Bob Dylan Nods to Capitol Theatre’s Grateful Dead History on “Stella Blue”

Bob Dylan Nods to Capitol Theatre’s Grateful Dead History on “Stella Blue”

On Wednesday night, Nov. 8, Bob Dylan brought his Rough and Rowdy Ways tour to The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. The performance marked the musical bard’s second and final evening at the storied location for this leg of the tour. During the event, Dylan paid homage to his former touring collaborators, the Grateful Dead, and their elongated history at the choice venue by running through a cover of “Stella Blue.”

Prior to the night’s highlighted moment, Dylan started the show with a mix of numbers from across his repertoire, working through “Watching the River Flow” and “Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine” before arriving at the first Rough and Rowdy Ways cut of the night, “I Contain Multitudes.” After following up with another tune from the aforementioned album, the artist added fan favorite, “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” a song associated with Grateful Dead live performances beginning in the late ’80s, first appearing on setlist prior to their co-headlining tour. 

Dylan returned to his Rough and Rowdy Ways material on “Black Rider” and “My Own Version of You” before kicking it back to 1967 with the John Wesley Harding-originated “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.” The artist reached the halfway point on the night with “Crossing the Rubicon,” continuing with “To Be Alone With You,” “Key West (Philosopher Pirate),” and inevitably, “Gotta Serve Somebody.” Upon completing “I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You,” Dylan arrived at the night’s choice covers, commencing with Johnny Mercer’s “That Old Black Magic.” 

Light and playful piano shortly shifted to recognizable notes with the start of “Stella Blue,” evoking a crowd reaction as the song developed and Dylan crooned, “All the years combine/ They melt into a dream.” The sweet and subtly run-through conjured added noise with the first gust of the title, which trickled through the storied venue like dancing figures from concerts past. Notably, the Grateful Dead performed at The Capitol Theatre a considerable amount during their early days, playing 18 shows in 11 months, from 1970 and 1971, making the location a favorite for the West Coast originators. 

Historically, Dylan has been known to cover choice Grateful Dead material. Following 1987’s Dylan & The Dead tour, the musician positioned solo renditions of “Friend of the Devil,” “West L.A. Fadeaway,” “Alabama Getaway,” and “Black Muddy River” into his live shows. Most recently, Dylan touched back on his Dead roots during the Japan leg of his Rough and Rowdy Ways tour, debuting “Truckin’” in Tokyo and, later, a slice of “Brokedown Place.” Dylan’s admiration for the Dead’s songbook has been a subject of interest prior to the latest feat of covers, captured explicitly in his 2022 release, The Philosophy of Modern Song.

Following the night’s most talked about moment, Dylan added “Mother of Muses,” followed by band introductions. Afterward, he ran through “Goodbye Jimmy Reed,” eventually working through the final song of the show, the Shot of Love number, “Every Grain of Sand.” Upon completing his Port Chester, N.Y. dates, Dylan will take the night off before arriving at Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, R.I., on Friday, Nov. 10. Tickets remain on sale. 

Listen to Dylan’s “Stella Blue” cover live from The Capitol Theatre, here.

Scroll down to view last night’s setlist.

Bob Dylan 

The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, N.Y. 

Nov. 8, 2023 

Set: Watching the River Flow, Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine, I Contain Multitudes, False Prophet, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Black Rider, My Own Version of You, I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, Crossing the Rubicon, To Be Alone With You, Key West (Philosopher Pirate), Gotta Serve Somebody, I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You, The Old Black Magic (Johnny Mercer), Stella Blue (Grateful Dead), Mother of Muses, Goodbye Jimmy Reed, Every Grain of Sand

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