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

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Won­drous Night When Glen Hansard Met Van Mor­ri­son

Bob Dylan and The Grate­ful Dead Rehearse Togeth­er in Sum­mer 1987. Lis­ten to 74 Tracks.

Two Leg­ends Togeth­er: A Young Bob Dylan Talks and Plays on The Studs Terkel Pro­gram, 1963

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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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