Watch Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Other Legends Perform ‘My Back Pages’
via Randal Sterling / Youtube
In 1992, as Bob Dylan was honored for his incredible three decades as an artist with a stunning concert, there was a surge of excitement in Madison Square Garden. A who’s who of musical geniuses, including The Band, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam, and many more, joined Dylan, who is known for usually performing solo, on stage, shocking the large audience.
The event was an incredible experience for Dylan and music fans alike because even the lesser-known musicians were recognized for their individual styles. The concert meant to be a joyous occasion, is often remembered for one infamous moment involving singer Sinead O’Connor.
Just two weeks prior, O’Connor had made headlines for ripping up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live, and when she took the stage at the Garden, she was booed by the crowd. Kris Kristofferson went on stage to comfort her, and O’Connor only performed one song and a snippet of Bob Marley’s “War” before leaving.
Despite this unfortunate incident, the night was filled with memorable performances. June Carter and Cash duet on “It Ain’t Me Babe,” Wonder sang “Blowin’ in the Wind,” Young delivered a fiery rendition of “All Along the Watchtower,” and Harrison made a rare live appearance singing “Absolutely Sweet Marie.”
An iconic highlight was when some of the biggest names at the concert came together to sing “My Back Pages,” a classic track from Dylan’s album Another Side of Bob Dylan. Roger McGuinn led a rendition reminiscent of The Byrds’ cover from 1967, with Petty and Young joining in for the first chorus before each taking a verse of their own.
Beginning with a soulful guitar solo, Clapton almost misses his verse. Although it initially seems as though Clapton is deferring to Dylan, he rapidly catches up when the measure switches back to the one after rushing to the microphone a little bit too late.
The fifth verse is then sung by Dylan in his characteristic raspy voice, and given that it is his song, one would anticipate that the performance would end there. For the final verse, even Dylan defers to Harrison. After all, it’s difficult to stop a Beatle from singing the song’s final line.
At That Moment
As the iconic lineup of musical legends came together on stage, the audience was mesmerized by the sheer talent and connection on display. There was an undeniable chemistry between Dylan, McGuinn, Petty, Young, Clapton, and Harrison as they have sung together and switched lines with ease.
The performance was a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of friendship and music that cut across any audience and musical categories. Decades later, the 1992 concert remains a legendary event in music history, a cherished memory for those lucky enough to have witnessed it in person.
It stands as a reminder of the indelible impact that Dylan and his fellow musicians have had on the world of music and a testament to the timeless magic of live performances that can captivate hearts and souls for generations to come. Watch the performance in the video below.