November 2: Bob Dylan @ Fox Warfield Theatre, San Francisco in 1979 (audio)

bob dylan 1979

The importance of identifying Bob Dylan as a performing artist, as distinct from the popular perception that he’s a songwriter and recording artist, is immediately clear when one has a chance to hear his fall 1979 concerts. “What Can I Do for You?,” “Solid Rock,” “Saving Grace,” “Covenant Woman” and “In the Garden” as performed at these shows are some of the finest works in Dylan’s oeuvre..
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

I love Dylan’s Gospel tours from 1979 & 1980. And the concerts @ Fox Warfield Theatre November 1979 might be the best of them.

Fox Warfield Theatre
San Francisco, California
2 November 1979

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar), Fred Tackett (guitar)
  • Spooner Oldham (keyboards)
  • Tim Drummond (bass)
  • Terry Young (keyboards)
  • Jim Keltner (drums)
  • Regina Mcrary , Helena Springs , Mona Lisa Young (background vocals)

  1. Gotta Serve Somebody
  2. I Believe In You
  3. When You Gonna Wake Up
  4. When He Returns
  5. Man Gave Names To All The Animals
  6. Precious Angel
  7. Slow Train
  8. Covenant Woman
    Regina McCreary Havis:
    Put Your Hand In The Hand (Gene MacLellan)
  9. Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking
  10. Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others)
  11. Solid Rock
  12. Saving Grace
  13. What Can I Do For You?
  14. Saved (Bob Dylan/Tim Drummond)
  15. In The Garden
  16. Blessed Be The Name
  17. Pressing On

click on “play” – both videos should be ok.

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12 thoughts on “November 2: Bob Dylan @ Fox Warfield Theatre, San Francisco in 1979 (audio)”

  1. And this performance of ‘Pressing on’ has a verse not used on the LP. It was only used on the concerts Nov 1, 2 and 3.
    It begins at about 34:30 in part 2. The words differ slightly between the tree, the last line is different here to the others but anyway…it goes just about like this:
    Well, you know the adversary, is a fiendish beast
    He always comes at you at times, that you expect him least
    And you know that he´s responsible, for death and pain and loss
    But you know we´ll overcome him, by the victory at the cross

  2. I heard a great interview with Regina McCrary about these first Fox Warfield Theatre performances in San Francisco. As is often the case in these things, the introduction almost kills the whole thing. I recommend sliding up to the 9:30 mark to get to the good stuff:

  3. THANK-YOU! My girlfriend Julie and I were at the Warfield, Nov.2 concert – and it was great! The entire audience rocked out, and I – not being Christian – enjoyed it as much as any Jesus-Freak. I was working at Dolby Labs, San Francisco, at the time, and I was surprised how many people there were angry at Dylan for “becoming a Jesus-Freak” – and these were Christians! Still don’t understand that……………………..cheers!

  4. Yes, the times have changed. To understand those concerts fully in their historical context you have to see how they were received, at least by some, I would say the majority, of the “experts” at the time.

    For a representative example compare this review by Joel Selvin from 36 years ago tomorrow with the comments that have been added above:

    He writes, “Genius may be pain, but this guy is not feeling any pain. Anesthetized by his new-found beliefs, Dylan has written some of the most banal, uninspired and inventionless songs of his career for his Jesus phase. He cannibalized melodies from some of his earlier songs to give the new ones their strongest moments.”

  5. The Newborn Bob Dylan music is more then great! Even for a person how does not believe in any kind of God like myself. But it seems to put Dylan in strong feelings and it works in his performing.

  6. Great Great site! Thanks for sharing. Exceptionally creative period of writing. Slow Train is just as relevant today as it was 30+ years ago.

  7. Thanks Hallgeir! Just saw the Jayhawks night before last at the Fillmore. Pics at dancingtosculpture
    Great show even without Mark Olson. Keep the great posts coming!

    1. The Jayhawks – Great Band!

      We saw them in Oslo a couple of years ago (w/ Mark Olson).
      Hollywood Town Hall (1992) is a classic.

      The posts will keep flowing as long as we’re breathing..

  8. You can check out my photographs from all three years of his concerts at the Warfield at
    I was free to walk around and shoot pretty much undisturbed from any vantage point in the theater. Boy, have times changed!

    1. Those pictures are just so great Chris, you are a lucky man to have experienced those concerts (and times)

      Thanks for the comment

      – Hallgeir

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