Bob Dylan plays rock, blues, country covers on Jersey-bound Outlaw Music Festival tour

outlaw dylan

The Outlaw Music Festival tour will have two New Jersey shows, though some of the artists whose names are included in this graphic will be performing in other locations but not in New Jersey.

Bob Dylan signed up for this year’s Willie Nelson-headlined Outlaw Music Festival tour, which comes to The PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel on June 30 and The Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden on July 4. You might think that he would (1) stick to the fairly static setlist he has been performing in recent months on his own tour or (2) play a kind of greatest-hits set, since many of those attending these concerts (also featuring Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, and others) may not be that familiar with his work beyond the hits. But judging by his set at the tour’s opening night at The Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, Georgia, June 21, he is going with a third option, largely ignoring the songs he has been playing a lot lately, and adding a lot of covers he has never played live before.

In Alpharetta, he played 13 songs, and five (!) of them were covers that were live debuts for him.

These included three well known songs — the Willie Dixon-written blues standard “My Babe,” Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie” (covered by The Rolling Stones and others) and Hank Williams’ “Cold, Cold Heart” — and two that are more obscure: The Fleetwoods’ 1959 hit “Mr. Blue,” and “The Fool,” which was written by Naomi Ford and Lee Hazlewood and became a hit for Sanford Clark in 1956. You Can listen to “My Babe” and an excerpt from “Little Queenie” below, along with three other songs from the show.

While Dylan has never performed any of these five songs in concert before, a 1967 studio version of “Mr. Blue” was included on his 2014 archival boxed set, The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete, and a studio “Cold, Cold Heart,” an outtake from his 1981 Shot of Love album, was on his 2021 release The Bootleg Series Vol. 16: Springtime in New York 1980–1985.

Nelson did not appear at the Alpharetta show. A message was posted to Nelson’s social media accounts saying:

“We regret to inform you that Willie Nelson is not feeling well and, per doctor’s orders, has been advised to rest for the next four days. He is expected to make a quick recovery and join the Outlaw Music Festival tour next week. In the meantime, Lukas Nelson and the Family Band, along with a few guests, will perform a special set to include Willie’s classics and other songs.”

Lukas Nelson (Willie’s son) and The Family Band (Willie’s band) did indeed perform a set dominated by Willie Nelson favorites with guests including Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and Brooke Lee.

Here is Dylan setlist, according to Songs in bold are live debuts.

“My Babe”
“Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ ”
“Simple Twist of Fate”
“Little Queenie”
“Mr. Blue”

“Pay in Blood”
“Cold, Cold Heart”
“Early Roman Kings”
“Under the Red Sky”
“Things Have Changed”
“The Fool”
“Scarlet Town”
“Long and Wasted Years”

Here are the videos:

“My Babe”/”Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ ”

“Little Queenie” (excerpt)

“A Simple Twist of Fate”

“Things Have Changed”


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