30th Anniversary Concert

Things Twice

On October 16, 1992, Columbia Records marked the 30th anniversary of Dylan's first album
with an all-star concert at Madison Square Garden. "Bobfest" (so dubbed by Neil Young)
was broadcast live on pay-per-view and, the next year, released as an album and video.
Below is an annotated set list and posts regarding the booing of Sinead O'Connor.

Compiled: October 12, 1996

From: Man of Peace (101514.1767@COMPUSERVE.COM)
Subject: 30th Anniv. setlist (long and complete)
Date: Sat, 8 Jun 96 10:45:31 +0000

		*	*	*

O.K., here's the complete list in order of performance (with


BOOKER T. & THE MGs: Gotta Serve Somebody (+) / From A Buick 6 (+) 
   /Lay, Lady, Lay (Instrumental) (+)
CAROLYN HESTER & NANCI GRIFFITHS: Boots Of Spanish Leather (+)(1)
JOHN HAMMOND: See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (+)

   organ) / Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
STEVIE WONDER: Blowin' In The Wind
LOU REED: Foot Of Pride
TRACY CHAPMAN: The Times They Are A-Changin'
WILLIE NELSON: What Was It You Wanted
JOHNNY WINTER: Highway 61 Revisited
RON WOOD: Seven Days
RICHIE HAVENS: Just Like A Woman
NEIL YOUNG: Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues / All Along The Watchtower
CHRISSIE HYNDE: I Shall Be Released
ERIC CLAPTON: Love Minus Zero - No Limit (+) / Don't Think Twice, It's
   All Right
THE O'JAYS: Emotionally Yours
THE BAND: When I Paint My Masterpiece
GEORGE HARRISON: If Not For You (+) / Absolutely Sweet Marie
   Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
BOB DYLAN: Song To Woody (+) / It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
ALL-STAR FINALE: My Back Pages (*) / Knockin' On Heaven's Door
BOB DYLAN (ENCORE): Girl From The North Country

With the exception of "Boots of Spanish Leather" (which is available on the official video), I have the pre-broadcast part of show as audio only. The official video also contains some footage from the rehearsals. The missing tracks can be found on a variety of bootleg albums.

One last note: The original German broadcast of the event was unfortunately tainted by Dylan "expert" Fritz Werner Haver (a familiar figure at Dylan's concerts in Germany -- watch out for some light brown boots, a press badge, and the "air of utmost importance" surrounding this person) and TV host Fritz Egner having one of the dumbest conversations imaginable, even talking through parts of the performances. This makes my tape (which I refer to as the "Battle of the Fritzes") basically unwatchable. Too bad, because the original broadcast had all the songs missing from the official video. Later broadcasts (in Germany) were in the "Best of" format.

One of the re-runs, BTW, was in the afternoon of Feb 20, 1993 -- the day Bob performed at Rhein-Main-Halle, Wiesbaden, Germany. I wonder if he watched it in his hotel room...

- Man of Peace

Subject: They Came For Her In The Garden
From: dsage@uoguelph.ca (David Sage)
Date: 1995/04/25

Elliott Goodman. (IntraCell@AOL.COM) wrote:
: Bob Rini writes:
: >Many people claim Sinead O'Connor was booed at the 30th
: >Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden, and while this
: >may appear to be true a close examination of the existing tapes
: >reveals some confusion; perhaps the set was too short, or the
: >crowd was unable to hear her.
: >Why are people so sure she was booed?
: I was there.  She was definitely booed.  A little at first, 
: almost jokingly.  But when she could not get the crowd to 
: become absolutely silent she refused to begin her song and 
: that resulted in heavy booing until she was literally booed 
: off the stage.

Scary how this works eh?


Subject: Sinead O' Connor
From: Eamonn McGrane (ejm40@AIL.AMDAHL.COM)
Date: 1995/04/28

Sinead may be a bit petulant, but her ripping up of the Pope's picture was a dramatic statement against the Church. The statement was specifically intended for the Catholic Church in Ireland, which Sinead sees as an organisation which oppresses us all over here. It was also against the protection the Church has given to paedophile priests and how for the last 50 years it's been trying to sweep it under the carpet. Sinead, being booed by a Dylan audience was one of the most ironic and disgusting things I've ever seen. American audiences condemn her, but they are largely ignorant of her background and the events in Ireland which have moulded her personality.



