Bob Dylan and Van Morrison Sing ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,’ 1998

Recently we posted a remarkable pair of videos featuring Bob Dylan and Van Morrison singing together on a hilltop in Athens. Today we’re back with another rare duet from the legendary singer-songwriters, this one recorded nine years after the jam session in Greece.

The performance took place on June 24, 1998 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England. Dylan was on a world tour to support his Time Out of Mind album, which was released the previous fall. Morrison shared the bill at some parts of the tour, including shows in North America, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and France. Morrison usually opened for Dylan, but on at least two occasions Morrison closed the show: in his native Belfast, and in Birmingham.

Near the end of Dylan’s Birmingham set, the audience was surprised when Morrison walked onstage in his sunglasses and pork pie hat. The two sang a duet of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” with Dylan playing acoustic guitar and Morrison the harmonica. It was a rare event: With only a couple of brief exceptions earlier in the tour, the two superstars kept their appearances separate. Fortunately, someone with a video camera was there to capture the moment.

h/t Paul Jones

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Comments (8)
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  • Nice. With camera-enabled cell phones so common these days it’s easy to take for granted a little video like this … but you have to remind yourself that it was shot in 1998 and so is just a bit miraculous. (Indeed, I’m amazed that the concertgoer who brought it was permitted into the venue. I guess s/he must have hidden it. ) It’s even got decent stereo separation! Thanks for sharing.

  • Mike Davies says:

    Spontaneous it may have been but an appalling, out of synch, out of tune performance by both of them.

    • Anthony says:

      I don’t know what you expect, Mike? This is who they are. Also, at that time Dylan did a lot of soloing on his acoustic – not what I would call expert guitar work, but that’s WHAT HE WAS DOING. I watched. I listened.

  • Arthur says:

    Yes, Mike, it may be all that… but there’s still more music here than in a hundred “perfect” performances by lesser musicians!

  • Evan says:

    This is pretty sweet. Two of my favorite artists.

  • Pete says:

    Disagree entirely with Mike Davies. This is a STUNNING performance; far superior to their performance together on that hilltop in Athens.

  • Regev Porat says:

    Two giants!
    Many thanks.

  • EinsteinDisguisedAsRobinHood says:

    The duets were not all that rare earlier in the tour. They dueted on “More and More” in NY on Jan. 18, “Blue Suede Shoes” in NY on Jan. 21, and both “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” in Boston on Jan. 24. They played together on about half the dates on the brief tour.

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