July 21: Watch Bob Dylan Performing “Like A Rolling Stone” in East Rutherford, New Jersey 1986

Redirecting to a newer version of this post….


Dylan gets downright talkative at this show, joking about New Jersey being ‘The land of The Boss’. He ends ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ with what sounds like a parody of the stop-start ending of Springsteen’s ‘Born In The USA’. .. Before the encore a guitar-shaped birthday cake is carted onstage for Howard Epstein, while everyone sings ‘Happy Birthday’, including Al Kooper, sitting in on piano during the latter part of the show.
~Clinton Heylin (A Life In Stolen Moments)

  • Howie Epstein birthday – and he gets a cake
  • Al Kooper joining in for the last 5 songs (including “Like A Rolling Stone”)

Meadowlands Brendan T. Byrne Sports Arena
East Rutherford, New Jersey
21 July 1986


  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards)
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)
  • and with The Queens Of Rhythm: Carolyn Dennis, Queen Esther Marrow, Madelyn Quebec, Louise Bethune (backing vocals)
  • Al Kooper (organ)

Is it past anybody’s bed time? Ha-ha, it’s past mine. I should have been in bed hours ago. Ha-ha-ha. OK it’s Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers right here. Benmont Tench playing the keyboards. Come on right up against that, … right up against that, fence whatever it is. Yeah, you can come on right up on stage now if you want to. Lead guitar player, Michael Campbell. One of the best guitar players around. Stan Lynch, one of the finest drummers in all the USA. I know, born in the USA. Well were we all born in the USA, anybody here who wasn’t born in the USA? I’d like to meet them. OK, we’re gonna sing Happy Birthday right now. We’re gonna sing Happy Birthday to the bass guitar player in this band. His name is Howie Epstein. Now you sing all those words what you want, but you sing it. What key we gonna sing it in? He’s gonna chose the key himself, it’s his birthday.
OK, we’re gonna go on with some serious business. Also you know I have my own Heartbreakers now. I can’t …, I wanna introduce them to you now. That’s Louise Bethune and Madelyn Quebec. Carolyn Dennis and Queen Esther Marrow. All right, now anybody else out there wanna be introduced? What’s your name? I’ll introduce you! Ha-ha-ha-ha. All right now, we’re gonna play this song. I recorded this song over 25, 30 years ago. I can’t remember when. Anyway, I don’t know where that band is now, that recorded that song with me. But one of the guys is here, he played the keyboards on that particular song, that night. His name is Al Kooper, I want you to give him a big hand now. Ha-ha ha. Anything you wanna say Al? I like this place I really do, I been here before and I hope I’ll be here again.
~Bob Dylan – (before Like A Rolling Stone)


5 thoughts on “July 21: Watch Bob Dylan Performing “Like A Rolling Stone” in East Rutherford, New Jersey 1986”

  1. Clicked “post” too quickly. Bob opened this show with “Unchain My Heart,” and had a lips tattoo just underneath his throat.

  2. This is the same show that features a VERY long speech on critics, over the intro to “Ballad of a Thin Man.”

    1. Here it is:

      All right, anybody here know what time it is? Ha-ha-ha. What time is it? Don’t look at your watches now. That watch won’t tell you. It’s only got numbers on it. All right, we’re gonna tell you what time it is. (plays Band Of The Hand) All right now everybody knows what time it is, we’re gonna go on.
      Ha-ha-ha, all right, OK. Ricky Nelson, great artist, great rock ‘n’ roll performer. Ricky Nelson did a lot for everybody. He recorded a whole lot of my songs actually. We’ll do one of his now, called Lonesome Town.
      Thank you, Ricky! All right now, we’re gonna sing this particular song. I gotta say something. I just got to! Ha-ha, I figure if I didn’t have my say, I got to have it now. You know everybody’s susceptible to newspapers. Everybody reads them and I know I do. Sometimes we’re in a town you know, you pick up a newspaper the next day, ha-ha, and you read about what you did the night before. That’s some trick. So you know now we’re playing all these places, I’ve always had this problem actually. People that come here are rock ‘n’ roll critics. They always come. Newspapers always say, well, who’s the rock ‘n’ roll critic on the newspaper. You send him down to that show. Now, I don’t mind criticism, I think it’s a constructive thing. But I object to people who don’t pay nothing for a ticket. They can come in here and say anything they wanna say. I know a lot of people here have paid for their tickets. And it might be nice sometimes, if their views could be put into the newspaper. Not somebody who comes in on a free ticket. And I’m also now saying that you don’t play everything for a free ticket, cause sometimes we play a lot of shows, when people don’t pay nothing to get in. And that’s all right too. Actually, sometimes those are the best crowds. But if there’s any people here writing about the show for any of your New Jersey newspapers, ha-ha!. Maybe they wanna check with some of you people, before they write their review. After all you all paid to get in, right? (before Ballad Of A Thin Man)


Comments are closed.