July 26: Listen – Bob Dylan Performing “Visions of Johanna/Madonna” @ Tramps, NYC 1999

bobdylan1999

On the 26th of july, 1999, in a club in Manhattan, Bob Dylan delivered one of his greatest performances ever of his well-loved 1966 epic “Visions of Johanna.” As if to acknowledge and signal his awareness of the power and freshness of this latest reinterpretation, the singer-bandleader effectively changed the title of the song halfway through, by starting to sing the chorus as: “And these visions of Madonna are now all that remain/ … have kept me up past the dawn.”
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

Tramps
New York City, New York
26 July 1999

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Charlie Sexton (guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion).






If you want to touch the heart of this 1999 ”Visions,” immerse yourself in the “little boy lost” verse .. . and listen to this man’s voice as he sings, “he likes to live dangerously” and “speaks of a farewell kiss to me.” “Dangerously” and “farewell kiss” are notably wry, and inseparable from the mosaic of drum and melodic guitar punctuations that dance around and with these words, this melodic and percussive and marvelously expressive singing. No accident that this is the verse that climaxes in a passionate, “It’s so hard to get on!” And climaxes further when Madonna suddenly replaces Johanna in Bob’s visions. (Of course, Madonna was a character in the original song too, in the middle of the final verse: “And Madonna she still has not showed.” In context, clearly a nickname or alias for Johanna herself)
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

-Egil

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