Bob Dylan: Potential 2020 Setlists. Part 1, the Japan Tour

By mr tambourine

(Please note that the video links originally contained herein have had to be removed.  Apologies)

For now, we only have info that Bob’s playing from April 1 to April 21 (a total of 14 concerts if I’m not mistaken; as of February 4th 2020 when I’m writing this article.

This would not be the first time that Bob does such a short tour leg during the Never-Ending Tour.   In fact, I think he did some shorter tours, with less than 14 concerts. But that’s just if my memory serves me well.

Anyway, this could be a very interesting tour and I’m really excited.

So, what I will do now in this and the next article is give you a potential setlist for the Japan Tour (the 14 concerts that are currently known). If more concerts get added later, we can write another article about it.

First of all, it’s nice to see Bob still touring in 2020. It’s been a long time indeed.

One of the main news that occurred is that George Receli could be back with the band after not being there for the Fall Tour 2019.   Which means, Matt Chamberlain, who I felt was really good, had an unfortunately short run.

I found this only on Expecting Rain somewhere, but other than that, it’s not been mentioned.   However George Receli is, of course, a much bigger name than Matt Chamberlain (at least to me, no offence) so I’m certainly excited.

But, let’s get to the main point – the setlists.

Just a little intro before I start – this article will be a mix of wishful thinking and let’s say ‘’logical’’ guesses. I don’t think I’m Olof Bjorner or something, that I think I have some kind of an authority to have ‘’logical’’ guesses, but since I’ve been studying Bob’s sets in a detailed way for years now, I must say I like my chances of writing about this.

I want to say that I would love if I could be way wrong as well. It’s really not important.

The only thing I don’t hope for is the same 2019 Fall Tour setlist. Yes, I loved the Fall Tour, but I’m not sure I would like the same set. Hopefully, not for all 14 nights in Japan. I deeply hope that won’t be the case. Even if Bob plays the same sets, I don’t care.

But in my honest opinion, based on research over the years, I think that won’t be the case.

Now, the main point – the setlist predictions, and I will do one show at a time.   But before that, let’s take a look at Bob’s last setlist.

Washington,DC December 8, 2019 (via BobLinks)

  1. Things Have Changed (Bob on guitar, Donnie on pedal steel)
  2. It Ain’t Me, Babe (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)
  3. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)
  4. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on piano then center stage on harp, Donnie on violin)
  5. Can’t Wait (Bob center stage, Donnie on lap steel)
  6. When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob on piano then center stage with harp,Donnie on pedal steel)
  7. Honest With Me (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
  8. Tryin’ To Get To Heaven (Bob on piano, Donnie on violin, Tony on standup bass)
  9. Make You Feel My Love (Bob center stage, Donnie on pedal steel)
  10. Pay In Blood (Bob center stage, Donnie on pedal steel)
  11. Lenny Bruce (Bob on piano, Donnie on violin)
  12. Early Roman Kings (Bob center stage, Donnie on lap steel, Tony on standup bass)
  13. Girl From the North Country (Bob on piano, Donnie on violin, Tony on standup bass)
  14. Not Dark Yet (Bob center stage, Donnie on pedal steel)
  15. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)
  16. Soon After Midnight (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)

Band introduction

  1. Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)


  1. Ballad of a Thin Man (Bob center stage on guitar, Donnie on lap steel)
  2. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)

So right now, I have a core of songs. Now, I can go doing shows one by one.

Tokyo, April 1, 2020

Ah, Tokyo… A special place for Bob. So many memorable shows with amazing quality. The most recent being the 2014 and 2016 shows. Those are keepers indeed.

I don’t expect anything different here.   However, the setlist I expect to change.

Also, April 1 is always interesting with Bob. He pretty much always plays something special on that date. It feels like an April Fool’s Day joke always, but it’s not.  Some of the most recent ones would be: for example My Back Pages in 2009 (only performance of the song in ‘09).

Or the very recent Standing In The Doorway from 2017 in Stockholm (first performance since 2005, only performance of 2017 and the last ever performance total so far)

On the last show in 2019, Things Have Changed was played as an opener.   Indeed “Things Have Changed” is pretty interesting; I think it’s now at 1000 times played total since 2000.

It’s definitely one of those Bob’s late career masterpieces, although not included on a single album.

I get it. This song fits Bob well. It’s not a surprise he plays it so much.   But, on this first show of 2020, I honestly don’t expect it to be played.   Instead, I expect All Along The Watchtower. Bob on guitar.

For some reason, I’m getting vibes of Seoul 2018, the first show of the Asia/Oceania Tour.  Here’s the performance I’m talking about:

In this 2018 performance of Watchtower, Bob played guitar. On that song, and then on Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright right after that

That was the only time Bob played guitar in 2018.

In 2019, on the Fall Tour, he played guitar on all 39 of those shows.   I expect him to continue playing it.

This would also be the first Watchtower since 2018, since it wasn’t played at all in 2019.  And also, the first time as an opener since the 2018 Seoul performance.

I have just posted the last ever performance of Watchtower so far.

I expect this Watchtower to be different though than the 2018 one. A new arrangement certainly. I think we’re gonna get Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ vibes in that version… Something like that.

Anyway, yes, I think that’s the opener.

Second song, I think it’ll still be ‘’It Ain’t Me, Babe’’, but Bob on guitar, not piano.   Bob hadn’t played guitar on ‘’It Ain’t Me, Babe’’ since 2017 in Wallingford.  The 2017 Wallingford version with guitar resembles the 2007-2012 arrangement a lot.