Subject: Sinead at Bobfest/Tour Opener
From: Richard Shaffer (RSbklyn@AOL.COM)
Date: 1996/03/27

		*	*	*
What I want to bring up here is the idea that Sinead "could have stilled the crowd by singing her song." I know the Pay-Per-View recording makes it seem like that was possible: the camera shows Booker T. as he clearly plays the opening notes of "I Believe in You" at one point. But the sound mixed for broadcast and the actual sound in the building are very different--the crowd noise is turned way down (for good reason). Take it from one who was in the Garden that night; the booing and cheering was incredibly, outrageously, prohibitively LOUD. My comment to friends the next day was 'it sounded like a bomb went off.' Booker's piano and Kris' comment to Sinead were not audible AT ALL, at least not to me. Her shouting of "War" was just barely above the din. I really don't think it was possible for her to pull off "I Believe in You"--though for the record, I wish she had tried.

Also for the record: many in the crowd did stand and cheer, myself included, which only made the boobirds louder and made everything louder! I know that there were booing/cheering contests between audience members who had been getting along just fine up to that point. I will admit that I shouted "Judas!" just once for Historical Continuity's sake. ;-)

Yes, I agree Sinead brought the debacle on herself and was being awfully immature all around, especially her attitude that Dylan should not have performed because of the boobirds (I guess she thought the whole show should have been called off at that point).

		*	*	*

Subject: Sinead O'Connor
From: Ben Taylor (bptaylor@laguna.demon.co.uk)
Date: 1996/03/22

Extract from TIME magazine's interview with Sinead O'Connor, published 9 November 1992 (page 78), under the title "People Need a Short, Sharp Shock".

		*	*	*

Watch out: an unrepentant Sinead O'Connor blasts the Catholic church,
Bob Dylan and the treatment of women


     Q. But if you want to get your message across, isn't there a way to
do it without offending people?

     A. There's no way to tell people this truth without having them be
poff. The fact is that people are asleep. They need a short, sharp
shock. They need that to make them stand up and listen. What happened at
the Bob Dylan show is proof.

     Q. Were you surprised when they booed you at the Bob Dylan concert
in New York City's Madison Square Garden two weeks after you ripped up
the Pope's picture?

     A. Don't forget that half of them were cheering.

     Q. So why did you sing the Bob Marley song you had performed when
you tore up the Pope's picture instead of doing the Dylan song you had
originally planned to do?

     A. In some ways I wish I had. But I've already recorded the song,
and I already know what it means to me. I mean, he was my inspiration
when I was growing up. But whatever I felt and what Bob Dylan symbolized
had gone. What occurred to me in those seconds was that if this audience
felt like this, then they hadn't actually listened to what Bob Dylan
said, they didn't actually get it. These are the people who supposedly
believed in Bob Dylan, but they've fallen asleep. And this is proved by
the fact that himself, their figurehead, fell asleep. Bob Dylan went
onstage after that had happened to another artist.

     Q. Did he say anything to you after the concert?

     A. That I should keep on doing what I'm doing. But it's no good
saying that to me. Why doesn't he say it to them? I mean, why doesn't he
take his responsibility? So what I learned from that was that they have
control of the music business too. Look who gets their records played
and who doesn't. Look at who is honored and who isn't.


Ben Taylor
Leeds, England

Subject: "Sister Sinead" (Dylan melody)
From: speck@indyvax.iupui.edu
Date: 1996/09/13

As a semi-(in)frequent lurker to this group, I have noticed that Sinead O'Connor is a semi-regular topic of conversation, due to her appearance at Bobfest. Well, Kris Kristofferson has a new song about her that he has been performing in concert, that is set semi-exactly to the tune of "THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'." So, I thought I would post this here... :-)

Sister Sinead  (by Kris Kristofferson)
I'm singing this song for my sister Sinead
Concerning the god-awful mess that she made
When she told 'em her truth just as hard as she could
Her message, profoundly, was misunderstood

There's humans entrusted with guarding our gold
Humans in charge of the saving of souls
Humans responded all over the world
Condemning that bald-headed brave little girl

And maybe she's crazy and maybe she ain't
But so was Picasso and so were the Saints
She's never been partial to shackles or chains
She's too old for breakin' and too young to change

It's asking for trouble to stick out your neck
In terms of a target, a big sillouette
And some candles flicker and some candles fade
And some burn as true as my sister Sinead

Maybe she's crazy and maybe she ain't
But so was Picasso and so were the Saints
She's never been partial to shackles or chains
She's too old for breakin' and too young to change.
		*	*	*
Steve Peck

Subject: "Sister Sinead" (Dylan melody)
From: "J.McBride" (mb@BOM.GOV.AU)
Date: 1996/09/17

		*	*	*
I am glad Kristofferson has written a song about her, linking her to Dylan and Bobfest. Being a long-term follower of Dylan, I always thought on some subconcious level this meant I was linked with fellow followers who admired matters cultural, creative, and intellectually honest.

