Bob Dylan: 5 fine live versions of “Seeing The Real You At Last”

bob dylan 1986 sydney

Well, I thought that the rain would cool things down
But it looks like it don’t
I’d like to get you to change your mind
But it looks like you won’t
~Bob Dylan from “Seeing The Real You at Last”

Edward G. Robinson, in his 1948 film (costarring Humphrey Bogart) Key Largo, mutters, “Think this rain would cool things off, but it don’t”; Dylan transmutes this into the opening lines of “Seeing the Real You at Last,” a song which gives some indication of being almost entirely composed of film dialogue, a veritable tour de force of imaginative borrowing. Our detectives have identified another line from Key Largo, two sets of lines from The Maltese Falcon (Bogart: “I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble” and, to Mary Astor, ”I’ll have some rotten nights after I’ve sent you over, but that’ll pass”), two bits of Bogart/Lauren Bacall dialog (one from To Have and Have Not, the other the closing lines of The Big Sleep), plus lines from The Hustler and from a Clint Eastwood film called Bronco Billy … all in “Seeing the Real You at Last.”
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

What I got out of Buddy [Holly] was that you can take influences from anywhere. Like his ‘That’ll be the Day’. I read somewhere that it was a line he heard in a movie, and I started realizing you can take things from everyday life that you hear people say. I still find that true. You can go anywhere in daily life and have your ears open and hear something … If it has resonance, you can use it in a song.
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn, 2004)

This is not a particular good Dylan song (not even close to top 200), but he’s given some interesting live versions over a period from 1986 – 2004.

First performance: Athletic Park, Wellington, New Zealand – 5 February 1986

Last performance: Stabler Arena, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – 16 November 2004.

It has been performed 247 times live.

Here are five of them:

Rich Stadium
Buffalo, New York
4 July 1986

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards)
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)
  • The Queens Of Rhythm: Carolyn Dennis, Queen Esther Marrow, Madelyn Quebec, Louise Bethune (backing vocals)

Valby Hallen
Copenhagen, Denmark
21 September 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar) with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards)
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)
  • The Queens Of Rhythm: Carolyn Dennis, Queen Esther Marrow, Madelyn Quebec (backing vocals)

The Beacon Theatre
New York City, New York
12 October 1989

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • G. E. Smith (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Christopher Parker (drums)

Paramount Performing Arts Center
Springfield, Massachusetts
12 October 1990

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • G. E. Smith (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Christopher Parker (drums)

Tom Lee Stage
Tom Lee Park
Memphis, Tennessee
2 May 1997
Beale Street Festival

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion)

From now on I’ll be busy
Ain’t goin’ nowhere fast
I’m just glad it’s over
And I’m seeing the real you at last

Well, didn’t I risk my neck for you
Didn’t I take chances?
Didn’t I rise above it all for you
The most unfortunate circumstances?

Well, I have had some rotten nights
Didn’t think that they would pass
I’m just thankful and grateful
To be seeing the real you at last

I’m hungry and I’m irritable
And I’m tired of this bag of tricks
At one time there was nothing wrong with me
That you could not fix

Well, I sailed through the storm
Strapped to the mast
But the time has come
And I’m seeing the real you at last

When I met you, baby
You didn’t show no visible scars
You could ride like Annie Oakley
You could shoot like Belle Starr

Well, I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble
Trouble always comes to pass
But all I care about now
Is that I’m seeing the real you at last

Well, I’m gonna quit this baby talk now
I guess I should have known
I got troubles, I think maybe you got troubles
I think maybe we’d better leave each other alone

Whatever you gonna do
Please do it fast
I’m still trying to get used to
Seeing the real you at last

Check out:

-Egil

3 thoughts on “Bob Dylan: 5 fine live versions of “Seeing The Real You At Last””

  1. Not a fan of this album but this is my second favorite track on there. Of course had he gone with the original version of When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky and not the abomination that was on the album then it would be my third favorite.

  2. There is a great version of “This Wheel’s On Fire” following “The Real You” on the Beale Street Festival video. Exceptional vocal performance!

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