Audio: Bob Dylan Sings ‘Pressing On,’ Nov. 2, 1979 & Toronto, April 20, 1980 + Jerry Garcia Joins Dylan for ‘To Ramona’

I attended a show by Bob Dylan at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco on November 1, 1979.

Dylan had just released Slow Train Coming so I figured we were in for his new gospel songs.

The show was a disaster. I’d seen Dylan with The Band five years earlier at the Oakland Coliseum and that was really something.

For this show, Dylan had the wrong band and I was shocked at the mediocre performance. (The next night, Nov. 2, 1979, was recorded and you can hear the entire set below, and it sounds much better than what I remember of the show I attended.)

But then, at the end, with many already gone from the theater, Dylan returned, took a seat at the piano, and played a beautiful song I’d not heard before, “Pressing On.”

The solo performance of “Pressing On” that night was spectacular.

The song ended up on Saved, but that recording doesn’t touch what I heard live.

Here is a better version from a show in Toronto at Massey Hall, April 20, 1980:

And here’s a performance of “To Ramona” with Jerry Garcia on guitar. This is from Dylan’s return engagement at the Warfield. For those 1980 shows he was once again singing some of the songs that made him famous.

Here’s the entire November 2, 1979 show at the Warfield:

Part One:

Set list

Gotta Serve Somebody
I Believe In You
When You Gonna Wake Up
When He Returns
Man Gave Names To All The Animals
Precious Angel
Slow Train
Covenant Woman
Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking
Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others)….

Part Two:

Set list

Solid Rock
Saving Grace
What Can I Do For You?
In The Garden
Blessed Be The Name
Pressing On

Bob Dylan with Jerry Garcia, November 16, 1980, Warfield Theater, San Francisco:

–- A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

3 thoughts on “Audio: Bob Dylan Sings ‘Pressing On,’ Nov. 2, 1979 & Toronto, April 20, 1980 + Jerry Garcia Joins Dylan for ‘To Ramona’

  1. people like to rave about the april/1980 performance(s). Obviously the quality of the recording from April 20th, 1980 is far superior/professionally done. The fact is that those performances simply pale in comparison to november 1979 warfield ones. And I believe that for the simple reason that the songs were new and fresh – performance wise.

    That seems to be why the songs on the Saved album seem flat compared to the live versions – too much time had passed from the songs’ inception.

    Personally i would take performances from november 4th and the16th,1979 for most of the setlist.

  2. Huh? How did you see the Band with Dylan when the Band stopped touring on Thanksgiving 1976? Perhaps you’re thinking of FIVE years earlier, 1974? Not trying to be a stickler, but five years is a much bigger gap than two years… Dylan can change a lot in that period of time.

    Otherwise, great stuff. As much as I hate how Dylan turned his back on his own life’s work during this period, it is undeniably strong stuff, perhaps his most passionate and powerful live era.

Leave a Reply