Thus, when Sinead was booed at Bobfest, by Dylan's audience, I found this profoundly upsetting. This was compounded by Sinead's set being left off the official release. For me, this (booing and omission) was enough to totally counter any positive feelings of pleasure in due recognition to Dylan which otherwise would have come from Bobfest.


Subject: Sinead O'Connor
From: Tiernan Henry (ENRY.TIERNAN@UCG.IE)
Date: 1996/09/17

In an interview that might possibly have appeared in a Q of the time, Sinead (the only true teller of Irish history, or else) O'Connor said that after the how Dylan came over to her, and told her not to be bothered by the booing. She was miffed by this, and wanted more from Bob.

Perhaps to spank the booers.

In an interview with Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune, Neil Young's reaction was that both he and Bob had been subjected to surly crowd reaction and that he reckoned ignoring it was the best thing.

Was Bob backstage for the early part of the show, or was he outside in his bus doing his laundry or tinkering with his bike?


Subject: Sinead O'Connor
From: Patricia Jungwirth (tricia.j@AARDVARK.APANA.ORG.AU)
Date: 1996/09/18

		*	*	*
Chrissie Hynde (or was it Sheryl Crow?) also commented somewhere that she had tried to comfort Sinead, but felt rebuffed. Her take was that if Sinead had started singing along with the band, who tried to start her song a couple of times, everyone would have shut up. But for all her bluster, Sinead does not seem to have been able to muster the courage, or confidence perhaps, to do just that (why does she always wear that in-ear speaker-phone or whatever?). The boo-ers would have been drowned out by applause, surely, if she'd just gone ahead with 'I Believe In You' (which she sings beautifully).

I'm afraid I cannot see the "intellectual honesty" in Sinead's stand-off. Though I'm apalled at the behaviour of 'the boo-ers', I think her reaction was inappropriate and only worsened the situation. Seems like stupidity (the boo-ers) compounded by immaturity and self-indulgence (Sinead), adding up to a very sour note indeed.

If I'd been compiling the album, I'd have left it off too. Who'd want to replay that? Unlike such incidents in Dylan's career, the resolution is just as unpleasant as the audience outburst. It is, however, included on the 'official' video, where at least one can "read" the faces of the participants (Booker-T, who just wants to get on with it, would seem to represent the feelings of most of the musicians on the night).

I wouldn't be too concerned that it was "Dylan's audience" who were booing. Like all "events" many of the audience would have been there either to witness history, or perhaps to see other favourite performers, there must have been a very diverse mix of people, not just Dylan fans. Let's hope the ones who were booing were just there for the spectacle. Bread and circuses, throw them to the lions, oh those nights in the coliseum. It's easy to see, though, without looking too far (this newsgroup for instance) what a wide range of views are encompassed by "Dylan fans".

>Was Bob backstage for the early part of the show, or was he
>outside in his bus >doing his laundry or tinkering with his bike?

Perhaps watching the boxing on the sports channel, or re-runs of Gunsmoke, or just teaching his dog how to bark?

(After writing all this, I'm not so sure I should post it - it's not meant to be 'sinead-bashing', I think she has every right to indulge her self, but perhaps the stage at Madison Square Garden - with a whole crowd of musicians, on a tight schedule which must have been nerve-wracking, trying to do their jobs and honour another performer - was not the right place or the right time... I guess I think those in the audience who booed got it wrong, but so did Sinead, and she was the one with the power to 'fix' it, only she didn't seem to know that)


Subject: Sinead O'Connor
From: baguet@aol.com (Baguet)
Date: 1996/09/19

This definitely comes under the "She can dish it out but she can't take it", category. When Bob was booed at Newport, he didn't go into a hysterical rant. He didn't change his play list. He didn't leave the stage in tears. He didn't leave an opening for Neil Young to blow the place away. Sinead insulted Catholics with her childish stunt on SNL. If she doesn't like the doctrines of the Church, why doesn't she just leave it? What would be the reaction if someone ripped up a photo of MLK? JFK? Or Hillary? She thought she could get away with it in liberal NYC. Oops, many people in town go to service Sundays. Especially those who could afford the hundred dollar ticket to Bobfest.

From: Murray Littlejohn (325809@AIX1.UOTTAWA.CA)
Subject: Sinead
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 01:02:40 -0400

The Sinead incident at the Dylan Tribute was indeed unfortunate for all involved. However, I must say that I was not that surprised when it happened. Dylan's fans are indeed diverse. Some may even be Catholic. Some are no doubt from other denominations and religions but they may share the Pope's moral concerns. From some of Dylan's lyrics I might venture to say that Dylan himself may share some of the Pope's moral concerns.

It is a bit naive to think that Dylan's fans are not a diverse lot. And in terms of a Biblical influenced view of the world, if anyone has one, Dylan seems to. We should not be shocked that some of his fans showed some displeasure when Sinead walked on stage. The image of her tearing up the Popes picture was a hard one to get out of one's head. I was offended myself because it was a cheap shot at an easy target. And of course it indicates to her young fans that there are easy answers to difficult questions. Tearing up the Pope's picture the previous week was meant to get a reaction. It did. At that point she should of had the courage to stand by her convictions and certainly she had the obligation to just sing the song, which, ironically, was to be a courageous song of faith in God, in the face of the social conflict it can bring on. I realize that Sinead comes from a country that has a large number of political-Catholic fundamentalism and I can imagine the kind of emotional baggage that can bring with it. However, Sinead's shock seemed to be that everyone does not share her views. That is always shocking to realize, but that is a part of growing up.

Anyway, "you know its not even safe nomore, in the palace of the Pope."

From: sscobie1@sol.uvic.ca (Stephen Scobie/Maureen Scobie)
Subject: Sinead O'Connor
Date: 24 Sep 1996 03:04:53 GMT

This topic comes up from time to time on this newsgroup, and I have recorded my reactions before, so any of you who know what I'm about to say, just skip this posting. I was actually present in Madison Square Gardens that night, and I have a pretty clear memory of what happened.

(1) In many ways, I greatly admire Sinead O'Connor. Occasionally she poses too much for her own good, but most of the time she's right on. Her criticisms of the Roman Catholic church in Ireland are spot on, and show her at her best: courageous, independent, honest, committed. On the other hand (and this is something which seems to have been completely forgotten), in the week leading up to Bobfest, she had also come out in support of Mike Tyson, saying something to the effect that the woman accusing him of rape had only got what she deserved. So inside a week, she had managed to offend all across the social-political spectrum.

(2) But very little of this has anything to do with the booing. The Pope incident only gave a semi-respectable excuse for the hostility. Certainly the young men in my section of the audience were not sincere about the Pope (or about Mike Tyson). Theirs was simple sexist rage -- the impotent fury of insecure white males confronted with a courageous, outspoken (and bald) woman. What they were yelling was "Get off the stage you fucking bitch!" Nothing to do with religious belief. Just straight, obscene rage.

(3) For all that, Sinead could certainly have quieted the crowd if she'd started to sing. Just listen to the tapes. You can hear the boos die down when the band starts. And the choice of "I Believe In You" would have brilliantly undercut the ostensible reasons for the protest. I can understand why she chose to escalate the confrontation. But really, it wasn't her venue. She had plenty of other forums open to her: that night was not the night to push her own agenda.

(4) It should never have happened. But once it *had* happened, it should not have been ignored. The audience should have been confronted in its turn. The only person who really emerges from the whole mess with any dignity is Kristofferson.


From: baguet@aol.com (Baguet)
Subject: Sinead O'Connor
Date: 25 Sep 1996 17:17:53 -0400

Rubbish. Nobody was screaming "you f____ing b___ch, get off the stage." They were, as you said, were just booing. The majority religion in New York City was, and still is, Catholic. It's a religion. As such, people celebrate the beginning of life in the Catholic churches of New York. They marry in the Catholic churches of New York. They have their final services in the Catholic churches of New York. But more important, they turn to and return to the church outside of these events. To have the church desecrated by a bitter and bigoted woman, people were just giving what she gave. And, as far as I can see, this has been the defining moment of her career.

