Jan 18: Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone 1992

bob dylan letterman 1992

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Radio City Music Hall
New York City, New York
18 January 1992
Taping for Late Night (w/ David Letterman) 10th Anniversary show


  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Chrissie Hynde (guitar, harmony vocals)
  • Sid Mcginnsss (guitar)
  • Steve Vai (guitar)
  • Carole King (piano)
  • Paul Schaffer (Hammond organ)
  • Edgar Winter (saxophone)
  • Doc Severinsen (trumpet)
  • Jim Horn (baritone saxophone)
  • Maceo Parker (alto saxophone)
  • Fred Wesley & Pee Wee Ellis (trombone)
  • Will Lee (bass)
  • Anton Fig (drums)
  • Jim Keltner (drums)
  • Rosanne Cash, Nancy Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Michelle Shocked, Mavis Staples. (backup vocals)..

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it
You said you’d never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

david letterrman


18 thoughts on “Jan 18: Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone 1992”

  1. I thought this was a terrible, embarrassing performance, and that Dylan was annoyed that he had to sing this song on that night. This was worse than the MTV Unplugged, and that really sucked too. Just because I love bob Dylan it doesn’t mean that every time he sings he is great. Especially in the early 90s.

  2. I know i’m swimming against the tide on this one,but i much prefer LARS in 88 with GE Smith, i love that tour! mavis staples to bob’s left,the woman bob proposed to 30 years earlier☺

    1. I also love the 78 and the 81 versions, but this is a one-off and I love the build up and how Bob Dylan feels more and more comfortable as the song goes on.

      …and the piano by Carole King is fantastic!

      1. Hi hallgeir,
        i might’ve give the impression that i wasn’t a fan of this performance,nothing could be further from the truth,
        you’re spot on about carole’s playing! 78 and 81 versions are great!! bob’s music is the gift that never stops
        giving☺☺☺have a good day☺

  3. Awesome. The song seemed to gain strength as it ventured towards it’s ultimate ending. Quite the back-up band also. Thanks SO much

    1. I was in the audience for the dress rehearsal. The band was so loud that you could barely hear Bob. They turned up his voice when it aired. Very cool to be there.

  4. His performances in the late 80s/early 90s were typically bad, and then suddenly in 1994 he was singing like an angel again. The various biographies on Dylan indicate that he quit drinking in 1994, so the transformation kinda makes sense. I remember seeing him in Cleveland in August of 94 and being startled by how good it was, much better than some mumble shows I had seen a few years earlier.

  5. Always love seeing this…thanks for posting…Shaffer’s organ is unfortunately buried, but Carole King’s piano work is a a pleasure…to me, nothing touches the original HIghway 61 track, but I was at Newport in ’65 and rolled up to the concert field on my BSA 650 as Bob and the Butterfield Band were playing LARS for a rehearsal/ sound check.
    A pure epiphany – I was 18!

  6. I was at the dress rehearsal taping on Saturday afternoon. The band was so loud you couldn’t hear Bob very well at all. When the show aired,they brought his voice up front. Yes I was disappointed but it was very cool. In Paul Shaffer’s book, he says Bob only gave 30 percent or so at the rehearsal and 70 percent at the show taping. After the taping he says Bob told him he would have given more had he known it was going to be “something”.

  7. Trevor, as a long, staunch fan of the man I would agree I have been let down by Bob’s vocals over the tears.

    I saw him back with G.E. Smith and the boys in the late 1980s. In the span of 1 month I saw him at The Beacon and then at Radio City. One of the shows was unbelievable all around. Bob’s voice was melodic, the timbre was good, and of course the song selection and musicianship was first rate. The other show was a big let down. Bob’s voice sounded like a honking goose. I felt bad that he would perform like this. I wondered if he even noticed or cared.

    However, for Bob, in this video his voice (to me) seemed much more melodic than usual, he seemed to have control over his variations on the timing and melody, and the timbre of his voice seemed relatively good for Bob. To me it goes without saying the performance by the band (sort of a Ringo’s All Starr Band) , and the song itself, are close to unmatched.

    Have a great weekend.

    PS – Egil, as always thanks for the great post.

    Phil T.

  8. im afraid the video is another example of the sad decline 0f dylans vocals over the last 30 years, where the performance is let down by bobs voice. This song live was a consistant highlight from 1966-1981. Apart from the odd occasion where he has somehow managed to pull out a half decent version (the tours with tom petty 1986/87 ,1994s unplugged for example) its nearly always a letdown. Im afraid its got to the point now where he’s simply not capable of a remotely passable version. wish he wouldnt even attempt it now

    1. Thanks for your comment Trevor,

      I like this version.. and except for the 66-tour.. I don’t really think he’s performed that many strong versions of this masterpiece.


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