Happy Birthday Bob Dylan: Jamming With Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana & More At Wembley In 1984
In the summer of 1984, Bob Dylan and Santana embarked on a European tour that saw the rock icons hitting London’s legendary Wembley Stadium on July 7 for the penultimate show of the run. But it wouldn’t just be Dylan and Santana that night as if that wasn’t enough, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Chrissie Hynde and former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor would all join Dylan for perhaps one of the most amazing encores in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.
Even without the star power, Dylan and his band — keyboardist Ian McLagan (Faces), Colin Allen (Stone The Crows) and bassist Greg Sutton along with Mick Taylor — were on fire that night. A Rolling Stone review at the time described Bob thusly: “When Dylan bounded out onstage later that evening, wearing a black frock coat and sporting a shock of wild, curly hair, he looked, from a distance, like nothing less than a holy man possessed.”
The review went on to compare the show to Dylan’s mid-’60s Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde period, a time many point to as Dylan’s most potent. But Bob would open up the show with songs from his 1983 album, Infidels, including “Jokerman,” “I and I” and “License to Kill.” But the RS review praises revisitings of older Dylan material including band versions of “Just Like A Woman,” “Simple Twist Of Fate” and “Maggie’s Farm” as well as acoustic performances of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Tangled Up In Blue” and “It’s Alright, Ma.”
Dylan began his encore with more classic acoustic numbers in “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Girl From the North Country” and “It Ain’t Me Babe” before Clapton, Santana and the rest of the band joined him for a rollicking, “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,” which Dylan prefaced by saying, “There’s too many guitar players up here. I may just sing the first verse and leave.” But he didn’t. Bob looked to be having a blast throughout the performance, which saw Chrissie Hynde joining in halfway through and adding a harmonica solo.
The encore could have ended right there and still have been amazing but then Van Morrison emerged to sing a rocking, almost honky-tonk barroom version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” with Dylan and Hynde adding backing vocals. Morrison would then sail off into the night leaving the all-star cast to continue with “Tombstone Blues,” “Senor,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and “Blowin’ In The Wind” to bring the historic evening to a close.
Today (May 24, 2020) marks Bob Dylan’s 79th birthday. To celebrate, check out star-studded live versions of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,” “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “Senor” via Woolhall below: