Ephemeral by nature, the concert setlist is a rich, if underexplored, text for scholarly research. How an artist curates a show is a significant aspect of any concert’s appeal. Through the placement of songs, variations in order, or the omission of material, Bob Dylan’s setlists form a meta-narrative speaking to the power and significance of his music. These essays use the setlists from concerts throughout Dylan’s career to study his approach to his material from the 1960s to the 2020s. These chapters, from various disciplinary perspectives, illustrate how the concert setlist can be used as a source to explore many aspects of Dylan’s public life. Finally, this collection provides a new method to examine other musicians across genres with an interdisciplinary approach to setlists and the selectivity of performance. Unique in its approach and wide-ranging scholarly methodology, this book deepens our understanding of Bob Dylan, the performer.

chapter 2|14 pages

“Might as Well Just Stay Up Here”

Bob Dylan's Pivotal Performance at Montreal's Finjan Club in 1962

chapter 3|14 pages

I'm Ready to Go Anywhere

Bob Dylan's Propulsive Vector of Engagement with Audiences, 1964–1966

chapter 5|14 pages

Reaching for the Nashville Skyline

Bob Dylan's Country Music Connections and Lasting Impact on the Emerging 1970s Country-Rock Movement

chapter 7|13 pages

“All the World's a Stage”

Bob Dylan's Spontaneous Performativity in Martin Scorsese's Rolling Thunder Revue (2019) and NBC's Hard Rain (1976)

chapter 8|28 pages

The Warfield Cycle

Dylan's Mystery Plays, San Francisco, November 1980

chapter 9|16 pages

“Hanging in the Balance of the Reality of Man”

Dylan's Artistic Vision of Impermanence, October 1981

chapter 10|12 pages

Bob Dylan's Splayed Anthems

chapter 11|14 pages

Bob Dylan's Waste Land

Contemporary Existential Anxieties Reflected in the 2013–2019 Setlists

chapter 12|14 pages

“What's Going On in Your Show”

A Look at the Shadow Kingdom Setlist

chapter 13|18 pages

“Today and Tomorrow and Yesterday Too”

Time in Bob Dylan's Work of the 2020s

chapter |24 pages


The Never Ending Sonnets—On Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour, 1987–1997

chapter |3 pages


From Angel to Devil, from Lovelorn to Enchantment—Dylan's Setlists in 2022