April 20: Bob Dylan Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada, 1980

bob dylan 1980 toronto

Classic concert: Bob Dylan: Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada April 20, 1980

…The band was refreshed, and excited about the concert being recorded and filmed. Dylan delivers a power house performance. If you are a fan of the christian material, this is not to be missed. If you love to hear Dylan pouring his heart and soul into the show… this is the one.

FANTASTIC concert from the “Third Gospel Tour”.

  • Concert # 4 of the Third Gospel Tour
  • Gospel concert # 54
  • 1980 concert # 28

Massey Hall
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
20 April 1980

This show is also filmed and recorded on 24-track. “When He Returns” makes a rare reappearance in place of “When You Gonna Wake Up.” Before “Solid Rock,” Dylan gives his longest rap since the Tempe shows, relating how the Tempe audience had booed when he started to preach about the Book of Revelation. Ronnie Hawkins attends tonight’s show and meets Dylan backstage. He is unimpressed by Dylan’s Christian stance, later saying, “He had this black chick following him everywhere carrying a Bible and praising the Lord.”
~Clinton Heylin (Bob Dylan: A Life in Stolen Moments Day by Day 1941-1995)

Let Me Ride (McCoy/Dennis)
(You’ve Got To) Hold On ( ? )
It’s Gonna Rain Again (C Johnson)
Show Me The Way Lord ( ? )
Look Up And Live By Faith (Reverend Roberts Lawrence Curtis)
Gotta Serve Somebody
I Believe In You
When He Returns
Ain’t Gonna Go To Hell
Cover Down/Break Through
Man Gave Names To All The Animals
Precious Angel
Slow Train
Stranger In The City (Healing) ( ? )
Walk Around Heaven All Day (Rev J Cleveland/C George)
Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others)

“Man asked me on the street today, he said, “Well, if you believe all those things,” he said, “I just can’t seem to love my enemy.” That’s a tough thing to do, you know? That’s an impossible thing to do actually. Cause the natural mind, you know, can’t comprehend that. So if you’re in the natural mind you just can’t comprehend loving your enemy. That seems like a foolish thing to do, and it is. However, the supernatural mind can comprehend that. So when Jesus says “love thy neighbor as thyself,” he wasn’t exactly saying “roll over and play dead.” Actually, I wanna tell you a story here. We were playing in…about four months ago someplace, it was a college campus, I forget exactly where, Arizona, I think it was. Is that where it was? Where you there? All right. Anyway, I read the Bible a lot, you know, I mean it just happens I do and…So it says certain things in the Bible that I wasn’t really aware of until just recently. And, you know, at universities, you know, it’s like…they have a higher learning people there. They teach them different…like philosophies, so people they study all these different philosophies like Plato and who else now? Who? Jimmy Reed. Well, I can’t remember all their names. Nietzsche and those people like that. Anyway, in the Bible it has specific…it tells you specific things and in the Book of Daniel, and in the Book of Revelation, which just might apply to these times here. And it says certain wars are gonna, soon about gonna happen. I can’t say exactly when, you know, but say, pretty soon anyway and…So, at that time, you know, it mentions a country to the furthermost north and it has its symbol: the bear. It’s also is spelt R O S H in the Bible, now, this is written quite a few years ago, so it can’t really but apply to one country that I know. Unless you know another country that it can apply to. Maybe you do, I don’t. But then there’s another country called, I can’t remember what the name of it is, but it’s in the eastern part of the world and it’s got an army of 200 million foot soldiers. Now there’s only one country that that could actually be. So anyway, I was telling this story to these people. I shouldn’t have been telling it to them, I just got carried away. And…I mentioned to them, “Well, you all watch now because Russia is gonna come down and attack the Middle East.” It says this in the Bible. And I been reading all kinds of books my whole life, magazines, books, whatever I could get my hands on, anywhere, and I never found any truth in any of them, if you wanna know the truth. But these things in the Bible they seem to uplift me and tell me the truth. So I said this country is gonna come down and attack, and all these people, there must have been 50,000…[voice of band member): “If there was one.”] If there was one, that’s right. No, I don’t know, there wasn’t 50,000, there was, I don’t know, maybe 3,000, they all just booed. You know, like they usually do, they just booed. I said Russia’s gonna attack the Middle East and they all went “boo”. They couldn’t hear that, they didn’t believe it. And a month, a month later Russia moved their troops into, I think, Afghanistan, it was, and the whole situation changed, you know. I’m not saying this to tell you, you know, that they was wrong and I was right or anything like that. But these things that is mentioned in the Bible I pay mighty close attention to. So it does say that, talking about this man here called Anti-Christ. Now we’ve had a lot of previews of what the Anti-Christ could be like. We had that Jim Jones, he’s like a preview. We had Adolf Hitler, a preview. Anyway, the Anti-Christ is gonna be a little bit different than that. He’s gonna bring peace to the world for a certain length of time. But he will eventually be defeated to. Supernaturally defeated. And God will intervene. But you’re still gonna have to be aware of these things. You need something strong to hang on to. I don’t know what you got to hang on to, but I got something called a solid rock to hang on to that was manifested in the flesh, and justified in the spirit, and seen by angels, preached on in the world.”
~Bob Dylan (before Solid Rock)

