Bob Dylan – Far East Leg – True Confession Tour part 2 (Videos, Audio, and more)

bob dylan auckland_1986_front

Well, I usually… I usually try to put in songs which are different in their own context, either structurally or melodically or uh lyrically, that uh, don’t… so it’s not all the same type of material, I try to fill in a larger picture. I don’t know what the total effect of it is. Umm… How do I go about selecting the material? Well, there’s material that I WANT to play, there’s material that I feel I HAVE to play, and, uh, I try to get the material that I feel I have to play into the frame of mind where I want to play the material that I have to play. The rest of it is just stuff I want to play.
~Bob Dylan (Melbourne – 21 Feb 1986)

True Confession Tour:

Start date February 5, 1986
End date August 6, 1986
Legs 3
Shows 15 in Oceania
4 in Asia
41 in North America
60 in Total

The tour started with two concerts in New Zealand and thirteen concerts in Australia before four concerts in Japan. Both Dylan and Petty took a break after this tour before returning to the road in June to perform a forty-one date tour of the United States and Canada. During the tour the pair performed two concerts at the RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, three concerts at the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York City and two concerts at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. The tour came to a close on August 6 in Paso Robles, California. The pair would tour together the following year on the Temples in Flames Tour.



Rehearsals (w/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) took place in December 1985.

Before they flew over to New Zealand.. Dylan gave a couple of interviews.. Here is one:

January 1986
George Negus interview for “60 Minutes”, Malibu, California:

Oh no, no, I can’t do that, because my songs speak for that. I usually say everything I have to say through the songs. I mean it would be pointless for me to go out and say how I feel about this and how I feel about that. I could never articulate this well.
~Bob Dylan (to George Negus – Jan 1986)

Shows – overview:

Date City Country Venue
February 5, 1986 Wellington New Zealand Wellington Athletic Park
February 7, 1986 Auckland Mount Smart Stadium
February 10, 1986 Sydney Australia Sydney Entertainment Centre
February 11, 1986
February 12, 1986
February 13, 1986
February 15, 1986 Adelaide Memorial Drive Park
February 17, 1986 Perth Perth Entertainment Centre
February 18, 1986
February 20, 1986 Melbourne Kooyong Stadium
February 21, 1986
February 22, 1986
February 24, 1986 Sydney Sydney Entertainment Centre
February 25, 1986
March 1, 1986 Brisbane Lang Park
March 5, 1986 Tokyo Japan Nippon Budokan
March 6, 1986 Osaka Osaka-jō Hall
March 8, 1986 Nagoya Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
March 10, 1986 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

 The general observation is that the shows gradually became better.. similar to  the 78-tour.


Dylan’s setlist,  which stayed fairly constant throughout the 61 “True Confessions” gigs, was significantly different from 1984: typically only 8-10 ‘Greatest Hits’ out of 24 or 26 songs. The other songs included 4 or 5 from ‘Empire Burlesque’, 4 or 5 from Dylan’s other recent albums   (1980-83), and 6 or 7 covers, most of them rockabilly or country or country/pop.
~Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1974-86)

A couple of more interviews video:

10 February 1986
Press Conference in Brett Whitley’s Studio, Sydney, Australia:

22 February 1986
Maurice Parker interview, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:


Hard To Handle

bob dylan hard to handle 1986

A video chronicling Bob Dylan’s Far East tour in early 1986 with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. Its ten songs combine ’60s favorites such as “Just Like A Woman” with striking later numbers like “When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky.” The band is sharp, and Dylan is in good form. (Broadcast on HBO June 20, 1986.)
~William Ruhlmann (

Recorded at the Entertainment Center in Sydney, 24 and 25 February 1986. The video was released in October on CBS/FOX and contains the following songs:

  1. Spoken introduction to “In The Garden” February 25th
  2. In The Garden February 24th
  3. Just Like A Woman February 24th
  4. Like A Rolling Stone February 25th
  5. It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) February 25th
  6. Girl From The North Country February 24th
  7. Lenny Bruce February 25th
  8. When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky February 24th
  9. Ballad Of A Thin Man February 24th
  10. I’ll Remember You February 24th
  11. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door February 25th

“Hard To Handle”:

But.. the best show from the far east leg … might be the last one:

bob dylan budokan 1986

Nippon Budokan Hall
Tokyo, Japan
10 March 1986

All in all, a nice recording of a great show.

Here is a bunch of GREAT audio clips..

#6 – That Lucky Old Sun:

#15 – Lenny Bruce

Here’s a song I wrote a while back about a guy who died pretty miserably  actually. I figured I didn’t write this song, nobody would so, somebody had to write it. There’s a great American playwright named Tennessee Williams. He said, “I’m not looking for your pity, I just want your understanding. No, not even that, but just your recognition of me and you and time, the enemy in us all.” Anyway, he died pretty miserably too. So this is a man who got no recognition really during his lifetime. But he laid down a lot of road for a lot of people to walk on. People still walking on that road, making lots of money, living in fine houses. Have plenty of women and eating good food. And he didn’t have none of them things. (before Lenny Bruce)

#16 – When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky

#21 – Accross The Borderline

#22 – We Three

#23 – I & I


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

bob dylan budokan 1986


Part 3 of this series will deal with the “US Summer Tour” leg of the tour.

Check out:


14 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – Far East Leg – True Confession Tour part 2 (Videos, Audio, and more)”

  1. Regarding the interviews and the press conference:
    The interviews aren’t much to write home about but the press conference has some interesting commentary on the part of Dylan. Five points jump out for me:
    1 Channeling God’s word: When someone has artistically gifted as Dylan asks himself “Why me?” probably the only answer that makes sense is that he is in touch with the transcendental however you might want to interpret that (take your choices: Emerson, Whitman, Blake, St. Augustine ….).
    2 Simplicity: While the lyrics to a Dylan song may well be complex, the images evoked are very concrete and the mechanics of the song (melody, rhythm, instrumental texture) generally simple and driving.
    3 Its not poetry: Dylan’s songs are songs; stripped of the musical often as not they do read well (there are some remarkable exceptions most notably “Visions of Johanna.”)
    4 Skepticism about progress: Radio when you had to use your imagination was probably better than video. Dylan has always been ambivalent about “progress” whether it be technological or political or social.
    5 Its all about Roots: Whether blues, jazz, Gospel, rock and roll, folk he’s all about the artistic integrity of American roots music. He’s an American artist, channeling a great tradition (whether it be the Highway 61 of the blues, Gospel arising out of the Black churches, folk and country coming out of bluegrass, the old travelling medicine shows, you name it).

  2. Thanks so much for your amazing website. The first 4 concerts in Sydney in 1986 were my very first Dylan shows, just after I’d turned 18. What days they were! Also attended that press conference at the Brett Whiteley gallery here in Sydney. Anyway, thanks again for a great site


  3. Quite an amazing and essential website for us Dylan fans I must say! Another fine article, many thanks. I hadn’t heard the Nippon Budokan Hall stuff, and you are right, it’s fantastic, probably the most “together” they sounded on the whole tour for me. BTW, I once heard Dylan’s London performance from ’87 I think it was, the night of the London hurricane, and it was an amazing performance. I saw him the next night, on the Saturday. any chance of posting some of the stuff from that Friday gig, if you have access to it?

    1. Thanks Kev B.

      The Budokan 86 is a great concert… IMO.
      We’ve got stuff from London 87.. but that’s another tour… and posts I’m looking forward to create.
      The “Temple in Flames Tour” is essential stuff.

    1. Hi Steve,

      I don’t know… There’s loads of stuff in “Sony’s vaults” which needs to be released!


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