Bob Dylan: best live versions of “Visions of Johanna”

I´ve posted some great versions of VOJ lately. There seems to be strong opinions among our readers regarding “best VOJ live version”, so why not compare different versions?

I´v nominated 10 versions and would love to get feedback – use the comments section in this post or comment on my post on Alldylan´s FB page -> Alldylan @ Facebook.

Try to pick 3, but any number will do.

My top 3:

  1. Sheffield 1966
  2. Portsmouth 2000
  3. Dublin 2005

If we get enough response, I´ll compile the results and update this post.


Gaumont Theatre
Sheffield, England
16 May 1966

Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin’ you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind


Riverfront Park
Manchester, New Hampshire
3 September 1988


Theater Of Living Arts
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
21 June 1995

State Theater
Portland, Maine
19 April 1996

In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman’s bluff with the key chain
And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the “D” train
We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight
Ask himself if it’s him or them that’s really insane
Louise, she’s all right, she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of ’lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place

New York City, New York
26 July 1999

Visions of Madonna version

Cumberland Civic Center
Portland, Maine
25 February 1999

Now, little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously
And when bringing her name up
He speaks of a farewell kiss to me
He’s sure got a lotta gall to be so useless and all
Muttering small talk at the wall while I’m in the hall
How can I explain?
Oh, it’s so hard to get on
And these visions of Johanna, they kept me up past the dawn


Portsmouth, England
24 September 2000

Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while
But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues
You can tell by the way she smiles
See the primitive wallflower freeze
When the jelly-faced women all sneeze
Hear the one with the mustache say, “Jeeze
I can’t find my knees”
Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel

Halle Münsterland
Münster, Germany
1 October 2000

Stirling Castle
Stirling, Scotland
13 July 2001

The peddler now speaks to the countess who’s pretending to care for him
Sayin’, “Name me someone that’s not a parasite and I’ll go out and say a prayer for him”
But like Louise always says
“Ya can’t look at much, can ya man?”
As she, herself, prepares for him
And Madonna, she still has not showed
We see this empty cage now corrode
Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
The fiddler, he now steps to the road
He writes ev’rything’s been returned which was owed
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my conscience explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain

The Point Depot
Dublin, Ireland
27 November 2005

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10 thoughts on “Bob Dylan: best live versions of “Visions of Johanna””

  1. 1) Gaumont Theatre, Sheffield, England, 16 May 1966
    2) The Point Depot, Dublin, Ireland, 27 November 2005

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