Once or twice: Dylan songs that rarely get a live performance: Lily, Rosemary and Stage Fright



I don’t know what it means either: an index to the current series appearing on this website.

Once or twice: A recently inaugurated review of songs that Bob has performed just once or twice on stage. Previously we looked at 

By Tony Attwood

The song I wanted to cover next in this little series of songs Bob has only performed once or twice was Lily Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts which was played at Salt Lake in 1976.

Officially the report is that this performance was not recorded although as ever there are stories circulating that it was recorded and a few collectors have a copy.  But that’s what is always said.  I certainly don’t have a copy and although there are people around who will always say, “it does exist I’ve heard it” (etc) the fact that it remains undercover suggests to me that it’s a fantasy.  I’ll change my mind when someone sends me a copy.

Thre was also an extract from the song of under two minutes that has reportedly been Dylan performing on that one occasion, but again others dispute that too.   It is also said that this extract is a rehearsal piece, not a concert performance.

So no go on “Lily” but since I have been searching around let’s have a live performance that is out there.   For just because I start looking for something it doesn’t mean I can’t share what I actually found along the way.   (Indeed I never understand researchers in any subject who say “but that’s not what I am looking for” – what one finds along the way is often more interesting than what one set out to find.).

This is a much more gentle version than Bob delivers although it occasionally builds up a little en route, but the (mostly very much in the background) piano accompaniment does a lot to keep it light.  It also sounds to me like there is a glockenspeil in there too, which I do think is a bit odd.  But every arranger does his/her own thing – and she’s the recording star.  And a lady with a great memory.

Actually it is worth playing this and listening to the occasional moments from each instrument – the performer on the electric piano seems to have been given completely free range to be, well, a bit odd from time to time.  Although when you have a strophic song that is over eight minutes long and everyone already knows the lyrics, something has to be done to hold attention.

But no, there’s nothing by Bob.  And so, because I thought, if Lily wasn’t available, what was next on the list of songs Bob played once or twice?   Here I came up with “Stage Fright” – and this one is equally oblique in that the performance does say as you can see below (featuring Bob Dylan) but it has Rick Danko on lead vocals.

The Stage Fright live performance is listed as 3 January , 1974 in Chicago and you can see the set list through the link.  As for this recording, it is horribly unbalanced, but you can get a feel of what it was all about.

As a keyboard player myself I always enjoy hearing an organist having a bit of fun.   And beyond that I wonder if Bob was having a bit of fun in suggesting he had spot of stage fright in not singing the song.  (OK that’s a bit oblique, but if there is one thing Bob knows how to do it is oblique).

But of course if there ever was a man without stage fright it was and is Bob.  No matter what happens and how, he seems just to be there, knowing (I guess) that his audience will wait.   After all he had the experience of being booed for playing with a band, quite early on in his career, and just kept on keeping on.

Incidentally you have my most fulsome permission to stop listening to the Band’s recording of Stage Fright at any time you wish.  I have to listen since I’m responsible for putting the recording up, but there’s no reason why you have to suffer too.

And maybe that performance was a reason why Bob never returned to the song.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *