Listen Now: Bob Dylan Dusts Off “Friend of the Devil” in Oakland
On Saturday night Bob Dylan made his third and final stand at the stunning Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif.; after two consecutive nights of music at the famed Bay Area venue, the masterful musician returned to the stage to deliver his final set of tunes to a packed house. Among the songs performed was a bust out of the Grateful Dead’s seminal number, “Friend of the Devil,” played for the first time since 2007.
Dylan’s admiration for the Grateful Dead dates back nearly a half-century. In 1987, the virtuoso musician joined the San Francisco jamband on a six-stop tour that began on the 4th of July at Sullivan Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. In addition, the ensemble made stops in Philadelphia, East Rutherford, N.J., Eugene, Ore., Oakland, Calif., and Anaheim, Calif., collaborating on several classic tunes, including the Dylan-penned “Queen Jane Approximately,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower.” The six-stop tour was inevitably sourced into a collaborative live album, Dylan & The Dead. The 7-track was released on Feb. 6, 1989, via Columbia Records and received high praise from fans.
In keeping with the Bay Area theme, it made sense Dylan would work a piece of the Grateful Dead’s repertoire into Saturday night’s show. More surprising, however was the addition of any kind to new music to the lineup. Notably, Dylan has stuck with the same set of songs at nearly every stop along his Rough and Rowdy Ways tour – making Saturday’s setlist addition all the more unique.
Dylan’s rendition of “Friend of the Devil” landed at the end of the showman’s 17-song single set performance. In lieu of an encore, the musician followed after 2020’s “Goodbye Jimmy Reed” with the Jerry Garcia and John Dawson composed tune. On the iconic number, Dylan croaked the Robert Hunter penned lyrics with instrumental assistance from his band – Tony Garnier, Charley Drayton, Bob Britt, Doug Lancio and Donnie Herron. According to Setlist.Fm, the last time Dylan performed the Grateful Dead classic was on July 19, 2007, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo.
Listen to Bob Dylan sing Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” below.
Fox Theater – Oakland, Calif.
June 11, 2022
Set: Watching the River Flow, Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine, I Contain Multitudes, False Prophet When I Paint My Masterpiece, Black Rider, I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, My Own Version of You, Crossing the Rubicon, To Be Alone With You, Key West (Philosopher Pirate), Gotta Serve Somebody, I’ve Made Up My Mind yo Give Myself to You, Melancholy Mood, Mother of Muses, Goodbye Jimmy Reed, Friend of the Devil*
* Tour debut, first time performed since 2007