In theory, Bob Dylan performing with Keith Richards and Ron Wood at Live Aid in 1985 should have been a home run.
One could imagine Richards and Wood adding ragged harmony vocals, and each supplying wiry guitar solos.
Oh but that was not to be. Instead they’re like the two stooges, floundering and posing while Dylan does his best to deliver three of his classics.
Looking at these clips now, I’m surprised at how good Dylan sounds. Despite his loaded buddies, he pulls this three-song set off, even dealing with a busted string.
That night there was a private party inside the second floor suite at the Palace Hotel in Philadelphia. I was reporting a cover story on Live Aid for Rolling Stone (August 15, 1985 issue) and managed to get into the party, which was attended by Dylan, Wood and Richards, as well as Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Stephen Stills, former Temptations Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin, Andy Taylor of Duran Duran, Jack Nicholson, Neil Young, Miami Vice‘s Don Johnson and others.
I asked Richards what it was like for him to play with Dylan.
“Well it’s not the first time,” he said.
“It’s the first time you’ve played together in public,” I said.
“Yeah, first time before a paying audience. Course we didn’t get paid.” He laughed, and joked, “Would have been better if we’d gotten paid.”
I went up to Dylan and asked if he’d had fun on stage.
“Fun?” he said. “No, we couldn’t hear anything. We had fun rehearsing.”
“Ballad of Hollis Brown”:
“When the Ship Comes In”:
“Blowin’ in the Wind”:
Plus here’s Dylan at the Willie Nelson Tribute Birthday Party, May 1993, singing “Hard Times”:
-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –