Bob Dylan's Mystery Blues Jam Stirs Fan Debate

Can you identify the bizarre instrumental played in Chicago?

Bob Dylan performs at the Vieilles Charrues music festival on July 22, 2012 in Carhaix-Plouguer, France.
November 14, 2012 11:20 AM ET

Bob Dylan opened his show at Chicago's United Center last Friday with an instrumental blues jam. To many in the audience, it sounded like an instrumental version of "Watching the River Flow" or "Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35." The next day, Dylan's official website listed the song as an instrumental rendition of "Rainy Day Women," but the reliable Bob Links listed it as "Sweet Home Chicago." To further complicate matters, Dylan's website later changed the title to "Instrumental Blues." That didn't exactly clear things up.

Take a listen:

The guitar work definitely sounds like Dylan's current version of "Watching The River Flow" at times, but it's also easy to hear "Sweet Home Chicago" later in the song. One can also detect bits of "Rainy Day Women" if you're listening for them. Are they doing some sort of crazy medley? Might this be a situation where the band doesn't know exactly what Dylan wanted them to play? This past July, Dylan opened his show by singing "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" before switching into "Watching The River Flow" after a few lines, so they've definitely had similar difficulties in the recent past.

This has lead to much discussion in the fan community. What song do you hear here?

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

More Song Stories entries »