Over the weekend, Bob Dylan pulled out a cover of The Nick Gravenites John Cipollina Band’s “Born in Chicago” during his Windy City performance. Also, at the end of the night, he added a live debut of Muddy Waters’ “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” which was recorded in Chicago in 1956. Recently, the musical bard has been cleverly placing a song with a city’s name in its title at the start of his set, forging a thoughtful connection between the selection of material, the artist and his audience.
Dylan picked up the current leg of his tour on Oct. 1, opening up the jaunt at The Midland Theatre in Kansas City. The 17-song set pulled extensively from his Rough and Rowdy Ways record, for which the tour is named. However, rather than staying consistent with the aforementioned motif of the 2020 collection, Dylan started the evening with a cover of Little Willie Littlefield’s “Kansas City.”
In continuation of his tour on Oct. 4, rather than treat folks in St. Louis to a city-mention, Dylan did one better, paying homage to Chuck Berry while in the rock and roll pioneer’s hometown. Dylan started the show with a first-time play of “Johnny B. Goode.” Later on, as the show’s final song, the billed musician added another Berry tune, this time a bust out of “Nadine (Is It You?).” The last time Dylan played the cut was during his June 17, 1988, gig in The Gateway to the West.
During night two in Chicago, Oct. 7, Dylan concluded the evening with another debut, this time Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor,” a song considered one of the defining classics of the Chicago electric blues scene. Before starting the Midwest leg of his current tour, Dylan made headlines with a surprise performance at Farm Aid in late September, busting out two prized pieces of his archive: “Maggie’s Farm” and “Positively 4th Street.”
The combination of bust-outs and city references has added to the intrigue of Dylan’s latest fleet of concerts. Following Sunday’s stand in Chicago, the artist took some time to rest his bones before picking up a pair of back-to-back appearances at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, Wis. Learn more about Dylan’s current run by visiting his official website.