For Bob Dylan’s birthday, watch some of his best Boston performances

Happy 79th birthday, Bob.

Bob Dylan, left, and Tom Petty perform together at the Great Woods Center For The Performing Arts in Mansfield, Mass. on Jul. 8, 1986. Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff

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If it feels like Bob Dylan has been around forever, that may be because, for all intents and purposes, he has been: Celebrating his 79th birthday today, Dylan hightailed it out of Minnesota in 1961 at the age of 19 for New York City, and has been a unique and unmatchable voice in popular culture basically ever since.

Over the last 60 years — during which Dylan has sold millions of records, been dubbed “the voice of a generation,” gone through several self-imposed exiles and at least one religious rebirth, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature — he’s also had an inextricable relationship with the Boston area, whose audiences always seemed to have a special appreciation for Bob’s ingenious wordplay and take-no-prisoners attitude.


In particular, Dylan’s Oct. 31, 1975 show in Plymouth, Mass. — part of the Rolling Thunder Review tour revisited by director Martin Scorsese in the (partially fabricated) Netflix documentary last year — is still heralded by some as  “the best Dylan concert of all time.” He’s made innumerable stops in Massachusetts before in after, from the likes of a Tufts University gig in 1964 to a Tsongas Arena show in Lowell last November, with hundreds in between: Sometimes he was brilliant, sometimes inscrutable, but he’s always been Bob.

To celebrate Bob’s birthday, watch “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” from the Plymouth show, as captured in the Netflix documentary, below, followed by some other Boston-area Bob Dylan performances captured by intrepid concert goers in more recent years.


Bonus: Also from the Netflix documentary, here’s Bob and Allen Ginsberg visiting Jack Kerouac’s grave in Lowell back in 1975:

Share your own Bob Dylan Boston memories in the comments below!


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