Friday, November 11, 2022

Bob Dylan with Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison & Chrissie Hynde - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain, 7-7-1984

I've been working my way through Bob Dylan's music career chronologically. So far, as I write this in November 2022, I've made it to about 1976. But I recently came across this excellent concert from 1984, so it goes to the top of the pile of things to post.

In 1984, returned to commercial and critical success after a few controversial years with very religious albums. This concert must have been a symbolic triumph for him, playing before over 70,000 people in Wembley Stadium in London on a bill that included opening acts Nick Lowe, UB40, and Santana.

Dylan put on a long show, 2 hours and 31 minutes, with lots of special guests (who I will explain in a minute). He was in a very rocking mood, playing even some sedate songs like "Every Grain of Sand" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" in a lively style. His band included lead guitarist Mick Taylor, formerly of the Rolling Stones, who ripped many excellent solos throughout the show.

Here's a review from the time in Rolling Stone Magazine. The article title says it all: "Bob Dylan Back in Peak Form." The article calls it one of the concert highlights of Dylan's career, and I would agree.

Bob Dylan performs epic concert at Wembley Stadium – Rolling Stone

Dylan must have liked this show because he released a live album late in 1984, "Real Live," with six of the ten songs coming from this exact concert. Personally, I must prefer hearing a full concert like this one to a live album with songs chosen from different concerts. Besides, this is two and half hours long and "Real Live" is only 50 minutes long.

The sound quality of this bootleg is excellent. I found different versions of this concert on the Internet, and most of them are merely okay sounding audience bootlegs. But this version comes from a soundboard. It sounds just as good as the versions of the songs on the "Real Live" album, in my opinion.

There was only one sonic flaw. On four of the songs, there were some very small silent gaps, each of them only a second or less. But it was enough to be noticeable and annoying. I carefully edited those songs to remove the gaps, and when I did I found there wasn't any music missing. Those four have "[Edit]" in their names. 

Now, let me discuss the many special guests on this show. Dylan played two hours, mostly with a full band, but some songs done solo acoustic. Then he came back for what turned out to be a very unusual encore that lasted 35 minutes. For the whole encore, he was joined by Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton & Chrissie Hynde. Santana and Clapton often played guitar solos. Right before the song "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat," Dylan joked, "There's too many guitar players up here. I may just sing the first verse and leave." It would be good if someone could watch the video of this concert on YouTube and figure out who played which solo in the encores (with Mick Taylor presumably playing some too).

Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders mostly sang backing vocals, though apparently she also played a harmonica solo on one song. This was not her finest hour - it's very challenging to sing harmony with Dylan, since he changes how he sings the lyrics in unpredictable ways. 

On top of that, Van Morrison made a brief but important appearance in the encore too. He only showed up for the song "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." That was a Dylan song he sang on a Them album back in 1966, and he's revisited in concert from time to time ever since. He sang the lead vocals for it here. I think Hynde also sang a verse, but unfortunately wasn't turned on because one can barely hear just a few traces of her voice in the middle of the song.

This concert shows Dylan swinging for the fences, trying to please a huge crowd, and hitting a home run. Look at the set list below. Almost every song is a well known classic, and he performed most of them in a rocking style. So if I were to present just one Dylan concert to someone not that familiar with his music, I probably would choose this one.

01 Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan)
02 Jokerman (Bob Dylan)
03 All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan)
04 Just like a Woman (Bob Dylan)
05 Maggie's Farm (Bob Dylan)
06 I and I (Bob Dylan)
07 License to Kill (Bob Dylan)
08 talk (Bob Dylan)
09 I've Got to Use My Imagination (Bob Dylan & Greg Sutton)
10 A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob Dylan)
11 Tangled Up in Blue (Bob Dylan)
12 It's Alright, Ma [I'm Only Bleeding] (Bob Dylan)
13 Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan)
14 Masters of War (Bob Dylan)
15 Ballad of a Thin Man (Bob Dylan)
16 Enough Is Enough [Edit] (Bob Dylan)
17 Every Grain of Sand [Edit] (Bob Dylan)
18 Like a Rolling Stone [Edit] (Bob Dylan)
19 Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan)
20 Girl from the North Country [Edit] (Bob Dylan)
21 It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob Dylan)
22 talk (Bob Dylan)
23 Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob Dylan with Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton & Chrissie Hynde)
24 talk (Bob Dylan)
25 It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan & Van Morrison with Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton & Chrissie Hynde)
26 Tombstone Blues (Bob Dylan with Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton & Chrissie Hynde)
27 Senor [Tales of Yankee Power] (Bob Dylan with Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton & Chrissie Hynde)
28 The Times They Are A-Changin' (Bob Dylan with Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton & Chrissie Hynde)
29 Blowin' in the Wind (Bob Dylan with Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton & Chrissie Hynde)
30 Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Bob Dylan with Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton & Chrissie Hynde)
31 talk (Bob Dylan)

The cover photo is from the exact concert featured here. I'm pretty sure that's Chrissie Hynde in the white shirt with her back to the camera, and Eric Clapton standing next to her.


  1. Thank you so much! This post is very exciting to me because many years ago I had a really crappy quality copy of this show and it was very frustrating. Looking forward to listening to the whole glorious thing!

  2. Thanks, sounds like an interesting show

  3. Thanksfor this one. I was at the Paris concert on the 1st of July that year. Great fond memories as the next day was my first day starting to work and still working nowadays. So, my last day of liberty was Bob Dylan 01/07/1984 Parc de Sceaux near Paris. What a journey since.
    Greetings from Paris