in fact, it’s up there with some of the worst, but you have to remember that this before mobile phones had expert cameras and with no footage being recorded on Bob’s behalf, this is the best we’ve got.
The audio quality is, however, brilliant and gives an insight into Dylan’s appreciation for the band with whom he toured before the turn of the millennium. Dylan doesn’t shy away from his vocal duties (as he did with Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’) and gives a rollicking rendition of the Stones’ song without inhibition and with a supreme load of talent.
It not only highlights Bob Dylan’s love for The Rolling Stones but also marks a high point in Dylan’s touring career. A period in his performance when he was still vocally-nuanced and powerful, the band behind him backed the singer with exuberance, and his passion for the stage was clear for all to see.
So, sit back and enjoy this 2002 cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Brown Sugar’ from the brilliant freewheelin’ troubadour himself, Bob Dylan.