Nobody knows how to throw themselves a party like the record industry. On October 16, 1992, Columbia Records threw a big one in New York City. They celebrated Bob Dylan’s 30 years as a recording artist with a celebration of his music.
The event, which was held at Madison Square Garden, could be seen on pay per view. There was also a record and now a CD of the event.
On March 4th, there will be a new “Super Version” release of the concert. There will be a DVD/Blue Ray as well as a CD.
What makes this concert so special were the performers and their performances. Columbia brought out the big names.
The musical director was G.E. Smith of Saturday Night Live band fame. The house band was Booker T. & the MGs. That’s Booker T. Jones on keyboards, Steve Cropper on guitar and Donald “Duck’ Dunn on bass. Joining them on drums were Anton Figg, best known as the drummer for David Letterman’s Late Show band and Jim Keltner, who seems to show up in every music story I write.
Heavyweight names included Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Roger McGuinn.
The highlights of the event include Sinead O’Connor being booed off the stage just days after she ripped up a picture of the Pope, on Saturday Night Live.
After a rousing introduction by Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, George Harrison, dressed in a purple suit, sang “If Not For You” and “Absolutely My Marie.” It was Harrison’s final concert performance in the United States.
The showstopping moments belonged to Eric Clapton. It capped an incredible rebound year for him.
Clapton’s career had been moving forward steadily, if not spectacularly.
In August of 1990, Clapton had been touring with Stevie Ray Vaughn. After a concert in Wisconsin, a helicopter crash killed Vaughn along with three members of Clapton’s entourage.
In March of 1991, his son Connor, died after falling out a window. He was four years old.
In 1992, Clapton performed on MTV’s Unplugged series and the album from this show is one the biggest of his career. It reached #1 on the Billboard charts. It was certified Diamond for shipping more than 10 million copies. It won Clapton six Grammys.
Two months after the Unplugged release, he followed up with a brilliant performance on “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right”, that left his fellow guitarists Cropper and Smith in awe. It was as if he was showing everyone, I’m back and I’m back big!!
It’s twenty-two years later and obviously there have been lots of life changes. Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richie Havens, Duck Dunn and George Harrison have since died.
Most of the others are still going strong…making records and still touring.
in March, you’ll get a chance to relive a special evening that Neil Young lovingly called “Bob-fest.”