EDWARDSVILLE, MISSOURI — A relaxed Bob Dylan, his voice still Nashville-Skylined, made a surprise appearance in this small college town outside St. Louis July 14th before a crowd of some 3000 Mississippi River Festival-goers.
The festival, several weeks in the running, features one-big-name concerts held in a large tent on a field at Southern Illinois University, and the headliner for the July 14th show was the Band.
They did their usual tight set, earning a call for an encore. But instead of coming on with “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” they returned accompanied by a guitar-toting, cowboyish figure in brown shirt, pants, and boots.
After a couple of bars, the crowd knew, the word spread, and the assemblage fell into a hush. Dylan cruised through three numbers – easy-rolling rockers, for the most part, including an old mountain tune called “In the Pines,” and departed, with the Band, to a huge ovation.
They came back for the encore – “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” with Dylan joining in on the chorus. Then they all waved merrily and split.
There was no mention of Dylan’s name throughout his appearance, his first public outing–except for a Nashville TV studio number – since January, 1968, when he appeared at a Woody Guthrie memorial concert at Carnegie Hall.
This story is from the August 9th, 1969 issue of Rolling Stone.