Today Bob Dylan gave us the Great Music Experience in 1994 – 19 years ago

Bob Dylan Todai-ji temple

Bob Dylan performed at The Great Music Experience third day in a row.  Todai-ji Temple, Nara, Japan – 1994.

In cooperation with  UNESCO, the festival,  The Great Music Experience was held over three days in Nara, Japan. It was trying to bring Japanese culture out to the world, and Japanese musicians shared the stage with artists from around the globe.

The concert took place in front of the world’s largest wooden building, the Buddhist temple of Todai-Ji, housing the largest Buddha statue in the world.

Dylan stole the show and he said as soon as he came off-stage that he had not sung so well for 15 years. Bob Dylan opened with A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall on which Q magazine said:   This is no ordinary version… he really opens his lungs and heart and sings, like he’s not done for many a year…The only word for it majestic!

Here it is the whole Bob Dylan set, enjoy!

MAY 22,1994
The Great Music Experience. Produced by Tony Hollingsworth

1. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
2. I Shall Be Released
3. Ring Them Bells
4. I Shall Be Released

1–3 Bob Dylan (guitar & vocal) backed by Phil Palmer (guitar), ”Wix” Vickens (keyboards), Pino Palladino (bass), Jim Keltner (drums) and The Tokyo New Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen

4 Bob Dylan (guitar & shared lead vocal) in the grand finale with all participating artists, among them Joni Mitchell, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Ry Cooder, Roger Taylor and the members of INXS and X Japan.

  • 1–3 was broadcast in the radio and TV program THE GREAT MUSIC EXPERIENCE COUNTDOWN, 22 May 1994 in over 50 countries all over the world.
  • 4 broadcast in the radio and TV program THE GREAT MUSIC EXPERIENCE COUNTDOWN, 29 May 1994 on BBC in the UK.
  • 1 released in Scandinavia on CD single Columbia COL 660942 2, 15 December 1994.
  • 1 released on CD single Dignity (MTV Unplugged), Columbia COL 661 400 2, 11 April 1995.

Musicians said the collaborations, however rewarding, were difficult given the differences in musical backgrounds. “The only thing holding us together this evening is the shining Buddha,” said Michael Kamen, a composer of movie soundtracks who is serving as the musical director here and who composed an overture that encompassed all the musicians and instruments. The mixing of the music is being done by George Martin, who was the Beatles’ producer. (New York Times)

Other 22 May:

From Wikipedia:

Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959), known as Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the band The Smiths. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career, making the top ten of the UK Singles Chart on ten occasions. Widely regarded as an important innovator in indie music, Morrissey has been described by music magazine NME as “one of the most influential artists ever,” and The Independent has stated “most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status he has reached in his lifetime.” Pitchfork Media has called him “one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture from the last twenty years.”

Morrissey is routinely referred to as an influential artist, both in his solo career and with the Smiths. The BBC has referred to him as “one of the most influential figures in the history of British pop,” and the NME named the Smiths the “most influential artist ever” in a 2002 poll, even topping the BeatlesRolling Stone, naming him one of the greatest singers of all time in a recent poll, noted that his “rejection of convention” in his vocal style and lyrics is the reason “why he redefined the sound of British rock for the past quarter-century.”

Everday is like sunday – live 2004:

Album of the day:



Bernard John “Bernie” Taupin (born 22 May 1950) is an English lyricist, poet, and singer, best known for his long-term collaboration with Elton John, writing the lyrics for the majority of the star’s songs, making his lyrics some of the best known in pop-rock’s history.

In 1967, Taupin answered an advertisement in the UK’s music paper New Musical Express that was seeking new songwriters. Around the same time Elton John submitted samples of his work to the paper, and the pair were brought together, collaborating on many projects since.

– Hallgeir

Sources: Wikipedia, Vimeo, Facebook, Olofs files

3 thoughts on “Today Bob Dylan gave us the Great Music Experience in 1994 – 19 years ago”

  1. The singing of Dylan is great indeed. He did not do much better after this. The combination of music styles is not that good, I think. It takes the rock out of rock.

    1. I love the performance, but I can see your point. I also like Dylan better when he is “rough and dirty” and more down to earth. Still, I think it showed some of Bob Dylan’s range as an artist, and his ability to do his craft in many different ways.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      – Hallgeir

  2. Too bad you need Flash for the great music experience…..not allowed on iPad…….but I found the full concert on you tube……there is much more to be enjoyed!!

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