Solid Rock
Saving Grace
Saved (Dylan/Drummond)
What Can I Do For You ?
In The Garden *
Are You Ready ?
Pressing On

bob dylan 1980


  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Fred Tackett (guitar)
  • Spooner Oldham (keyboards)
  • Tim Drummond (bass)
  • Terry Young (keyboards)
  • Jim Keltner (drums)
  • Clydie King, Gwen Evans, Mary Elizabeth Bridges, Regina Havis, Mona Lisa Young (background vocals).
Massey HallMassey Hall is a performing arts theatre in the Garden District of downtown Toronto. The theatre originally was designed to seat 3,500 patrons but, after extensive renovations in the 1940s, now seats up to 2,765.
Massey Hall and the more intimate Eaton Auditorium were the only substantial concert venues in Toronto before the opening of Roy Thomson Hall as the new home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.Massey Hall was designated a National Historic Site of Canada on June 15, 1981.

-Egil & Hallgeir

7 thoughts on “April 20: Bob Dylan Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada, 1980”

  1. I consider myself spiritual, not religious at all, but I have always loved Dylan’s gospel stuff. He sang with such conviction. It’s so great to hear some of these heretofore unheard tunes as well as terrific live versions of the “Slow Train” and “Saved” songs. … I optimistically an enthusiastically endorse Steve’s plea for an official bootleg of this concert. Bob doesn’t need the cash or the critical backlash he’d get by releasing it, but he has never let crap like that stop him before!

      1. it was wishful thinking ! shame it was not included in the very expensive box set.

  2. I ignored Dylan when he went religious. I’ve also ignored him since maybe 1990, at least live like this blog has him, mostly live. You know why: He sings like a horse.

    Don’t get me wrong. He”s had some very good songs after 1990: On CD, vinyl, etc., but not live. Everyone in my town knew this when he came, but many went just to be able to say they saw ‘Bob Dylan’. They said he was not good, as expected.

    This is no cut on Dylan. He’ll go down as a great musician who wrote amazing material and performed it in his earlier years with raw emotion. He’ll go down as a major influence on many genres of music. He’ll go down as one of maybe 3 top ‘players’ in rock/pop/folk who ever lived.
    But he’s not a nice guy, and he’s ripping people off by giving concerts now. It’s awful to listen to. Not a way to end or begin the end of one’s legacy.

    1. Dear sir/madam,

      Your level of discourse on the merits of Mr. Dylan’s vocal talents is as erudite as it is compelling. I’m glad you have added your thoughtful dissent about Mr. Dylan’s “not good”(!) concerts to a website that focuses much-deserved attention on the man’s biggest strength–as a performer.
      Also thank you for pointing out that your confused meandering chastisements are “no cut” against the great man. Like Bob, I will sleep soundly tonight knowing that an internet commenter has forgiven Mr. Dylan his transgressions. In our new gilded age, it is a relief that some people are courageous enough to go after the real villains: performers charging some 75 bucks for 90+ minute concerts! He is indeed “not a nice guy”.
      Lastly, I appreciate your solicitude for Bob’s legacy. As he has pointed out in various interviews, Dylan spends his nights and days worrying about the untold amounts damage to empty constructs like “legacy”.

      My eyes have been opened & I am forever grateful.

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