Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside
They’re drinking up and walking and it is time for me to slide
I live in another world where life and death are memorized
Where the earth is strung with lovers’ pearls and all I see are dark eyes
Here is a video of Bob Dylan & Patti Smith performing a great “Dark Eyes”.
It’s probably from one of Dylan’s two NYC concerts in December 1995, both at The Beacon Theatre (Dec 11 & 14).
A cock is crowing far away and another soldier’s deep in prayer
Some mother’s child has gone astray, she can’t find him anywhere
But I can hear another drum beating for the dead that rise
Whom nature’s beast fears as they come and all I see are dark eyes
They tell me to be discreet for all intended purposes,
They tell me revenge is sweet and from where they stand, I’m sure it is.
But I feel nothing for their game where beauty goes unrecognized,
All I feel is heat and flame and all I see are dark eyes.
Oh, the French girl, she’s in paradise and a drunken man is at the wheel
Hunger pays a heavy price to the falling gods of speed and steel
Oh, time is short and the days are sweet and passion rules the arrow that flies
A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes
15 December 1995
…. and then three nights in Philadelphia (December 15–17). Every night Patti Smith would come on in the middle for the tenth song of the set and they would share vocals on ‘Dark Eyes’, the acoustic song from the end of the Empire Burlesque album of ten years earlier, and which he had never sung live before. The routine might have been the same every night but there was nothing routine about it. …. ….but without question live performance brought it alive, and it was Patti Smith who made it happen. Here, in the tingling electricity between them as they traded verses and duetted on the choruses, the song was the conduit of a beauty and excitement it had never possessed. Many Dylan followers believed that he felt challenged by Patti Smith’s still possessing a fierce anti-showbiz, anti-bullshit credibility that had in his own case been compromised by then: that she therefore kept him on his toes as no performance with his own band alone would have done. As it was, he rose higher than his toes.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
17 December 1995
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