See George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Neil Young perform ‘My Back Pages’ in rare rehearsal footage
We are dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to look back at a stunning moment that includes George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Neil Young in some special footage. It’s very rare to see so much talent on one stage as those who attended the Bob Dylan 30th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden in 1992. The show featured some of Dylan’s closest friends including, of course, Clapton, Harrison, Young, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam and more.
What’s even rarer than a performance form these juggernauts, however, is to see is this incredibly talented group of musicians working together as they fine-tune their performance and chat amongst themselves. Yes, we have the candid rehearsal footage of Harrison, Dylan, Clapton and Co. before their mammoth show at the MSG as they work together to try and find the right groove.
The footage has been doing the rounds for some time and it’s no wonder why. The plethora of iconic musicians on show is truly astounding for any classic rock lover. Not only does it feature the headline act of the upcoming tribute but also a selection of rock and roll’s finest musical exports. It was a line-up befitting Dylan’s influence of music during his then 30 years on the scene.
The clip sees those huge acts working on their performance of one of the night’s big hitters, the brilliant ‘My Back Pages’. On stage is not only the acts mentioned above but also Roger McGuinn, G.E. Smith (musical director), Booker T and the M.G.s guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, Jim Keltner and organist Booker T. Jones.
The audio isn’t quite where you’d hope it to be, missing out, sadly, on the intimate conversations the group share in shadowy corners of the rehearsal space. It’s a pain, as one can only hope to think about what Tom Petty and George Harrison share a joke or about, or what seemingly concerns Clapton so deeply when speaking to Dylan. However, what we do have is a document of some of the finest guitarists in the world showing off their skills in a relaxed environment.
Nearly all of the men in question had been cast in the creative fires of the swinging sixties. It meant that they were perhaps most comfortable in the jam session style of rehearsals. The freedom of which, and perhaps despite the cameras, allows Clapton and the rest to start noodling through the song, adding extra licks and tricks with every moment passed.
All of the musicians are extremely tight, despite many of them not really touring. George Harrison had barely set foot on stage since 1974 before he was asked to join the all-star lineup. Yet, they all pull through with aplomb, except, of course, Bob Dylan.
Dylan seems to be the only member of the incredibly well-furnished lineup who is struggling with the number. But nevertheless, he pulls through, leaving this as a candid piece of footage that any fan will enjoy.