When the musical icons of rock and roll meet up it’s always an extraordinary event. When three of them are in the same room then the house comes down. That very thing happened in 1994 when Bob Dylan welcomed Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen to the stage for a special encore.
We’ve tracked down a bootleg from that show and it captures a trio of American folk heroes all performing one of Dylan’s early classics, ‘Highway 61 Revisited’. The New York show would see Dylan begin to regain a level of comfort with his place in history.
During the eighties, Dylan had struggled to reconcile his commercial decline with his previous position as the folk scene’s poster boy. By the early 1990s that reconciliation had come and the singer was now in touring mode, taking his spiralling and swirling show through the decades of his career.
As reviews from the time would show, Dylan was in the pocket of performance and delivering bombs across the audience. Happy to push through some of his hits as well as B-sides and obscurities, Dylan is backed by yet another empowered ensemble and his powerful performance is worth reminding yourself of.
With a set so full of folkloric songs, how could Bob Dylan top it? By bringing out a selection of North America’s finest folk writers and rock singers; Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. The trio performed a medley of ‘Rainy Day Women No. 12 and 35’ as well as ‘Most Likely Go Your Way (and I’ll Go Mine)’. But the stand out moment came with their performance of ‘Highway 61 Revisited’.
The ‘Born To Run’ singer once recalled, when inducting Dylan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, that the first time he heard a Bob Dylan album (Highway 61 Revisited, in 1965), Dylan’s performance “thrilled and scared” him in equal measure.
The singer continued: “It made me feel kind of irresponsibly innocent. And it still does. But it reached down and touched what little worldliness I think a 15-year-old kid, in high school, in New Jersey had in him at the time.” Clearly, Dylan had started a fire in the young kid and it was an intensity he brought with him to the performance.
That very same worldliness can be heard in this bootleg as Springsteen joins his hero Bob Dylan alongside another songwriting great, Neil Young.
Listen to that performance, below: