Watch Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, and George Harrison perform ‘My Back Pages’

There was a hell of an anniversary celebration going on at Madison Square Garden in 1992. In the city where he got his start, the normally private Bob Dylan was staging a massive concert to recognise his three decades as an artist. It was a rare nostalgic moment for Dylan, and a parade of rock royalty came out to congratulate him.

It’s the kind of lineup that boggles the mind: former collaborators like The Band, George Harrison, and Tom Petty rubbed elbows with famous admirers, including Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, and Pearl Jam, among many others. Even the below-the-line names are legendary: a band that included greats like Jim Keltner, G. E. Smith, and Booker T. and the MGs.

The concert was supposed to be a happy occasion, but now it tends to be remembered for one infamous moment. Singer Sinead O’Connor was one of the many Dylan fans on hand to perform, but just two weeks before, O’Connor made headlines when she ripped up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live. O’Connor was booed by the Garden crowd, and in a picture that continues to live on in pop culture, Kris Kristofferson went on stage to comfort O’Connor. She would sing just one song, plus a snippet of Bob Marley’s ‘War’, before leaving the stage.

It’s a shame that one ugly moment mars what was otherwise a celebratory night. June Carter and Johnny Cash duetted on ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’, Wonder took on ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, Young whipped up a fiery version of ‘All Along the Watchtower’, and George Harrison made an ultra-rare live stage appearance singing ‘Absolutely Sweet Marie’.

Before the grand finale of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’, some of the concert’s biggest names came together to trade verses on ‘My Back Pages’, the classic cut from Another Side of Bob Dylan. Roger McGuinn led a very Byrds-like version of the track, recalling the band’s cover from 1967 that helped make the song an all-time great. Petty and Young helped cap off the first chorus before each taking a verse of their own.

Clapton takes the first guitar solo before almost missing out on his verse. Initially, it looks like Clapton defers to Dylan before rushing to the microphone a few beats too late, picking things up smoothly once the measure returns to the one. It’s only then that Dylan steps up to croak out the fifth verse, and since it’s his song, one would think that the proceedings would end there. But even Dylan defers to Harrison for the final verse: you try keeping a Beatle from taking a song’s final part.

Check out ‘My Back Pages’ from the 30th-anniversary celebration down below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like