From: elara@ix.netcom.com(Elizabeth Lara )
Subject: Sinead O'Connor NO MORE
Date: 27 Sep 1996 07:18:21 GMT

		*	*	*
I have an unedited tape of that night of the BobFest and the final public release version. What was left on the cutting room floor were shots of Sinead during the encore where she stands ALONE at the microphone at one side. No other musicians/singers, male or female, wanted to stand by her and sing. It clearly looked that they did not want to associate with her. You had this mass of talent on stage, sharing the evening for Bob and there is Sinead screaming into the microphone all by herself. I enjoy that clip immensely.

For her to come out and make those outrageous statements about the accused Mike Tyson's rape victim...was not only "immature" (as one net poster mentioned) but just downright stupid.

And if Sinead is upset at the Catholic church for their wrongs against Irish women....why couldn't we assume then that all of Latin America should dislike the pope as well! It was the Spanish crusaders/queen who wanted to rule the new world and went about this by raping the indigenious people of the Americas with their land and the women so that they would follow the Catholic/Spanish teachings. I don't hear about Latin America dumping the Catholic faith because of this. In fact, many priests and nuns have been killed in Latin America for preaching human rights for the poor.

There are other ways to send a message instead of visually abusive ways of getting attention. Because when it boils down to it...that is what she really wants. To draw attention to herself. Sinead expects the public to believe in her causes and throws a tantrum when we don't.

Sinead is fighting her wars the wrong way...she is left in isolation...which is where I prefer she stays.

What she really needs is a good therapist. I hope she finds one!

Now can we stop talking about her and get back to Bob?!


Subject: Sinead O'Connor
From: Charles Cruzan (ccruzan@earthlink.net)
Date: 1996/09/26

Stephen Scobie/Maureen Scobie wrote:
> Were you there?  If so, were you simultaneously present in every row and
> seat of Madison Square Gardens?
> I was there.  I was in the upper balcony.  The people beside me were very
> clearly screaming "Get that fucking bitch off the stage."  For them at
> least, and I suspect for a majority in the audience, the religious issue
> merely provided a semi-respectable cover for sexist rage.
> As to O'Connor being "bitter and bigoted," I suggest that any history of
> what the Roman Catholic Church has done to women in Ireland might afford a
> large measure of justification for her opinions, if not necessarily for
> the way in which she chose to express them.
> Stephen
Follow your own line of reasoning...no he wasn't at every point nor were you in the minds of every person there. It appears to me that you have a conclusion (they are in a sexist rage) and now try to support by intrepreting the event. Actually what is missing from the posts on O'Conner is that she and her detractors are responsible for there words and actions. Her attack on someones religion may or may not be justified but her method was immature. As to her detractors I honestly belive that everyone had a different reason and part of it was proably nothing more then mob mentality. I will agree that I heard language that I had not heard since I was in the USN in Nam in the mid 60s. I do not like Sinead's music particularly but i do respect her as an artist and she has the right to express herself. With experience she will probably be able to express her feeling and opinions in a way that will have a more far reaching impact then causing herself to be shouted down. Bob Dylan certainly has. Anyway that is my 2 cents worth and I truely hope my opinions do not offend anyone. Life is to short and to good.

Chuck Cruzan

From: sscobie1@sol.uvic.ca (Stephen Scobie/Maureen Scobie)
Subject: Sinead O'Connor
Date: 29 Sep 1996 02:12:01 GMT

> Stephen Scobie/Maureen Scobie wrote:

> > 
> > Were you there?  If so, were you simultaneously present in every row 
> > and seat of Madison Square Gardens?
> > 
> > I was there.  I was in the upper balcony.  The people beside me were 
> > very clearly screaming "Get that fucking bitch off the stage."  For 
> > them at least, and I suspect for a majority in the audience, the 
> > religious issue merely provided a semi-respectable cover for sexist 
> > rage.

> Follow your own line of reasoning...no he wasn't at every point nor 
> were you in the minds of every person there. It appears to me that you 
> have a conclusion (they are in a sexist rage) and now try to support 
> by intrepreting the event. 
Ah, but there is a difference. He (Baguet) asserted that it was "rubbish" to claim that anyone was doing anything other than booing. I testify to what I heard (and to what other people on this newsgroup also heard), and then say that I *suspect* that what I heard was representative of a *majority*, not of all. He is advancing what he claims is a statement of fact, which simply is not true. I am advancing an argument based upon an extrapolation from evidence. That argument is certainly open to discussion -- but my main point was to dispute Baguet's absurd claim that no one in that audience used the words I (and others) so clearly heard.


Things Twice PageIndex of Compiled Threads