Bob Dylan's Mystery Blues Jam Stirs Fan Debate - Rolling Stone
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Bob Dylan’s Mystery Blues Jam Stirs Fan Debate

Can you identify the bizarre instrumental played in Chicago?

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Bob Dylan performs at the Vieilles Charrues music festival on July 22, 2012 in Carhaix-Plouguer, France.


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?


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