It Ain’t Me, Babe was added to the set in 2017, for the first time since 2013 (Rome). Since then, it was pretty much a regular in the set, always as the second song of the night of course.

I expect the same arrangement, just Bob on guitar. I feel it would work since It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue was used with the same arrangement 4 times on The Fall Tour 2019. I think it can work.

The third, Highway 61 Revisited, I hope, is finally gonna be replaced.   And for some reason, I’ve been getting signs of Maggie’s Farm returning to the set.   That would be the first time Maggie Farm was played since 2009, if we only consider the Never-Ending Tour.

But, technically, Maggie’s Farm was last played at the 2011 Grammys. I honestly, don’t like that arrangement one bit, so I hope Bob plays it again, just so that last ever arrangement wouldn’t be so bad…

I expect a similar arrangement to the current Highway 61 Revisited arrangement, as the third song of the night for years now. I think it would work.

Maggie’s Farm is far from one of my favourite songs, but Bob can always change my mind with some new arrangements. Of course, Bob on piano here.

The next song should be Simple Twist Of Fate, when we’re looking at the last 2019 show setlist. And for now, I think it will stay. For this show at least. Bob on piano, same arrangement. I expect the lovely violin sounds of Donnie Herron stay as well.

The next song should be Can’t Wait. Well, yes, I expect this one to stay. Same arrangement like on the Fall Tour 2019.  And after that it should be When I Paint My Masterpiece. I expect that to stay on this show as well. Same arrangement like on the Fall Tour.

The next song should be Honest With Me. This one, I don’t think will stay. And I hope it won’t. For some reason, I don’t have too much sympathy for this song.

So instead, I think I can see Bob taking Everything Is Broken from the shelf for the first since 2003.

Probably a similar arrangement to Honest With Me, which means for the first time a new arrangement for Everything Is Broken. I expect Bob to have fun and fool around with it since the lyrics are like that.

Tryin’ To Get To Heaven is next, and I honestly expect it to stay for this one. Same arrangement of course.

Now, I think before I get to Make You Feel My Love and whether it should be played or not, I think Bob will add one song in between. It’s not that interesting to have two soft songs (especially from the same album Time Out Of Mind) go one after the other. I think we need one upbeat song in between.

And what song could that be?

I expect Long And Wasted Years for this one. Yes, I know, it’s usually either an encore or the last song of the main set, but now I think it will be the 9th song of the set.  I expect the same arrangement as always.

Now, Make You Feel My Love… I don’t think this one will stay for this show.

I instead expect a return of one of the old ones.. With a very warm and tender and touching arrangement: Mama, You Been On My Mind.

Yes, that one.   Not played since 2009 (only 2009 performance, first since 2003).

This one could be the highlight of the night, and maybe of the entire tour.    Bob on piano of course.

Okay, now we get to Pay In Blood. I expect that to stay. I used to hate it for being played so much, but it’s grown on me and deeply enjoy it now. I hope it stays. Maybe a new arrangement? Bob on piano, maybe Donnie on violin?

Now, Lenny Bruce. Yes, this one will stay for sure for this first show. Japanese fans need to hear that.    And as for, Early Roman Kings.. that one I think will get taken out.

What will be the replacement?   My Wife’s Hometown I think.

This is the last performance so far

It’s very similar to play, so no harm there. Finally a chance to give Early Roman Kings a rest.

Girl From The North Country should stay this time.  And I think Not Dark Yet will most definitely stay as well.

Spot number 16 (since we added one song compared to the Washington 2019 show) will be a shocker in my opinion: Tell Ol’ Bill instead of Thunder On The Mountain. Similar, but different arrangement. I expect it to work.

This reminds of those Huck’s Tune performances of 2014, or the many 2013-2015 performances of Waiting For You.

Some of the songs from Bob’s soundtracks were played and played well in Japan. Tell Ol’ Bill was missed out so far on too many occasions. It’s a chance to finally play it.

That’s all the changes that’ll happen I think.

Now let’s have a better look at the set.

Tokyo, April 1, 2020

  1. All Along The Watchtower (first since 2018) (Bob on guitar)
  2. It Ain’t Me, Babe (Bob on guitar, for the first time on this song since 2012)
  3. Maggie’s Farm (first since 2009 (Never Ending Tour) or 2011 (Grammys) in public in general) (Bob on piano)
  4. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on piano then center stage)
  5. Can’t Wait (Bob center stage)
  6. When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob on piano then center stage)
  7. Everything Is Broken (first since 2003) (Bob on piano)
  8. Tryin’ To Get To Heaven (Bob on piano)
  9. Long And Wasted Years (Bob center stage)
  10. Mama, You Been On My Mind (first since 2009) (Bob on piano then center stage on harp)
  11. Pay In Blood (Bob center stage)
  12. Lenny Bruce (Bob on piano)
  13. My Wife’s Hometown (first since 2011) (Bob center stage)
  14. Girl From The North Country (Bob on piano)
  15. Not Dark Yet (Bob center stage)
  16. Tell Ol’ Bill (live debut) (Bob on piano)
  17. Soon After Midnight (Bob on piano)
  18. Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on piano) (followed by encore)
  19. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on guitar) (followed by band introductions)
  20. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry (Bob on guitar, first time for this song, at least since this song was added to the set in 2018)



  1. “I Can’t Escape From You” is my guess for the unexpected.


    Also, been really missin’ Nettie Moore lately

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