Bob Dylan covers Grateful Dead’s Friend of the Devil after 15 years

It’s the first time the artist has performed the song since 2007.

Bob Dylan

Image: Roger Garfield / Alamy

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Bob Dylan wrapped up his three-night show at Oakland last Saturday night (11 June) with a cover of the Grateful Dead’s Friend Of The Devil, a surprise departure from his usual set-closer Every Grain of Sand.

The musician has been on the road since November 2021 in support of his latest album Rough And Rowdy Ways, and has pretty much stuck to the same setlist all throughout the tour. Last night’s cover marks Dylan’s first Friend Of The Devil performance since 19 July 2007.

It’s also the first time the artist has changed his setlist after maintaining it for the past 37 concerts, beating his previous streak of 36 shows with the same setlist.

Listen to a recording of the cover below.

Back in the summer of 1987, the Dead took on the role as Dylan’s backing band, a decision that kickstarted the friendship between the two. And when member Jerry Garcia passed away in 1995, the singer-songwriter made a rare public appearance at his funeral.

Speaking to Rolling Stone at the time, Dylan said of Garcia: “There’s no way to measure his greatness or magnitude as a person or as a player. I don’t think eulogizing will do him justice. He was that great – much more than a superb musician with an uncanny ear and dexterity. He is the very spirit personified of whatever is muddy river country at its core and screams up into the spheres. He really had no equal.”

In more Bob Dylan news, the musician recently shared that he has been working in secret with American producer T Bone Burnett to re-record some of his classic songs, which are set to be released on an all-new analogue music format that promises to improve upon the limitations of vinyl, CDs and digital streaming.

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