Listen: Bob Dylan – 5 Great Live Versions of “I Want You”





The guilty undertaker sighs
The lonesome organ grinder cries
The silver saxophones say I should refuse you
The cracked bells and washed-out horns
Blow into my face with scorn
But it’s not that way
I wasn’t born to lose you

I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

Some facts:

  • Dylan has played “I Want You” 214 times live
  • First time was in San Antonio, TX – May 11, 1976
  • Last performance: Vancouver, BC – Jul 20, 2005
  • Peak year: 1978 with 56 renditions

Here are five great live versions:

Westfalenhalle 1
Dortmund, West Germany
15 September 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal, guitar & harmonica)
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards)
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)

On this Dortmund tape you can hear an intro to “I Want You” that gathers such momentum as piano is joined by bass and then drum and then harmonica, that its energy and personality become unstoppable and can be felt throughout the song, in the spirit of the vocal and the way singer and musicians work together.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performance Artist 1986-1990 And Beyond (Mind Out Of Time)

Sportpaleis Ahoy
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
19 September 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal, guitar & harmonica)
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards)
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)

Hammersmith Odeon
London, England
8 February 1990
also includes “Political World”

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

The drunken politician leaps
Upon the street where mothers weep
And the saviors who are fast asleep, they wait for you
And I wait for them to interrupt
Me drinkin’ from my broken cup
And ask me to
Open up the gate for you

I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

Brighton Centre
Brighton, England
26 March 1995

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • John Jackson (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Winston Watson (drums & percussion)




La Malagueta Bull Ring
Málaga, Spain
17 April 1999

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

How all my fathers, they’ve gone down
True love they’ve been without it
But all their daughters put me down
’Cause I don’t think about it

Well, I return to the Queen of Spades
And talk with my chambermaid
She knows that I’m not afraid to look at her
She is good to me
And there’s nothing she doesn’t see
She knows where I’d like to be
But it doesn’t matter

I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

Now your dancing child with his Chinese suit
He spoke to me, I took his flute
No, I wasn’t very cute to him, was I?
But I did it, though, because he lied
Because he took you for a ride
And because time was on his side
And because I . . .

I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you



-Egil

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