September 19: Bob Dylan I Want You & John Brown, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 1987

bob dylan rotterdam 1987

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

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)


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

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

6 thoughts on “September 19: Bob Dylan I Want You & John Brown, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 1987”

  1. It’s so great to see Bob engaged on the stage, as he was back in the days of the “Hard Rain” album. I guess after two-zillion live shows, it must be nearly impossible for him to muster up that intensity.

    1. Replying to myself: Was that post too harsh? Bob puts himself out there again and again; he certainly doesn’t have to. I have never left a performance thinking it was a waste of time! There are always those transcendent moments even now.

  2. Funny that exactly these two songs were picked from that concert, they were the ones that touched me that awe and fateful night (to paraphrase Lou Reed)… They rose up out of an indistinct mess, where there was a lot more trouble going on than only not blowing his harp into the microphone… Mostly he would not even know the words to his songs… But that moment in I Want You where he starts singing again at a curious point, oblivious of what the band was doing behind him, it is as if something awoke him, for a moment that lasted into the ferociously sung John Brown, and then he went back to sleepwalking… I went back that night to old habits I thought I had kicked and would kick finally when Time out of Mind struck the bell for me to wake up myself…

  3. Just like Stevie Wonder said of his song at Bobfest…it resonated then, and sadly, resonates now. John Brown…powerful song…powerful performance. Thanks as always.

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